This was our cat, Ponce. We pronounced his name “Poncey,” but he also answered to, “Hey, you stupid cat, quit crapping on the floor.” Ponce came from a dysfunctional kitty family. His mom’s owner was in jail when he was born in the summer of 1987. The birth took place in the jailbird’s backyard. Neighbors gathered up Ponce and his brothers and sisters and found homes for them. One of the neighbors was a friend of Brenda’s roommate at the time. Her roommate took the cat, and Brenda later inherited him when her roommate moved to Whidbey Island in Washington.

Ponce with his toy Ponce checking out the fridge

I remember the games he used to invent, sliding down the edge of the stairs when he was really little, and going under the clothes basket, chasing toes under the bubble bath while balancing on the edge of the tub, and playing behind the door. The latter was his favorite game. It involved the human pretending to not see the kitty behind the door, and hanging a hand down at the side so that it was close to the crack of the door. The kitty then would flash out with a paw and bat furiously at the fingers, then disappear before the human could see what hit it. The more pats by the paw on the fingers, the more points for the kitty. His games always required human interaction. If you were too good at pretending you didn’t see the kitty behind the door, he would stick his head out and give you a look like you were the too dense to be real. This was not a cat to be ignored.

He never went on the kitchen counter, and before Stew, he never begged from the table. He took great pride in walking across the dresser or desk and never knocking anything down. When we put a bell on his collar to prevent him catching birds, he learned how to move and stalk them anyway, and how to ring the bell for his breakfast in the morning.

He was my special pal for 18 years.

Ponce in the snow Ponce on the patio ledge
Ponce outside Ponce waiting for dinner
Ponce on the step Ponce by the fire

Ponce on his rampPonce stayed in good health although it was apparent that he was slowing down in some ways after he turned 15. For example, once he fell asleep while stalking a mouse. He didn’t romp around like he once did, but he still liked going outside for fresh air in the summer and lying in front of the fireplace in the winter. He did have trouble making the jump up to the window ledge in the bedroom, where he maintained a vigilant watch through the night to protect us from rogue bunnies and other potential invaders, so in early 2004 we built him a ramp.

In mid-December 2005, when he was 18, I noticed that a couple days in a row had gone by without any additions to the litter box. I told Brenda, who checked Ponce out and decided that she would take him to the vet the next day. However, later that night (Thursday, December 15), she became more alarmed at his condition and decided to take him into the emergency clinic right away. I was out, but she called me and I met her there. It seemed likely that Ponce’s kidneys had shut down, and, after talking to the doctor, we made the decision to put him to sleep.

The doctor brought Ponce into the room where we were and left him with us for a few minutes. He was lying on his side, his head up, wrapped in the maroon blanket that Brenda had taken with them from the window ledge in the bedroom. Ponce was very weak, but we could feel it when he started purring. The doctor returned, and we continued petting Ponce as she injected him with the euthanasia solution. He was purring right up to the very end. Not a bad way to go.

Ponce in December 2005
This is the last picture taken of Ponce, in early December 2005,
about two weeks before he died.

Click here to see Jeter and A-Rod, the cats we got after Ponce died.

Click here to see Mickey.

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