Attention PuzzlePaws Fans! We interrupt the usual blogging of reviews to bring you a special post!
Our lovely mascot, Pandemonium has turned 15! She’s been with me through all sorts of adventures and I thought it a good idea to write up her story.
I started rescue work when I was 14. We lived out in the country, and it was not uncommon for people to drop unwanted pets in the area. The summer I was 16, a scrawny, bedraggled looking tortoiseshell half-grown cat staggered down my driveway. She was dehydrated, dazed and had burnt the skin of her paw-pads on the hot asphalt, trying to find her way home. I ended up naming her Gilligan McGilicuddy after my mom’s old tortie and the fact that Gilly staggered for weeks with her feet wrapped as her burns healed. Gilly was Pandemonium’s grandmother.
Pan was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. She was one in a litter of four, who were called Nick, Nack, Paddy, and Whack. (I apologize for my younger, dumber, racist self.) She is almost entirely black with a white spot on her neck, what is sometimes referred to as an Angel’s Kiss.
My boyfriend at the time, immediately took a shine to Paddy. She was a complete Daddy’s girl. He renamed Paddy to Pandemonium, and spoiled her outrageously. When the relationship ended abruptly after 3 years, I’m not sure who was hurt more, me or Pan, who he left with me. Don’t tell me cats don’t mourn. Pan kept me sane, and I kept her alive.
For years, Pan was clingy to me, and distrustful of any men. I fostered and adopted other cats, and moved several times. Eventually, I moved to Virginia. When Spouse-Critter and I got married, Pan had a really hard time adjusting. We had a tiny apartment, and SC had a fur-son named Zane that had to adjust to living in a multi-cat household. There were cat territorial disputes, and worse, hisses and swats when SC and I cuddled. Pan did NOT want a new Dad!
It took time and moving to a larger house, but after 7 years, Pan will let SC cuddle her and will occasionally choose to sleep on him. But she is most definitely my girl. Or I’m HER human, to be honest.
Like most pet-owners, I’ve developed multiple nicknames for my pets. I’ve always held with T.S. Elliot’s Naming of Cats, and most of Pandemonium’s nicknames are variations of a theme. She is: Pan, Panu, All-the-Demons, Pan-demon, Panna-cotta, Pan-Noodle, Pan-pan, Panda, Newds, and Noodley-o.
When my disease started to get bad, Pan became my therapy cat. She’s mostly self-taught, but being a warm, cuddly, mobile purring companion doesn’t take much. Pan can tell when I’m having a flare or am overstimulated and makes a point of oozing up my body to cuddle on my lap or chest. I’m certain that there is a very special magic that cats have that allows them to go from weighing 7lbs to 30lbs or more.
As she’s aged, Pan has gained a few health issues. She nearly lost one of her nine lives by eating thread from a sewing project I had been working on. It got caught on her tongue and tangled in her stomach. I had a wonderful vet who worked with me to save her, but Pan has had a touchy tummy since. We have to keep her from all yarn and thread, and watch her carefully for eating and drinking too much, too fast.
You’ll often see Pan wearing outfits. She has developed an allergy to fleas (we medicate for fleas, but her brother goes on walks and sometimes brings some home), as well as over-grooming when stressed or anxious. I prefer to clothe her rather than subject her to the Cone. Besides, she looks damned cute!
Pan is the last of her bloodline, my sister who had her half-brother lost him last fall. I’m incredibly lucky to have shared the last 15 years with Pan, and I know that every day is a gift.
Happy 15th Birthday, Pan!
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