Monday, November 09, 2009

Unconditional Love

I consider myself one of the privileged few whose life has been touched by a number of wonderful animal friends. Today, Percy, one of my favorite friends of all time passed away.

Percy was a rescue cat with the smallest feet that I have ever seen on an adult cat. She also had the biggest heart of any cat that I have ever met. She never saw a lap that she did not try out. I think she was convinced that all humans loved her as much as my daughter, Erin, did.

After being an outside barn cat living somewhere near Harrisonburg, Virginia, Percy was rescued by our Roanoke area vet. When I first met Percy, I knew a cat who enjoyed being cuddled that much would be perfect for my daughter whose other two rescue cats remained a little aloof.

The name, Percy, seemed to stick to the little cat whose sometimes grumpy look had nothing to do with the love she radiated to her human friends. She was also pretty good at soaking up love just like a sponge.

That first trip years ago when I took Percy to my daughter's house in Northern Virginia was just one of many that Percy made. She was a traveling cat. She loved to go wherever my daughter went. Though she would have preferred to sit on someone's lap the whole trip, she did agree to being comfortable in a seat as long as her litter box was not too far away.

Percy had no trouble winning over our Lab, Chester. She even was the only cat that ever managed to withstand the intense scrutiny of my other daughter's two big dogs, Dozer and Byerly. Still she preferred the company of humans to that of dogs or other cats.

Percy did not ask for much in life except a regular dinner and a soft spot for her naps. She got that in spades from my daughter who made sure Percy always had a lap and a warm bed. Percy's daytime bed in my daughter's room was an electrically heated one. Because the two other cats often picked on her, Percy often got a personal escort to the litter box. At night all the warmth she needed came from cuddling with my daughter.

We are going to really miss Percy. Her unique personality touched many people including some known dog lovers. Some of my best memories of Percy are from when I was working at Apple in Reston, Virginia. I would often be the first at home, and I was not above taking a nap before dinner. Percy was always glad to see me. I can still remember how she would drape herself around my neck. My daughter kept the thermostat in the sixties, so a warm bundle of cat fur felt pretty good as I dozed through the national news.

Percy enjoyed her meals. While some cats are picky eaters, I think Percy knew how lucky she was to have Fancy Feast every night on her own plate. She also had a great talent for finding a ray of sunshine and soaking it up. We never knew Percy as a kitten, but once in a while she would play like one. It was far better entertainment than television.

Percy regularly made the trip of seven hours to our beach house. She loved the wide windowsills there. She always acted like it was her home. She would walk right in and expect to have dinner, and then she would go off exploring to make sure we had not moved anything.

When she visited us in Roanoke, she had a special hiding place in our basement. Still the best surprise that she ever gave us was one Christmas morning. We had looked all over the house trying to find her. Eventually we found that she had made her way inside the large dollhouse in Erin's room. You will find her in the second picture in this post.

While Percy is resting in peace, my memories of her will stay fresh especially on a cold winter evening when I could use a little cat fur around the neck to keep me warm.

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