If her birth is known to anyone, they haven’t shared that story with me or the shelter. I got Persephone when she was, by the SPCA vet’s estimate, 8 years old. Her tummy was shaved from having just been spayed.
I did not get her directly from a shelter. A coworker had adopted her from the SPCA where I volunteered. This coworker then decided she was too much trouble, so she asked me “Does the SPCA get annoyed if you take a cat back?” I asked what the problem was & she said “I’m not normally allergic to Siamese, but I’m allergic to this one.”
When I saw her, after coming by the coworker’s house, I said “Well, you don’t have a Siamese. That’s a Himalayan.” The coworker then admitted that it was more that the cat was a pain in the ass. “She wants to be pet all the time. She’s more like a dog. I wanted a cat cat.”
Well, I couldn’t let her take her back to the shelter. I asked my fiancé of the time if we could please please please please pretty please keep her, & he consented if he got to name her, even though we had just adopted a kitten (Baby Neil Cat) a little while ago & already had Martin Cat on top of him.
The shelter had named her Rena Jean. She was not a Rena Jean. My ex named her Persphone (after the chick from The Matrix Reloaded, not the Greek mythological character) & that suited her. So we took Persephone home.
Persephone was a pain in the ass. She had straight up reactive attachment disorder. She would attack me every time I walked by, not in a playful-kitten-hunting-game way, but in a pissy-mean-girls-in-junior-high way. She’d swipe at my ankles with her claws out, and when I’d admonish her, she’d act offended that I’d even noticed her bitchy behaviour. Ten minutes later, she’d leap up & try to steal food off your plate. Later, she’d snuggle on your lap & purr like a proper Himalayan.
It took a while to gently & lovingly break her of the reactive behaviours. I didn’t blame her, because she’d been rehomed so suddenly after months of shelter time. She gradually mellowed after I applied simple behavioural techniques (never reinforce behaviour you wish to cease) & became comfy & happy in the home my ex & I shared together.
She was not entirely happy, though. We steadily became a less happy house, & Martin & Baby Neil Cat, both male tuxedos, excluded her from cuddles either due to racism or sexism; I was never able to decide which. No matter, as Persephone was decidedly human-focused, & the acceptance of the other cats was not terribly important to her.
We also took in a very violent stray who made things very difficult for my chill & cheerful cats. Thankfully our neighbours fell in love with him & took him.
We also had foster kittens for a while. As they were unvaccinated strays, they had to be kept in a separate room away from my grown up cats, but Persephone would sit outside the kitten room & longingly yowl for them. If one ever escaped, she’d run after them & try to scruff them. I’m pretty sure she had a litter or two before she ended up at the shelter. She loved babies.
When I moved to Los Angeles, Neil had never been in the kitty stroller before. Persephone was a fan because my ex & I would take her out in it & she got to meet new people who would inevitably fall in love with her.
Neil yowled going up the mountain. He yowled at the California agriculture inspection station. He yowled down the mountain into Sacramento.
A short while after Sacramento, Persephone had had it with Neil’s yowling. She went over to him (the carrier is big enough for 3 cats), sat on him, & began vigorously washing his face.
Neil calmed down. Persephone continued to sit on & wash Neil the next four hours of my drive (yes, I booked. And didn’t stop).
When we got to LA, the cat stroller was the first thing to come out. I had talked with my new room mate & set up all their amenities in my bathroom. I set out the litter box in the toilet alcove, the food & water in an area near the tub, & wheeled the stroller in once all was ready. I opened the carrier, left, & closed the door. Those of you with cats know you have to rehome them carefully, smallest room to bigger at a time, to avoid nerves & messes. Then my roommate & my friends Scott & Kim helped me move in my crap.
I didn’t open the bathroom door again until everyone was gone & it was time for bed. Neil had managed to get under the sink; Persephone was keen to join me, but not to explore yet.
My roommate & I left the house for a while the next day (I think to get our hurr did) & I came back to this:
So it took a while for them to feel free to explore their new digs, but Persephone was the first to claim damn near everything, including the lap of her new roommate.
The rest of this is mostly going to be photos, because that is why the Internet was created. Cat photos.
She died of lymphoma at the age of 19 on April 29, 2015. I was with her at the vet when it happened. We tried to keep her alive with cortisol shots for a bit to support her breathing, but she just stopped doing things. Every breath seemed like a battle. Neil stared at her 24/7. She was way down a K hole when she went, so I finally got to hug her one last time.
My boyfriend liked to say “She’s a good cat.” I would always correct him, “She’s a terribly behaved cat. But she’s a good girl.” And she was. She wanted to meet everyone (except dogs, as I found out at St. Francis’ Day at church) & she wanted to get into everything. If I was not doing something to her exacting standards, she’d let me know with a series of pissy bleats. She liked ice in her water, the exact opposite litter as Neil, & if her bowl was down below the half way mark, she’d place her paw on my mouth to wake me. If I did not get up & had the audacity to close my eyes again, she’d punch me in the face.
She never once in her life retracted her claws.
One night when my boyfriend visited, she spent the night patting him on the forehead randomly. He reinforced this behaviour by buying her a dress.
She would pick fights with Neil & be incensed when he defended himself. Typical girl. Always walked slowly, deliberately, looking you in the eye. She was cross eyed.
She inserted herself into everything and made messes.
Someone wrote her name on the prayer list at Saint Thomas of Hollywood. It was not me; I wrote down three humans on that same day, but not my cat. Whomever did that, I’m pretty sure St. Francis clapped. Also I love you.