The first time I saw her, Pebbles was basically trying to climb into the sky.
She was on the top of a cat tree, one of those really tall posts made not just for scratching but for climbing. As she balanced on the very apex of it, this lovely and lithe orange Creamsicle of a kitten actually pushed at the ceiling tiles with her paws.
Her name wasn't Pebbles then. It was Honey, and her brother's was Ashley. My wife and I were only too happy to get a package deal — there were two of us; two cats made sense — and the shelter was glad to have the siblings go to the same home, even as we got some grief in passing from an aide there about how people always wanted to adopt the youngest cats.
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, as we named them, had been born on May 15th and were
8 months old according to their papers. We think that they lived briefly with another family before going to the shelter, but we didn't really have any more info.
My little girl turned 16 yesterday, and before the year is out she'll have lived as long as any cat I had growing up. Fef died suddenly at this age, of a heart problem that was known but which didn't seem to bother him at all, while I was in the midst of a divorce and staying at my mother's house with him as a welcome comfort. I'm not ashamed in the least to say that I cried — very bittersweet tears — upon finding out that my now ex-wife just assumed the cats would live with me. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were no replacement for Fef, but they made his absence easier to bear.
Bamm-Bamm passed away a couple of months ago. I keep attempting to finish and publish a post in remembrance of him [update: done]. Now that his (their) birthday has come around, I find the prospect of acknowledging the joy he brought and mourning his passing even stranger without acknowledging the joy his sister brings, since she's still with us.
We came to realize that Pebbles wasn't necessarily trying to escape the shelter through the ductwork, although given her disdain for most other animals as well as many people that was probably part of it. She just loved to go up — to jump onto something that was higher than the last place she'd been until there was no more higher to go; to climb up the wall, stop, and meow at the heavens (perhaps, we thought, the alien mothership) before gravity brought her back down; to ride around on my shoulder like a parrot.
She's still tiny, especially compared to her brother. While she's not quite as active as she used to be, she still chases things — her tail included — and still often curls up tight into the most precious little ball of fur when she sleeps. She's still sassy.
Does she still get a little frantic sometimes, too? Yeah. Has she become a bit needier, mostly in a cozy way but also crying in the middle of the night, since her brother died? Unfortunately. Do I still love her to pieces? God, yes.
Honey Pebbles Flintstone Saner Lamken, you are the sunshine of my life — and not just because you wake me up at the crack of dawn.
Updated and revised November 2018
Photos © 2011, 2012 Brian Saner Lamken.