When Prissy came into my life, I was not sure how well she would blend with Ramesses, my only other cat at the time. Prissy remained in a cage for a few hours while Ramesses growled at her. When he finally stalked off, I released Prissy so that she could explore her new home.
Her markings were striking: four white feet and a shiny black coat. At first, Prissy was aloof, but, soon enough, she adopted me as her friend. Every night, she leaped onto the bed and snuggled on the blanket that covered my feet. I felt her adjust her own feet beneath her several times before she was content that each paw was in the perfect place. Purring ensued, and I drifted off to sleep.
|Prissy Posing for a Snapshot|
But Prissy had an annoying habit. If, by accident, I had left a plastic bag anywhere on the floor of the bedroom, she made the bag her toy at precisely 2:00 a.m. As I was always sound asleep when the irritating game began, I do not know what her initial move was. I suspect she quietly jumped down from the bed to assure herself that there indeed was a plastic bag in the room. Next, she may have taken several steps away from the prey. I picture her turning to confront her quarry. She may have spent several minutes planning her attack. Suddenly, she ran and pounced! Smack, smack, smack! Her paws pummeled the plastic! And I was wide awake!
I always told myself, “Go back to sleep. It’s only Prissy with a plastic bag.” A few moments of stillness helped me to sink back toward dreamland, then smack, smack, smack! She was at it again! Viciously hammering the plastic and pushing the bag around the floor! Irked beyond measure, I flew from the bed, grabbed the bag, stuffed it in the wastebasket, climbed back in bed, jerked the blanket up to my chin, and tried to sleep. Tried. Tried. Tried. No go.
At 2:15 a.m., I sipped a cup of coffee in the kitchen while Prissy looked up at me with her friendly eyes. How could I long be mad at such a gorgeous cat?
I took seriously the warnings that cat collars should be of the breakaway style, so that cats could easily escape whenever the collars snagged on furniture or shrubs. Prissy wore a fashionable blue breakaway collar.
I lived in the city, and the cats were permitted in the back yard, which was surrounded by a privacy fence. One day, I discovered that the gate had been left open by mistake. Ramesses was in the house, but Prissy had been in the yard. I searched for her, but she was gone.
I sank into a frenzy of despair. I routinely scoured the neighborhood and shouted her name until I was a nuisance. I posted pictures of her. After two weeks, I had come to the realization that I probably would never see her again. I missed her terribly. Whenever I emptied the plastic bags after shopping, I thought of her.
Holding a cup of coffee, I was staring absent-mindedly through the kitchen window, and I saw Prissy limping up the driveway to the house. I flung down the cup and raced to her. I gathered her in my arms, and she purred. She had lost weight. Worst of all, one of her front legs was thrust through her breakaway collar, which had not broken away! She was forced to walk on three legs because she could not remove the other leg from the collar. I tore it from her and threw it in the trash. She was mightily relieved to have the use of all four legs again.
|My Sumi-e Painting of Prissy|
For years after almost losing Prissy, I treasured her. I gave her plastic bags to play with, but, before going to bed, I made sure they were out of reach. Prissy moved with me to a new home, and she adjusted well to her new surroundings. She was my constant companion and was never lost again.