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Purrscilla and Sunny

When it comes to making a decision about pet adoption people are not the only ones who spend time weighing all the factors. Just like people, animals too try to assess the personalities of their potential owners and get a sense for how reliable and dependable a person is. It is a well-known fact that cats are very skilled psychics. It may appear that cats prefer being by themselves, but they are actually constantly evaluating people, getting a feel for their character and life resources.

Four years ago this female cat appeared in my backyard. After living there for some time she left without a trace. She did return after a while, but this time around she was not alone – she had a kitten with her. We decided to name the mom cat Purrscilla. When her kitten got older and his personality really came through, we named him Sunny because he loved lying out in the sun. It was typical for Sunny to disappear from time to time. Where he went was a mystery to us. The original kitty house where Purrscilla and Sunny lived was very close to the forest. The house was surrounded by bushes and shrubs with a clearing off to one side. The forest close to the house was quite large. Once in a while you’d see Sunny disappear into the forest for a walk. While Sunny was out, a fox started visiting the house. She’d come to feast on the cats’ food while there was no one in sight and it was easily accessible. Unfortunately, there was no way of hiding the food from this unwelcome guest since this original makeshift house was made out of cardboard and was very fragile.

One day a neighbor decided to take matters into his own hands so he reinforced the house and made it sturdier and better insulated. These great modifications to the house, unfortunately, did not stop the fox from visiting and stealing the food. By that point, she had a taste of the good life and was not willing to give it up. Perhaps this sneaky fox was fed up with eating cheese and having to rely on flattery to get a meal. Or maybe she was all out of luck unlike the fox in Aesop's Fables story – “The Fox and the Crow”. Why go to such great length for food when there’s a perfectly easy solution?

What if the fox actually fell for Sunny? After all, he is a healthy, fit and stylish looking cat. He’s got a beautiful white face with black fur on his head, which looks like it’s been parted in the middle. His ‘hairstyle’ is a reminder of fashion in Latvia in the 30’s.Young people used to go crazy for this sort of Art Noveau (Jugendstil) hairdo. Sunny undoubtedly comes across as quite a sophisti-cat-ed trendsetter. Perhaps Sunny himself invited the forest beauty over? After all she does look like a kind of an elegant ‘foreigner’.

After all attempts to prevent the fox from eating the cats’ food failed, a decision was made to build a new house. The aim was to improve the floor plan and modernize the facilities as well as put some measures in place that would prevent the unwelcome guest from entering the bedroom and dining area. While Sunny was out doing who-knows-what who-knows-where, Purrscilla was home quite often and seeing a stranger roaming her territory was very upsetting for her. The unpredictability of this frequent visitor was unnerving for Purrscilla. She knew that foxes are not to be trusted and for good reason.

The new kitty house came out beautifully! It is much better insulated than the old one and provides a much more comfortable space for the cats. The success of this project can be attributed to the work of selfless people who are always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. Thanks to them, we have a whole block of these beautiful houses for cats that now form a new street in Riga – Kitty Street (Kaķīšu iela).

One might say that the story of Purrscilla and Sunny followed a fairy tale narrative. The cats started off with a hay house, then they got a stick house and now they finally have a sturdy brick house that will keep them safe and warm. The fox is no longer an issue for the inhabitants of the house. Purrscilla now watches the fox from the comfort of her new home. It’s very clear from her demeanor that access will be denied to any unwelcome guests. The fox has undoubtedly become an inseparable part of this story and the area in general. Now she’s recognized not just by the inhabitants of the kitty house, but also by visitors and the whole neighborhood. Thanks to Margarita Atlasova for translation.

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