I normally don't write personal stories on this blog. Foodie Pantry has always been about recipes and dishes, trends and cuisines. Yet I feel this one story has to be told. It's about my 24 year old British shorthair , Shelby, who we lost yesterday to lung cancer She was an exceptional cat, a true gourmand, perfect for this foodie cat mom.
She was a rescue cat from our local shelter. The story started when our other house cat , a fiery calico, appropriately named Sparkey sneaked out. My brother went to the local shelter, here in Bergen Country ,in the hopes of finding her (she was hiding in her old stomping grounds, a wild patch of land called The Gully behind my house). He had come back with the news , not of Sparkey, but of Shelby, a big friendly "male" who love to be petted. The he was a she , an older rescue, maybe ten, maybe eleven years in age Another cat? No! We had way too many inside and out. Not another. Yet when I went for a second visit, fell in love with this chunky girl with the most expressive celadon colored eyes. Her eyes are what riveted you to her. They were wide discs that took in everything. Her fur was a thick, slate gray, the color of dark rain clouds. She had huge round paws that were almost circular in shape. I knew she had to have some kind of pedigree to her but what? Maybe Persian? I found out she was a British shorthair thanks to looking though a cat magazine that featured the breed., She became my little aristocrat.True to her English blood she loved London broil and roast beef. She'd walk the length of her couch (everything in the living room was automatically declared hers) over her Froggie pillow to make sure she got a bite of my roast beef . I always had extra for her, She gobbled it down,
It wasn't just roast beef. From the start she loved pepperoni. I guess her original pet parent spoiled her with it. She loved nibbling on the slices, even the soy ones my brother ate. Chicken was another favorite along with ham and any Italian cold cuts. She loved the Wendy's burgers and Popeye's chicken I brought home. Shelby was a big cheese lover too. Any cheese, from the gooey mozzarella on my pizza to cream cheese to Brie was always- well - catnip to her. She loved cheddar, not settling for just a few small pieces. She wanted the whole slice - to herself . Other favorites were butter and margarine. Every morning we ate breakfast together, She had her food along with two little bites of margarine soaked whole wheat toast even up to her passing. Eggs were another passion. She went mad for the eggy custard flan that my brother's assistant would make us for the holidays. Shelby would give that unblinking celadon stare that said quite loudly "That's mine. Please give me it and I 'll let you have the leftovers". Of course she also loved soft boiled eggs, enthusiastically licking the yolk that I purposely left for her. Whipped cream was another favorite. I'd dip my fingers in whatever sundae or fruit and cream and let her lick each one. Usually she'd be full after the ninth fingertip.To build her up in her later years I'd give her baby food which she shared with another of our rescue cats, a handsome but skittish rescue boy named Lucky. They'd share a jar of Gerber's ham and be satisfied for the evening (or until her late night snack at around 11:30).
Shelby, I miss you . I miss my little foodie aristocrat who loved eating as much as her pet mama.I know you are up in heaven , nibbling the best cheddar and of course, roast beef. One day we'll be together again, raiding the angels' refrigerator.