I’ve always been a cat person to the extent that I can’t help but be compelled to save every cat I come across.


A few years ago I was half way through college when a professor made the announcement that one of the other professors in my program had a kitten they were trying to find a home for. Despite living in a little apartment and having never owned a cat by myself, I figured I must be as skilled as anyone else and jumped at the offer. And that’s when Sprackle, the saddest cat in the world, entered my life.

The story goes that this little teeny kitten and her much larger brother were found in a snow bank, scared and starving. After fostering them for a while, my professor mentioned that the petite kitten couldn’t stay with her as she had a few large dogs and it just wouldn’t work out in the long run. When meeting her for the first time, she was immensely scared and very small. She was a tortoiseshell calico with a very curved tail, though her most distinguishing feature would be her eyes. They were perpetually set on “pathetic kitty” mode. Regardless, I figured she’d be fine when she warmed up to me and named her Sprackle after my grandma’s late great cat.

My first night was torture. Sprackle cried and cried and I didn’t know how to handle it. I panicked and asked the original foster parent if she could take Sprackle back. Thankfully, I was talked off the ledge and convinced to keep her a bit longer. A bit longer turned into a month, at which time Sprackle had made very little progress with me.

Sprackle_Alan_MaxIt was at this time that Spring Break was rolling around, a time I’d be spending at home with my parents. They still have two cats, Max and Alan, so I asked if it’d be okay if I brought Sprackle for the week. They said it’d be fine and when they met her for the first time they realized that she really did have that look of “saddest cat ever.”

But then something strange happened. A little bed underneath a table in the corner of the living room suddenly proved it had magical qualities and sucked Sprackle right to it. The other two cats never seemed to sleep there, but Sprackle decided it needed to be her special spot. An immediate change overcame her and for some reason, despite being skittish and afraid of everything, once Sprackle curled up in that spot nothing could bother her. She became Zen-like and anyone could touch her without her fleeing or feeling sad or anything.

It’s now a few years later and Sprackle still lives with my parents where her safe zone provides her with the comfort she needs and Max (the wonder cancer cat) acts as her older bad-influence brother whom she adores. And best of all, this little sad kitten is now a big chunk with a smile and a curious squeak. Sometimes I guess all it takes is the perfect bed!

Chris Pranger

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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