P.I. Passes Again

P.I. in years past.

P.I. Passes Again

Our animals grace us with their lovely bodies for such short stretches!

This week P.I. passed back into the ethers. It seemed too soon, but then, it always does. He had lost a lot of weight over the last months. Everything we tried to correct with his thyroid condition only made it worse.

We picked him up from the Humane Society on September 11, 2001. We did not intend on getting another cat. I had taken Ramon and Blanca there to get a cat to handle the rat problem at their home down the driveway from us, a rat problem that our late cat, his predecessor Peabody, had kept in check. He noticed me first, stretching his front paw far out from his cage and grabbing me with a claw.

Okay, what I am going to say next may sound crazy, but I recognized this animal to be of the soul stuff of our dear old mean cat Peabody. Peabody caught a rat or gopher almost everyday. Once I woke to see him leaping over our bed with an enormous dark body and going into the closet to eat it. After that we got a screen for the window.

Peabody taught our dogs to respect cats, my standard poodle thinking it sport to chase them— until he met Peabody, that is. Peabody was boss, having the upper hand with even the dogs’ beds, sleeping where he wanted, randomly biting dogs’ tails without provocation. He taught Cincinnati to cut a wide berth!

He also bit people, and particularly when he was done being petted. You simply learned to pay very careful attention to his body language or suffer the consequences. Once he severely scratched the face of a woman who did not pay attention.

Peabody died on my lap. It felt like we were not done.

So I was probably primed when this cat grabbed me with his claw.  I called Donald on the cellphone. “I have found Peabody,” I said. “I won’t bring him home if you don’t want another cat, but…”

Even as I said this, the cat bit Ramon, for me another clue.  “Don’t get this cat!” Ramon warned, “He’s vicious!”

I plunked down a hundred bucks and filled out adoption papers (relevant questions, like, what happened to your last cat) and he was released to us after the answers were carefully reviewed, which turned out to be the day of September 11, a synchronicity that always felt hopeful. On that day of despair, we brought home such life!

He loved Donald (Peabody had been his cat), getting into his lap at first sight and purring fervently. When we got in the car to take him home, he lay on my shoulders (as Peabody had liked to do in the car.) The pound estimated that he was 10 months old and told us that he had spent a good period of time feral. For years he was scared of everyone but Donald and me. When we got home, he claimed his spot on the dogs’ beds as well as his spot in front of the woodstove, all proof of his identity.

He was not as mean as Peabody— I like to think he had evolved some in his last life— but he definitely used his claws. You were careful petting him. He loved it, but got easily overstimulated and bit. He also chased dogs, destroying our new leather couch in the process. He loved hunting, unfortunately preferring birds to rodents, something that has made me seriously reconsider having a cat.

Now he has gone again. We will bury the cat we called P.I. (Peabody Incarnate) on the hill below where we buried the goats and across the path from the wild strawberries where we buried Cincinnati.

Again, I was with him as he passed. I petted his soft, thick yellow mane, shaved a bit for the final blood test. Such a gift, this beauty of cat!

I loved this cat, but I will be honest, as I mourned him, his body eerily still yet seemly alive, I remembered the strewn parts of birds on the floor by our bed and the damage that cats have done to our native bird populations. I realized that he may well have been our last cat. I confess, I whispered in his ear,

Next time, consider coming back as a goat.

On guard for rodents in the basement office, the place we sanctioned hunting!