Greek-American Stories: Snug as a Rug

June 4, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

Everyone should have some sort of pet; cat, dog, parrot, gold fish…whatever. And I’m not suggesting it because the Pet Adoption Society promised me dinner for two at a fine restaurant. I’m suggesting it because with them in your life, everyday would be a challenging experience. Definitely, they’re entertaining. I’m not sure whose entertainment, however.

A few days ago, my daughter, Ellen, came to my house with her dog, Milo, a rambunctious, affectionate mongrel who loves everybody, children, squirrels, the postman, the suspicious looking individual with a black mask sitting in a darkened windows car. Upon entering, he noticed Sissy, my cat, sitting minding her own business. He decided to go up to her to say hello. What he didn’t know was Sissy wasn’t receiving. But, Milo, not understanding her language, made a 50 mph dash towards her, whereupon Sissy, deftly, stepped aside and let him take the full impact into the adjoining wall. Sissy, having at the last minute leaped up the two steps leading upstairs, looked at the scene with amusement, paused to lick her paw and went to sit on HER sofa chair. While Ellen and I had a lemonade, Milo decided to forgive Sissy for her brief inhospitality and went to try and sniff her once again. Sly Sissy surmised what he had in mind and pretended to go to sleep. Milo placed his front paws to the edge of the sofa chair and stretched his neck out to sniff her. Opening one eye, Sissy waited until he got closer, and in a move that defied the speed of a bullet, swiped him, causing a scratch across his nose. He whined and came into the kitchen to complain. Ellen complained. “Ma! Why do you let Sissy get away with her rudeness?” So, realizing that poor Milo is an innocent, stupid, snitcher, I went inside to yell at Sissy who looked up at me as if to say, ‘He’s presumptuous. I’m not that kind of female.’ But, I shook my finger at her and told her to be nice to our guests, no matter that they look different, weren’t as smart as she is, and are notorious sniffers of anything with fur.

“Bad Sissy!” I yelled. Then, I went into the kitchen and told Ellen what Sissy indicated. “She said she didn’t do it.” I was reminded of the time when, just having had my expensive, oriental carpet cleaned and brought back into the living room, Sissy decided to practice her nails on it. I was frantic. I worried that my beautiful, oriental, Aubusson rug would look like a shag rug in time. So, I decided to have a long talk with her.


But when she did it again, I went to a cat psychologist who lives in my neighborhood. She has a diploma in cat…whatever. People actually pay her to speak to their animals about why they behave like they do; what is bothering them, I mean dogs, horses, and other pets. I asked her if she could psychoanalyze Sissy, find out why she does that, and arrange that she never do it again. After a half hour alone with Sissy, she came back into the waiting room and told me, “She said she didn’t do it!” That’s when I noticed her hand had a long, red scratch across it. I guess Sissy had the last word on it. So, I paid the $25 and left.

That Saturday, Ellen came with Milo but left him tied to a tree outside. Sissy recognized my daughter, but minus Milo. Curious, she went to the window and looked outside and the two pairs of eyes met. Milo looked up at the window and saw Sissy. That’s when he started to jump and struggle to be let loose, barking and yowling, acting aggressively, as if to say, ‘You’re the reason I’m tied up here, you sly, lying, smooth talking, conniving female. Next time I get the chance I’m going to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget, you horror!” Sissy, looking out at the noisy scene with her beautiful green eyes, nonchalantly raised her paw and licked it, her demeanor calm and looking as royal as every self-respecting cat does, she looked out as if to tell that smelly creature, acting like the hoodlum he is, “About time you learned to know your betters.” She turned away. “Now, about that rug.”


This article is part of a continuing series dealing with reports of Greek POWs in Asia Minor in the Thessaloniki newspaper, Makedonia in July 1936.

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