Elly Zupko wasn’t surprised when Squinty began cuddling up to her growing tummy because he had always been an affectionate cat.
According to Zupko, who spoke to The Dodo, “I suppose he appreciated the warmth I was putting off, and my huge cuddly tummy.” “We changed our home office into a nursery, so he must have realized something was happening, but I don’t believe he understood what to anticipate.”
Squinty was abandoned by his previous owners in 2003, and Zupko saved him.
His family had given him up to be put to sleep at a veterinary clinic where my then-boyfriend worked because they couldn’t afford the hip surgery he required, according to Zupko. “Mango was the greatest cat my boyfriend had ever met, and this is coming from a qualified veterinary technician who deals with cats on a daily basis. To prevent Mango from being put down, we decided to pay for the operation in installments deducted from my [boyfriend’s] wages, and he moved in with me.
The cat recovered; his hip had fully recovered, and he had begun moving normally for a cat of his age.
He is completely mobile, although Zupko noted that he must climb stairs one at a time. “You scarcely notice that he is ill. He is also deaf, which we discovered a few years ago. Finding out if a cat is deaf is challenging! We assumed he was distant and a heavy sleeper for a very long period. It turns out he was deaf.
Mango was first renamed Steve by Zupko. Then, because of the way he squinted at others, which Zupko considered to be his distinctive expression, she began referring to him as Squinty.
The name Squinty stuck, and Squinty became a permanent fixture in Zupko’s life.
“Squinty has been in my life for almost 15 years,” Zupko said. “He’s been with me through six moves. Over that time, he’s been roommates at various times with seven different humans, five other cats [and] two dogs. He now lives with my husband and me, our other cat Trova and our dog Fibber.”
When Willow, Zupko’s daughter, was born, lots of people advised Zupko not to let Squinty or Trova near the baby.
“Plenty of superstitious family friends and relatives warned me that I had to be careful not to let the cats near the baby because they would ‘steal her breath,’” Zupko said. “I never worried about that myth, but I had typical new-mom worries that the cats would get into the baby’s bassinet and disturb her sleeping, or accidentally scratch her.
After all, a bassinet is basically a big soft box and everyone knows what cats do with boxes. Squinty actually really liked to get into the crib, because he could look out through the slats and watch the dog, while feeling safe.”
Zupko understood she had nothing to be concerned about when Squinty finally met Willow.
I held Willow and let the cats to approach and smell her at their own leisure, according to Zupko. “Trova, my second cat, had and still has no interest in her at all. He used to be the family’s “baby,” thus I believe he is envious. Squinty want to get close to her right away.
This surprised Zupko. She’d expected him to be jealous like Trova.
“He’s actually kind of a bully to our other cat and our dog,” Zupko said. “I assumed he would see a baby as another ‘pet’ because she is small. I assumed he would probably be aloof or indifferent toward her. But he seems to have recognized her as a human.”
Squinty loves to snuggle against Willow whenever he has the chance.
Squinty began sleeping close to Willow as soon as she was placed next to me in bed, according to Zupko. “But when I started nursing her at night in a side-lying position in bed, when she was around 10 days old, he really started spooning with her. Squinty generally slept at the foot of my bed, but as soon as he saw Willow on my bed, he would rush over and spoon her as she fed. My heart was warmed beyond belief.
Squinty now cuddles with Willow every day without fail.
In order to spend some quality time cuddling with Willow before we start the day, I normally bring her into bed with me when she wakes up, according to Zupko. Squinty joins us virtually every time. At this age, she no longer takes many nighttime feedings, but when she goes through growth spurts and I breastfeed her at night, Squinty nearly always comes and spoons her.
Sometimes, Squinty even mirrors Willow’s sleeping position. “It happens once in a while, but mostly he likes to be right up against her, often with his head laying on her,” Zupko said.
When Willow started grabbing at Squinty, Zupko worried this would be the end of their relationship. But nothing could have been further from the truth.
Zupko said, “Squinty is very gentle with her. She accidently smacked him while swinging her arms, yet he just takes it without saying anything. Despite being bumped or grabbed, he keeps sitting quietly next to her. He will occasionally use his paw to gently push her hand away if she clutches too firmly. However, I’ve never witnessed him become angry with her.
I appreciate that he cares for her and is not envious of the thing vying for my attention, Zupko added. The thought that he might not be alive when Willow is older and able to enjoy him and create memories with him makes me sad since the cat is older.