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Pebbles the Persian Cat
Sandy and Rocky with Pebbles. Sounds like a beach? It was the names of my animals - dogs and cat. Sandy was a collie-lab mix and the sweetest dog that ever walked the face of the earth. Rocky was a black and tan Min Pin with adventure in his soul right up until the end and Pebbles, well, Pebbles is a gray Persian cat. Pebbles is a beautiful cat with a near human disposition. These animals all came to me by way of inheritance. I inherited them from my children. The details of those inheritances are certainly a matter for another story but now we focus on Pebbles. We had had Sandy for a while when she was joined by Rocky and Pebbles. Sandy was a collie - lab mix and easy to get along with. Rocky and Pebbles had been purchased at the same time and though they were dog and cat thought they were brother and sister. Sandy had no interest in the cat. Sandy’s attitude about most things was laissez faire. She loved to play and played with Rocky often but ignored Pebbles. I guess you could say Rocky was the middleman. He played with Sandy and he played with Pebbles. He was as much at home playing tug of war with Sandy as he was playing hide and seek with Pebbles. This story is about Pebbles but it’s nice to have her family background.
As I said earlier, Pebbles is a beautiful cat. What you need to understand is that I was never a cat person having never been around cats. When I was eighteen months old and playing in my playpen my Uncle brought my first dog to our house and placed her in the playpen with me. I’ve had a dog ever since, but never had a cat. In fact, I never really liked cats so I just stayed away from them. Well, here I was with a cat. She was small, young and playful but best of all she was litter box trained. I would have no idea how to litter box train a cat, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. She had been living with my daughter for almost two years so she was pretty well settled into her routine which included sleeping in my daughter’s bed, now my bed. Not too bad you say? Well, no, but Rocky slept in my bed too. Did I mention my husband also slept there? Rocky liked to sleep under the covers between my feet and Pebbles slept at the head of the bed, just above my head. Occasionally she would lick my hair for a while before going to sleep. She especially liked my pillow, and would knead the pillow with her front paws. When I got into bed she would make herself comfortable and begin her nightly rituals which also included cleaning her paws. It was really her only people time. She spent her days playing with Rocky or sleeping when the urge came over her.
Being a Persian she has exceptionally long hair, really beautiful. However, that beautiful long hair tends to matt and knot up. The normal solution would be to brush her hair to keep it from getting so unkempt and unmanageable. It seems Pebbles was born with a complete aversion to brushes. As soon as you picked up a brush, even if you hid it behind your back, Pebbles would take off and hide somewhere. We tried and tried but could never brush her hair, we still can’t. So, twice a year Pebbles goes to the Vet for a “lion cut”. She only weighs 5 lbs. When her hair is grown in she looks like a good sized cat weighing much more but when she gets her hair cut she looks like the 5 lb. Cat she is. For whatever reason the groomer says she has no problem cutting Pebbles’ hair and doesn’t have to sedate her to do it. This is the same cat who’s hair we can’t even brush. Go figure. I think she’s like a child who knows when to behave and when not to. For example, when it’s time to take Pebbles for a hair cut she hides. Somehow she senses we’re going to take her out and we have to hunt her down to get her in the car. We gave up on trying to crate her as well. The first time we tried to put her in a crate she put up a heck of a fuss. Then someone said back her into the crate so she doesn’t know what’s coming. We tried that and she put out all four feet to stay out of the crate! Then we tried the laundry basket trick. You’re supposed to put the cat in a laundry basket then throw a blanket over it. She wouldn’t have any of that either. It was hopeless. So, now we just pick her up and carry her. She doesn’t seem to mind that.
Pebbles is not an outside cat. She stays in the house. Sometimes on a summer evening we coax her out of the house and she roams around the backyard. If she hears a loud or strange noise though she makes a beeline back into the house. She seems to enjoy roaming around but doesn’t seem to be too crazy about the grass on her feet. This leads us to the Pebbles disappearance story. After spending time in the backyard for a few nights she started trying to get out when we let the dogs out. Oh, did I tell you she liked to hide in the attic and drive us crazy trying to find her? So now you have the background to the disappearance story. We get up in the morning and after a few hours notice Pebbles isn’t around. We look everywhere, including the attic. Pebbles is gone! Where could she be? I walk the neighborhood calling her name and looking in every nook and cranny I can find…still, no Pebbles. Now I’m beyond worry, I’m frantic. Pebbles is really gone. We figure she snuck out when we let the dogs out the night before. I try to remain calm and start making up posters to put around the neighborhood figuring she somehow wandered off but can’t be too far. After a week, and I don’t know how many tears, I take out an ad in the local newspaper. At the end of week two everyone tells me, it’s too bad but you’ll never see that cat again, she’s either in a ditch or someone else’s house. I refuse to believe that Pebbles is gone for good. I continue to walk around looking for her and uping the reward on our posters. Not only is she gone but it’s a rainy cold time so even if she is out there, I’m told, being a housecat she’ll get sick and won’t make it. Not too much encouragement from my family and friends. I don’t care, she’s got to be somewhere and I won’t believe she’s dead, I can’t even say the word. FIVE WEEKS and no Pebbles. At the end of the fifth week the phone rings. “I don’t think this is your cat, but I found a cat if you want to come and take a look,” the lady on the phone said. She told me where she lived – five minutes away from where we live by car. My husband said not to get excited, especially since the lady said she didn’t think it was our cat. We drove to the lady’s house and she was right, it wasn’t our cat. She tried to get us to take this cat, a kitten really, but I was crestfallen and just wanted my Pebbles. We returned home and continued to wait. Two days later the same lady calls, “you’re not going to believe this but I think this time we have your cat.” Now I’m excited. Again, my husband says don’t get your hopes up, you know what happened the last time.
I have to admit that was the longest five minute ride I ever took. When we got to the house the lady brought us around to her backyard. There, under a fish net, was PEBBLES! The lady said no one could get near her so they threw the fish net over her to keep her there. I untangled her from the net and picked her up. She just laid in my arms and the lady said, “well we know she’s your cat that’s for sure.” I began to cry and just held her in my arms. She was very dirty and skinny but she was found! Apparently she had been living under a shed in the lady’s backyard for the past five weeks. A neighbor had seen her run across the yard a few times but didn’t give it a second thought. As soon as we got her home I called the vet and we took her in for a checkup. She had lost weight, had fleas and parasites and her blood wasn’t too good either. We didn’t get her hair cut just yet because of the additional trauma it would have caused. He gave us medicine for her and said to feed her soft food for a couple of weeks to help build her strength. (She had been eating Iams dry cat food since birth.) We immediately bought cans of food and gave her a little each day. At the end of two weeks we returned to the vet. She had improved tremendously and all the varmints living on or in her body were gone. We got her hair cut and had her bathed to clean her up again. By the end of three weeks she was not only our normal, healthy Pebbles, but she was a miracle cat. A house cat who had survived being in the great outdoors by herself for five weeks! There was no way to tell of the ordeal she had gone through except for a black stripe down her back. Her hair had always been light gray all over but now she had a thin black stripe down the middle of her back. Our Pebbles was back and all was well.
Sandy passed away at the age of 12. We were so sad to lose her. She was a beautiful girl. If you’ve read my other Hubs I did one on our MinPin Buzz. We got Buzz after Rocky passed away at age 13 from a brain tumor. Pebbles survived the passing of her playmate and the introduction of the new puppy with her typical cat-like demeanor. She was curious about the new puppy but was not having any of him chasing or playing with her. She’d let him get just so close and then she’d go and hide. Buzz was of course, very curious about this fuzzy thing and tried to play with her every chance he got. Pebbles would sit and look at him until he got too close then take off. Buzz is now 18 months old and Pebbles still will not play with him. She knows he’s not Rocky and though she lets him get close I believe she doesn’t trust him. She will lash out at him hissing and waving her paw but never with her claws out. I’m sure she could scratch his eyes out if she really wanted to.
Pebbles still sleeps in our bed but now she lays next to my head on the pillow and stretches out. She’s 16 years old and still spry and apparently happy. She still weighs in at five pounds and maintains her independence at all times. Everyone in our family has at least one dog, two of my children have two dogs. When they come to visit with their dogs Pebbles makes herself scarce. She’ll come out at night when everyone’s sleeping, except when my son visits with his dogs. He has a Springer Spaniel and a St. Bernard. The St. Bernard, Vedder, is the most easy going dog you’ll ever meet but I think his sheer size terrifies Pebbles (he weighs 180 lbs.) The first time Vedder came to visit Pebbles hid under our bed and would not come out for an entire day. I don’t know how she did it but she didn’t come out to eat or relieve herself. She has since judged that Vedder isn’t the tremendous threat she thought he was and hides during the day when he’s here, but comes out at night, sometimes walking right past Vedder to get where she wants to go. All in all she’s very adaptable.
I don’t know how much longer Pebbles will be with us, she is now sixteen years old, and prefer not think about it but I don’t think I’ll ever get another cat because I know there’ll never be another like our Pebbles.
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