Goodbye, Pearl

  • February 4, 2014
  • James Skemp

This is sad, and something that I had to write. You can probably skip it.

Around 2 a.m. this morning I put my cat down. I'm glad I never changed her name when I got her as it let me give her the nickname of 'pretty girl Pearl,' and I always smiled a little when I said it ("I'm a poet and I didn't even know it").

It was peaceful, and I hope that one day, when I get sick and/or just plain old, that I'll be able to go as peacefully. Sedated a bit, then spending a bit of time with the one(s) who love me, then an injection to slow my heart, with the person who loves me slowly guiding my head down.

She had a biopsy scheduled today, but when I came home and she had eaten little, and thrown up what she had had, and then proceeded to throw up again and again (I lost track after 7), and it was only 1 a.m., I knew I couldn't continue with the plan I had made after the sixth time, which was to cancel the appointment and spend Tuesday with her, taking her in as late as I could to have her put down.

Perhaps steroids could have kept her stable, but that's not life, in my opinion, and I wouldn't want it for me. She's an animal, so as much as I hate assuming she'd want the same, she doesn't know, and couldn't tell me if she did. I think it was for the best.

Everyone I told Pearl about heard the same story I was told when I got her. I knew I did it, but it didn't stop me from telling it because it was a good story.

When I went to one of the 'pet adoption clinics' over on the east side of Madison, so many years ago, I was looking for a cat. Pearl, this pretty grey cat, was bunched in the corner, so frightened. I found out it was her first time there later.

I asked to hold her and she dug into my coat, trying to climb up and over my shoulder. She had all her claws to the end, but hardly ever scratched where she wasn't allowed. I fell in love and signed out the forms to adopt her, and some short time later took her home.

I forget when they told me the story, but I understand that they bought some land and she came with it. One day they found her outside the door with a kitten held by the scruff of her neck. She had had kittens in the barn.

It was good that I took her home because she had been picked on by other cats and would jump up on counters to stay away from them. She never jumped on counters with me, but was allowed to jump on a little table I had in my living room, and even got to drink water from one of my cups, until water damage from her spilling a bit now and again, or something else, caused water damage to the corner of it.

Up until the end she never liked getting held or covered up. And if she was in your lap and you gave her a hug she'd squirm to get away. She also hated kisses, but I'd plant them on her anyway, usually saying 'kisses,' and 'no James, she hates the kisses.'

With her gone I no longer have an excuse for why I sometimes talk aloud to myself, and I caught myself doing it already a couple times. But I accept my quirks.

Towards the end she just had to stay on me. Whenever I sat down she'd want to be on my lap; she preferred a blanket be covering my lap, but she'd make due. When I was laying down she'd lay on top of me, and towards the way end, would even let me move her about a bit, instead of running away, only to come back a bit later after I had settled.

Her flesh was loose on her body, having lost a good deal of weight, but it felt quite interesting and good. And she seemed to purr quite a bit when I did it.

She also got much more vocal. When I first got her I never heard from her. But she spoke much more in the last year or so. I'd come home and would take off my shoes/boots and would hear her right inside the door, crying. I think she did that whenever anyone came in, but part of me thinks she knew my routine. Unlike the dogs that just yap at everything.

She was a very good girl. And she was 'my kitty, mine mine mine.' And I'll miss her. And one day I won't tear up so quickly when I think about her wrapped up in the blanket when I saw her last (once she had wiggled out she was better), but I won't ever forget her, just like I've never forgot Mikey, Yeta (or Yetta?), Nightmare, Pixie, etcetera.

It wasn't the happiest decision, but it was the best one.