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Our Grateful Project | January 2015 {New Beginnings}

I am so excited to be continuing for yet another year with these wonderful women! This year we’ve decided to relax our “Portrait” requirements a bit, and will instead be focusing more on documenting our daily lives. So we’ve chosen to go with a theme of Gratefulness. I am so incredibly excited about it, and I can’t wait to see what everyone produces!

So this month, I decided I am grateful for New Beginnings. For a new year starting, for new photography projects (both for me and for Emily—we are both doing a P52 this year!), and perhaps most significantly to our little family this year, for a new kitty.

I don’t think I have introduced him formally on my blog yet, though you might have seen glimpses of him here or there already. Our new little man comes with quite a story! It all started in July of last year. Late one night, after Emily and I were already asleep, Tom was working in the den when he heard a cat crying outside our kitchen window. He came to check in the bedrooms, but all three of our cats were accounted for, so Tom woke Emily and me up, and we all went out to investigate. There on our porch was one of the most beautiful cats we’d ever seen! He had no collar and seemed hungry, so we gave him a bit of food and water and a towel to snuggle in. By morning he was gone, but over the next two weeks he started showing up more and more often. We named him Phi (pronounced “Fee”) because originally we were thinking our friend might want him (assuming he had no family) who had just lost her cat, Ashes—Phi is short for Phoenix, as in rising from the ashes. Get it? (Emily’s handiwork, not mine!)

The problem was, we were headed on vacation to Minnesota for Tom’s parents’ 50th anniversary, so on the day before we had to leave, we took the cat to the vet to see if he was healthy before we gave him to our friend, or even better, to see whether he’d be microchipped to a family with current information. And we were so grateful that he was! So we tearfully left Phi at the vet to be reunited with his family. Emily and I were surprised, though, at how sad we were to have to leave him there—somehow he had crept into our hearts!

The next day we left on our trip, thinking that was the end of that chapter in our lives. When we returned home, we thought of Phi (the name somehow was stuck in our heads despite our having learned his true name) often but didn’t see him, so we assumed he was safely back home. Which he was, but a couple of weeks after our return, Phi made his way back. And his mama emailed me to tell us how he was doing (as he was traipsing back and forth between their home and ours), so we struck up a sort of friendship over this cat who had decided he preferred having two homes! But ultimately Phi’s mama called me one night and asked if we’d like to keep him. Things at his real home were a bit unsettled, and we had fallen head over heels for him, so we tentatively agreed. (In fact, his first night with us was Halloween, when neither Phi’s mama nor I wanted him out, but Emily was having a slumber party. We felt it was a very good sign that Phi wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the less than quiet home he found himself in that night—he walked right up to the girls, plopped himself down in the middle of their sleeping bags, and spent the entire night there blissfully being fawned over and modeling for the many, many photos they took of him with their cell phones!)

And as of this weekend (his family was moving out of the area), we made it official and changed his microchip over to us. One of our cats remains unconvinced that Phi is a good addition, and one is still afraid of him (in her defense, Phi is quite large and very wild looking!), but our third gets along with him fine. So our house is still not completely harmonious, but we are working diligently at it!

It turns out Phi is a Bengal, so owning him is very different from owning a “normal” housecat. He is quite dog-like in that he needs more attention and play than the average cat, and he is very smart (he has even learned to “Sit” in just a few days of training—we have more commands in store to teach him!). But he is also quite oafish—somewhat like a puppy who doesn’t quite know where all of limbs are at any given time. His back legs seem to have a mind of their own at times, not stopping when his front legs do, causing him to go head over heels. He can be quite a clown! And he loves to snuggle, and when he’s asleep, he sleeps hard—you can pretty much carry him around like a ragdoll and he’ll barely flinch.

So without further ado, here is our newest addition:




(And is this not the most adorable cat toy ever created? A calico mouse, complete with top hat!)



And this last one was taken a couple of months ago (before we made him and indoor-only cat) is just to show his markings. I wish I had a full-body one—I’ll have to work on that; he really is gorgeous! (If you’re curious, there are some images on Wikipedia, here. He is a brown spotted/marbled Bengal.)


Please join me in continuing around our circle, next to see what Laura came up with; I am so excited to see these this month!

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  • Suzanne Carey - January 29, 2015 - 6:55 am

    Oh MY GOSH! I am obsessed with this cat. What a neat story of how you got him. I can’t believe it! He is so gorgeous and sounds like a lot of fun. I am sure he is grateful to have you as his family as well. As always, I love your imagery Jessica. So beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Krista Keller - January 29, 2015 - 8:39 am

    I LOVE those first two pictures where he is cuddling your legs. That’s what life’s little moments are all about. Glad he found his way into your home and your hearts.ReplyCancel

  • Amber NOrris - January 29, 2015 - 9:05 am

    Oh My Word!!!! He is beautiful!!! I love love love the last image of him. What a great adoption story. I can’t wait to see more of him!ReplyCancel

  • Allison Jacobs - January 29, 2015 - 5:35 pm

    Wow, what an amazing story! He is such a beautiful cat and I love hearing about how smart he is too! Love those green eyes in the last image, gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Veno - January 29, 2015 - 7:17 pm

    Jessica, he is so handsome! I love the story of how it all came together. You imagery is beautiful- my favorite is the last image with the green! So gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Christine b - January 30, 2015 - 6:54 am

    Oh he is a beauty!! I had a cat who looked just like Phi growing up and we were best of pals. Love these images.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Holden - January 30, 2015 - 2:19 pm

    Jessica, I really look forward to meeting him. He is beautiful. and your pictures are exquisite as always.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 31, 2015 - 1:18 pm

    He is so beautiful! What a story, he definitely chose your family!ReplyCancel