A Gift That Came Early

The holiday season is all about gifts. Whether you get gifts under the Christmas tree, or during the eight nights of Hanukkah, or the seven days of Kwanzaa, or celebrate the gift of light at the solstice, most of the holidays happening in December include gifts.

This year I received a wondrous gift a little early – he came to live at the Palatial Horvath Estate at the end of September.  Here is the thrilling tale of our adventure thus far.  It’s filled with pathos, roundworms, and a whole lot of love…


Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a young prince who had fallen into despair. He was alone in the forest, frightened, and so, so hungry.

Just to be clear, the young prince was a cat.  But he didn’t know he was a cat.  He knew he was a prince.

To continue…

He didn’t know how he’d gotten into this mess, or why it had happened. He didn’t know what he had done wrong, or what he could do to make it all better. He only knew that he was hungry, and frightened, and lonely.

Then one day, when he was at the absolute end of his rope, he found a big bowl of food sitting outside a house. It was real food, too! Not rocks or bugs! He ran up to it and ate and ate and ate. He wasn’t about to leave that place!

A woman came and when he went up to her to say “thank you,” as courtesy demanded, she grabbed him and said things about “cars” and “coyotes” and “raccoons.”

The young prince had met some raccoons already, so he let her put him in her garage until she could “find him a home.” Whatever that meant.

He was really scared, but there was food in the garage, so he stayed.

Another woman came. He liked her, too, but changed his mind when she came back a few days later and put him in a crate and took him to a place called “vet.”

At the “vet”, there were shots, and talk of already being “fixed,” and mention of roundworms, and medicine.

More on the roundworms later.

The woman took him home to a place she called “The Palatial Horvath Estate” and gave him his own room with a LOT of toys. Well, he knows they’re toys now, but then he just thought they were scary. And he thought the woman was scary. And he thought that the other prince and princess who were already living at the Estate were scary. And they thought he was scary, too.

Then the woman, who was apparently the Queen of the Horvath Estate, gave him this luscious stuff she called “wet food” and that made it all seem a LOT better.  He decided to stay for a while.

The Queen started calling him “Mickey”, which was strange because his name was really Prince Cedric Meow Meow the 532nd. But he didn’t care what she called him as long as she kept giving him the “wet food”.

There were some rocky patches over the next few weeks. The prince and princess who already lived at the Estate were not fond of Prince Cedric (his name wasn’t “Mickey”, no matter what the Queen said). Prince Albion Scratcher Hiss Hiss the 768th (whom the Queen called “Eddie”) took it upon himself to chase the newcomer whenever he saw him. And Princess Celestia Purrskins the 1854th (known as “Tasha”) was scared of him. So the young prince had to entertain himself. But that was okay.

Even though there was food everywhere, Prince Cedric was still SOOOOOOOO HUNGRY. He ate and ate and ate and ate, but he could never seem to fill up. And his tummy didn’t feel well all the time. But he was afraid to say anything. He really liked his new home, even with Prince Albion and Princess Celestia, and he was beginning to think the Queen was okay, too. He slept with her every night and purred and purred.

But it came to pass that one day, the young prince felt…odd. Before he knew it, he was throwing up right at the Queen’s feet.  How embarrassing!

“Holy sh*t!” the Queen exclaimed when she saw what he had done. “It’s freaking moving!”

And it was. Mickey was very interested because the puddle he’d just thrown up was moving on the carpet. He tried to get closer to sniff.  The Queen yelled at him and pulled him away, but he’d seen that there were worms in the puddle. That was pretty disgusting. He’d just thrown up worms.


Then the oddest thing happened. The Queen got paper towels and gathered up all the worms and put them in a plastic bag. Then she got some of the prince’s poop and put that in another bag. And THEN she grabbed Prince Cedric, shoved him in a cage and rushed him to that vet place again. She spent a lot of time telling the vet that he had been “clean”, which, of course, Prince Cedric knew. He was still clean, thank you, because his mother had taught him how to groom himself. The Queen gesticulated wildly, wondering loudly where worms had come from when he’d already been dewormed.

Well, they’d come from inside him. Hadn’t she noticed?


First there was more medicine – not just for him, but for Prince Albion and Princess Celestia too. Then the Queen did a LOT of laundry. And then the litter in all the boxes got changed, and the new litter didn’t smell right anymore, so both princes and the princess had to go from box to box to make sure it did.

With all the commotion, Prince Cedric became more and more anxious. Would the Queen decide he was more trouble than he was worth? Would he be kicked out again?

He’d tried to be good. He’d tried to do his best. He hadn’t climbed curtains or clawed furniture – he’d always been careful to use his scratching posts and he’d always made the effort to at least stand in the litter box. What was the Queen going to do?

One day Prince Albion came to him unexpectedly and said, “Although, lo, I have chased you and will chase you still, I am weary and you do not go away. I sense the intruders are gone from your body, so, although I will continue to chase you for form, you may now call me by my familiar name – “Edgar” or “Eddie”.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Prince Cedric.

Then Eddie chased him, and he did run, but he did not cower long.

Next Princess Celestia came to him and said “Although I am frightened of many things, I am no longer frightened of you for I sense the intruders are gone from your body. You may now call me by my familiar name, “Tasha”.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” said Prince Cedric. And Tasha gave him a bath which was very pleasant.

It was nice to be on more comfortable footing with the other prince and the princess, but Prince Cedric was still worried.

The more he thought, the more nervous he became. What in the world would happen to him?

Just when he thought he couldn’t take it any more, the Queen came to him and pulled him into her lap.

“I don’t care about the worms,” she told him. “I mean, I do care in that I hope I’ve killed the little bastards, but I don’t blame you for having them. I know a lot more about the roundworm lifecycle now, so I know I should have been more cautious. I’m sorry.”

What? She was apologizing to him? Prince Cedric didn’t move.

“But you are one of my princes and you will not leave me. I will never desert any of you. I will never cast you out into the cold. You have found your home, and you will be staying, even if the worms return, although, God, I hope they don’t.”

Prince Cedric hoped so, too.

“You are staying. You will be with me. You are one of my greatest gifts, and I thank you for placing yourself in my care.”

And that was when Prince Cedric realized that the Queen was not just “the Queen.” She was also his meowmy. And he was one of her princes.  The barrier around his heart crumpled and fell.

“My name is Mickey,” he said.

“No,” his meowmy corrected.  “Your name is Prince Mickey.”

And he kissed her right on the nose.

The moral of the story?  Sometimes the greatest gifts come to us in unexpected ways. And sometimes they come with their own challenges and problems. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great gifts.

Although I’d like it a lot if the roundworms were gone now, because that really was disgusting.



And they will all live happily ever after…if the Queen has anything to say about it.





  1. What a wonderful story! ! It brought tears to my eyes. There is a reason for everything, it was meant to be this way. Thank you for being so good to my Masha! I’m glad you have you prince Mickey!

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