If any of you have been following along lately, you'll know that I recently became a Reluctant Cat Mom. So I wanted to share the full story on how our new grey tabby made his way into our lives earlier this month!

“Shadow” was a gift for my boyfriend Damon for his birthday on February 3rd. Originally supposed to be a Christmas gift, I found and picked out this kitty way back in November with Damon’s parents when I was photographing his mom’s work’s Christmas party one weekend!

“Bean” (as his Foster mother had dubbed him) was not big enough to be adopted quite yet by the end of December so I decided to get Damon a nice jacket for Christmas and push the Big Surprise back a month to his birthday at the beginning of February.

Damon’s mom signed the adoption paperwork and housed Bean for the last two weeks before his birthday and I don’t know who had more fun- the kitten or her!

party time

As the weekend drew nearer, I got more and more nervous. Damon had no idea and he was being very unhelpful with telling me what he wanted to do for his birthday weekend- which I needed to know in order to properly plan the surprise! I told him I had a photoshoot that Sunday (we would celebrate on the Saturday), so at least we couldn’t leave for the weekend and complicate the Kitten Delivery!

In the end I planned a party for him with both of our families and friends and got to laying out the finer details. The day of the party arrived and I was SO. NERVOUS. There were so many things that could go wrong and I was constantly checking my phone for updated ETA’s from Damon’s parents and sister.

Damon’s sister Kyla was an important pawn in the plan and was tasked with distracting Damon by making him go upstairs while his parents (whose arrival needed to be timed perfectly!) brought Shadow in through the garage downstairs and into the guest room next to the kitchen.

My parents arrived and my Dad, the most Talkative Talker at Parties you ever did meet joined Kyla and Damon’s friend Jeff in keeping Damon upstairs while I turned up the Spotify playlist to mask any kitten meows and waited for the immediate arrival of Damon’s parents and little Shadow.

Double-checking that Damon way safely distracted upstairs, my mom ushered in Damon’s parents and the kitten through the garage and into the guest room. Shadow was surprisingly quiet and well-behaved. No meows at all! But I had no idea what to expect later on- if he got hungry or heard people he might make noise- so I kept the music high and the chatter loud!

The whole delivery only took three minutes and I returned upstairs and signaled to everyone that we were good to go- perfect timing! Everyone gathered in the kitchen to admire Damon’s mom’s beautiful cake-decorating skills and catch up on everyone’s lives.

Hyper-aware of possible kitten sounds and consciously blocking the way to the guest room for some inane reason that Damon might decide to barge in there, I was sitting on pins and needles for the first half hour before I could coax everyone to sit down and do presents first.

the purrrfect present

If Damon thought my demand for presents right away strange, he didn’t say anything. Since everyone had gotten him mostly cat stuff as gifts, I had a decoy (non-cat related) present ready for him to open first while I went in the guest room and boxed up Shadow in the wrapped gift box with holes punched in it.

My dad waited in between the living room where everyone was and the guest room to signal me he had finished opening the decoy present and now was the time for the kitty! Shadow did not meow at all and seemed perfectly complacent to be stuck in a little box, which was much appreciated as I walked him out and sat the box directly in front of Damon on the floor.

There’s a running joke with Damon- he loves cats but hates it when everyone buys him funny cat gifts or cards all the time. So naturally I made a funny cat card that read “I hope you have a purrrfect birthday” just to rile him up. He rolled his eyes at the card and saw holes in the box and said. “Oh, it’s another plant” before confidently lifting off the lid.

adult family at a birthday party
rocket league 25th birthday cake with candles
family standing around talking
a group of friends and family in a living room
man holding up a birthday card laughing
man opening up a birthday present in surprise

His expression was priceless: absolutely dumbstruck and in shock as a little kitten head popped up and then the whole thing jumped out onto the floor and immediately started exploring. Damon’s comment of “You didn’t..?” was more of a question of disbelief as little Shadow started going up to everyone and exploring every inch of the room. Quite the adventurous fellow!

We spent the rest of the day exhausting the poor little guy completely as he played to his heart’s content and got a scratch post and cat tower set up for him.

man holding a grey and white tabby kitten
grey and white tabby kitten laying in a cat tower
mom and dad holding up a kitten
grey and white tabby kitten laying in a cat tower staring at the camera
lighting birthday candles
grey and white tabby kitten with eyes closed being petted
A man and woman talking a selfie with an unamused looking cat
grey and white tabby kitten yawning
toe beans of a grey and white tabby kitten

Shadow has since been named so for his love of following us everywhere we go and the fact that he is so dang quiet you never know he’s there until you’ve nearly stepped on him!

He brings equal amounts of frustration as all of our limbs get chewed to smithereens (we tried the spray bottle method of training...he just likes water so there’s no effect *sigh*) and joy as he plays and jumps and sleeps and cuddles us.

For a lot more photos and videos you can follow me on instagram where I post stories of fun stuff of this little beast daily!

Welcome to the family, Shadow!