Alumni News: Duke and Seymour

Feline Rescue thinks the best way for you to get a feel for the work of the organization and it’s many dedicated volunteers is by letting our adopters (and their cats!) tell their own success stories.

Today we hear from Jonathan, who recently adopted long-time Feline Rescue resident Duke Ellington, as well as a newer inhabitant, Seymour (f/k/a Seymore)! (Editor’s Note: Duke is a very special, shy older guy who spent many years at Feline Rescue’s shelter before choosing Jonathan as his forever companion.)


Duke and Seymour are both doing great. … [Seymour] loves his catnip toys, and will spend hours staring at the fish darting around in the fish tank. I don’t think the fish realize that a cat is currently plotting their demise, but so far Seymour hasn’t yet figured out how to actually get to the fish, although he’s pawed at the glass once or twice. Seymour is also prone to convincing me each morning to give him a sprig or two of the catmint, which I have growing in a large container within the “cat exclusion zone.”… If I had to describe Seymour, I’m not sure I could, except to say that he is the most ineffable cat I’ve ever met. He’s very friendly and outgoing, bold and inquisitive, but usually wants to be two to seven feet away from his person, and if you go to cuddle with him, half the time he’ll get up and move. The rest of the time, he loves to cuddle, and every night, or really any time I ever fall asleep, whether it be on the couch or the bed, Seymour will notice, and I will wake up to find him sitting on either my legs or my thighs. But never, ever anywhere further up then that.


And now onto Duke! Duke Ellington, the Gentleman Cat, has decided to admit that he’s secretly been a friendly boy who loves affection this whole time, he was just hiding it. He fluctuates between moods where he’s very shy and skittish, and where he can’t get enough of me. When he’s feeling skittish, he has several hidey holes which I’ve provided, plus the underneath the couch and underneath the bed. If you are get too close to one of these, he’ll move to another of them. Other times he’ll be out and about, but if you have to walk past him, he’ll make a dash to the other side of the room. But this is happening less and less often, though I suspect he’ll always do this to some extent, especially after having his morning meal. At that point, he probably wants to go and nap the day away, and that’s something he’ll do wherever he feels safest. Usually he’s friendly in the morning until he’s gotten his breakfast, then he wants to hide for a while, and then sometime in the afternoon or early evening he emerges feeling friendly again. At this time of day, I have to be careful not to let my hand get any closer than 3 feet away from the floor, because if Duke sees it, he’ll come running with his tail up and rub his face against my hand for about as long as he can convince me to stay where I am. Duke’s a funny guy, he loves to be petted, but he’s very peculiar about how it has to be done. … In just the last couple of weeks, he’s begun to sit down next to me (on the floor, anyway) and let me keep petting his head while he stays there, relaxed. … For some reason, Duke doesn’t like having his chin scratched, or anywhere lower than just a little bit down his sides, and along his tail, and he really has to give you at least one head rub. If you try to pet these off limit areas, or pet the okay areas without him giving the head rub first – well, I don’t know that I’d say he doesn’t like it. Rather, he behaves startled, giving a quick squeak of a meow and sort of hopping an inch to the left. I’ve never known a cat who didn’t absolutely love chin scratches and rubs, so maybe with luck one day Duke will let me give him one.


Duke and Seymour’s relationship is, well, complicated. I think that they’ve become true friends, though they aren’t particularly attached to each other. After a careful introduction, the two got along perfectly well. … Unfortunately, Seymour is about twice Duke’s size, and is a young enough cat to want to chase and wrestle. Duke, not so much. And Duke, being his shy self, is often a little wary of Seymour, and will tend to give Seymour a bit of a wide berth because he’s never quite sure when Seymour is going to be in a playful mood. On the other hand, it took me a while to realize this, but I’m fairly certain that sometimes Duke genuinely wants to and enjoys being chased. Duke never makes any noises of protest when Seymour chases him, unless Seymour gets a little too ambitious and actually catches Duke, and I’ve seen Duke go and bait Seymour on a handful of occasions. On top of that, Duke is no problem with pushing Seymour out of the way so that he can get to the food bowl, and Seymour has no problem sitting back and letting Duke eat first. Most of the time there are two food bowls, and they’ll peacefully eat while sitting side by side. … [T]hey seem to like each other, I guess Seymour just prefers to have his personal space. I guess this means I may never get to live the dream of seeing the two of them cuddling together, but they seem to benefit from having each other around for company and seem to be genuine friends, so I’m okay with that. Still, I wish I could see them curled up together….

P.S. I should probably mention that these are two of the most patient, tolerant cats I’ve ever met. They never wake me up at 4 am looking for food. Instead, they wait for me to open my eyes and move, or for my alarm to go off, at which point they’ll politely meow for a bit of breakfast. They are so patient, that if I roll over and sleep in, they’ll simply wait until I finally do wake up. I never in a million years expected to have cats who were not also alarm clocks.


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Posted in Alumni
2 comments on “Alumni News: Duke and Seymour
  1. Karen says:

    Thank you SO much for this wonderful update!! I loved reading about how both boys are doing. Lovely that they have a human so in tune to their ways.

  2. gail castellanos says:

    what a sweet story. those two cats and Jonathan sound so purrfect for each other.

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