My name is Penelope. Not Penny. Not Pen. Not even Nelope, a name my female owner is fond of because she’s too lazy to say all four syllables. I’m a cat.
I’ve heard that my predecessor, the late great Maude, blogged here from time to time. I’m usually so busy chasing catnip mice, following laser pointers, and looking out the front window, I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post my thoughts here. But I don’t want to disappoint former Maude followers, so here I am.
I’ve had a rough early life. It started to get better when the Animal Control people found me and my six kittens wandering around the streets of Chicago. It certainly didn’t seem better at the time. I didn’t know where they were taking us or what would happen! But it turned out well. We were brought to Heartland Animal Shelter and our lives began to get better. Well, mine didn’t immediately get better. I had to undergo surgery…something called spaying. Then I had to have a rabies shot. Ouch. And I had to stay in a cage until I got the rabies shot to keep me away from all the other cats who were roaming around our room. They got to climb and jump and get petted by strangers while I stayed in a wire container with my food and litter box.
But I’m pretty—or so I’m told—so some folks were interested in adopting me. One of them was a shelter volunteer who would have snapped me up in a minute if she didn’t already have two cats at home. It’s just as well. I don’t mind being the new cat, but two others are too much competition.
Then this couple came in and stuck their hands in my cage. I sniffed them. Not bad. I poked at them a little too, but I didn’t put my claws out, and I guess they saw that as a good sign. About a week later, they came in again, signing papers and clutching a carrier. The male held me, and I burrowed my head into his arm. Both of them marveled at how affectionate and docile I seemed and were sure they made the right choice.
I didn’t like the ride home very much. I was put into the carrier (I hate those things!) and sat on her lap while he drove. I’m glad their home is close to Heartland because I’m not fond of riding in a car…especially confined to a zipped-up bag.
When we got home, they put me into a little room that had a clean litter box, a stuffed toy, and a water dish. I saw my chance to hide because a cabinet in the room had a little space under it. I stayed in that little space for about a half-hour.
When they came to check on me, I not only emerged from my hiding place, but I left the room. I sidled up to each of them, letting them pet my head and neck. Then I started to explore the house. There were so many interesting things to try: Stairs to scamper up. Bathroom counters to jump up on. A dining room table to sit on for the few seconds it took them to say “No!”
So here I am in what I hope is my forever home. The first few weeks were tough—for them. If they had asked, and if I were able to speak Human, I would have told them that I wasn’t really that docile little girl they thought I was. After that first day, I wouldn’t let them pet me. If either of them approached, I ran away. But I did want attention, so I mewed and mrrowed all day. When I didn’t get immediate attention, I whined. Yes, cats can whine. It’s all in the drawn-out mournful tone.
I especially did this when they were sleeping (with were being the important word here). At 3:00 in the morning, I’d start complaining. I did this a little too much because soon their bedroom door was closed to me. I began clawing at the door to see if I could get it open myself. That didn’t last long either.
I could sometimes hear them discussing me, and I heard a dreaded phrase: “Back to the shelter.” I couldn’t let that happen, so slowly I began to relax a little and allow myself to be petted—but just for a few seconds. And I moved my middle-of-the-night whining up to 4:00, then closer to 5.
Now I sleep part of the night on their bed and only carry on and walk all over them when I’m very hungry. I think I’ve adapted very well and have succeeded in training my owners to meet my needs. To date we have four laser pointers, five different bags of cat treats, too many catnip mice to count (most are under the furniture now, thanks to me), and a cute bird feeder affixed to the front window. This is for my amusement…once the weather gets warmer and the birds come back.
I think they’ll keep me. And I will certainly keep them!