We've been talking about the dogs quite a bit lately (squeaky wheel gets the oil and all) but quite a few people have asked about our tabby cat. Ulysses is still around, still kicking and frisky as ever!

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

Nate and I actually celebrated our 11-year anniversary the other day, which means that Ulysses celebrated his 11th birthday.

Time flies when you have nine lives!

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

From day one, Ulysses has been Nate's cat. This wasn't necessarily by intention or design. I think it's just a very tabby trait to pick out a single human buddy. To me, this sort of cat has always seemed more like an outgoing dog as opposed the finicky felines I grew up with. They're not a specific breed, mind you: orange tabby fur can be found in Maine Coons, shorthairs and even Persians. However, the loyalty I've seen among them is a striking feature that sets them apart. Maybe it's because they tend to be males. Maybe it's a certain stubbornness innate in the red-haired set. Whatever the reason, Ulysses goes where Nate goes. When Nate brings new toys into the home – be it a dog, a baby or his beloved F-350 – Ulysses soon follows suit and takes up watch over the object of the day.

Winston Churchill was said to have a tabby cat who attended cabinet meetings during times of crisis, and I often think of that historical anecdote as I watch Ulysses perched atop Nate's shoulders or settled on the hood while he handles business calls. Man of the hour, holding down the fort with his trusty steed.

Ulysses believes that is his duty, you see, to take care of Nate as Nate takes care of him.

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

And Nate does indeed take care of his beloved pet. This guy has been on top of all the chores lately, from shopping to feeding the whole family as I've been down for the count with this pregnancy. When Ulysses has to go to the vet, Nate is the one who takes him. When Ulysses needs a good belly scratch. Nate's there for that as well. It's a special fatherly sort of bond to witness, and I'm proud to have turned this non-cat-guy into a feline fan forever.

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

Tabbies do have a couple other traits in common, of course…one being their insatiable appetite. Garfield the cartoon is pictured as a chubster for a reason. There's no limit to the amount of food these cats will consume if given the opportunity! No auto-feeders here. Fortunately, we've found the right diet and the right portions with our sponsor Purina Cat Chow. During the month of July, the brand is hosting a special program called “Nutrition to Build Better Lives.” For every bag of Purina Cat Chow bought, a meal will be donated to a cat in need (up to 5 million meals sent directly to Rescue Bank). Approximately 3.4 million cats are taken into animal shelters in the US annually, and only half of those cats are adopted. So naturally, our family chose this month to stock up and make a difference!

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

We believe that one meal, one act of kindness, one small change can lead to a completely different life for these animals.

The (not so secret) life of a tabby cat.

Based on our experience with Ulysses, I would all the cats in the entire world if I was able to. It's nice knowing that there's something (perhaps just a BIT short of that) we can do to make a difference.

Do you have a special cat in your life?