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  • Autumn Plourd

My Dead Cat Part 2: Lives 4-6

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

This is a three part series detailing how my second favorite cat rushed through nine lives in less than a year. Her name was Penny because she was my first animal.


Penny was a runner-up favorite to my childhood black cat, 10, who purred on my lap, gifted us birds on the daily, and once swallowed a whole mouse in front of me, slurping the tail like spaghetti. At fourth grade show-and-tell, the teacher asked if her name was spelled with an “i” or an “e” and my mom said “it’s a one and a zero.”


10 was my parent’s tenth cat and she was a legend.


But back to my two cents on Penny Gato’s latent ability to die:


Penny couldn't catch a bird to save her life, but her perseverance kept her trying.

Missed lives one through three? Click here.


The fourth life:


After a few hours back on the street (and relieving herself of all that dairy), I let Penny back inside and we reverted to our old routine. We played our who-blinks-first game, I hid cat nip around the house, she flung her ear wax on the walls, and she kept failing at doing basic cat-like things, like landing on her feet or killing crickets and birds (thank goodness the neighbors had a net over their coy fish pond because they would have eaten her no doubt).

I was busy fine-tuning wedding plans and didn’t realize Penny had been missing for over 24 hours. On the second day, I wondered if the neighbor took her again and by day three my phone rang and it was him. That creepy neighbor.


“Is this Penny’s mom?”

“Penny is my cat.”

“I’ve found your poor kitty again, she was so thirsty, but she’s doing better than a couple of days ago.” I’m finding this hard to believe when I’ve regularly seen her drink from my pool despite a water bowl at the back door. Plus, did he say a couple of days?!?

“I’ll come as soon as I’m off work.”


Before walking down the street, I texted Blake and my mom in case I went missing. I knocked on the door. He opened it, again holding Penny like she’s his favorite, but Penny looks annoyed and I see his other clawless cats staring at her with envy. And this time there’s a kid sitting on the couch, but he was staring at me with wide eyes and was he sweating? I don’t know. I should have gone back to check on him…


“Little Penny got out again didn’t you?” Dude needs to stop talking to cats when people are around.

“She didn’t get out. She’s an outdoor cat.”

“Cats shouldn’t be outdoors, they can’t defend themselves.”

“She has claws.”

“She might get run over.”

Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t, “I believe in natural selection.”


Silence.


I started questioning if he’d give me the cat back. He had a really tight grip on her. She didn’t’ look comfortable. Has that kid blinked? He’s still staring at me.


“I’m kidding!” Sort of. “She’s a smart cat.” Is she though? “Next time, please leave her outside so she can walk home herself.” And I take my cat and run.


Who knows what sick things masked as “love” that weirdo did, one thing I do know is Penny stopped walking that far down the block.

The fifth life:


Penny’s fifth life was emotionally killed by Blake, or as I like to call him, Cat Hater. Just before our wedding, we were hashing out the difficult conversations, like do we combine finances? Does the toilet paper hang over or under (over, duh, I would never marry someone who thought it went under). And what do we do with the cat?


Up to this point Blake had said he was allergic. And that was a lie he came clean about when it was practically too late to call off the wedding. To be clear, Blake is allergic to dogs, bees, dust and pollen, but not cats. And he knew it. He just doesn’t like cats. Something about cats being stupid… Nonetheless, I loved this animal but Blake drew a distinct line in the litter that while I could keep the cat, she wasn’t going to be allowed indoors. So when we got back from our honeymoon, I picked up Penny at my old house, drove 0.73 miles and dropped her off at our new house. A whopping quarter mile away as the crow flies (10 could have taught Penny a thing or two about killing those annoying SKAAAing black birds).


Penny sat by the front door and she meowed. Over and over and over and never stopped. She gave me the dirty eye every time she saw me and she tried really hard to rush past my legs inside to warmth and comfort but instead I had to slam the door on her face and it hurt my heart. Eventually her spirit broke and she stopped trying to get in, but the resentment in her eyes never went away. Poor Penny. And Blake says I have a cold heart…

This is Penny the day she got spayed. It’s the same angry glare she used to rip out my guilty heart.

The sixth life:


Blake and I were watching Claire Dunphy and Gloria Pritchett catfight on Modern Family when suddenly we heard a real cat fight outside our front door. We raced outside and found a big fluffy bully cat eating Penny’s food while Penny was hiding under a bistro chair, nursing her bleeding wounds. We shoo off fat cat and even then Blake said no, the cat can’t come inside. Penny gave me those sad eyes as I walked in to have my first “we need to talk” with Blake.


We discuss what to do with Penny, who obviously hated her new predicament, and we agreed it’d probably be best that she live at my cousins house in the country so she could run around with the other dozen cats they had. She could chase down field mice and live that free life the clawless cats could only dream of. I went outside to check on Penny, and really just to hold her and play our old game.


But she was gone.


To be continued.

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