Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Purr Little Things"

This poem is spillover from the November 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] bairnsidhe and [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "laughter" square in my 9-3-17 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest and the "service animals" square in my 3-1-17 card for the Disability Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] mashfanficchick in honor of [personal profile] silver_chipmunk. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Purr Little Things"

As a veterinarian, Mary Hugh
saw a lot of "less-adoptable" cats.

She didn't like the way that people
tended to abandon and overlook them,
but she wasn't sure what to do about it.

When Mary mentioned that issue
to her friend Ashna Bansal, then
it got an understanding nod.

"I know what it's like to be
abandoned and overlooked,"
Ashna said, patting her wheelchair.
"Most of my disabled friends don't like
how active I still am, and other wilderneers
don't take me seriously, but I'm not going
to give up climbing trees because of it."

Mary laughed. "Well, you still have a lot
to experience and a lot to offer the world.
I feel that older or disabled cats do too."

"So what do you want to do
about it?" Ashna asked.

"We could start a charity,"
Mary said. "It would be easy
to get the cats for that."

"But then we'd need a place
to keep them as well as a way
to support them," Ashna said.

"We've talked about getting
a house together," Mary said.
"We could look for one that
has accessible features and
plenty of space for cats."

"That's a great idea, but you
are the math whiz," Ashna said.
"How are we going to afford them?"

"With two incomes and no kids, we
should be able to start up on our own.
Then we could offer services for
donations," Mary suggested.

"What kind of services?" Ashna said.
"Maybe we should make a list."

"People who don't have cats at home
could come and visit ours," Mary said.

"Not everyone can travel as easily
as I can," Ashna said. "What if we
did kitty housecalls? Or we could make
videos of the cats playing or purring, and
post those online for people to enjoy."

"I have no idea how to do that,"
Mary admitted with a rueful smile.

"I could learn," Ashna said.
"I already use a computer all day
for writing alternative romances.
Shooting videos shouldn't be
too much harder than that."

So they named the charity
Purr Little Things and set to work.

They found a house together and
turned the back patio into a catio
with all kinds of shelves to climb.

Mary made the basement a cat palace
with climbing furniture and litterbox furniture.
They decided she would clean the downstairs
while Ashna would maintain the upstairs.

The open floor plan made it easy
for Ashna to get around, and she took
the master bedroom with accessible bath.

Mary took the apartment on the side, with
its own smaller kitchenette, living room,
bedroom and ensuite bathroom.

They put a cat tunnel sofa in the family room,
and set the dining table in the kitchen nook
so they could use the dining room/study
as office space for Purr Little Things.

Their first two cats were wary young ferals
that Ashna befriended. Mango and Persimmon
were unlikely to find other owners, but they loved
slinking around the cat furniture downstairs.
Their antics made everyone laugh.

The first videos of them playing
brought in a trickle of donations.

Next came Pogo, a brown agouti
who lost both of his back legs
after a terrible car accident.

When his former owners
abandoned him, then Mary
patched him up and made him
two new prosthetic legs.

Like Ashna, Pogo was energetic
and climbed all over the catio, with
his flashy new feet, making her giggle

After wearing himself out, then
he would flop down in Mary's lap
and purr on camera for hours.

The third was Scheherazade,
formerly a Bengal breeding queen,
now retired. Although she didn't have
much energy left, like Pogo, she was
happy to snuggle up and purr.

It was the lengthy purr videos
that really boosted their cashflow.

Over time, they added more cats
and eventually more staff members,
both professional and volunteer.

Some of the later cats became
so popular that they were adopted, but
Mary and Ashna refused to part
with their "founding four."

A few cats even went on
to become animal therapists.
Others provided comfort and
healing to folks with broken bones.

Purr Little Things turned into
such a thriving success that they
branched out into new divisions.

Mary and Ashna were proud of
their accomplishments, but they still
insisted that the cats did the real work.

* * *


Mary Hugh -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight blonde hair. As a veterinarian, Mary became interested in rescuing less-adoptable cats. She shares a house with Ashna Bansal and their many cats. Together they founded the charity Purr Little Things. The agouti cat in the picture is Pogo; he has two prosthetic legs.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Cat Person, Good (+2) Logical-Mathmatical Intelligence, Good (+2) Outgoing, Good (+2) Veterinarian
Poor (-2) Mosquito Magnet

Ashna Bansal -- She has caramel skin, black eyes, and long straight black hair. Her heritage is Hindu. She speaks Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Nahali, Persian, Sanskrit, and Tamil. Ashna was paralized from the waist down after breaking her back in a fall from a tree, but she still climbs trees using adaptive equipment. She is autochorisromantic and enjoys writing, especially alternative romances for underrepresented orientations. She shares a house with Mary Hugh and their many cats. Together they founded the charity Purr Little Things. The cats in the picture are Mango (lighter orange) and Persimmon (darker orange-and-white).
Qualities: Good (+2) Autochorisromantic, Good (+2) Cat Person, Good (+2) Languages, Good (+2) Tree Climber, Good (+2) Writer
Poor (-2) Feeling Misunderstood

Autochorisromantic/Aegoromantic - Is someone who enjoys the idea of romance, but not wishing to be a participant in romantic activities (based off of autochorissexual / a disconnection between oneself and a romantic target or fantasy).

* * *

See the exterior of their house. The doors have ramps instead of stairs. The back catio has many shelves and other cat furniture. The cat is Scheherazade, a Bengal who used to be a breeding queen, now retired.

This is the floor plan. The covered patio in back has been converted to a large catio. The open floor plan makes it easy for Ashna to navigate. She has the accessible master suite with a shower seat, and the sink nearest the toilet has roll-under space. The kitchen counter nearest the master bedroom is lowered and has roll-under space. They put the dining table in the nook so they can use the dining room/study as office space for the charity. The family room features a cat tunnel sofa. (See a video of it.) Mary has the side apartment. Generally Ashna cleans the main floor while Mary manages the basement.

The basement includes an open cellar, laundry, powder room, and mechanical room. The open cellar has been turned into a cat palace with climbing furniture and litterbox furniture. The downstrairs laundry is dedicated to cleaning cat things.

Cat cuddler is a real job.

Purr Little Things is a Terramagne-American charity which rescues cats. The ones they can't find permanent homes for are put to work as purr generators. Among the services offered are borrowing cats to purr on people -- very popular in cases of grief or broken bones -- and making videos of individual cats or piles of cats on a bed purring. Even some of the "less adoptable" cats have found homes after becoming popular through the videos. Purr Little Things customarily hires a core staff of a veterinarian, assistants, office manager, and a few cat cuddlers; the rest of the work is done by volunteers. Both paid and unpaid positions are popular among retirees and people with disabilities. The program is so successful that branches of the charity often break even, and sometimes turn a profit which can be reinvested in helping more cats. (This concept is replicable; purr videos in particular and cat videos in general attract a lot of attention online.)

There are image and (mostly) text posts about adopting less-adoptable cats.

Cat purring has healing effects.

The internet has a cat. Purrli is a customizable purr generator.
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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