By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
We’re facing a brutal northern arctic blast. It reminds me of the day I came home from work, late as usual, on a dark and cold night. As I got out of the Jeep, I heard a tiny little “mew”.
I didn’t expect much to come of it, but I replied, “heeeeeeere, kitty kitty kitty.” Sure enough, this little orange fluff ball suddenly appeared around my ankles, rubbing up against me, saying “hi”. How can you possibly resist giving it a few little rubs?
I did feel bad. I started thinking about what I had in the house the a cat might like, and all I could think of was a can of tuna. Yes, I’m an idiot, but I’m a kind-hearted idiot. But, I had a dog, so I thought, maybe I can put it far enough away from the house that he won’t associate it with my house.
I put out the can (far away), let my dog out to do her business (a 100 pound black lab/German shepherd mix, but sweet as fudge), and we settle in for the evening. But, before long, I hear a tiny little “mew” by the front door. Bella (my dog) and I go to the front door, and I was sure the kitten would run on seeing my dog, but, of course, he didn’t. He waltzed past both of us, tail in the air, looking around while saying “this’ll do…”
They say that we give our hearts to dogs, but cats have to earn them. He surely did earn it. This kitten (and I did look to try to find an owner) was sharp as a tack, very sweet, and afraid of nothing. I mean, nothing. He had the loudest “engine” I’ve ever heard, so “Sir Purrsalot”, or “Purrsy” for short.
As I said, he was very smart. The dog next door hated Purrsy, and Purrsy knew it. My neighbor kept the dog on a chain. Sir Purrsalot knew exactly how long that chain was, and would sit just far enough away that the dog couldn’t reach him. He would wait until the dog was on the other side of the chain, and casually sit in the yard, and start grooming himself. That dog would see Purrsy, and take off full speed towards him, while Sir Purrsalot just casually sat. When the dog reached the end of the chain, with a yelp, that chain would snap, and his whole body would spin around. And Purrsy? Not a flinch.
Laying on my bed, one night, I heard this funny sound, and couldn’t figure out what it was. I looked over the edge of the bed, and there’s Purrsy, laying on the floor, on his side. He had found a golf ball, and was playing with it. Unbeknownst to me, my house had a tilt to it. Purrsy figured out just where to lie, and was rolling the golf ball just hard enough that it would roll towards the wall, almost but not quite hitting it, and that ball would stop, and roll right back to him so he could flip it again.
He and Bella never got along as well as I would have liked. Purrsy would “box” Bella when he was frustrated. More than once, poor Bella would be laying on the floor, minding her own business, and Purrsy would just walk up to her and box her nose for no good reason. Bella would look up as if to say, “What did I do?”
I had purchased a clothe tunnel. I could never figure it out; it was a series of plastic rings connected in a cloth tunnel, but there was no way to set it up so it didn’t just collapse on itself. Purrsy loved that tunnel. Every once in a while, as I walked past it, I would just take the two outer rings and open it up. Whether I saw Sir Purrsalot or not, he would appear out of nowhere, full speed and dive into that tunnel stopping halfway. Eventually I’d let it collapse on him, and he’d hang out until he was ready to re-join the world. One of the funniest memories I have is when I let the tunnel collapse, leaving Purrsy inside, and Bella casually got up, strolled over, and laid back down right on top of him. To this day I’m convinced it was just spite. Purrsy didn’t let out a sound, or seem troubled at all, so I just left them there. I’m sure that Bella got a good boxing later.
I miss both of my kids, as neither are with me any longer. I hope they’re waiting for me on the other side. I look forward to seeing them again.