My beloved Pompom passed away yesterday morning. I don’t know the cause. Most likely a seizure or stroke. I found her when I went to feed her breakfast. She had passed during the night.
Pompom (Pom) and her two siblings, Pancake and Pumpkin, were rescued from a horrible hoarding situation in Los Angeles. A 1,200 sq/ft house with 250+ cats. Rescuers said there was about 4” of what looked like dirt covering the floors. In actuality, it was dried cat feces. I remember being sent a video of the hoarder, standing in a room, a huge smile across her face, throwing handfuls of kibble like she was seeding a lawn. Cats were flying through the air trying to catch a piece of kibble. It was horrifying. A video I will never watch again.
Even more horrifying is the fact that Pom and her siblings have moderate-to-severe CH. They have trouble standing and walking, let alone, the ability to jump or leap to get a piece of food. I can only image what it must’ve felt like being trapped on the feces-covered floor, just hoping a cat would miss, and a piece of kibble would fall in front of them.
Once Pom, Pancake and Pumpkin were removed from that house, our Los Angeles rescue partners weren’t sure if the three would survive. They were grossly underweight, dehydrated, and barely mobile. They were placed in a temporary foster, who would give them the care and attention they needed. And, most importantly, the love that they never knew.
And I truly believe it was the love that helped all three survive.
Pom and her siblings started to gain weight and strength. And, on January 18, 2015, all three were healthy enough to fly up to us via Pilots N Paws.
At that time, SNAP Cats was operating out of my guest house in Dry Creek Valley (Healdsburg). We had just started taking special needs cats, and these three were rescue numbers 3,4 and 5. All three siblings were mobile when they arrived, albeit, they moved slowly and deliberately. Pom and Pancake continued to gain weight and strength, while Pumpkin remained thinner and less active. Still, all three were so much healthier and stronger than when they were rescued. I was very optimistic all three would be able to shed their horrible past and live long, healthy lives.
In December, 2015, we moved into our current facility on Petaluma Hill Road. Six months after that, Pumpkin passed away. I don’t know the cause. Probably a stroke or seizure. This was devastating. I don’t think I cried that hard since I lost my kitty, Blanche. I had so much hope that Pumpkin would make it. She deserved to make it. She survived Hell in LA. But looking back I realize that she just couldn’t shake her past. It had caught up to her. And there was nothing anyone could do to get her over that.
Meanwhile Pom and Pancake continued to thrive. And on May 31, 2016, Pom, Pancake and a blind kitty, Bijou, were adopted by Lindsey and Austin. The young couple fell in love with our kitties instantly, and, learning on Pom’s and Pancake’s past, wanted to give all three a wonderful, loving home. Although Pancake and Bijou were very happy, Pom was not. And she made it abundantly clear by not using the litter box. We tried everything we knew to make Pom more comfortable. But she just wasn’t happy there. Since Lindsey and Austin were renting, this was a huge problem. So, a few months later, after exhausting every solution we knew, Pom came back to SNAP Cats. This, of course, broke Lindsey’s and Austin’s heart. But as soon as Pom returned, she started using the box again, so that made things a bit easier on the couple. Pom was home and happy again.
Meanwhile, Pancake thrived in his new home. Lindsey and Austin eventually adopted another SNAP Cat, Mr. Cuddles (now named Beef), and all three got along great. Then, out of the blue, Pancake had a massive seizure. Poor Lindsey held him helplessly knowing there was nothing that she could do. She prayed Pancake would survive the seizure. He did not. Pancake passed away in 2018.
Later that year, Pom became less mobile. Eventually she stopped walking altogether. Knowing that she was very happy here, and that everyone here loved her very much, I adopted Pom. After all, she was home.
Despite her immobility, Pom became the mommy cat to all of our kittens. Kittens were just drawn to her. Like a magnet. They’d find her bed, nestle in, and fall asleep on Pom’s stomach. Pom would bathe them, snuggle with them, and take care of them like they were her own. She had that unique gift of unconditional love.
So, our routine with Pom took shape. Every morning I’d pick Pom up out of her bed and put her in a secure location to eat her breakfast. Then, I’d place Pom in the litter box to do her thing. Then, I’d place Pom next to a food bowl (with kibble) so she could snack a little more. Then, I’d place her next to the water fountain to wash down the kibble. Then, I’d place her in her favorite spot out on the catio, cover her with a soft blanky, and let her sleep with the sounds of nature around her. This is where the kittens would find her. Nestle in. And sleep as well.
Yes, Pom always seemed happy here. Yes, she had her periodic hissy fits when she wanted to be anywhere else but where she was. But she was happy. And that makes her passing a bit easier.
I can’t say that I thought Pom would live a long life. I knew she wouldn’t. I knew this day would come sooner than later. At breakfast every morning, when I’d peel back her blanky and pray it wouldn’t be that day.
Yesterday was that day.
I will remember Pom for many, many things. For the warmth of her spirit. For her strength to survive. For her quirky sleeping positions. For the amazing cat that she was.
But most of all, I will remember Pom for the joy that she brought to my life.
I will miss Pom so very much. So. Very. Much. And I know everyone who knew her, met her, or watched her in our kitten room… I know you’ll miss her, too.
Thank you, everyone, for giving Pom so much love and attention. I know she appreciated it. As do I.
Here are some videos of Pom and her siblings. Enjoy.
https://youtu.be/Xg-ATuJggvk – Pompom
https://youtu.be/m_K6f1NNFug – Pancake
https://youtu.be/_aR81Ru48us – Pompom and Pancake
https://youtu.be/ZaTJW4TmL2k – The Rescue
Gallery of some of my favorite 3Ps pictures