This is the first post in my new agenda for this blog. I hope you enjoy this true story of a most unusual cat who had a most unusual experience finding his forever family.
Fridgie FryPan and the CatNap Caper
Fridgie FryPan showed up one day at the community barns where my daughter Terri and her family keep their horses. It’s not unusual for uninformed, unthinking citizens to dump cats and kittens at the barns. It’s a matter of course for the horse people to set out food and water for the strays and to take those cats who have outsmarted the coyotes for a while to be neutered. Right away Terri could tell this four month old kitten was not your ordinary stray.
“He’s a really cool cat,” she told me. “He likes to ride in the car, in the wheelbarrow, on my
shoulder like a parrot, and even on the back of the horses.”
It didn’t take long for her to decide to keep him. On the day they planned to take the kitten home, something disturbing happened. Terri and her daughter, Staci, were driving to the barns when Terri’s cell phone rang. It was Betty, another boarder. She said, “Terri, do you want that little cat you’ve been taking care of?”
“Yes,” she said, “we’re taking him home today. Why?”
Betty said, “Someone just took him and they’re driving off with him.”
“Stop them!!” Terri shouted into the phone, and Betty did just that. She and her husband jumped into their truck and managed to head off the small car, causing it to stop. She then jumped out of the truck and confronted the two teen-age girls.
“Give me the cat,” she demanded. “He belongs to someone here.” The girls handed the cat out the window and took off in a cloud of dust.
When Terri arrived, the cat was happily batting around a few pieces of bedding straw. Staci picked him up and held him to her as he purred and rubbed his cheek against her face.
“The cat’s okay,” Terri’s husband, Mark, said. “Let’s clean these pens before it gets dark.”
Just as they were finishing up, Terri spotted Betty and walked over to thank her for getting their cat back. The woman looked past Terri—a puzzled look on her face. She pointed. “Oh my gosh. It’s them. It’s those girls who took your cat. They’re coming this way.”
The family watched as a large truck pulled in front of their barns and two teenagers and a large man climbed down out of it. “Can we help you?” Mark asked.
“We want our cat and my dad says we can have him,” stated the taller of the two blond girls.
Terri and Mark had a lot of questions, starting with, “What makes you think this is your cat?”
“Because we dropped him here,” admitted the second girl. “His mother ran off and we bottle fed the whole litter. Our mom said we had to find homes for them and we couldn’t, so we brought him out here.”
Her sister said, “We have pictures to prove this is our cat. And our dad says we can have him.”
Terri looked over at the man, who, up to that point had remained silent. She asked him if this was accurate. He nodded. “If they want it, they can have it,” he said. “They promise me they’ll take care of it.”
“Staci, I guess the cat is theirs,” Terri told her daughter. “We can’t keep him.”
When the man opened the back door of the pickup and unloaded a sewing machine case to put the cat into, twenty-two-year-old Staci shot her mom a disapproving glance. Up to this point, the kitten was relaxed and contented in Staci’s arms. When one of the girls reached for him, though, he started struggling. The girl took him and he wriggled in her arms, squirmed and pushed at her with his paws in an attempt to get away. She promptly stuffed him into the sewing machine case and her father latched the lid down tightly.
“There are no air holes in that thing,” Staci pointed out. “Mom, do they know what they’re doing?”
“He’s their cat, Staci. We can’t do anything about it now, except hope they will take care of him.” With that, Terri looked sternly at the two girls, who promptly lifted the cat into the truck and then scrambled in after him. Terri and Staci stood watching the truck until it was out of sight.
“I’m so sorry,” Betty said. “That’s gotta hurt.”
Staci wiped a sleeve across her eyes. “Yes. I really wanted that cat.”
About thirty minutes had passed and Terri and Staci were preparing to go home, when Staci said, “Wait Mom. It’s those girls’ truck. They’re coming back.”
Sure enough, the truck stopped in front of their barn and, this time, a woman got out. The girls’ father sat behind the wheel looking rather sheepish as their mother pulled the cat out from inside the sewing machine case and asked Terri, “Do you want this cat?”
“Well, yes, we do,” she said.
The woman told her, “I just got new leather furniture, there’s no way I want it. I don’t know what the girls were thinking. So if you want the cat, it’s yours.”
Staci scooped him up and he melted into her arms, purring louder than she’d ever heard him. Of course, they took him home that day.
His adjustment was a little rough, from Terri’s point of view. She told me, “There’s no place he can’t go in this house.” In fact, that’s how he got his unusual name—Fridgie FryPan. According to Terri, One of the first things he did and still does if not watched, is to jump inside the refrigerator. “He loves it in there,” she says.
It isn’t a matter of the cat peering timidly in and gingerly stepping inside. He dives in and forces his way into the depths of the refrigerator where he then lies down as if he plans to stay for a while. Everyone in the family is on refrigerator-door-watch to make sure he doesn’t get closed inside. And Terri has rearranged the food so it’s impossible for him to get in behind things.
His infatuation with the refrigerator inspired his first name, Fridgie.
One morning a week or so after they brought him home, they found him curled up sleeping in a clean frying pan they had left on top of the stove. This contributed to the second part of his strange name, FryPan.
He’s so curious and wants so much to be a part of everything, that, on Thanksgiving, he jumped on the hot oven door when Terri opened it to check the turkey. Yes, he burned his little kitten pads and the family hopes he learned a hard lesson.
They wonder, sometimes, if the cat is less than bright. Did he suffer brain damage at birth? However, shortly after burning his feet, he jumped up into the sink and walked around in some cool water for a while, so maybe he isn’t so stupid.
Comments welcome! They’re what fuel blogs like these and keep them active, fun, and relevant.