Shaena | Berkeley Cat

Yesterday I spent a little time with my friend Shaena.

Shaena and I have a somewhat unlikely friendship.

First she is a cat and I’m a human.

Second, and more importantly, I’m allergic to cats. Really allergic.

I’ve always connected well with animals, allergies non-withstanding, but Shaena and I had a rough start.

The first time I pet her I got a nasty scratch from her, the second time too. My downstairs neighbor Frieda is Shaena’s caretaker and she warned me that Shaena wasn’t easy to get close to or to pet. In fact since my nice downstairs neighbor adopted several more cats, they have taken over, and driven Shaena, her first cat, out.

Now Shaena comes by when the other cats aren’t around, sits perched up on the fence in a special spot where Frieda leaves food for her.

Over the year I’ve lived here I’ve learned a bit about Shaena. First, she really needs some love and attention. Secondly, she has a really hard time trusting that, and if one isn’t careful she is libel to lash out. In my own way, I can relate to that a bit. I’ve learned that it just isn’t safe to pet Shaena when she is on her perch on the fence. I have also learned that patience, gentleness and time can be healing.

Now when I see Shaena and have a little time, I call out to her. She comes down from her perch high up and comes up to me. We sit on the railing next to my home together. She lets me pet her, she crawls onto my lap and nuzzles with me. Then after a while I go inside and scrub my hands. I’m not as allegic to Shaena as I am to some other cats which helps.

Yesterday with my new Lensbaby lens, I took a moment to take a portrait of my friend Shaena. Here’s the unretouched image


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