Lilly of the Alley

by Alisa Steady

In July of 1997, at 2:00 a.m., as I was walking back to my apartment through an alley after having taken a break from an art school deadline, I heard a rather loud meow - the likes of which made me halt in my tracks and say out loud, "Kitty?"

I called out to the kitty, and was answered by many distraught mews, until finally, from under a fence came Lilly (who at that time was four months, but sounded much older.)

Lilly of the Alley, as she is formally known, has dominated my life for the past seven years. I think she was the runt of her litter because she is awfully tiny.

She's a tabby with unusual markings. On one side of her body she dons a black swirl. On the other side, it looks like a smiley face turned on its side.

tabby green eyes
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She rarely sleeps with another cat (I have two others), preferring to sleep 'near' one, but no contact, thank you.

As for me, she likes to sleep at the bottom of our bed, in the center, right between me and my husband.

Picture, if you will, two humans lying diagonally away from one another to accommodate a cat in the middle.

Lilly has a quirk - one which caused much stress for me and her when we first met - and this is, she bites her tail. So much so, that a year after our meeting, I had to have the tip of her tail amputated because she chewed it.

It clearly was making her (and me!) miserable. She now has a 'bottle brush' tail which adds to her exuberant personality.

Once the tip was taken (about an inch), I had to put Lilly on prozac (of all things) which worked miracles for us both. She took her liquid meds so well - no cat drama, whatsoever.

Today, we have little flash backs to tail biting. Every March, Lilly will go through bouts of staring maniacally at her tail, and then lunging at it - surprised by the fact that her teeth are a) sharp, and b) biting at her own self.

We call this interesting period "March Madness." However, with much love and tenderness, we've managed to survive the madness together.

I love Lilly with all my heart. She brings such joy to me, and now, my husband (who has finally admitted to me that though he prefers dogs, Lilly is definitely worthy in his book).

Sometimes the greatest gifts that we're given happen to us in the strangest places, at the oddest time.

Photo not Lilly of the Alley. Credit freedigitalphotos.net

Maneki Neko, the Japanese lucky cat.
The Japanese lucky cat is a very popular cat character that has made a journey from East to West. This beckoning cat is sure to bring you luck.

Lilly