Leah & Kenny Soderblom
Photography by Leah Soderblom
Leah and Kenny Soderblom are a fascinating couple who live in Queens Harbor in Bay Isles on Longboat Key. They have some very pampered cats as well as a beautiful salt water aquarium and a Coy Pond.
Not too many cats make the Pet of the Month column, and perhaps there is a reason. Their cats, Puccini, Beanie, and Mia seemed quite indifferent to their interview – in fact, stayed mostly out of sight. Talk about blowing your big chance for fame ...
However, their very understanding owners picked up the slack. Two of the cats are Ragdolls. These cats are big and gentle with blue eyes and are known to get along with others. They have a semi, long-haired coat making them easy to groom. They are affectionate and love their people whether in a condo or a home.
The other member of the family is Mia. Leah and Kenny were kind enough to adopt her from a good friend who had been diagnosed with cancer and could no longer keep her. There is a saying which says "no good deed goes unpunished." Mia, who was probably not aware of the effect of some earlier bad placements and mistreatment in her life, did not respond to a very humane rescue as you might imagine.
She stared at Leah with a killer look in her eyes. She spat and attacked her if she rounded a certain corner. She was aggressive and pushy towards the other cats.
What to do?
Leah found out about a fabulous Cat Whisperer. Her name is Miesheile Negalschneider. She lives in Washington State but has a program where a cat owner with a problem can access her on SKYPE and take a series of interactive tutorials.
Great progress was made. One of Miesheile's main points was that cats need to have challenges and exciting events in the household to give them exercise and a raison d'etre for living. One of the best toys that was suggested was the Da Bird cat plaything. It is a simulated bird (feathers attached to a plastic holder, at the end of a long stick.) You fling it around and the "bird" jumps and scurries, feints and plays. It even makes the sound of whirring wings as it moves. The cats loved it and it's fun for the owners, too.
Another suggestion was to put on potting gloves and run these over each of the cats' faces and bodies a couple of times a day. This mixes the scent of each cat up with the others so they all become more accepting of one another.
An activity these privileged felines also enjoy is sitting on the counter in the bathroom and having the tap turned on so they can delicately sip the running water. Probably reminds them of their distant ancestors queuing up to the watering hole in Africa.
Leah and Kenny also have a beautiful 250-gallon saltwater fish tank. Many colorful fish swim gracefully among the coral formations. Among the inhabitants are a 12-year-old Clownfish and a Snowflake eel which peeps out from a crevice. It makes you wonder what it is thinking ...
And finally, there is a tropical Koi Pond in a large screened area to one side of their pool (screens are needed to prevent Egrets and other Sea Birds from snacking on this large fish of the Carp family). It is surrounded by lush vegetation, a perfect place to meditate or just relax.
The Soderbloms live in a wondrously eclectic home. We are grateful for the visit and thank Leah for her beautiful photos.