Meet the Most Wonderful Cat on the Planet
|December 29, 2013||Posted by Jennifer under I Miss My Mom|
(This post was written on Saturday, December 28, 2013 and published on Sunday, December 29, 2013)
Right now, I’m sitting in a chair with my feet up. My cat Pepper is between my belly and the edge of the keyboard. I have to reach over her to type. It’s a position I’ve spent thousands of hours in over the past 13 years. Chiropractors love me. It’s a small price to pay for loving the most wonderful cat on the planet.
Pepper’s my work-at-home business partner. She has been since the day she wandered into my yard hungry and full of worms. She helps me think. I wish I could say she’s helped me earn millions, but we’re still working on that.
She’s also my best friend. We like to hang out together outside of work.
I’d say she almost caused a divorce, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. She DID cause a divorce! See, I wanted a cat. The guy I was married to 13 years ago did not. Ok, so things had been brewing for a while when she just happened to show up, but I prefer to tell people I chose a cat over my ex-husband because I think it’s hilarious! And, I think it makes her feel special.
The first 2 years of our lives together it was just the two of us in a 1930s farmhouse in the country. She liked to chase mice around the living room while I figured out what to do with my life. I discovered that whenever Pepper wasn’t chasing the indoor wildlife or jumping on top of the kitchen cabinets flat-footed from the floor, she was the sweetest lap cat I had ever met.
This cat would sit on my lap 23 hours a day if I’d let her. My mom used to be so jealous (in a cute sort of way) that I’d found a lap cat. That’s all Mom ever wanted was a cat to sit on her lap without cinder blocks holding it down. Most of the cats she had over the years weren’t interested in sitting still. They were too busy finding dogs to fight with or cars to get hit by.
Mom was so happy for me. She said Pepper and I were meant to be together. And she was right, we are. We’ve had our share of adventures over the years, that’s for sure. We’ve lived in seven places together, been through a new marriage, my pregnancy with Baby B, my mom’s death, and a couple of close calls on her part that have made me appreciate every minute I’ve had her in my life.
There was the time she climbed under the whirlpool bathtub and got stuck in the duct work somewhere between the first floor and the ceiling of the basement. It was like the movie Poltergeist. I could hear her meowing through the air registers, but I couldn’t see her. It was a terrifying experience not knowing how to get to her. If I’d had a sledgehammer, that place would have been rubble.
After about 30 minutes of coaxing her back to her starting point under the bathtub, I was able to reach down into the space between floors where the flexible duct had collapsed when she stepped on it and pull her out. Somehow I managed to stay calm while trying to find her, but the second I got her out, I cried hysterically. Then I nailed the cabinet doors shut surrounding the bathtub. Silly cat.
To be honest, Pepper is not just my business partner and my friend. She’s also my counselor, my dance partner, my bedfellow, and my fashion consultant. No outfit is complete without a little cat hair, you know.
She’s also my baby. When you’re 30-something, divorced, and not looking to have children any time in the near future, you treat your cat like a child. You take care of her, you love on her, you cry over her, you worry about her, and you laugh at all the silly things she does like climbing into air ducts.
Since Baby B was born in 2011, I haven’t had a ton of time to spend with Pepper like in the old days, but tonight we’re getting in some quality lap time.
I almost lost her in late 2010. She got a wicked urinary tract infection and despite the best medical care I couldn’t afford but did anyway, she nearly died. She was in and out of the animal hospital over the course of three months while they kept misdiagnosing her. An internal medicine specialist finally told me she thought Pepper had cancer. She wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy to make sure. Fortunately, Pepper was too sick for the test. Instead, she got a blood transfusion which led to the proper diagnosis. A little antibiotic fixed her right up.
I came ‘this close’ to putting her to sleep several times during that horrible ordeal. I spent every day week after week lying on the kitchen floor begging her to eat something, anything. After offering her every flavor, color and temperature of cat food on the planet along with a daily seafood buffet fit for a king, it turned out the only thing she wanted to eat was cream style corn. I just know that’s what kept her alive. Silly cat.
It was a miracle she pulled through that infection, but it left its mark on her kidneys. They said she had some permanent loss of function, but that cats can do well and live a long time that way. “A long time” is relative I suppose.
It’s been three years and Pepper has been in great health until last week. Her kidneys are failing and failing fast.
Tonight is our last night together. It crushes my soul to think that tomorrow night and every night after that my lap will be empty.
My sweet precious baby Pepper has given me 13 of the best years I could have ever possibly imagined. Tomorrow I have to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.
She’ll sleep with her head on my pillow tonight just like she always has, except tonight she’ll be curled up in a little sick ball. I’ll get to feel her tiny breath on my cheek one more night and I’ll stroke her whiskers one last time as I lie there staring at the clock desperately not wanting tomorrow to come.
This heavy pain in my chest is a small price to pay for loving the most wonderful cat on the planet.