my husband’s soulmate.

I’ve always been a cat person, but I married an artist who didn’t think much of pets.

I constantly nagged my husband about adopting a cat.  Then one day, out of the blue, he picked me up from work and drove me straight to an animal shelter.

I was so excited that I could barely step out of the car.  I was babbling non-stop, telling Dave that he could pick out whichever cat he liked best.  I’d love any one, I promised.  Old, young, fur-less, fluffy, whatever– I’d love him or her forever and ever.

The lady at the shelter was a dog-person and waved us into the cat area while standing at a careful distance.  “Call me when you’re ready or if you have questions!” she said.

I greeted each meowing friend.  They were all beautiful– some louder, some fatter, some strange– but all beautiful.  I gave air kisses to each one as Dave analyzed them with the eyes of an artist.

I know how critical he can be when in that mode, so I reminded myself that it might take awhile to find the perfect cat.

At that exact moment, Dave fell to a dead-stop.  His jaw dropped to the floor and he smiled as if seeing the most beautiful thing on earth.

I tiptoed around the corner to see who caught his eye and came face to face with a wall of empty cages.  There was no beautiful woman here.  There was no cat.  There was no meowing, no swishing tales, and no outreaching paws.  As far as I could tell, there was no living being on this side of the room at all.

Unless…

I peered closer.  Sure enough, there was a movement in one of the cages.

The grey background shifted.  There was a cat in there, and she was the only cat who didn’t bother coming out to say hello.  The only cat who was separated from the others.  The only cat who had the colored notes on her cage indicating emotional and psychological problems.

Dave stepped forward with the unerring grace of a man on a mission and reached half his hand into a cage.  He was met by a swishy grey tail.

He stood perfectly still for at least two minutes before the cat inside turned herself around to look at him.  Her eyes were bright with distrust– yellow and feral.

heartsinair“Hey, Princess.” he said, and I laughed at the nickname for this hairy bundle of grump and nerves.

To her, though, the word was just right.  She reached over and put her hairy paw on his hand,and I could see the cartoon hearts in the air.

We took her home that same day and named her Perdita.

Before letting us take her home, the lady at the shelter warned us that she had been returned repeatedly, didn’t use the litter box, couldn’t meow properly, washed herself like a rabbit, and had street-habits.

Dave wasn’t impressed by any of that data.  Neither was Perdita.

They both stared at the lady until she shifted awkwardly under the glares of those who understood what it was to be different, and the silence of those unimpressed with the missteps of the past.

“Well,” she murmured uncomfortably, “I just thought you should know about her troubles.”

What the lady didn’t understand is that Dave didn’t fall in love with Perdita in spite of her flaws– he fell in love with her because of them.

That’s how true love works.

Perdita, the princess.
Perdita, the princess.
How Dave sees Perdita-- this is his only painting in a gilded, ornate frame.
How Dave sees Perdita– this is his only painting in a gilded, ornate frame.


168 Comments

      1. I reread this today (and my comment). “Sweet” doesn’t do this story justice. In fact, this is about being tough: tough enough to love someone despite (because of?) their flaws.

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  1. Yup, that’s how love works. I like your husband rara. He has class. That’s one lucky kitty. I like the ones that others don’t either. The ‘throw aways’ I call them. For me they are the best. I have 2 cats and one dog that were all like that. I love them to pieces.

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    1. I’m partial to anyone who likes my husband, because– much like Perdita– he has little warning tags all over him, 🙂 They’re a good team of misfits, although I ended up nagging Dave into another cat because Perdita ended up being his. 😀 Still, we ended up adopting another misfit– we just can’t help ourselves. 🙂

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      1. Hey misfits are great! I’ve always felt a misfit so I adopt animals that are and we all get along wonderfully. 🙂

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    1. I know it, and separating her just because she didn’t put on a good show for the visitors wasn’t very nice either. (She was never and has never been dangerous– just anti-social. Sometimes she gets depressed and stares at walls, so they moved her to the other side… so as not to worry the visitors.)

      We couldn’t NOT take her home after all the cartoon hearts started popping up everywhere, 🙂 They were clearly meant to be. She was only deemed “ready to adopt” again that same morning. 🙂

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      1. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away… well maybe they could, they are awfully pretty.
        Let me amend:
        Wild horses couldn’t keep me away for long!
        Thanks for writing!

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          1. OOOO good strategy!
            Send out your wild horsey friends to distract people.Then when they are charmed by the horses the horses will lure them into your blogging world. There they will be charmed by you and you’ll have so many readers you won’t know what to do with them!
            It’s brilliant! 🙂

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              1. Wonderful!
                Just don’t forget when you are rolling in the readers send a few wild horses my way for helping flesh out such a brilliant idea! 🙂

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    1. 🙂 Love stories make me tear up, too, and these two make a great story. They’re well-matched– both grumpy, feral, protective, and loving. 🙂

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        1. 🙂 I thought I remember you talking about falling in love with his squish face, haha– no wonder you picked up on that nuance of the story! 😀

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    1. Thank you! She was actually named Charlie on her paperwork, but she noticeably winced anytime anyone said the name… Dave noticed immediately and changed her name on the spot. It suits her, a strange little name for our strange little misfit. 🙂

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  2. Such a sweet story, and converting non-cat people is difficult without exactly the right cat, like Perdita. But what does “washed herself like a rabbit” mean? I’m imagining something pretty weird.

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    1. Haha! Well, this might make more sense if you have a cat. But cats, all cats– from tigers to kittens– have this very specific pattern of washing themselves. They lick what they can reach, they wet their paws and use that to clean their ears and harder to reach areas, etc. It’s a very methodical, efficient process that keeps them quite clean and mostly dry through the entire process.

      Perdita. Well. She nibbles. She uses both hands at the same time (which words for rabbits, but just makes cats fall over). She sticks out her back legs and just shakes them for a minute or so. She flops around on the ground in circles or rubs her head against walls. When she does try the cat cleaning system, she ends up covered in her own spit. It’s because the first time she was returned to the pound, as a kitten, they kept her with the rabbits because of a lack of space.

      Since we got her another kitty friend, she’s learned the nuances of kitty cleaning. 🙂 Thank goodness.

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  3. What a splendid story! The more I hear of Dave, the more I like the man. I love how he understood and was smitten instantly and Perdita knew it. Two minutes can feel like forever with a cat testing you. I was tickled by it being the only painting is the special frame (as it should be). My husband used to observe couples who had been together for years – especially the ones time had not been kind to and he would whisper in my ear – “He still sees her as she was when they first met; she has never aged in his loving eyes….”

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    1. That’s exactly the case with Dave! After our hard times in recent years, Perdita lost most of the fur on her tail from anxiety, and she’s aged… but she perks up like a bright kitten when Dave is around, and he’ll still stop in mid-sentence because she mesmerizes him. 🙂 It’s a love match, that’s for sure. 🙂

      And yes! Two minutes was too long for me. I was nervous that he was going to lose his hand. Cats are awesome, but they’re also fierce!

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  4. I like cats but I’ve learned not to get too attached to them because we never have them for very long. They always find a way to get out of the house and we have coyotes in the area. After 18 or so cats we finally realized that we just feeding the coyotes.

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    1. Oh how sad! It’s probably not the kindest thing to do, but I teach mine to be fairly terrified of the outside. 😉 That way, they stay nice and safe indoors. We have coyotes, too!

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  5. I have tears in my eyes now. This story is so heartwarming. Finding a soulmate in a cat is very special. Dave and Perdita were very lucky. The chosen name is very special to, as knowing Perdita as a little moon of planet Uranus 🙂

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    1. It also means “lost” in spanish, and is the little orphan princess in a Winter’s Tale. More importantly to Dave, though, it’s the name he gave a fictional cat in a story he wrote for me… a name he thought he made up, but when I read it, I said, “Oh, like the Shakesperian princess!”, and then later my mom said, “Like… lost?”, haha!

      I think he was looking for the Perdita of his story when he was walking around the little kitty orphanage, and I think he found her.

      That little paragraph story, if you want to read it, is on Dave’s blog, where he writes under his pen name:
      http://graysonqueen.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/anniversary/

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  6. It’s always special to see an animal who is shunned by most carve its way into a person’s heart. It’s a great underdog story, and I’m glad Perdita found her perfect home!

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    1. Yes! The lady at the shelter was surprised since Perdita had only ever hissed at her, but was a perfect little creature when sitting beside Dave. Dave’s got that sort of “trust” vibe, though, with animals and small children regardless of their “issues”. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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  7. Typical cat behaviour. I once got a cat simply because he was the only one not jumping up and dowm and going ‘Me! Me! Pick me!’ He just stuck a front paw out through the bars and looked at us. I fell like a shot.

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  8. Aw, Perdita! Beautiful cat. And I love the term “street-habits.” I’m going to need to find a way to incorporate that into more sentences. Glad he found a cat you both could love.

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    1. Get a cat like ours, and you’ll be saying “street-habits” alllll the time. 🙂 She drowns her (dry, already dead, commercial) food and builds hideouts. 🙂 When it comes to cats, I’m easy… I’ve yet to meet one I didn’t love. 🙂

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    1. Awww, I’d be sad if allergies kept me from kitties.

      I know some folk who have cats and mild allergies to cats, and walk around grumbling about them all the time– in which case, I think it’s better to go without. 🙂

      Thanks for popping by, Frank! 😀

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    1. Haha, yes! Everyone always thinks their cat is the best. It’s part of the brain-washing that cats do to us when we’re asleep. 🙂 They sit on us and whisper their magic spells in our ears. 🙂

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  9. Okay, so I must tell you – I saw this post in my inbox this morning as I was checking my email on my phone. The screen isn’t huge, so all I saw was “My husband’s furry…”

    I thought, “Oh boy, Rara must be trying something new with her posts!”

    I admit, I was a little scared to see your husband’s furry something, but it gave me a good giggle!

    Very sweet story, by the way. 🙂

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    1. Haha!! 😀 That’s hilarious, I wouldn’t have been so brave as to click the post. There doesn’t seem like a lot of good ways to end that sentence… haha!

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  10. What an absolutely wonderful story . You had me hooked from the start—your weaving of the love that emerged between your hubby and Perdita was awesome. I love a good story and a good cat story–now that is the best story ever!

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    1. We adopted a boy cat after a year or so with Perdita, to keep her company, and he’s more “my” cat than Perdita… there’s so much cat love in this house, it’s ridiculous. 🙂

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  11. This is beautifully told. I love the line, “hairy bundle of grump and nerves.” As a cat worshiper, I appreciate this. I have a cat with issues, and the Prozac helped him for a while. He has been off the meds for three years now and is doing well. I love your husband’s painting, too.

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 We keep Perdita calm with holistic remedies when needed, though she was on Prozac when we adopted her…. I’m glad your kitty has recovered from the nerves, too! 🙂

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  12. i’m generally not a fan of pet stories (not sure why since I have 2 cats myself) but this? this was just so beautifully told and such a damn good story. thank you for sharing.

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  13. Great story. Our Cat is a rescue Cat too, she is an older cat (I think she is 15 now) and I think she had been mistreated before… but of course not anymore.

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    1. 15! That’s wonderful. Did you adopt her as an older cat? Perdita was already a year or so old, which is already getting close to “too old” when it comes to chances for adoption.

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  14. What a sweet story. I’m not an animal person at all, but my husband has been lobbying for a dog since we got married. I keep wondering when he will finally wear me down…

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    1. Non-animal feel fall the hardest when it comes to pets, I’ve noticed. It starts as “nah, you have to walk them and feed them and buy them things”… and 5 years later, that same person is talking about buying their dog mittens or taking their cat to a psychologist. 😉

      People with pets live longer, you know… just sayin’. 🙂

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  15. You lucked out in the husband department. He has a good eye. Maybe you should take him to buy a lottery ticket.
    I’m a cat person too. I understand the magic. Awesome painting and awesome post.

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    1. Well, welcome! 😀 I’m so glad you found your way here, and I’m happy you decided to stick around and smile. Help yourself to some virtual tea and make yourself at home. 🙂

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  16. This actually made me tear up. I’ve been working on a cat story for a couple of days, so this really struck a chord with me. I love misfits, both feline and human : )

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  17. I’m crying over this post and wanting to run out to the nearest animal shelter! We already have three dogs, one is a rescue, and my husband has terrible cat allergies, so I will fight this urge. Thank you, and your husband, for this beautiful story! 🙂

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    1. 🙂 Haha, I empathize… every time I hear a pet love story, I want to go find another wonderful friend. Sometimes it’s good to fight the urge, though, with 3 pups, it sounds like you probably already have your hands full! 😀

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    1. Growing up, my sister was/is pretty badly allergic so I always had to jump through hoops to keep one. Now that it’s just me and the hubby, I get to have cats that jump on everything and run around all over the place, and leave hair on all my clothes… yeah, it sounds awful, but I still love the little beasts. 🙂 I’m just a sucker for cats! 🙂

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  18. I missed this one! How did I miss it? Darn.

    Anyway, this was a lovely story. A story of discovering true love. And this line . . . “the silence of those unimpressed with the missteps of the past” . . . perfection.

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