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Pinhead - Eight Year Old Domestic Shorthair - From: Glenolden, PA, USA.

This is the story of the first of two cats that I have.

This cat saved my life, when I got him I had no idea that it was going to end up that way.

I'll start with how I got him: Somehow I ended up in a relationship with my first ever girlfriend 27 years later. That's a real long story. But anyway her 19 year old daughter worked in a shoe store. One day she was in the back and she heard a little meow coming from the front of the store. Apparently someone put a five month old kitten in the store in hopes that she would take it home. Well she did, but the household had a problem... too many pets! They had five dogs and three other cats. So her mom begged me to take the cat and despite my reservations I agreed.

Have you ever had a day that you remember like it was yesterday despite the fact that it was almost ten years ago. I remember every detail of that day I brought him home. She provided me with every thing that I would need to get started and off we went back to my place.

Unfortunately she lived about 80 miles from me in another state and I had to cross a big river to get home. It was in the summer July 15th, 1994. It got very hot that day and as we were driving back it got real dark almost like night. I quickly realized that we were driving into a big thunderstorm, but I did not realize how big. In the mean time he was exploring the inside of the car, then the wind came and then the blinding rain. We had not even got to the bridge yet.

I lived about 15 minutes on the other side of the bridge. It was hard to see and the wind was blowing the car around. In the middle of all of this he was perfectly calm trying to decide whether to go to sleep in the seat next to me or in my lap. Of course he chose my lap. He started needing the inside of my thigh, purred some and then promptly went to sleep. In the mean time I was frantic trying to control the car. We finally reached the bridge with the wind blowing about 45-50 miles an hour and some cars had just stopped because the drivers could not see. We finally got to my apartment in the pouring rain. I did not have an umbrella so I had to carry him and his stuff in the pouring rain from the parking lot to my front door. And again he was very calm and did not struggle even once. I put him in a chair and he looked so pitiful, like a wet rat. I got a towel and dried him off.

I had a grown cat when I was five for a couple of years, but this was my first kitten. That night I'll never forget it. I was trying to set him up with some food and get something to eat myself. The first thing he did was jump up on a table and try to drink from some plants that I had growing in water. I guess he did not realize that the containers were not glued to the table, because him and the containers went headfirst over the table onto the floor. It was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. I laughed for a good 5 minutes. In the mean time I almost stepped on him about five times because he insisted on walking in front of me. Even when I went to bed he would run over the bed at full speed only stopping to attack my feet. In retrospect I think I know why he was so calm during that storm. He must have realized that he found a home and that I was taking him somewhere safe. I found out later that he has very strong empathic abilities that he uses on me all of the time.

So here's the really interesting part. About six months before I got him I was diagnosed with something called duodinitus, which is an inflammation of the lower part of the stomach. It was induced by having my mother in intensive care and on a respirator for 4 weeks after she got a massive infection from a routine surgery she had. The doctors prescribed some medication and said I would fully recover in six to eight months. Well it did not happen because the condition is aggravated by stress. The symptoms are stomach pain and vomiting. I guess I'm one of those sensitive people because I was sick a lot.

About a year after my diagnosis I started throwing up blood and promptly went back to the doctor for more tests. He said my diagnosis had not changed (except for the six to eight months part) I had just gotten worse! He told me I had to reduce my stress level or I would get something called a perforation. That's when the stomach lining wears away and the contents of your stomach, mainly bacteria mix with your blood and you get a system wide infection called sepsis. If you do not get to a hospital and have that part of your stomach removed within 5 hours you will die. Needless to say, I cut back on my work. I had to take about a year off and just stay home. It severely damaged my career, but what was I to do. I could have had the surgery to prevent the perforation, but it was a risky operation that a certain number of people die from.

Pinhead was just amazing during this time. He was a constant source of stress relief and seemed to know when I was not feeling well and knew what to do about it when it happened. When I was not feeling well he would sleep with me or follow me wherever I went. I did not realize he was doing this until sometime later. If I threw up on a particular day I would know that within 24 hours he would throw up. I've seen this happen over and over again. This was not by chance because it started happening the other way around as I got better. I've heard about this type of thing before I got him, but was very skeptical about it.

I don't know exactly how he knows how I'm feeling from day to day I just know that its not my imagination and that its real. But whatever the reason I am very glad to have gotten him. Again, I looked back on how all this happened and realized that it was about something much bigger. If you think you're in control of your life and the events that occur around you think again. We are all a part of this thing called life. It's probably not what we think it is.

Now seven years later I'm out of danger and feeling almost normal. As for Pinhead he lives the best life I can afford to give him. He's very spoiled and has a mate to play with. I go to extra lengths to see that he's well taken care of. I used to feed him cat food until I realized that it was made from all kinds of by-products not fit for human consumption. Now I cook for him. He loves rare, but cooked beef especially prime rib. He devours freshly cooked turkey and really likes tuna fish. Believe me he eats the best food money can buy. He's a very active indoor cat that's quite happy with his life, but also intelligent even for a cat.

This cat understands English probably better than I do. On command he will sit, roll over, shake hands, and walk on his hind legs. Its quite a sight to see an almost 4 foot long 22 pound cat coming at you on his hind legs with his head cocked to on side. It's hysterical and he does it to make me laugh. I guess you could say that this is a very lucky cat to be in this type of situation, but all I can think about is the life that he gave me. He's truly an amazing creature.

Author: Michael Alexander - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved.

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