PrancieLast month I wrote about Stinky, who showed up on a below zero night in 2005. Well, exactly one week later, we had another below zero night (we don’t get many of those) and Prancie showed up.

I kept hearing a cat meow and my 16 year old niece said, “I bet KaChoo is locked in a closet.” KaChoo always seemed to sneak into an open closet and get herself stuck in there. I decided to check the coat closet in the front hall because that is where the meowing was coming from. She wasn’t in there, but I heard the meow again and realized it was at our front door.

We don’t use the front door often so that is where we had set our light up nativity scene. We didn’t have a wooden manger to put it in so we figured this would have the same effect with a couple hay bales added in. This poor freezing (and starving) kitty must have been trying to keep warm in the hay and got so desperate that she was begging for help. Now that we know her and see how shy she is with new people, we realize how desperate she truly was.

I always say she is the cat that went to Jesus for help because it was like she knew going over near the nativity display would save her. We opened a can of food which she devoured. My husband was not going to let me bring in another cat, but said I could have her stay in the barn. For lack of a better solution, I opened another can of food and she followed me right over to the barn and went inside.

I know the barn was still cold, but there was a lot of hay to cuddle in as well as protection from the wind. The next morning, I went out to the barn praying she would be alive. Luckily, she was, but I noticed in the light of day that her ears were black around the edges. I was planning to get her to the vet to be tested for FELV/FIV and get a rabies shot soon, but I made an emergency appointment when I saw this.

Prancie was a very friendly cat, she had clearly been someone’s pet. She was so happy to see me with her food that she did a little prance by my feet which is why I named her Prancie. She didn’t mind me picking her up and putting her into the carrier. In the exam room, the vet touched her ear and the tip fell right onto the table.

Her poor ears had been frost bitten. That was the only health issue the vet found. She tested negative for FELV/FIV and was estimated to be 2 or 3 years old at the time. I like to think she was 1 or 2 because I want her to live a long time. We have no way of knowing if she had gotten frost bite that night or the previous night. My husband did feel incredibly guilty for not letting her come into the house that night. And she has been in our home ever since.

Prancie and her dadPrancie is now his little princess and has been for years. She loves us both, but I know she prefers him. He says he will make up the loss of her ears for the rest of her life. She seems to catch a chill quicker than the others. She will get right under the bed covers with us to keep warm. I truly believe her ears were frost bitten prior to that night, but if my husband wants to spoil a cat, I am not going to stop him.

Prancie actually fit right in with the other cats. Barney, didn’t care for her and would give her a chase, but Prancie would just run away. She got along fine with all the other cats that were here as well as the ones that have joined us since then.

Prancie does have a habit that many would find annoying, but we are actually amused by her. She loves to knock things off shelves, tables, etc. to get our attention. This is not just a random thing, she has it all plotted out. When she wants to sit in my husband’s chair, she will knock things off the entertainment center so he will get up. In the bedroom, she does this so he will get up and she can hop in the middle. Instead of getting mad, we just make sure to have all unbreakable items in those places.

We even have 2 metal bells for her to knock down to get our attention. Once in a while, if he doesn’t cooperate, she will go to higher shelves with breakables which force him to get up before she can knock anything down.

I know all cats are unique and smart in their own ways. We do think of Prancie as our genius though because she seems to understand more vocabulary than the others. She also seems to think steps ahead like a chess player. She is also very playful and knows enough to keep her claws in when walking over us.

Prancie with her favourite bookPrancie also loves to be read to. I have purchased a lot of children’s books with cats in them from book sales over the years. She loves to sit on her Daddy’s lap and have him read to her. One book in particular is her favourite because it has an orange fur cover that she loves to rub against. She even turns the pages in that one as she rubs the edge of each one with her chin to scent it.

I am not sure why someone abandoned her, but I am glad she came to our door. She is a wonderful, fun addition to our home. She is also a great alarm clock.

Ellen Pilch

The Very Best Toy for Cats

"Of all the [cat] toys available, none is better designed than the owner himself. A large multipurpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any direction. It comes completely assembled, and it makes a noise when you jump on it."

Stephen Baker