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My cat, the prima donna
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The once outdoor cat that my husband invited inside has become quite a prima donna.

She is small for a cat and rather rotund. In fact when she took up with us about seven years ago, I thought she was in the family way. But somewhat like Mary Tudor, she has produced no offspring in seven years despite the fact that she looks as if she is with child. So I must assume she is just rotund and that she has been neutered.
She is solid black and has a crooked tail. Her eye teeth (fangs?) are not matching and one hangs down farther than the other one. It gives her a rather rakish look.

When she is outside, she is timid. She stays in the back yard. Even if she follows me down the drive way when I am getting the newspaper, she never goes past the end of the side porch in the driveway and never goes in the front yard. Her reticence is fine with me. I presume she had a traumatic experience with a car and has no desire to go near the road. Wise cat.

She is docile and lets the grandchildren pick her up and lug her around without complaint. Within reason. She does have a breaking point. But even then she just quietly gets out of the way and hides.

If am working in the yard, usually weeding, she likes to sit herself down right in the middle of what I am doing so that I have to pick her up and shoo her away. But she comes right back.

But when she is in the house, she becomes Julianne, the demanding. Julianne, the diva. She talks a lot, usually in a demanding or scolding tone. (Again, I blame my husband. When Julianne talks, he is right there to talk back and do her bidding.) But it may be that while she was an outside cat, she was pretty much ignored, and now that she is an inside cat and gets attention, she is making up for lost time. Lots of lost time.

She talks for the normal reasons. I want food or I want to go out. Usually accompanied by sitting at the appropriate place so that you can interpret her request. I can live with that.

But if she is in the house, she has to be in the room that you are in. She’ll sit on the sofa or couch or under the kitchen table and go to sleep and be happy as long as someone is in the room.

But leave the room while she is asleep? As soon as she realizes she is in the room alone, she starts howling. And she doesn’t stop. You have to howl back at her. So, here I am, all alone in my house except for the cat, yelling at the top of my voice, “I am in the back bedroom (or wherever I am), Julianne.” After four or five exchanges of howls and yells, she usually finds me, curls up on something comfortable and goes back to sleep.

I admit to watching television in bed. She will curl up at the bottom of the bed and go to sleep while I watch TV. If she hadn’t moved in two hours, I generally think she is asleep. But the moment I turn off the television and the bedside lamp, fluff my pillows and settle in to go to sleep, she gets up, walks over me and settles down at the head of the bed. It is invariable. Watch TV at the foot of the bed, sleep at the head of the bed.

She far prefers my husband to me. If he is watching television during the day, she is either on top of him or right next to him. If he moves and disturbs her position, she grumbles and talks to him telling him she is not happy.

I don’t know if all cats are prima donnas and I just didn’t notice Julianne, the cat, while she was outdoors or, if because of my husband’s coddling (he coddles all animals), she became one. I tend to believe the latter.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at