It’s never easy to say goodbye to a cat, especially if it’s your first. We had had Kismet, aka Kittyface, aka Poo-Poo Kitty (long story) since before we were even married, which by that time was almost twenty years, and she was very skinny, deaf as a doorpost, not eating well, and pretty feeble. I came home one afternoon and Mary was holding her in her lap, crying. She said "I think it’s time we let her go," she said, and I agreed, so we took her to the vet and sent her beautiful soul off to the bridge.
About a week later, Mary said, "let’s go to the pet store and look at the kittens." People would bring strays and litters that they didn’t want to our local place and the owner would find homes for them. The way he worked it, if you bought a bag of food, you got a kitten (if you wanted one). He kept them in a large cage at the front of the store, as a hint to shoppers that yes, he had kittens available.
We got into the store and Mary immediately saw a black-and-white "cow cat," looking adorable at the bottom of the cage. My eyes were drawn to the little gray tabby that was climbing the bars of the cage, trying to get our attention. Well, of course, I fell in love, and after a little finagling, got Mary to agree to take both kittens. The owner of the store cut us a deal: both cats if we bought a large bag of food. We went home with two kittens and a 25 lb. bag of Meow Mix.
Mary named her little guy Mikey. He was kind of a comical little guy, a medium-hair with most of it sticking out all over. I took one look at mine and said, "her coat looks like pepper," so she was named Pepper.
In those days I’d get up at 6 AM and sit at the computer and write for an hour before getting ready and going to work. The first morning Mikey and Pepper lived with us, they both climbed up on my bathrobe and perched themselves on my shoulders, Pepper on my left, Mikey on my right. They did it for the rest of the week.
Unfortunately, Mikey didn’t do so well. One afternoon he was droopy and sluggish and before we knew what had happened he was headed to the bridge. I was shocked and Mary was devastated. For her part, Pepper never came into my office and sat on my shoulder again.
I’ll save the rest of Pepper’s story for later.