We adopted this magpie cat, a sort of cast off from one of our kids. Abby is not an especially nice cat. She bites, and I’m usually the one she bites.
Several times she joined me on the sofa, and after some petting she just hauled off and sunk her fangs into my arm. Deep, like to the bone. It hurt like hell. Needless to say, I don’t pet her anymore. My daughter had nicknamed her “the psycho kitty,” a fitting name.
Abby came to live with us over ten years ago, when Tracy decided to marry Eric, who was very allergic to cats. Chuck and I had finally become a true empty nest with no kids and no pets. The kids’ last cat had died a year or so before. We had had sweet Grey for over eighteen years; and when she passed we decided “no more animals”. But Abby needed a home, so we said yes.
Abby had always been a tough kitty. There were stories about Abby charging out from under the bed and entangling herself in Tracy’s hose. After several pairs of ruined hose, Tracy had her declawed. She would also attack people, but she was still a kitten so it was just kind of cute.
Now she is a 13-year old 22 pound cat. She’s huge, but can move fairly quickly. Sometimes, I believe she still thinks she’s a kitten. She’s also smart. She’s the only cat we’ve ever had that knows her name.
A few weeks ago when Tracy and her family were in town, her youngest three-year-old Bryce was awfully enamored with Abby. We kept telling him to leave her alone because she bites. A few minutes later when we weren’t around, we heard a blood curdling scream from downstairs, which is Abby’s domain. Sure enough, she got him.
The poor baby had two sets of fang marks on the top and bottom of his wrist. I thought, “Well, we won’t have to worry about Bryce and Abby anymore.” Now when Bryce sees her, he says, “Abby bites,” as if he’s sounding an alarm for anyone nearby.
Which brings me to another idiosyncrasy of Abby. She might be very good at protecting herself from the human race, but her hunting skills are practically nil. As far as I can tell, she has never killed anything outside of a slow lizard, thus her other nickname “PETA.”
It isn’t because she doesn’t try. I’ve watched her many times sneaking up on birds, squirrels, and just about anything that moves. They always fly or run away. Her biggest problem is a lack of camouflage, but she’s also just plain clumsy.
I’ve never come home to a dead bird on the front steps.
There was one bird, though, that she got. One day after work just before Christmas, I came home to a bit of a mess in the living room. There was a pile of broken ornaments underneath one side of the Christmas tree and an entire swath of decoration looked like it had been dragged down on that side.
Confused, I couldn’t imagine how it had happened. No one had been in the house all day. I looked around for anything else out of place, but the room and the rest of the house seemed untouched.
So I got a dust pan and hand broom, got down on my knees, and began to clean it up. That’s when I saw movement back behind the tree in the shadows. At first I thought about a varmint that might have gotten into the house. It had happened before. Raccoons used to get in the garage all the time. But then I realized it was Abby, and she was holding down something with her paws like it might run away.
Abby finally got a bird.
It was a fake red soft ornament that looked like a Cardinal. I remember clipping it high on the tree several days before.
No way was she going to let me take away her bird.