My Purr-fect Pussy Cat

Shaunna Privratsky 

Copyright 2002 by Shaunna Privratsky

Photo of a black cat.

My sixteen-year-old cat, Rascal, is as affectionate as ever, spending most of the evening on my lap or beside me in bed. His soft purr rumbles quietly in his furry black chest. His constant companionship through the many changes in my life has given me great joy and contentment.

My future husband, Wade, and I were just dating when I rescued Rascal, one of five farm kittens facing drowning. Luckily the other four were adopted as well. He was a tiny ball of black fur, yet even then his heart was huge. He became my little shadow, indoors and out, always there for a friendly rub against my ankles or a long petting session in my lap, his purr a low liquid murmur in his small body.

Rascal was almost left behind when Wade and I married and moved to Fargo, North Dakota. The truck and U-haul trailer were all packed. We spent two hours calling and searching, my heart growing heavy with each passing moment. Finally I heard a tinny meow coming from the trailer. Rascal had been trapped inside the whole morning!

We made it to Fargo without any further incidents and Rascal settled into city life with ease. Our apartment was next to a bike path, a haven for small wildlife like mice, birds and jackrabbits. Rascal rarely hunted, just meandered through the tall grass then returned to my lap at the end of the day, a soothing ritual for both of us.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Erica, Rascal constantly perched on my expanding belly. His purr changed to a very loud, rolling purr. I could feel it vibrating his whole body. Even when my lap disappeared he snuggled close, his strangely loud purr echoing through the room.

After Erica was born, Rascal was a bit aloof to me, probably because my lap was always full. Yet he was deeply interested in my daughter. He would snuggle close to her when we were laying on the bed or the couch and purr, not the loud sound he'd produced before, but a quiet hum. Erica learned very early how easygoing he was, even if she was a little rough in her awkward patting.

My second pregnancy with my son, Alex progressed much the same. Rascal pounced on me the minute I sat down. His purr became as loud as before. Sometimes his purr would actually make the bed quiver and Wade would banish him from the bedroom for the night.

Alex was born and once again Rascal's purr reverted to his usual gentle murmur. Now Erica is eight years old, Alex is almost six years old and Rascal is getting on in years. He is still my constant companion, though and his quiet, dignified presence fills me with joy.

There is nothing more relaxing than petting a beloved cat and hearing the music of his contented purring. Sometimes I miss Rascal’s loud, enthusiastic purr, even though it often kept me awake at night. I think it was his way of singing to my unborn children.

Shaunna Privratsky lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband Wade and adorable children, Erica and Alex. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, decorating, gardening and collecting teapots. Shaunna is a freelancer who has written numerous published articles, essays, short stories and poems.   Check out some of her other stories at "The Writer Within." 

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