THE SIXTH SAVE OF CHRISTMAS: MISS PRISSY PANTS
Miss Prissy Pants came into rescue afraid of everything, even her own shadow. She had been in a cage in a shelter with another cat for over a month and if anyone reached for her or stood looking down at her, she would hiss and cower. We knew that a lot of love and patience would be needed to get her to trust again.
Don’t try this at home with a hissing cat, but we soon discovered that if we ignored the hissing, moved very slowly and began petting Prissy, she would start purring almost immediately. We soon had her playing and running over our legs to get to the toys. (We made a habit of sitting on the floor so we would be at her level.) With the playing, her fears began to diminish quickly; the more she played, the better she became, and she soon blossomed into a sweet, loving, playful kitty.
Many kittens benefit greatly from companions of their age and species, and Miss Prissy was no exception. Not long after she discovered toys, she also started playing more with her brother Prince; soon it was routine to find them sleeping together after a hard day’s play. Whenever one of us would walk into the room where these siblings were, they would come forward for love and cuddles. Yes, even Prissy (the cat formerly described as hissy).
Every cat has his or her oddities, and one of Prissy’s was that she put her toys in her food and water dishes. More than one fuzzy mouse was “put to death” by drowning. Prissy and Prince also loved to re-arrange their room: every morning brought a new arrangement of cardboard boxes, beds, blankets, and toys. They seemed to have a real knack for interior design.
We won’t pretend that in such a short time, Prissy entirely forgot her fear. Even after several weeks in rescue, she remained a bit nervous when someone would reach down to grab her. She even hissed on rare occasions, but we were pretty sure it was just a habit, more so than there actually being a real reason for it. It just was her MO when she was nervous or startled. She never lashed out and never scratched or bit us during the whole time we had her.
By their last month in foster care, Prissy and Prince were fully integrated into the household. Every day Prissy would sit on her foster dad’s shoulder while he ate breakfast or lunch. When he used his iPad, she would watch from his shoulder or sit on the table, draping herself over his arm. While other kittens sitting on the table would swat at things on the screen, Prissy was content to just to watch. By now she had come to appreciate stroking, which she’d reward with a warm purr.
It wasn’t long before Miss Prissy and Prince, both charming, found their forever home, where they are loved and spoiled. A true castle for Miss Prissy Pants and Prince.
Miss Prissy Pants, in particular, is a good example of the cats we occasionally get that are so scared and nervous that some people would describe them as feral and give up on them. We are lucky to have foster parents who are skilled at rebuilding their trust, showing them that we humans are not so bad. The fosters who have these special skills tell us that the feeling you get when you have that first major break through, when suddenly you can pat the kitty, or it comes to you and purrs, is totally indescribable. We thank all our fosters and other volunteers who have risen to the challenge this past year and worked for that magical moment allowing the happily forever ending.