Thursday, July 31, 2014


            Padme, Princess I’m A Dolly Kitty curls next to my laptop. Her spots for snoozing move around the house, changing periodically. I don’t know if the warmth from my computer draws her to my side, of if she enjoys the indulgent head rubs and chin scratching I throw her way as I write. Either way, she now spends a chunk of her day dozing by my side.
            I love telling the story on how Padme joined our family. We’d gone out of town for Memorial Day weekend, and had left my son’s iguana in his cage by the back patio doors so he could have light. I’d placed a book on the top, just to make certain he didn’t pop off the screen. However, I didn’t think about our cat, Sassy, deciding to free the iguana. When we returned home, the cage sat open and empty.
            We spent days searching for the iguana with no luck. I’d warned my son that one day we’d move something in a closet and probably find his mummified corpse. Not a pleasant idea, but part of life when you have small pets like reptiles and rodents. After a few days of searching, we decided to head to Polly’s Pet Shop and pick out another iguana.
            Of course, no one can enter a pet store and not swing by the puppies and kittens. We’ve stood outside those windows hundreds of times and never felt the urge to bring one home, but on that day two kittens wrestled in a tangle of newspaper. My son fell in love with both of them. Since we already had another cat and a dog at home, I told him he could only bring home one. It broke our hearts to know that we would separate the kittens, but . . .
            Padme entered out home in a non-descript brown box. We wanted to surprise my husband, who expected us to return with an iguana, not a kitten. His surprise to find a ball of fur instead of something sleek and green made us laugh.
            We quickly realized that Padme’s small size made her an easy target for moving feet. One night, my husband stepped on her head, sending her into convulsions. One of our guests for dinner that night had experience as a vet tech, and he felt certain she was fine, but we rushed her to the pet ER just in case. After that incident, she always wore a bell!

           Our Padme’s very outgoing. Many people thought we only had one cat because our other cat tucked herself away whenever company came. But not Padme. She’d stroll up to someone, bat them with her paw, or head bump in affection. Her wild mane drew everyone’s attention, her personality kept everyone under her spell.
 Last year, when our other cat died, Padme stopped eating. Her grief worried all of us. I moved her bowls into the kitchen to monitor her eating. By this summer, I headed back to the same pet shop for their advice on the best foods for elderly cats. She nibbles on dry Instinct—rabbit, duck, or chicken—throughout the day. And her special treat comes in lamb, pork or pheasant three times a day. She’s desperately thin, even after months on this diet, but she is gradually regaining weight.
            So I take full advantage of Padme resting next to my computer because I don’t know how many years she has left. At nearly fourteen, she’s “getting up there.” She still loves to play and still draws attention to her when company comes since she is such a princess.   



Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman