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If Gracie Could Talk

Story ID:8964
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
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Gracie is a beautiful multi-colored long-haired cat who would
have a story to tell if only she could talk. Of course, this
applies to all animals, and the only way we know about their
lives is to pay close attention to them. In the case of Gracie,
I think I've pieced together enough of her life which I can
share with anyone who either loves cats or all animals.

Since I brought her into my warm, partially-finished basement
in the winter of 2000, she has seemed happy and content. She
must have been born in 1998 or 1999. If so, she is close to
15 years old now, and definitely over 13.

In one of those two early years I had seen her sitting on the
window sill of my next door neighbor who rented the front
section of the house. She looked so beautiful and regal - like
a porcelain statue -so that when she finally came to live with
us, I dubbed her Grace. Later Gracie seemed to fit better.

Gracie would have been happy I'm sure to live with her owner,
but obviously he was experiencing financial difficultles. One
day I saw his belongings on the front lawn because he had been
evicted. Was Gracie among those castaways? Sadly, yes, though
she was nowhere to be seen. I hope he had regrets in doing this
to her, but that didn't make her situation any easier.

I don't remember how long she was out there, but she did suffer
at least one cold winter without appropriate shelter, and she
was a very delicate cat.

When I spotted her one day, I picked her up and we headed to
the shelter of my basement where there were at least 5 other
rescued cats. What happened next was in no way predictable,
even though I knew poor Pippi was basically an unhappy and
disgruntled cat. When I set Gracie down, Pippi let out a bangee
scream which frightened the daylights out of Gracie as well as
the rest of us. Obviously, Pippi didn't want to share her living
quarters with yet another cat.

Seeing her fear, I followed her mad dash up the stairs and away
from the frightening cat. I opened the door to the outside and
she gladly disappeared into my cold backyard. I guess she thought-
anything would be better than living with Pippi- that inhospitable

Really, Pippi wasn't that bad, and her response to Gracie threw
me off guard. It would be sometime later when I tried again
to bring Gracie indoors, and this time, there was no incidences.
Gracie would never again have to face the rigors of a cold Ohio
winter -unsheltered and unfed.

Gracie is still lovely and she never overeats like my two ferals
whom I have had to put on a "diet." Unbeknownst to me, they
would either finish any of the other cats' portions or even
gently push them away from their dish. Penny- early on became
much too fat, and I was surprised when Patrick started putting
on the pounds as well.

Today I "police" their eating. As soon as one cat has had enough,
I remove the dish and put any uneaten food in the bowl which
had contained a mixture of dry and wet cat food. I will give
these "leftovers" to the cat that comes nightly on my porch for
the dry food I have for him which I place in the dog house on
my porch.

Many cats like to be picked up and sit in our laps. Thank goodness,
my three ferals - Penny, Patrick, and Pixie don't. Ferals do not
like to be picked up. As a kitten, Pixie even bit me when I picked
her up to take her to the vet for spaying. However, she loves to be
stroked or brushed- but always on her terms and never in my lap.

Patrick is unique in that he has a shoe "fetish," and when I'm
standing over the cats - "policing" their eating, he heads for my
shoes after inhaling his food. He's always the first to be done
eating - though he would love to help the others finish their portions
as well. Well, Patrick and Penny - those days are over. You are much
too fat and need to lose weight like most of the rest of us.

I've been watching their food intake for at least a couple of months
now, and, just like with us humans battling the bulge, I see no
difference in their girth. However, I'm not giving up. This
will now have to be part of my daily routine feeding plan.

Gracie now has no problem with eating too much. In fact, I worry
that she is not fuller in girth. However, she does not seem unwell,
and so I am glad that I don't see a need to take her to the vets.

In my opinion, my cats do not need a yearly visit to the vets. For
one thing, I would be bankrupted by now because of my many rescues,
and for another, they do not enjoy trips to the vet and all presently
have good appetites - a sign that they are well. The first indication
a dog or cat is ill is when they stop eating.

I was lucky to find a Canadian internet site which has supplements to
help address signs of cat unwellness, and it has worked well for me
in the past. But trying to squirt the liquid medicine into a sick
cat's mouth is always a challenge with most cats.

This week-end, Paulie seemed unwell and I was worried. Would
I have to take him to a vet? First, I managed to give him the
required dosage of "Trippi" the supplement which has helped me in
the past with him when he was sick. And sure enough, it must have
done the trick because Paulie rallied, and thank God, he is up
and about again and eating heartily.

Paulie is a lap cat, and so is Gracie. She loves when I pick her
up and then sit with her in a chair. When I begin to stroke her,
her purring machine starts. You know, she's the only one that I
noticed who purrs. A lost art?

Last week, I thought I saw her wistfully looking out through the
basement window on the outside. I wondered if she would be pleased
if I took her out for some fresh spring air. So, I scooped her
up and headed up the basement stairs when I noticed her tensing up.
I made it to the front screen door when she wet me a bit. I let
her drop from my arms, and she bee-lined it back to the basement.

Obviously, she is one kitty whose experiences had been so traumatic
on the outside, that even a basement dwelling is home sweet home
for her. I will never try again dear Gracie. I am happy that
you are content with the little home I have provided for you
these past 12 or 13 years. You've been a great guest whose company
I hope to enjoy for a long time to come.