The Cats, Part 2: Pericles

The previous post was about OJ. This one is for Pericles.

Poignant Pericles

Pericles is special. The day after my Mom passed away, I went to the store to get something or the other. When I got back to the house, there was a box on the front porch. I looked at it and thought jokingly, did Dad get a kitten? I went inside, and Dad was standing in the kitchen next to the glass sliding door of the sun room. I put the packages down on the kitchen table and probably asked him, “What’s that box out front?” I can’t remember if he answered my question, but what I do remember is looking at the glass door and seeing an orange, striped kitten standing on his hind legs with his paws on the glass. He meowed; I squealed and fell in love.

I asked Dad where the kitten came from. He said it was in the front yard so he decided to bring it in. Just a few days before, I was remarking to Dad that one didn’t see any cats wondering around the neighborhood. Dad remembered this conversation and thought that this kitten must be some kind of miracle. I believe that to be true. I believe that my Mom’s spirit found Pericles wandering around without anyone to take care of him, and she nudged him in the direction of our house so that he could be with me. The only other explanation is that the kitten sensed that I was going through something difficult so he decided to come over and take care of me. Those explanations are for those who believe in the mysterious and the magical. I’m one of those people.

Me and Pericles in our first week together
Me and Pericles in our first week together
Pericles up Close
Young Pericles

The next few days were busy with visitors to the house. The doorbell rang frequently and every time it did, Pericles would go running to the door. I would chase him, yelling “kitten, kitten!” He didn’t have a name yet.

He made those first few days without Mom more bearable. Sure my mother was gone, but I had this cute little bundle of fur to take care of. It was fun to watch him dart around the house and try and climb things that should not be climbed (like kittens are wont to do).

One day when he and I were in the living room playing kitten games, his name came to me. I looked at him and thought, Pericles, that’s his name. He didn’t seem to mind the name, so we stuck with it.

Historically Pericles was a statesman in ancient Greece. He’s referred to as the first citizen. There’s a Wikipedia article about him. The word Pericles means surrounded by glory, and I think that he is.

I think the reason I had the name in mind is because of a character on an episode of Bullwinkle and Rocky called Pericles Parnassus. I’ve got a few seasons of Bullwinkle, and I’ve watched a lot. I guess the name was just floating around in my subconscious.

The day after Mom’s funeral, I packed up the car (including Pericles and his litter box) and headed back to Bloomington. When we arrived at my apartment, OJ was waiting, and he had a few surprises for me. He had decided to use my bed as a litter box, and he left a dead mouse in the living room.

I was happy that he killed the mouse and I understood the poop in the bed thing. I found out that Mom was not going to last very long late in the evening about a week before. I had time to pack a few things and get OJ’s food and water dispensers filled before I left. OJ didn’t get any warning that he was to be left alone for the week. When I  think about this now, I realize that OJ probably couldn’t have prepared for my departure. He’s a cat, not a person. But still I cut him some slack for his misdeed. After all, I was bringing home a new kitten for him to get used to.

To make a long story shorter, the two cats finally got to know each other, and settled into a solid feline friendship.

They did have their spats. Here’s a video of one.

And that is the story of Pericles. I could go on, but I won’t.

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