Kitty Love: Helena

Meet Helena.

Enjoying the Sun

She’s my orange tabby cat. Orange cats are also known as “ginger” or “marmalade.” Sometimes I call her my Little Orange Girl. I also call her Little Lena.

Most orange cats are male; only 1 in 4 orange cats are female. That makes my Little Lena special. :)

A couple of famous orange cats are Garfield and Heathcliff. Neither of them are as cute as Helena.

Beautiful Helena
helena in 2008

We adopted Helena on July 12, 2008 from PAWS Chicago, a no kill animal shelter here in the city.

the day we brought her home

She was shy with me and Adam but she loved Aidan and Crookshanks right away. Most kittens run and hide when you bring them home and let them out of the box. Helena did just that… but Crookshanks went into our room and poked his nose under the bed. She came out, they bumped noses, and have been friends ever since.

Cuddly Kitties
this was just two days after we brought her home

Even though she used to follow me and purr and roll all around, it took her just under a month to trust me enough to get and stay close to me.

Mommy & Kitty
me and lena in august 2008

Helena was quite a challenge at first. She’d come from a hoarder situation–basically a crazy cat lady who had 40 cats. They were not taken care of, and some of the cats had started to eat each other. :( Apparently, it was a bad situation. She also needed a lot of dental work, which we got done as soon as we could.

Then there were the behavioral problems. She clearly wanted to be petted, but anytime Adam or I would touch her, she’d immediately start biting us. She peed everywhere, including clothing I’d set out to put on when I got out of the shower. We almost took her back to PAWS numerous times, but something told me to hold on. Lots of Nature’s Miracle and splashes from the spray bottle later, she’s finally stopped, for the most part, peeing in naughty places.

Beautiful Helena

Helena calmed down at LOT sometime in 2010. I often wonder if it had more to do with the fact that we switched the cats’ food from whatever was cheapest to Iams, or if she just mellowed the heck out. After all, she was just a baby when we got her (just over a year old) and by then, she’d been with us for a while and she wasn’t a kitten anymore. She started cuddling more and more with me: sleeping on my feet, and scooting next to me and purring. Suddenly, she was my baby girl.

Enjoying the Sun

Helena loves the orange afghan that Adam’s grandma Dee made for us. If I want her to sit on my lap, all I have to do is put that afghan across my legs.

Little Lena

She also loves her daily serving of canned food, so much so that she drives Adam absolutely batty until he breaks down and feeds her. She hates it when Crookshanks is allowed to sleep in our bed but she isn’t. (She hasn’t quite learned that our feet are not to be attacked.) When the cats are out of water, she stands by the water dish purposefully, and if that doesn’t get our attention, she puts her paw into the dry dish and taps insistently. She loves to be pet on her head and will stand on her hind legs so you can reach her better. She still follows me into the bathroom, and I swear she purposely holds her poops until I sit down to have dinner, because that is when she decides to hit the litter box.

Pretty Helena

A lot of noise, strangers, and activity makes her nervous, and she’ll run and hide in a hot minute. People get a kick of seeing her dart across the room and disappear behind the couch. Once the place settles down, though, she comes out cautiously and heads over to take a drink from the water dish. Then she relaxes and settles in for her nine thousandth cat nap of the day.

I love my Little Lena.

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6 thoughts on “Kitty Love: Helena

  1. Jenn says:

    Helena is beautiful. I love orange cats! I’m so glad you stuck with her. :) We have a cat with some behavioral issues too – Kirin. While he isn’t a rescue (he came from a “surprise” litter from a woman whose female Siamese got out), he is most definitely a little neurotic. He’s always been a little skittish around new people/stressful situations, and over the past year we’ve had some urination issues… a combination of those pheromone plugins in the bathroom (to promote a “positive” environment where the litter box is) and low-dose kitty xanax (seriously – he’s on anti-anxiety meds) has made a HUGE difference. Like you guys, Dan and I have had our moments where we’ve wanted to throw in the towel, but Kirin is otherwise a very sweet, loving, adorable, mellow cat (and he loves to lay all 19 lbs of his sweet, loving, adorable, mellow self all over me, especially when I’m wearing black), so we’ve stuck it out. It’s worth it – mostly. ;) Jenn recently posted…Rained outMy Profile

    • Ronni says:

      I’m glad I stuck with her too, despite the fact that Adam caught her peeing on the couch again! Oh well. At least we don’t have nice things. LOL.

      WE used to have those pheromone plug-ins–maybe we need to invest in those again? Right now, we could probably buy stock in Nature’s Miracle.

      I’m so glad you can relate to this. :) Ronni recently posted…I Don’t Get ItMy Profile

  2. Shaharoh says:

    It sucks that I am not a cat-person although it’s probably highly due to that fact that I’m highly allergic – but your Lena, I have to admit is quite cute. More importantly, the relationship that you discuss in your post made me truly treasure that feeling of looking foward to our first pet. Looks like it was definitely worth the tough times:)
    Shaharoh recently posted…Quick Post! Comments Not Appearing!My Profile

  3. Cathy says:

    So precious! I’m glad you introduced us to Lena! What a sweety!

    I just rescued a dark tiger-stripe cat. I came into our courtyard after a bike ride and she was hiding in the spot where I lock up. I called to her. Right away she hopped out and started purring. Unfortunately, she had a broken leg. We took her to the vets the next morning. As it turned out she didn’t have a microchip and no one responded to our signs. As they say, “The rest is history!” We adopted her and named her Tuesday!

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