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Purr-sia Larson

Purr-sia Larson

          Alone inside the summer porch with screens on three sides, it’s her job to ensure the Sparrows, Finches, and Blue Jays understand that she is watching them. It may be a warm, fall day, but she remains in full command of her post. Wide eyes bright and vigilant, Purr-sia squeaks at the feathered creatures who mock her animal instincts. Her whiskers tighten as her mouth breaks open a crack – enough to provide a megaphone for her to warn the predators. Or is she beckoning them to come closer and play? Perhaps inviting them to enter her sanctuary where, if given the opportunity, she would have her way with them? Her tail whisks briskly; not even the renegade fly within the porch’s confines is safe.

Purr-sia surveying her possible prey 

Purr-sia surveying her possible prey 

          Purr-sia surveys the yard with all her faculties: the chirps are fading; the flapping wings subsiding; she can now only smell the, hours before, mowed grass as it has nestled into a blanket on the yard. She hates the lawn mower and is delighted its growl is gone. Slowly she relaxes her haunch and her tail settles into an easy fan. She settles onto her body and closes her eyes for a brief moment. Her head lowers closer to her paws which have released their grasp of the padded orange and green flowered patio chair. A squirrel dashes in front of her, catching her eye during its scant appearance. She takes a deep breath and her eyes close – for a cat nap.

          As the day grows on, Purr-sia has decided it has become too cool in the porch. In fact, her humans, Paul and Evon, are preparing to close it up for the long Iowa winter. Evon opens the door and Purr-sia ambles into the kitchen. Her nose twitches; the scent is familiar but she cannot see its source since it comes from high upon the counter. Although intrigued she is satisfied with the kibble that Dad gives to her in the morning and late afternoon.

          It is their daily ritual. Purr-sia was bestowed her own bedroom in the downstairs area of the split level home once her mom and dad learned that she likes the underside of box spring mattresses waay too much. Now, before bedtime, she is escorted to her own abode, where she has all she could want for the evening: water, litter box, and her own (sans box spring) bed, with blankets a plenty. Without much fanfare, she acquiesces to this night time ceremony,

Purr-sia taking a cat nap in her bedroom

Purr-sia taking a cat nap in her bedroom

          In the morning, Paul calls to her as he descends the stairs to her room. When the door is opened, she juts out, but is sure that her thick, long tail brushes against Paul’s dark red and grey plaid pajama pants. If she’s in the mood, she’ll even step on his sheepskin slippers. She then bounds up the stairs and begins chatting at Paul about the mice she’d seen in the yard the night before.

          “Meow, meeeoooww,” she howls.

          “That’s fascinating, Purr-sia. Can you wait a moment while I get your food?” Paul assures her all is fine, stroking her long back as it curves up toward him. Her muttering continues as he tops off his blue coffee cup and fills her bowl. “Here we go. Now get off the counter-top, please.” She jumps down and circles the floor where he will place her bowl.

          “Meow. Meow. Meow. Meeeooow,” she replies. Between her meows and purring, Paul remains astounded that her mouth can pilot all she has going on. Crunch, crunch, swallow. Purrrrrr. Meo… Crunch. Crunch/meeew. Swallow. She doesn’t even bother to look at Paul who stands above her in delight; he really does like this little girl.

Mom Evon and Dad Paul 

Mom Evon and Dad Paul 

          As with their other cats, Paul and Evon decided to adopt another and went to the Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines to bring Purr-sia to her forever home. At first, Evon had her eye on another cat she’d seen on the League’s Facebook page, a Calico named Sasha. Sadly, after a visit, and then a trip that Paul and Evon had to make, Sasha had been adopted when they returned. However, then - the gorgeous white Gemma with stunning grey markings - was waiting and purring so loudly that Evon could not resist. She appropriately changed her name to Purr-sia, and the cat - less family welcomed their new feline.

          Not long after Purr-sia made herself at home, a cool fall day inspired Evon to withdraw frozen pork chops and place them on the counter in anticipation for a tasty supper. Because Evon’s arm was in a sling when they adopted Purr-sia (she’d had shoulder surgery), Paul chauffeured Evon to get a much needed pedicure for his one-armed bride of several decades. When they returned home, they discovered one of the pork chops was – well - missing from the counter. While Purr-sia had before tried her paws at counter jumping, she never tasted, batted, or otherwise gnawed on her human’s food. Upon discovering the missing chop, they began surveying the nooks, corners, and rooms of the house. Also absent was an otherwise vocal feline who often greeted her mom and dad when they returned home. Well, sometimes she greeted them. Actually, she never greeted them, but the pork chop mystery was cagy, nonetheless.

          Alas, there was Purr-sia lying near the back door, but no chop next to, around, or under her. Paul and Evon descended the short stair case to the lower level and there it was. Purr-sia had taken the frozen piece of pig off of the counter, and carried-or possibly dragged-it downstairs. She then dropped it in the hallway. That was it. She didn’t chew on it, try to hide it, or otherwise create a cat and chop game. She was just done with it, left it there, and returned to the kitchen.

Evon and her Purr-sia 

Evon and her Purr-sia 

          Bemused by this odd event, both Paul and Evon began asking Purr-sia what she’d done. She was happy to tell them all about it: “Meeeow. Meeeo, eeow, mew, meeeoooww. MEOw,” all the time caressing their legs, eager for them to engage in her tale. Evon thoroughly washed the chop, let it continue to thaw, and later, cooked up that chop for a tasty supper treat. They figured the flame of the stove killed anything “unwanted” from the Purr-sia excursion and laughed on the turn of events as Purr-sia watched, not amused.

          For those who visit, it is clear that Purr-sia is Mom’s and Dad’s girl; she is not enamored with visitors. In fact, most often, Paul and Evon evict Purr-sia from the common living areas of the house when anyone arrives - including their own children and grandchildren. Purr-sia’s purr switches to an impetuous hiss when anyone else comes near her. In an act of defiance to anyone invading her sanctuary, she may park under a desk in the family room awaiting her prey to dare to venture near her. And when they do, they will get swats and hisses. So, most of the kids and grandkids leave her alone.

Purr-sia and Marcy, before she decided she didn't like dogs

Purr-sia and Marcy, before she decided she didn't like dogs

          In the meanwhile, one of the favorite chores for Lars, Leif, Hannah, Benly, and Kaytlin (when she’s available), Paul and Evon’s helpful grandchildren, is to help Grandpa Paul with a special project. Several of Purr-sia’s - play and prey – activities include small balls of colorful yarn wound loosely into 1-2” toys. Once done, they await their fate: Purr-sia loves to toss the bright yellow, pale blue, and wild orange wound up tangles of thick, soft thread. She bounds across the soft beige carpet, darting through table legs and desk chairs, gleeful that the work of the kids and Grandpa has been completely undone.

Beautiful Purr-sia 

Beautiful Purr-sia 

          And then she’s finished. With a rainbow of yarn littering the floor that resembles piles of Silly String gone a muck, she simply stops. She gets up, walks into the kitchen, “nothing here,” and returns to a window in the family room. Sometimes she also adores the purple and glittered feathers at the end of a fishing pole toy. Until she doesn’t. After a few bats, she will lie on her right side, tail thwapping the floor, and look up at Mom and Dad. “Oh, do I need to continue doing this?” she seems to ask them. Since her paw is already extended, she uses it to brush her eye and then give it a once over with her tongue. Or twice. Until she’s done. Really done. She will lie for a few moments, or two hours, whatever moves her-or doesn’t. Evon laughs. “Well, I guess that’s it, Paul. Unless…!” Paul smiles, slightly raising his left eyebrow, as Evon quietly opens the Purr-sia drawer and retrieves a well-loved brush.

          Paul crawls onto the floor next to Purr-sia and begins scratching under her chin, cooing at her as only a loving dad can do. He softly outlines the grey area of her nose which is a stark contrast to her mostly white face and body with deliberate black markings. Evon grabs the sofa cushion as she eases herself down to also sit on the floor - on the opposite side of Purr-sia. Mom and Dad begin their bi-weekly routine: Paul tells Purr-sia what a beautiful kitty she is while Evon grooms her and catches renegade fur that isn’t trapped in the brush. Paul gently rolls Purr-sia on her other side as Evon gets into those hard to reach places.

          Suddenly, as quick as a bunny, Purr-sia sprints from their loving embrace and gallops downstairs. Evon dared to begin grooming close to Purr-sia’s belly, because it always seems to be an area that is “in desperate need of brushing.” Paul looks at Evon and shrugs his shoulders. Evon begins her understated, dry, and unconditional laughter. “Well, I think I got a little area under her armpit!” They lean on one another, struggling to climb up from the floor where the “Silly String-yarn” mixes with soft clumps of feline fur and a lot of love.
         

Purr-sia's official yearbook photo

Purr-sia's official yearbook photo

          All in all, Purr-sia hit the kitty lottery when Paul and Evon chose her that cool day in September. And with all her quirks and swats and love of box spring mattresses, Paul and Evon would continue to do anything to keep their precious girl healthy and happy. Lucky girl.

Cooper McCulloh

Cooper McCulloh

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