Prisoner of the state or protective custody?

I live a very dull life here… indeed I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else.
Martha Washington

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If you own a pet, you will understand this post. If you do not, perhaps you will be amused…..

Do you remember a while back when I wrote the post entitled “My best Friend”—it was about our cat Percy. Short for Perseverance. He was a rescue—or actually he is the one who picked us as his rescuers. I won’t spend our time this morning reliving his perilous beginning as you may wish to read that for yourself.

In a nutshell however—he was a tiny kitten, only 4 or so weeks old, who had been, what the vet believed, thrown from a car as his jaw was smashed, his nose broken, his right eye socket broken, he was covered with maggots and he had laid down to die, when he alerted us, rather loudly, to his presence.

We brought him in, gave him water, some mushy food, as his bottom jaw was a disaster and his teeth either gone forever, or those remaining were in such bad shape, poking every which a way, that they would eventually have to be pulled. We did not expect him to live through the night.

That was two years ago.

Yes, I am in love as he is my world. I suppose that happens when something, in such a terrible way, seeks you out for help….it was as if, once he knew we took action on his behalf, he could in turn, let go and rest in order to begin his healing and recovery—hence his Perseverance. He was not ready to die.

Percy has no teeth on his bottom jaw but for one remaining broken fang. This adds to his adorable misshapen mouth. His little pink bottom lip pokes out as if he’s being a bit pouty. His right eye appears a tad crooked in relation to the left eye. When he looks up at me, I melt. His demeanor is sweet and adoring…that is until the sound of an engine or passing car sounds too close for comfort, sending him into a nervous fit–it terrifies him.

Therefore he is not an outdoor pet whatsoever. When he was little I tried using a harness and leash with him as he’d want to follow our other cat, Peaches, outside. She’s older and he acts as if she’s his mother. Peaches in turn is very tolerable and babies him upon his request.

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Our short adventures outside would be a bit haphazard and a comedy of errors. Such as the time we were out on the front porch as Percy leaned a tad too far over the railing, slipping out of the harness, falling all of 2 feet to the pine straw below. He was fine, just startled–but I was the one running down the stairs in a panic. The walks would progress well until the inevitable car would pass by. At the sound of any motorized vehicle, be it a car, motorcycle or plane, Percy would proceed to go into a sheer irrational state of panic. Makes me wonder what he must remember from his terrible accident.

Needless to say the harness walks were short lived as Percy would scramble back up the steps, dragging me behind as I couldn’t keep up in his mad dash back to safety. In the long run, I decided going out was not in Percy’s best interest. He may think he really wants to spend time outside with Peaches watching the birds…. but I know that the open window in the back closet and his hanging out on the back deck are both calmer and safer.

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Fast forward to last week.
As my husband prepares to leave for work each morning, I feed both cats. Peaches immediately wants out the back door. Percy immediately wants out on the back deck. The back deck is about 12 feet off the ground. It’s been Percy’s outdoor world these past two years. He watches the birds and deer as they feed in the yard. The back yard is more or less like a pasture as that is what our property was before we built our house. I have plants scattered around for Percy to have a little greenery and he even has his own chair complete with cushions. Life on the back deck is good…or it was…..

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The problem is Peaches. Peaches we must remember comes and goes at will. She is outdoor and indoor. If she’s on the back deck with Percy and suddenly decides she needs to be elsewhere, she climbs down the railing if I’m not looking. If she’s in the yard and panics for some reason, she climbs up to safety on the deck.

Last Thursday morning, as usual, I let Peaches out the back door and Percy out on the back deck as I went off to take my shower. Each morning when I get out of the shower, I always check on Percy. This particular morning was no different as I wrapped up in a towel when I stepped out of the shower, heading to the kitchen door. Dripping along the way to the kitchen, not even dried off, I poke my head out the door looking on the deck expecting to hear the familiar mew of greeting. I don’t hear anything and worse, I don’t see him in his chair.
“Percy?”
I don’t see him sitting in the corner with his head poking through the railing looking at the birds.
PERCY
He’s no where.
I run to the railing, peering over…..
PERCY
No where!!
Panic sets in.

I run to the back door pratcially tearing it off the hinges, no Percy, but Peaches comes flying in the house and keeps looking back over her shoulder as she runs straight for the back deck, looking over the edge.
She knows.

“Clothes, I need some clothes!!!”
I was in such a state that running out the back door and down the back bank to the back yard, naked, all seemed rather logical, but luckily an inkling of sanity prevailed and I stopped long enough to grab something to put on.
I pull some shorts and a t shirt out of the dryer and run out the back door still pulling the shirt on over my head…
“PERCY!!!!!”

I run down the back bank…shades of a broken ankle quickly running through my head.
PERCY“…
rounding the corner I scrape my knee against a cement planter… now bleeding, I continue calling out his name….
PERCY“…
When suddenly to my relief a small little white head pokes out from under the four wheeler. It’s the same corner where I first found him two years before.
OH Thank God, Percy!!!
He doesn’t appear broken or hurt. I don’t know if he fell or half climbed down but I feared a broken leg.
I grab him when suddenly a motorcycle zooms past up on the road. He squirms loose scurrying under my husband’s little lake boat. UGGHH— I scramble around on my now bleeding knees trying to reach him. Finally he comes to me as I pull him out and hold him as tight as possible.

We go running up the bank. I’m still holding him as tight as possible. Percy is a nervous wreck and I’ve not trimmed his nails lately. Holes in my body. More bleeding.
We finally get to the backdoor. I’m thinking we’re home free when I try turning the door.
Locked!
In my panic and last minute decision to put on clothes before running outside in search of Percy, I did not think to unlock the door….
AGGGHHHH, are you kidding me???!!”
The key, the spare key!! I can’t climb up to the ledge to feel around for the key with Percy in my arms.
AGGHHHH
He’s 15 pounds–lean and long with nails, remember, I’ve not cut lately…
AGGGHHH….
“I know, I’ll close the garage door…no, no, I can’t do that, the noise will send him through the roof”…
AGGGHHH…..
Finally, I just put him down. By now he’s so scared he huddles at the door wondering why the door won’t magically open. I’m wondering the same.
I climb up on the ledge, hanging half on and half off, frantically feeling around for the key…finding it, I clamor down running to unlock the door.
Whew…..I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving……
I’m still soaking wet, now rather dirty, and bleeding…..

That evening my husband comes home from work as I recount the harrowing adventure. He doesn’t not seem nearly as alarmed as I think he should. In fact he looks at Percy and tells Percy he’s proud of him. “What?! Are you kidding, he could have been killed or broken…look at my knee…….

The following morning Percy heads to the deck door meowing for my husband to let him out. “NOOOO” I practically scream bounding over to block the door.
“Why don’t you let him out”….
“NO, he may jump or fall again”
“Julie, he can’t live like a prisoner”
He’s not a prisoner, I have to take care of him….
Now does this look like a prisoner to you?

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….And just so you know, I have let him back outside on the deck, but I stay in the kitchen with the door open or I’m outside sitting with him.
The question remains from my husband’s statement….When you’re loved that much, are you still a prisoner?
I don’t think the birds are missing one less outdoor cat……

5 comments on “Prisoner of the state or protective custody?

  1. Jenna Dee says:

    You are a fantastic storyteller Julie, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your tale. Your final questions is interesting and I’m not quite sure of the answer because I am guilty of over loving my dog (according to my family). Sometimes loving someone or something so much is setting them free to explore and we can only trust that they will come to no harm and come back to us. Keep writing your funny adventures. Love Jenna

    • thank you Jenna–I know how much you love your dog so I knew you’d understand 🙂 I think I’ve let my 2 legged child go better than my 4 legged children—I know Peaches can take care of herself out of doors…Percy not so much–how does that saying go…if you love something set it free and it will come back. I just can’t afford the vet bills of setting them too free 😉 but we do have a problem with coyotes so I really have to watch our pets…..and I do think he’s happy…
      Hugs Jenna—

  2. Lynda says:

    Julie, I’ve enjoyed your tale of Percy. I have had cats and dogs and at the moment I have neither but my heart longs to have another so when my life settles down, I’m sure I shall go looking. To be honest most of my pets came to me also so perhaps I’ll just sit back and wait. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Lynda–I’ve always had a cat in my life. When Gregory and I married, 30 some odd years ago, he not only got me, but he got my cat at that time as welll–the rest is history—despite his not a real pet person. We have had our share of dogs when our son was little but cats are more our speed. I do want to eventually get another dog at some point…
      Both of these cats found us–Peaches arrived the summer Brenton left for college–God’s gift to my empty heart…then Percy, who has really attached himself to my heart..they are my joy…..
      A blessed Sunday tomorrow to you–Julie

  3. awh, I enjoyed reading your story about Percy. He is a pretty cat with alot fo character. We have two cats, Lizzie and Leo. Lizzie is the mom of Leo but Leo is three times her size.

    see picture at the bottom of my page, scoll all the way to the bottom, http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/mywork-2/

    Michael

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