Two days after our arrival in Mesa, our 18 year old cat, PC, became ill. He lost his appetite, appeared confused and made trip after trip to the litter box. Monday morning when John got up he found PC still asleep. The fur around his rear legs was wet and the fluid was red. He was passing blood. When his condition hadn’t changed by mid-after noon and it appeared his was in pain , we contacted a vet and made arrangements to have our dear old friend ‘put down’ that afternoon. I’m crying as I write this. It’s been less than 2 months since we had to do the very same thing to our other cat, Partner. Oh Lord, this has been painful and difficult. It feels as if a part of our very being has been taken from us. Life won’t be the same.
Well, that’s the news for today. The rest of this post is going to be written in honor of one of the most loyal, gentle, loving creatures we have ever encountered in God’s creation—P.C., short for Presiding Cat.
Shortly after we moved into our house in Centennial in 1992, we discovered we had mice. Carol suggested we get a cat from the Dumb Friends League. I didn’t like domestic animals, but I didn’t like mice even more; so, off we went to the Dumb Friends League. In no time we were attracted to a small grey-haired tabby. We and that little feline were taken to a small room to get acquainted. Once we were seated and the door was shut, that little guy began walking around and meowing. He explored the room, smelled both of us, and never once stopped meowing. We thought he was kind of noisy, but cute.
When we announced our desire to adopt him, the attendant asked us if we realized the responsibility we were taking on and if we had any idea the cost of caring for this little creature. Naively, we said yes. Little did we realize what would be involved.
When we got home, we thought we would fence the little guy in the kitchen area while he became acclimated to his new home. Ha. He had such powerful legs that there was no way he was staying in one room. He gracefully bounded to the counter top and off onto the floor, meowing all the way. As he explored the house, we settled on the name Presiding Cat.
We quickly learned that PC was not into hunting. He was a ‘watch cat’. If he encountered a mouse or a bird, he would sit and watch it. In fact, he enjoyed watching anything that caught his fancy. He would watch TV, the leaves that moved in the wind, people who walked past our house, anything that moved.
He also watched deer near Yosemite National Park. He didn't much care for them.
During the first summer of his ife, we took our pop-up trailer on a 3-week trip to the northwest and Canada. PC had never traveled, so we took him to the Kitty Spa in Northeast Denver. At the end of our trip as we made our way back into Denver on I-70, we stopped at the Kitty Spa to get PC. When we entered the Spa and I spoke to the owner, PC recognized his voice and began to meow loudly. I quickly found PC, picked him up and carried him to the car while Carol paid for his lodging. Carol drove and PC settled into my lap. We stopped at the Camping World store to make a purchase. I made a move to get out and PC would have nothing to do with that. He meowed and meowed and wouldn’t get off my lap. That was a very moving experience. It was from that point on that we bonded.
We finally solved the mouse problem with mouse traps, much to PC’s disappointment. He no longer had mice walking around the den to watch.
We worked long hours and were often gone from home from 7 in the morning to 10 at night. We felt that PC needed companionship and so we made another trip to the Dumb Friends League where we adopted Partner. He was less than six week old and tiny. We didn’t expect any problems from PC because PC was such a loving cat. Wrong. PC began hissing the moment he was introduced to Partner. We had to keep Partner shut up in the bathroom for the first week he was with us. PC would walk to the bathroom door, sit and hiss. It took a while to bring those two guys together, but it finally worked. And, surprisingly, in no time, Partner became Alpha cat. It was his way or no way. When he wanted to play, he would tease PC. When he wanted to nap, he would lay on PC. When he ate, he would eat PC’s food. And all the while PC would gracefully endure his little brother. For the rest of his 17 years of life, Partner slept on PC.
PC loved people. When we had company, he was the first to check them out. He’d smell them, rub against their legs, and sit next to them if he had the chance. Once we had the church vestry and our diocesan bishop for dinner. Before dinner PC was attracted to Bud Boleman, one of the vestry members. He smelled Bud’s legs, jumped in Bud’s lap, and then jumped on the back of the couch and curled around Bud’s neck. Bud had a cat and he thought PC was great. PC thought Bud was great too, but he was such a nuisance that we finally had to escort PC to the basement.
PC grew and grew. His top weight was 18 pounds. He had a big head and a tuft of hair on top of his ears. He looked like a bobcat. His size did not affect his gracefulness or agility. He would go into the bedroom and jump onto the window sill. Then he would jump to the top of the high dresser and jump again onto the top shelf of the closet where he would nap and watch. We once had to stay in a motel for several days while a new hard wood floor was installed in our home. The motel room included a loft on the second floor. PC would take our breath away by walking on the loft railing 15 feet above the floor.
PC’s weight probably contributed to poor health. He developed diabetes and that disease had to be controlled with daily insulin injections and a special diet for over 9 years. For years I gave PC a shot of insulin every morning. PC never seemed to mind; in fact, he would kneel and wait for the shot when I would approach with the needle. We spent so much money on vet appointments, insulin, and special diabetic food. More than once we would laugh as we recalled telling that attendant at the Dumb Friends League we knew what was involved in a feline adoption. We’d chuckle as we speculated on just who was the ‘dumb friend’.
Through the years PC would have good days and bad days. One weekend just prior to our going ‘full time’ in our RV, PC became very ill. He was disoriented, but not in pain. We were concerned about his condition, so I took the blowup mattress to the basement where PC was staying and slept with him for two nights. PC liked to sleep next to me and that option seemed to comfort PC. He came through that episode with flying colors.
One of the funniest incidents in PC’s life occurred one December as we were putting up our Christmas tree. PC became very interested in a plastic grocery bag that contained a silver tree rope. Somehow he got his head into the handle of the bag. When he tried to back out of the handle the bag moved and the rope began to spill out, frightening PC. He started to run. The faster he ran, the more the rope came out, trailing behind him. We’ve never seen him run so fast…around and around and then up the steps to the second floor with this bright silver rope floating behind him. Poor guy was exhausted when we finally rescued him from that awful situation.
PC was wise. When he didn’t feel good, he would stop whatever he was doing and rest until he was better. Once he found a hole in our fence and, being curious, he stepped out of the yard. After wandering around he couldn’t find his way back into the yard. So, he simply sat down, waited and watched. One of our neighbors spotted PC, picked him up and brought him to our door. PC wasn’t about to wander away from a good home.
PC remained verbal throughout his life. We think he believed he was human. Using different tones and varying his voice, he would make his wishes known. We understood him when he said: “It’s time to eat. Feed me.” “Open this door I want to go outside.” “Hey Mom, it’s time to get up.” “Open that door. You know I can’t stand a closed door.” “I don’t feel good.” “Pick me up, Dad, I need a lap.” “Stop it, Partner, I’ve had enough.” PC was an unrepentant extrovert.
PC loved John’s lap.
John loved having PC in his lap. For the past year PC has probably spent an average of 2 hours a day sitting in my lap. He trusted me implicitly. I could roll PC onto his back. No problem, that was the way PC would sleep.
I would brush PC’s hair. Great PC thought, just one more thing PC didn’t have to do. I was forever wiping the “kitty eyes” from PC’s eyes. Now that was something PC didn’t appreciate, but not enough he wanted out of my lap.
In the last years of his life, PC lost his gracefulness. Like the old man he was, he would stagger. He was constantly crossing his front legs to remain upright. He had a hard time getting off my lap, so when he did want to get up, I would pick him up, kiss his head, place him on the floor and hold him up until PC gained his balance. When he went to the litter box he had a hard time lifting his rear legs inside, so we would help each time he peed. We called our efforts…adult supervision.
PC was very ‘condition response’ orientated. If anyone moved toward the kitchen, PC automatically moved in the same direction. More often than not he got fed. If PC was carried to our truck to travel, then a ‘conditioned response’ we called the ‘3 P’s’ went into effect. PC would Pee, Puke, and Poop. He’d do that before we turned the truck on. That was just the way he prepared for a trip. Finally, whenever we were away from the RV, PC seemed to know the moment we arrived back home. We would open the door and PC would immediately step out and climb down the steps. We called it spilling a cat.
In May of this year, just after we arrived at a state park in Alabama, PC fell and couldn’t get up. We rushed him to yet another vet. We were afraid of the worst. The vet examined PC and diagnosed the problem as an insulin overdose. In reality, PC reverted. He had no signs of diabetes and so the insulin he had been receiving was no longer needed. For the last 5 months of his life he was able to live without insulin or the special diabetic food. What a gift for him.
PC was a God-given gift. He loved us unconditionally. And WE LOVED HIM.
Ohhhh, how he will be missed.