Ken Pope

Gracie, a black and white cat, is looking at you while draped over the bck of a couch

I wasn't looking for Grace. But she changed my life in ways I never expected.

Walking around Santa Monica, a friend and I passed a shelter, decided to look inside. Room after room of long rows of stacked crates on each side, a cat in each. At the end of the last room's bottom rows, a paw was sticking out. It seemed to be waving.

I walked over. The cat seemed nervous, almost trembling. I opened the crate and she jumped into my arms.

My friend was surprised when I told him I was going to adopt the cat, but not as surprised as the supervisor in the main office. "We can only keep cats for a limited time before we have to take more in. That cat had used up her time and we were getting ready to put her down this morning."

With a history of severe abuse, Gracie was initially wary in her new setting, and startled easily. Gradually she mellowed.

She was my first cat as an adult, and became an important presence in my life, moving east with me in the mid-1990s. She became the feline matriarch of the family of special needs cats and dogs who came to live in our home.

When cancer attacked her pancreas and liver, the chemotherapy failed to help. Her last day she spent time in her favorite places and ate her favorite foods. At bed time she jumped up into the chair where she liked to sleep. The next morning we found that she had passed during the night.

She brought more into my life than I could ever repay.

Here's a photo of Gracie with one of her friends, Lucy, looking out at an autumn morning.

Here's one more photo, this one of Gracy & Lucy at nap time

Here's a link to the family of special needs dogs & cats who live in our home


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