The first time I saw her, Pebbles was basically trying to climb into the sky.
She stood atop one of those several-feet-tall posts made not just for scratching but
for perching, known as cat trees, all stretched out — balanced in fact on the very apex
of it. And this lovely, 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, were born on May 15th and 8 months old according to their papers. I believe they lived briefly with another family before going to the shelter, but we didn’t really get much info.
My baby 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, 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 our cats would live with me. I was still absolutely shattered, but Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm made Fef’s departure 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. 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.
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 simply loved to go up; to jump onto whatever 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’d joke, 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 late 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 into a precious, bizarrely tangled mess of furry limbs when she sleeps. She’s still sassy.
Does she still get a little frantic sometimes? 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.
Photos © 2011, 2012 Brian Saner Lamken.
[Note: She finally reached the heavens in late 2017 at the astounding age of 21 years,
5 months, after too long an illness. We both, she and I, had trouble letting go.]