The first photo I randomly came upon on Instagram was of a young boy taking a bath in a white footed tub with a long-haired feline balanced on the edge, taking what seemed to me to be quite an interest in him. For a cat.
As I continued going through the photos in the feed, I couldn’t help but notice that wherever the boy was, so was the cat.
They had a palpable bond, one that could not be contained by the photographer’s lens. The photos achieve something many strive to and rarely accomplish. They invite you into the moment real-time. Allowing you to experiencing life’s simplest and most joyous and perhaps meaningful moments between a boy and his friend.
I had to know more about this beautiful boy and his lovely cat.
So I took a gamble and sent a direct message via Instagram. To my great surprise the young boy’s Mother Paula Wahlgren replied immediately.
It turns out the young boy Axel, his parents, older sister and of course the cat Lovis live in Sweden. Paula was kind enough to write about Axel and Lovis for us and I think you will find their story and photos as touching and beautiful as I do. I’ll go so far as to predict you’ll soon be checking out their Instagram feeds as I am (info at end of post!).
A CAT MAN IN THE MAKING – by Paula Wahlgren
In this family cats are not optional. My husband and I both had them growing up and we love them. So when Axel came along in 2012 he had no choice but become a cat man (baby) in training!
Our cat Lovis took an immediate interest in the new family member. Though a bit skeptical at first, she soon took it upon herself to raise him, though she was just a kitten herself at 11 months of age.
Lovis is a Maine Coon, a breed that due to its size and temperament is often described as ”the gentle giant.” This turned out to be a perfect description of her.
When it came to Axel, her patience was endless. She accepted tail pulling, and when he screamed her only reaction would be to move her ears slightly (where most cats might run away). She even kept him company during toilet training…or perhaps she didn’t want to relinquish “her” rug!
When he started crawling he became even more interesting to her – a potential playmate! She’d try and play hide and seek with him, hiding around a corner or in a box.
She loved him and was always bringing him little gifts. Bits of paper or toys would be placed in front of him while she’d watch him try and reach for them. At which point she’d promptly take them back!
As they grew up together they continued to share interests. Like trying to open closed doors or drawers. When Axel finally gained the ability to open them, she finally had a partner in crime! He loves feeding her – and she’s knows it!
They like staring out of windows together – at cars, birds and rabbits, almost anything, but they really like watching the garbage truck on Mondays.
We live in a small town in Sweden where outdoor cats are quite common. However while Lovis is not an outdoor cat, we let her hang out with us when we’re in our garden. But what she loves most is following us to the playground nearby our house (as long as there aren’t any other kids around as they scare her).
She always stays close to Axel, its like she feels safe around him. Lovis even rolls around in the sandbox and jumps onto the jungle gym (way better than trees!).
However, there are some things she doesn’t understand. Saturday baths. She seems fascinated by the fact Axel jumps into the water voluntarily!
She sits close by as any good mother might, to ensure his safety (or perhaps to satiate her curiosity!). The poor thing even accepts it when he amuses himself by pouring water over her head.
Axel doesn’t speak much and doesn’t have any siblings close to his age (his older sister is close to nine years older). Lovis is very important in his life. She fills the role of a playmate and company.
It’s so natural for him to have a cat friend around, he probably think all cats are like her and can be disappointed when he meet other cats. A cat’s love is very rewarding, and hopefully she will teach him to be compassionate to all animals.
Paula Wahlgren Live in Sweden, “I have a PhD in criminology and love cats (criminology’s crazy cat lady), and terrorize my family with my camera.” [direct quote] Her Instagram feed is called piolan and bears the description, “Paula Cats, kids and trees. Sometimes a horse or two. Sweden.”
Of course Lovis and her “boy” have their own feed with the handle lovisthemainecoon with the description, “