Pounce deLeon by Teresa / Your Grieving Mama…

His mother was an injured, terrified feral, Miss Sparkles, I had found on the street and nursed back to emotional and physical health. When I finally could afford to get her spayed, the vet told me it was too late, oh, well! Got home from work one night, Sparkles was in the bedroom…My other cats started to meow at me, I thought they were impatient for dinner–until I heard the little meeps coming from the bedroom! There were four of them, still covered in yeechh, born in the middle of my bed!

I knew there was something special about this tuxedo boy from the time he was one day old–I would come in and find three of the kits in a kitten-huddle, but little Pounce, blind and deaf as he was, was crawling around exploring the limits of his little world–the name “Pounce deLeon” came naturally for him! Later, he earned his nickname, “Pouncer-Bouncer”–always the leader of the four, always the instigator of mischief!

He was so loving from the start–when I would come in, he would even leave off nursing to come give me cuddles and kisses, he loved to sleep next to me. But when the babies were just three weeks old, tragedy struck. I came home to find the little girl, Starr, cold and weak. She died that night. A couple of days later, the other boy, Scamper, fell ill…then my little KT-Kitty..They died one by one, only Pounce escaped this virus–but he lay next to each one of them the whole while they suffered, he wouldn’t leave their side until they died.

I felt so bad for the lonely little guy–he wanted so much to have someone to play with, but the bigger cats were not interested. I showered him with cat toys–his favorite was a little soft fur ball he would roll around the house and pounce on. I also got him a stuffed kitten that was just his size–he would wrestle and bite it–then look worried that he’d hurt it, so would then kiss and make better!

He was a sweet-natured and sensitive little boy. If I was upset, he would come and give me a worried little-boy mew in his kittenish voice. He adored–and was adored by–his “big brother”, MaoWang–but he was Little Princess’ special little boy. He loved to have his face washed, and would walk up to her to ask for a wash–sometimes she would be cranky and would growl and hiss, but he would just stand there patiently, waiting–and she always gave in! No one could resist his sweet expression and question-mark tail…

When he was six months old, a stray Persian kitty came to my home and hd five kittens on my porch–four died within a day, only one, Precious, survived. (her story is also here…)–when she and Pounce saw each other, it was love at first sight! I was overjoyed–I hadn’t seen my little guy so happy since his siblings died. He was always playing with her (gently, of course), or cuddling with her–preferably in my lap together!

When she was just three months old, she came down with the virus that had killed Pounce’s siblings. I could see the deja vu nightmare in Pounce’s eyes, his pain was harder to deal with than my own. Again, he would not leave her. He draped himself across her to keep her warm, would purr at her and wash her–he tried so hard to help, poor boy. He was inconsolable when she passed on…Would lie with his head hanging down, and look up at me with a sad little mew when I would approach–we tried to comfort one another.

I had noticed his stomach seemed swollen recently, but tried to tell myself it was just indigestion, it was nothing serious… But one week after Precious first fell ill, he stayed in the basement, and did not come up for breakfast. I was concerned, but thought it was grief affecting his appetite–and I had to rush to work. when I came home late that night, he came up looking dirty, and was obviously in pain. the vet’s was already closed for the night…But I couldn’t leave my boy hurting. I sat up with him in my lap all night, petting him and telling him what a special boy he was, how much I loved him…

In the morning, I carried him down to the vet’s office the second it opened. he took one look and said “Kidney problems”, gave him a shot and said he’d start feeling better soon. I took him home and napped with him in my arms–but when I woke up, he was no better–so I took him to another, more modern (and more expensive) clinic I knew of but had never been to. The vet was wonderful, she took blood and put him on an IV–he was so good, as usual–never struggled at all while I held him. He was always gentle, even when afraid he would never think of biting or scratching. The vet then said the words I’d feared–“FIP”, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. A mysterious, little-understood disease with a high mortality rate….(I read up on it, and suspect it could have been what took the other kittens as well). She said there was a chance of saving him, it would depend on how he responded to treatment. She was very concerned that I may not understand (I live in Taiwan, so she explained in Chinese of course…I get by with everyday conversation, but she had to use some technical terms) so she did her best
to explain things as clearly as possible.

The first two days looked good–he regained his appetite, looked happy and content when I went to visit him in the hospital. He won over the entire clinic staff with his gentle, sweet disposition–no one could resist stroking him when they walked by his cage. I went to visit him Monday morning, he looked so happy and well, the vet said that I may be able to take him home that night! I went back directly after work, happy and expectant. The vet smiled when she saw me, she had fed him two hours before and he was fine. But when we went back to the cages…He was in obvious agony, staring with pain–he didn’t even recognize me at first, until I tore open the door and started petting him…He was so brave–he tried to stop crying; even though he was hurting so badly, he forced himself to purr for me–even in pain, his only thought was to comfort me…My sweet, loving little boy…I told the vet, “HELP HIM!!!” She gave him a shot to ease the pain, then I asked her if there was any way to stop him suffering–no. So I made the hardest decision of my life…

I cuddled him while we waited, petted him and told him how proud I was of him, how proud I’ve always been of him. He was being so brave for me, I did my best to be the same–I held the tears back–until the shot…Then I kissed him, and told him to say “Hello” to Precious for me…He passed one week to the hour after his best friend. Then I cried–and looked up to see the vet crying with me…

Goodbye, Pouncer-Bouncer boy, your “Mama’s Little Boy”…I know you’re finally reunited with Precious and your siblings, exploring and playing pounce-bounce at the Bridge. Wait for me, Darling…I look forward to hearing your sweet purr again.


I'll never stop loving and missing you,
Pounce deLeon