(Sometime in 1994 - November 23, 2014)
Pearly was my beautiful Ragdoll cat. She was born sometime in 1994, and adopted by our family in 2001 when she was seven years old. I had doubts at the time about adopting such an 'old' cat, but her personality made it impossible for us to walk away and leave her languishing in her SPCA cage.
The day we walked into the pet store and headed for the SPCA corner we had no intention of bringing a feline into our family. We were killing time, as they say, waiting for something that has been lost to the sands of time...an appointment or something I think. At any rate, the SPCA corner was a place to get a glimpse of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, all waiting for forever homes.
That day there were a few grown cats, a lot of kittens, and one black dog that seemed to have springs instead of legs. He was in a fenced in area in a corner of the room, and would jump straight up about four feet in the air, and he did this continuously.
Pearly sat in her cage and stared down at him like he was some kind of a freak.
When my oldest son put his face next to her cage to get a good look at her, she walked over to him, put a white paw through the bars and flipped his glasses up.
When I came to look at this spectacle she broke her gaze at my son and locked eyes with me.
Her meow was soft and sweet, not at all yowly or horrid.
She explained to us, in her native tongue, that she was meant to be a part of our family, (at least that's what I imagined her to be saying) and we had no choice but to immediately fall in love with her.
We adopted her on the spot.
Pearly was pretty much the boss of the two dogs who were already a part of the family when she came. She would chase them away from food that she wanted for herself, or force them to leave cozy beds when she decided she wanted to take a nap.
At 20 pounds she was a pretty big cat, but still, the dogs were a border collie/lab cross and a ridgeback/pitbull cross...they outweighed her by a lot. It was her confidence and attitude that made them move.
In the thirteen years that I knew her, Pearly exhibited that confidence and self assurance always.
When I'd have guests over to the house she would sit at the table, on a chair, and get in on the conversation. She would softly meow and look around at each person.
If people were in the living room sitting on the couch, she would pick someone that she especially wanted to get to know, and place a large yet delicate white paw on their cheek and hold it there while staring into their eyes.
I often heard, from laughing, startled people, "What's up with your cat?"
She was persuasive and always managed to get what she wanted, which was usually a pat, a kind word, or a piece of cake!
The years went on and eventually the kids moved out, the dogs passsed, and it was just me and Pearly.
She would greet me at the door every evening when I came in from work. She was eager to tell me about her day and would do so in the soft voice she always had.
She learned to walk on a harness and enjoyed outings on days without rain.
As these fairly recent years passed, she became more and more needy, and would wait for me outside the bathroom door, and sleep curled up on my back at night. She hated to be alone.
She loved to be held like a baby. I could carry her around on her back all day long and she'd purr and purr, occasionally reaching a soft paw up to touch my face.
She was an easy creature to love.
In the end, all the trips to the vet just confirmed one thing...unfortunately there is no cure for being a twenty year old cat. If such a cure existed she would still be here, waiting at the bathroom door, getting in on the conversation and causing a sensation on her harness.
Pets give us so much in return for what we give them.
For the first time in years I am totally petless, which is a situation I need to remedy soon.
I would love another Ragdoll, even though I can't replace my Pearl.
I'll just have to take a trip down to the SPCA and see who's there waiting with a soft meow and a friendly paw.
(Pearl gazing at her face in her water bowl two days before she died.)
Happy Holidays to everyone!