Ten years with Princess (a cat post!)

by Radio Somewhere


I’m not a crazy pet person. I learned that from two years of working at a pet-care business. I love animals — but I just don’t need to keep pets the way some people do.

I moved to Seattle with an awesome tabby named Wazee. We had a quite a trip in the car coming 2000 miles from Kentucky and he was a great companion. But when I looked for an apartment here I couldn’t find much I could afford and had to move into a building that didn’t allow pets. Wazee moved in with my ex-husband and I got used to pet-free living.

Three years later, I was working at a toy store. When the senior saleslady announced that her son’s cat had had kittens, and that she was looking for homes for them, I said I’d think about it.

Truth was though, I didn’t really want a pet. I’d got used to having a hair-free home. And I’d had cats in rural, or at least suburban settings, where they can enjoy roaming woods (my place in Kentucky was kitty heaven) — and take care of their business outside. I didn’t relish the idea of sharing a tiny apartment with a cat — and a litter box.

Meanwhile, the senior saleslady, being a very enthusiastic saleslady, had heard my “I’ll think about it” as “yes” and had chosen a kitten for me. The store carried much of the Sanrio line of merchandise and I was rather partial to the Chococat character — which is perhaps why she chose the black kitten.

I was a bit annoyed at first. But this was a very persuasive saleslady, and she talked me around to the idea. I decided I might as well spoil this kitty rotten from the beginning and decided to name it Prince or Princess — just for a laugh.

I enjoyed preparing for bringing her home, once it was determined it was a little girl. I got advice on food and litter from the pet-care store that I would eventually end up working at two years later; and the young lady who helped me has become one of my best friends.

Princess came home with me at age six weeks. That is rather soon to leave mom, but there were young children in the household and they were getting awfully attached to the kittens — so I think there was some concern to get the kittens into their new homes as soon as they were weaned.

The senior saleslady’s husband picked her up from work and so one hot Friday evening in August 2004, he brought Princess into the store — and I loved her instantly. She was tiny, fitting in the palm of my hand, and she got lost in the old towel that lined the little carrier I’d brought. We waited for a bus home amongst the nightclubbers of Pioneer Square. And by the time I went to bed, she’d explored every inch of my apartment, eaten some food, and pooped in the litter box. So I figured she was good to go!

She was not a pretty kitten. At first she looked like a black bear cub. Then she morphed into a bat-like monster. But by the time she was spayed, she had grown into a rather beautiful cat. And I realized that her name was not really suited to her. She’s not much of a princess at all. If she were a human girl, she’d be a tomboy and really into sports.

Whereas Wazee was cosmic and mystical, Princess is very earthly. She also has a wicked sense of humor and really knows how to be a bad kitty!

When I got her I had just turned 42. Knowing that cats routinely live into their twenties, I was a little fearful to contemplate that this was the cat that might see me into my sixties.

Well! We’re more than halfway there!