by Karen McG
Our daughter Shannon and family lived on a rural Arizona acre, with two horses. Her husband Fred stopped at the local feed store to get hay bales for the horses. A young cat was there, looking for a home.
Even though Fred had cat dander allergies, he was taken with this cat’s beauty and calm demeanor. He knew our daughter liked cats (raised with them), and their four girls would love her. They said she was neutered, so he took her home.
Their oldest daughter, our granddaughter Jessica, named her Pumplan (long u, short a). Apparently for a character all the girls were then playing on the computer – some type of virtual community you construct. Pumplan became part of the family, and we all began to learn her personality.
We tried to figure out her cat parental semi-pedigree. She had blue eyes, gray coloring, and she was quite vocal. All traits we thought were Siamese-like.
My husband did a bit of research and thought maybe she resembled the Himalayan breed for some markings, but not for hair length or body shape. But we knew she had some Siamese in her.
A few years after Pumplan had settled in, my daughter stopped at a local shelter and took a dog home. They’d had a beloved collie that recently had died. So this time she chose a Chihuahua puppy. So cute!
She named it Pancho. Pumplan hadn’t much interacted with the collie, who was mostly an outside dog, staying in their backyard. Pumplan stayed in the house.
This new dog was to be an indoor dog. Pumplan was startled! Her domain was being invaded by this high-strung creature! She kept away from him. Pancho was anxious to play with Pumplan, who didn’t want any part of it. This was a stand-off for probably six months.
Our son-in-law Fred started playing mischief-maker. He’d say to Pancho, “Get ‘em” when Pumplan was nearby to Pancho (who by then started getting called by his nickname: “Little One”), or was sleeping in the same room. Chico would stand at attention and then start chasing Pumplan. They’d race around the house. Pancho’s game!
But actually, those interactions started a slow friendship between the two. It gradually transformed first into a kind-of love/hate relationship, at least on Pumplan’s behalf. But it gradually turned into more love than hate until by the next year they were, generally speaking, the best of friends!
They would still play their chasing game on occasion. But it didn’t have the same motivation. It was all in fun.
One time the veterinarian came by for a problem with one of the horses. They had the vet check over the dog and cat while she was there. We all had a surprise to learn Pumplan was male! Not a female as we’d been thinking all along.
When Pumplan was about 12 years old, we moved to California for teaching jobs that were career advancements. We’d make the drive back to visit our daughter and family at least twice a year.
When we’d come in their front door Pumplan would be sitting on the back of the sofa, as if he were anticipating our visit. He’d greet us with meows. Of course, we lovingly returned his greetings. We always referred to “her” – now him – as our Grand-cat. Just as we had Grand-dogs.
We’d always had cats while our daughter and son were growing up. But once our kids were grown and on their own, and our last cat was gone, we didn’t get any more. We weren’t home enough, and traveled a lot.
We didn’t feel it was fair to leave cats on their own as much as we’d be doing, even though they’re pretty good at self-care. We just satisfied our cat-need from Grand-cats, cat newsletters like Meezer Musings, and programs on TV, like “Cat From Hell”.
Sadly Pumplan left us when we estimate he was about 17 years old. He’d recently acted a bit strange when exiting his litter box, running around the house a few minutes right afterwards.
Then one morning he was silently gone. His “best bud” Little One was at a loss. About three months later, Pancho, aka Little One also left this world - our daughter woke up to find him, too, silently gone.
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