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  It doesn’t take long to get to know that I love my cat and that he is very much a piece of me and my life. My cat Shalom is named as a constant reminder of the wholeness that I am longing for and working towards. He keeps me company at night, entertains me by day, and is always up to trouble 🙂

B., one of the members of our community who is sort on the fringes of society, frequents are house and often comes with “cat torturing devices” such as a fake mouse or a ribbon on a string. They have become good friends and I smile at this because this is the role that I had hoped that Shalom would fill here at Camino House. Camino House is a house of hospitality and we have members of the Jeremiah Community come by frequently, visitors who want to check out our community, and people in need who need a place to stay for the night for whatever reason. Shalom is affectionate and playful and brings smiles to people’s faces (unless someone is allergic to him, in that case Shalom works extra hard to gain those people’s affection in return even though his attempts are often failed attempts). B. as one example though gets much pleasure with hanging out with Shalom on the couch.

When Shalom and I first moved into Camino house, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. Shalom was pretty spooked out with all the boxes and the people coming and going. He had never really heard the sounds of cars and we now live facing a factory – at the sound of the trucks, he would flinch in fear. A particularly traumatic moment demonstrated his distress – in reaction to a vacuum sound, he took a swipe at my face leaving me with a wound that required nine stitches.

Gradually Shalom has branched out into other areas of the house. Once fearful, he now walks around with pride and ownership, as the king of the house. For the most part, he respects the areas he is not allowed in, though he is overcome with temptation now and again. Shalom greets our many guests and makes them feel welcome. He joins us in the kitchen for meals, attacks flowers in the office, and has a spot perched on the stairs so that he can see everything.

His latest spot is in M. and R.’s room on top of their clean laundry. For some reason he’s chosen to hang out there during the day in a deep sleep covering the baby clothes. I wasn’t sure how Shalom would get along with the twin (almost) toddlers here. But they have been respectful of each other. The kids have called the cat “Mow” (as in “bow”) which is the cutest thing ever.

Shalom is going away for a few days where he will meet Safi and Jamokie, two other brown tabby cats. Is it silly to say that I am praying that they will all get along? My friend K has been generous to take on Shalom while I am away for the holidays.

I am going to miss my cat. Miss his comforting purrs, him licking my nose, his calming presence on the edge of my bed and even the wake up calls of him poking me in the eye. Oh how I love my Shalom, my adorable 20lb cat.

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