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February 20th, 2009 - It's the Pearl the Cat Show!

It has come to my attention, and one might even say... admonishment through GUILT, from a person who will remain nameless, (THANKS, JEANINE. Who works at...  nevermind) that SOME people didn't realize that we have a CAT named PEARL, and that perhaps because she hasn't been FEATURED PROMINENTLY link link link throughout the blog, that we DON'T LOVE HER AS MUCH as our other pets... blasphemer!
Well. To dispel any further rumors and give The Pearl her due, it's time for the...

Pearl sneaks a peak at dinner.

I picked out Pearl the Cat from a litter of a friend of my girlfriend's mom's cat (!) in 1989. I'm fairly sure it was April or May, in the spring anyway. I'm pretty sure it was 1989 because that was the year my dad died and I remember waking up with Pearl on my head to my sister's distraught voice on my answering machine (I worked nights at the photolab then). Pearl had this annoying habit of going to sleep with me at my feet, and then gradually migrating upwards towards my head until I woke up with her sleeping on my face or on the back of my neck. Gah. Finally I'd just end up doing one of those "braying donkey" maneuvers and flipping her back to the end of the bed enough until she got the message. Craziness. Just another thing to add to sleep-deprivation when you work nights and the rest of the world is on the day shift.
Well, I just spent way too much time digging through a box full of old stuff thinking I could find her papers from "The Kitty Clinic" where she was spayed a little before she was a year old. That turned up some interesting and incriminating material, subject to further research, no doubt. But no purloined papers. Note: I saved a lot of crap, and if you grew up in the 1970's, run for your life, I'm giving you advance warning.
Anyway, back to Pearl's story. That means (and I have to do some fact-checking here to be sure) that Pearl is coming up on her 20th birthday. Not bad for the little curtain-climber. 
When I decided I wanted a cat, I wanted a black cat, plain and simple, and I wanted to raise it from a kitten. I picked her out of a litter of about 5 or 6 I think, most of which were various flavors of black and/or with spots. She was the only all-black, and the mellowest of the bunch that day, which was soon to change. 
Pearl in her humiliating "Victorian Collar."
We came home from work one day to find the end of her tail in tatters; from what, we're still not sure.
She ended up having the last three vertebrae amputated and having to wear the disgusting collar and a bright lime green bandage wrap on the rest of her tail for a couple weeks. She had a long tail and you can't really tell it's any shorter.

Note the tail.
It was probably better for her that I worked nights, first 10 PM - 6 AM, then 6 PM - 2 AM. I'd come home and she would be tearing around the house, literally climbing the curtains to the top, running on top of everything; guitars, keyboards, I had a lot of music stuff back then. 
She also had a hilarious routine she would do when she got really wound up. I had a bentwood rocking-chair with a wicker seat and back, that sat in the middle of the hardwood floor at my place on 1st Avenue (not the bar, much further south).
She would give me a demonic look out of the corner of her eye, start tearing across the floor and launch herself Ala Superman onto the back of the bentwood rocker, then hang on to the wicker for dear life as it rocked back and forth until it stopped.
One night I came home and as I turned the kitchen light on she sprang off the counter right in front of my face and knocked a bat to the floor. (I had a fireplace in that ancient first-floor duplex, and we sometimes had "visitors" via the chimney.)

Pearl in her Andy Warhol stage.

I also had a pose-able life-size foam mannequin (for god-knows what reason, got it at Saver's, couldn't pass it up) that was dressed in sweats, a flannel shirt and ball cap. Once during the height of her wigginess, she ran up the mannequin's leg, into his shirt and was running around under his clothes like a madwoman. Every once in a while her head would pop out from between button-holes, or out the collar. I was laughing so hard I just about peed my pants. Crazy kid.
She also had a thing she did that at first I thought was just coincidence, but later found she did it numerous times, I think to get my attention. If I had a guitar sitting on a guitar stand, she would walk by and be doing the cat butt-dance and whack it across the strings with her tail. Boiyoyiiiinngg. Just one whap.
She loved to chase hot french-fries and eat them too. There would be a certain amount of flipping in the air, pouncing, battering back and forth, and then nom! Munch. Head-shaking for the final death-rattle. Munch, munch, munch.

A youthful Pearl at watch on the front steps.

There's no mistaking it, it's DINNER-TIME...!

Nowadays, Pearl lives the good life, usually holed-up in her cushy cat-bed in front of the bathroom heat vent.
She lives in partial seclusion, tries to avoid Happy the Dog as much as possible, although if there is food involved and she is up, she holds her ground and looks disgustedly at him with the laser-beam stare that she has perfected over the last twenty years.
She doesn't grant many interviews, she lets the world come to her. She will usually be happy to sit on your lap when you're having a potty, or occasionally offer herself to be picked up when you're at the computer, on her way to the basement for food or defecation.
She still gets up and down the basement stairs okay, and that's good because Happy knows that's not his domain down there and won't go down them.

Pearl's black has become more of a salt-and-pepper (I can relate) and she doesn't hear as well as she used to.  She can still rev her purring motor just as well as in the old days, but with some added sinusy noises reminscent of Felix Unger from the Odd Couple added in.
She's been through it all with me and is one of my oldest friends.
She's comforted me after crashing my bike, partied, climbed up on the neighbor's second-story roof gable that involved me carrying a ladder up a ladder to get her down, coveted birds from the patio, and has always wanted to get that damn flying dart when I had a dart board in the house. One day I came home from work to a different house and she was standing on top of my bike seat on a bike that was leaning against the living room wall, waiting for the second hand on the new clock I just got as a birthday present to come around so she could try to grab it again.
I'm not sure what I think about heaven, the after-life, or eternal consciousness, but Pearl, I hope you'll be there with us.
We love ya, babe.
- T.

1 comment:

buthidae said...

Happy 20th, Pearl!