I met her 14 years ago. An acquaintance was giving away her cats. Pretty Girl was the last one in the box.
No one wanted her because she was a scrawny, multi colored cat. A diluted calico cat.
I picked her up out of the box and held her to my face. She put her tiny paw on my face. We were both outsiders and connected immediately. The tiny scrawny kitten came home with me and was given the name Pretty Girl.
Pretty Girl blossomed under my care. She grew fat and her fur was soft and shiny.
I was travelling most of that second year she was with me and my family. Pretty Girl did the nasty deed with the other cat in our home.
She gave birth on my bed with my son watching. I was at work. It was a life learning moment for him to watch our cat give birth. It also changed his mind about entering any medical field in the future. Pretty Girl only had one kitten and it became our third cat in our household.
I didn’t want my home to be overrun with cats and needed to have my three cats fixed or spayed. The problem was I was low income and couldn’t afford the fees to get them to a vet.
Then I read about the spay and neuter program run by the Humane Society. I contacted them and was able to have my three cats fixed for free. No more live cats births on my bed.
It was chaotic in my home. I had three cats and a teenager who brought his friends over. There was a firm rule in my home about my cats. No one was to be rough with them.
Pretty Girl was peculiar about who she got chummy with. My son and I were one of the rare ones she allowed to pet her and she slept on my bed. For some odd reason, she didn’t like human females.
My home life had a down turn and I wasn’t working as much. The rent didn’t get paid and we got evicted. That was an unsettling time, but I was not about to give away my cats.
Fortunately, I was able to find a new place that accepted my three cats. It was a circus on moving day. Trying to move as fast as possible. My cats were the first to move in.
Pretty Girl made her complaints well known about being put in a cat crate and in the car. Once we were all settled in, she would’t talk to us for a couple of days. That was her cat attitude. Haughty and proud.
Life got better after I bought a home and there were no more worries of a landlord having concerns with my three cats. I was a responsible pet owner. My cats had their annual shots and a check up by a veterinarian. They were well fed and taken care of. All my cats were indoor cats and not allowed outside.
Once I did allow one cat outside, but found him under a car. The neighbourhood children were throwing rocks at him. My poor cat looked confused; he thought the boys were going to pet him. My cat never knew what was abuse, as he was treated with love. I kept the cats inside for their own safety.
Pretty Girl was my cat. My morning coffee was not complete without her sitting next to me and complaining about something. I would jokingly tell her, “Was your water not the right temperature?” Pretty Girl’s reply was an ugly meow. She had the worst sounding meow that I ever heard in a cat, but it was her own.
We would sit there together doing our morning routine. Then, when I was writing or editing pictures, she would lay next to the laptop. Watching me with her green eyes.
She would swat my pen off the table to get my attention. Pretty Girl was even in some of my media interviews that I did as an activist. She didn’t like the female reporter, but loved the camera. I was always taking pictures of her.
The past year Pretty Girl began losing weight, but was still eating and drinking well. She still ran around my place late at night.
Then, last week I found her laying next to her water dish. Not moving, she was awake, but very weak. I picked her up and held her.
My concern was that she wouldn’t be strong enough to take her to the vet. The next three days, I tried spoon feeding her. Going out to buy her favorite soft cat food.
Then, she quit eating. I carried her to my bed. Carried her to the couch. If I didn’t do that, she would struggle to climb up next to me. All she wanted to do was lay next to me. Watching me with her green eyes. This was her place: to be at my side.
Pretty Girl was trying to prepare me for our final good byes together. She was my companion. My fur feline counsellor when I had my down moments. Keeper of all my dark secrets of my past.
Realizing that she was dying was difficult to accept. I made arrangements to have her put down. I took her to the Humane Society for her final farewell. The staff was gracious enough to let me have our last moments together in privacy.
My last words to Pretty Girl was I loved her. She was so calm and queen-like in her behaviour. That was my Pretty Girl: regal to the end.