Holly, my lovely adult niece, saw a beautiful, fluffy white cat the other day, the type of cat that melts hearts and makes everyone who sees it automatically reach out to pet it. Well, almost everyone. She stepped back, heart rate speeding up, and ended up with awful nightmares of being chased and attacked by a gorgeous white cat named Frosty.
Frosty is indelibly imprinted on the memories of everyone who knew her. She was born in the 15th litter to “the Happy Hooker”, as her mom was known. Thirty-five years ago not many people kept their cats inside, only a small number got them fixed, and very few vets would spay a cat that was pregnant. “The Happy Hooker” was a genius at getting out as soon as her kittens were a few weeks old and getting impregnated again. Frosty never had kittens and was inside all her life, but she definitely inherited her mom’s iron will and determination. From the day we adopted her, Frosty set all the cat rules of the household, and terrorized all the children who came over. She wasn’t a vicious cat, but you never knew what she would do. My niece still remembers being at our house and needing to go down the hallway to the bathroom, but seeing Frosty sitting quietly in the way. Holly would wait until she couldn’t wait any longer and then run as fast as she could past the cat. Most times Frosty just sat there, probably laughing inside at the panic she created. Other times she would stretch out her paw and, with perfect timing, slice furrows into the passing child’s ankles.
Although Frosty ruled the household with an iron paw, we loved her anyway. Most of the time Frosty was sweet, but she never failed to let us know when we displeased her or crossed her invisible lines. I’ll never forget Frosty’s trip home after she was spayed. The vet had kept her over the week-end when the surgery had been delayed because of unexpected emergencies. When I arrived on Monday to pick her up, the vet’s staff let me know that she had been rough on everyone. Back then we didn’t worry about seatbelts for people or carriers for cats, so I put Frosty on a soft bed in the passenger seat of our car for the trip home. I had driven only about a mile or so when she stood up and moved from her bed to my lap. I thought “oh, how sweet, she missed me and wants to sit in my lap.” Wrong! She did want my lap, but only for a litter box. When Frosty finished leaving a smelly, warm pile on my jeans, she daintily stepped back to the soft bed in the other seat and just stared at me. I was in shock trying to get to the side of the road and clean up my legs, but she was quite contented, purring away, having made her point.
Not too long after Frosty was spayed, my husband brought a new kitten home. Pepsi was a cute little tabby and Stan knew our daughters would love him. The dogs liked him too, so it looked like the newcomer would fit right in. We felt pretty smug, until heading for bed that night. Right in the middle of Stan’s pillow was a pile from Frosty. She knew who was responsible for bringing in the kitten, and clearly wanted her opinion known.
Our daughters loved Frosty too, even though she could be hard to live with. Sheryl, our youngest daughter, was delighted to have Frosty sleep on her bed each night. Eventually Sheryl got tired of having to sleep with her legs curled up just because the cat was taking up most of the room at the foot of the bed. Sheryl decided it was her bed, so she should be able to stretch out, and shoved her legs out straight. Almost immediately her legs were raked by claws right through the blanket. Sheryl reluctantly curled her legs back up, but kept waking up all night because her legs were hurting. In the morning Sheryl found blood on the sheets and long scratches down her legs. Frosty met her match with Sheryl though, because that little girl was just as determined as the cat was. Sheryl still wanted the cat on her bed, so adjusted to her, but when they had a battle of wills over a doll buggy, Frosty was the loser. Sheryl put the cat into a pink doll buggy and wheeled her all around the house. It was so cute, right up until Sheryl wanted the the cat to get out of the buggy. When Sheryl tried to remove her, Frosty clawed at her hands. Sheryl then put her hands under the buggy and tried to just shove the cat up and out. Didn’t work, the cat just clawed through the bottom of the buggy. Sheryl thought about it a little, then shoved the doll buggy hard into a wall, tipping the buggy over and dumping the cat out.
Oddly enough, Frosty was great with our dogs and with the tiny rescue kittens that filled our house for years. I think she thought the Great Danes were just big, soft pillows and curled up to them whenever she wanted to sleep. And when we had kittens in the house Frosty was like a grumpy aunt. She would just move away when they tried to climb on her, or gently swat one away that was too persistent. Not once did she show any aggression towards the babies, even when they would get around her food, bed, or litter boxes.
Frosty lived with us for over fifteen years, and in left a huge hold in our house and hearts when she passed. We still think of her and miss her, and all the children she disciplined still shiver a little when they remember her.