Posted by: canthold | July 11, 2008

Pearl’s World

Ever since we theoretically bought Pearl, our cat, for my youngest daughter for her birthday last year, she’s been mine. She sleeps with me every night and walks with me when I take our dog out in the mornings. She comes when you call her by name and the entire neighborhood, save one family, loves her. (They say she terrorizes their cat, but I think it’s a matter of interpretation.)

I call out the front door around 11:00pm for her to come in every night. I’d like for her to come earlier, as I’ve heard there are more coyotes this year and they feed from dusk to dawn, but she is pretty much guaranteed to be scarce until 11. It’s like she wears a watch or something.

Last night, no Pearl.

I called over and over and made quite a few trips up the stairs to open the front door. I had to finally give up. When I call her name she answers with a little mew, and I never heard it.

This morning, I woke up and went straight upstairs to check on her. No Pearl. I hung around outside with the dog while he did his business and I collected the paper. No Pearl.

I drove the girls to their respective camps and when I opened the door to the car upon my arrival, I looked for her to welcome me home, as she usually does. No Pearl.

I spent my day with my heart intermingling with my stomach, churning up that pain that I might never see her again. That unexpected knowledge that the last time really was the last time.

Quite frankly, this bottle-fed cat has always been fearless. She has always approached dogs with an attitude that they must know she’s one of them and give her due respect – or else. She has just always walked around as if she owned the world and we were all just sharing her crumbs. I’ve never known a cat like her.

Just as I was explaining to my oldest daughter upon our arrival from camp pick up – and no Pearl to greet us then either – that we may never see her again and my daughter actually grasped the finality of what I was saying, I opened my front door and there was Pearl, sitting at the top of the stairs looking right at us.

We both about dropped at the shock.

I had left the house with my office door open, as I’ve always suspected that she has a way of getting into and out of the house through some opening to which I can only imagine the location. She must have come in that way.

She’s back, but she’s different. While she usually spends all day everyday prowling the neighborhood and greeting the people she sees on the street, today she spent it entirely indoors with no apparent desire to go back out. She looked humbled. She looked beat.

One of her eyes was trying to stay more closed than open but as far as I can tell, she doesn’t have any wounds on her. She has so much hair that I don’t doubt it would be difficult to find one anyway. She doesn’t walk with a limp or show any outward signs that a trip to the vet is in order. She just looks like she got her ass kicked and handed to her on a plate.

I’m going to keep her inside for a few days – though she might prefer that anyway – just so that she can heal a little more and so that she knows that this is her home and we have a lot of love for her right here.

I wonder what happened to her last night. Perhaps whatever it is will make her a smarter cat and not so fearless. Maybe she’ll learn there are times when she is not Queen of the World. Still, it’s heartbreaking to see the attitude she carried around missing from her today. I will never forget when I saw my oldest daughter’s heart get broken for the first time. To her it is long forgotten, I’m sure, but to me, I hurt even to this day am holding a grudge against the person who did it.

I guess it’s all a part of growing up. And learning. And somehow we grow and move on. I’m just happy to have my cat back. I’m not ready to lose her.

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Responses

  1. I’m so glad Pearl is back. I was so worried there was going to be a sad ending.

  2. Oh I’m glad she came back. My cats are all indoor cats now because I lost too many.


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