Persephone is our first cat. We watched her grow from a teeny-tiny kitty into a stubborn adolescent cat, from which she’s never emerged. Having her in our apartment was a mixture of serendipity and right timing, as these things tend to be.
Not that things went smoothly. At least not entirely. On the very same day we picked up Persephone from the Humane Society we thought we lost her. But it was in being unable to find her that she earned her Greek name and it stuck.
There’s no way we can forget that evening. She probably can’t either.
Adopting a DBZ Cat
The Humane Society is just down the road, across the street from the Fairgrounds where horses neigh year round. Luck was on our side the day we went. A clowder of kittens had just arrived.
Though equally adorable, with pipsqueak faces, Persephone stood out by being the most playful and curious. She was ready to go as soon as we walked into the room. Full of excitement and life. After a few sniffs she even curled into my lap, and that was the end of that.
A man at the frontdesk asked us which one. We didn’t think about that. All the kittens looked more or less the same. It’s not easy to distinguish. Look at a picture of kittens and try describing one. Lucky us, Persephone does have what might as well be a birthmark. “The one with the spot on her back leg,” we said. In another life she might have been called Spot the dog.
Persephone wasn’t always named “Persephone.” Her adoption papers read “Bulma.” Apparently the shelter was cycling through Dragon Ball Z characters at the time. That name wasn’t going to last. Something else was needed. Something that summed up the teeny fur ball roaming the apartment. We had some idea but none quite fit the bullseye we were aiming for.
Losing Persephone to the Underworld
Persephone has been curious as a private investigator since the first breath she took in our apartment. No cabinet, door, or seal was safe from inquisitive sniffing, pawing, and mewing. It was adorable; it still is. But then that insatiable need to know became a little too scary for comfort.
While cooing at a picture of our kitty-child stretching between a broken box we lost her. Gone. Nowhere to be seen, or heard. It was as if a slight breeze had snuck in through the screen door and carried her off to kitty-Neverland. We believed it too.
Except the magical island was actually behind the walls. We were convinced (maybe by too much TV) that we had lost our cat to the endless labyrinth behind the plaster. Nightmares of hearing her scratch and cry haunted our waking moments. Home Depot was nearby. We Googled how much it cost to buy a sledgehammer.
Before running out, we let our frantic energy help us search everywhere. We half-believed the absurd theory involving the wall as culprit. But with each second it became more plausible. What else could have happened. Did she turn into a shadow and slip through the crack in the door? Or go scuba diving in the toilet? All ridiculous, all entertained possibilities.
Then in a quiet moment of desperation we heard it. A slight cry. Where was it coming from? Turning the radar to maximum we honed in. The bookshelf. Squeaks were filtering through the books. We scanned each shelf but she wasn’t hiding between them. Was she inside one of the gigantic encyclopedias? “What are we, crazy?” No. She was behind the bookshelf.
Being all too curious she had wedged herself behind the bookshelf while sniffing out the area. Every carefully placed book was thrown to the floor. The shelves ripped clean. Poor Melvil Dewey would have shed a tear. We didn’t care. Gripping the top of the shelf we pulled it slightly towards the floor. Out sprung Persephone as if she had been saved from Hades.
So she earned the name “Persephone”. Like the Greek goddess she had gone down to the underworld for playing and returned again. Except we’re not letting her go back. We make sure the shelf is snug against the wall.
Personality of a Hades Princess
Since then she’s only become more curious, and more stubborn in her personality. Anything new has to be classified and stored away by her nose. If it’s too noisy she’s running to relative safety of the closet until her ears can determine what’s going on.
And she’s a creature of habit. While her ways may change over time, she’s stuck in the same routine for months with only slight variation. Anything that throws her schedule off throws her off.
Right now, that routine consists of sleeping in her cat tower bowl, yawning and stretching while we prepare breakfast, crying until we pet her, back to sleep, playing with Miles, nibbling at some food, crying to play, playing, then back to the bowl—with periodic interruptions from Miles throughout the day.
Then she emerges, once again from her cave to greet us for the day. Then at night she slinks right back down.
Persephone is our first and always will be. We’re still haunted by the night we lost her, but at least we can laugh now. We still feel relief knowing she’s not stuck behind the wall.
Let us know how you met your cats. Did you have a similar freak out, or was it altogether far smoother than out slight disaster?