Saturday, June 30, 2012

So Who is Petunia Louise?

Yesterday, we introduced you to the Petunia Louise Community Cat Room.    Today, we'll learn a little bit more about Petunia Louise.  

First, a photo of the beautiful the gal.  She just celebrated her twentieth birthday.  Doesn't she look remarkable?


And here she is, in her own words, in a little piece she wrote up for the opening of her room.    

I’ve heard there’s something new at the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County, and it has my name on it. It’s the new community room, and I’m so honored! I thought I’d introduce myself – I’m Petunia Louise Suprenant. I’m a 20 year old tortoiseshell tabby with white, or at least that’s the block I ticked on my census form. Twenty, you say? Yes, it’s true. Quite a life span and a great life for a feral kitten, indeed.

My mother was a cat that was left behind when a family moved out of a neighborhood. When she was ready to give birth to me and my brothers and sisters, she built a nest in a woodpile behind a new house that was being built. Some nice little boys found us with her just a few weeks after we were born. One night, my “adoptive” mom was having dinner at a friend’s house, and the little boys brought the kittens – including yours truly – around in a cardboard box. They told the story of the cat being left behind, and how they had been feeding her but they were worried about the impending winter and the tiny kittens. One of the fellows picked me up and told my mom that I had been especially hard to “catch”, and had squirmed deep into the pile of logs. They said they had found a home for my birth mother, but that the kittens still needed homes. My adoptive mom knew that these kittens were too small to eat on their own, so she took them home. She made a nest for them in a box tipped on its side and put it in a small, warm bathroom and fed them with an eyedropper.

I’m not going to kid you here – I was frightened out of my gourd! The other kittens became more outgoing and ventured out of the box and explored the bathroom – all I could think was “something bad is going to happen, get back in the box!” My mom would come in and lie on her back and read, and the kittens would climb all over her like she was Gulliver and they were the Lilliputians.

 Every once in a while, she’d gently reach inside the box, under the soft blankets, and find me and pull me out. She’d put me up near her neck where it was warm and I could feel her pulse. As soon as she let me go, ‘though, I’d high-tail it back to the nest, although it was more like I “low-tailed” it because I was so scared. And then, one day, I guess I forgot how scared I was when I was nestled under her chin, because when she released me, I stayed there and fell asleep. That began a 20 year love affair that continues to this day.

Francine, Me, and Bumper.

 My mom found good friends to give the other kittens good homes – they were gradually learning to trust people and to enjoy domestic life. I was a harder sell on the whole trust thing, so she decided to keep me as her very own. She slowly introduced me to her king cat (Bumper, 24#) and his sidekick (Francine, 6#). There was plenty of room for me in Bumper’s big belly, as you can see. She also had Golden Retrievers, and although I’d never seen a dog before, I could tell instantly that these were kindly ones.

 After I received my Ph.D. from Yale – okay, I’m just seeing if you’re still with me, I didn’t really get a college degree – the years have passed in peace and health and tranquility. I have a heart murmur and a little cardiomyopathy, but I take a pill for it every day and it hasn’t been a problem. My kidneys aren’t at 100%, but heck, I’m like 96 years old in human years, and who doesn’t complain of something at that age? Oh, and I’m deaf as a stone – or at least that’s what I’ve made the people here think so I don’t have to obey their requests. Obedience is highly overrated as a life skill, in my opinion.

I’ve always been very cautious and shy. Okay, I was a ‘fraidy-cat. There, it’s out, I’ve admitted it. But, the funniest thing happened to me when I was about 14 years old. I’m not sure how to account for it, but I got over my fear. Mom’s husband takes full credit for it (she tells me husbands tend to do that), and that may be true. Or maybe I looked back over 14 years and thought, “Nothing bad ever happened to me, what am I worried about?”, or maybe I had a little fortuitous senility and just plain forgot I was afraid. Who knows? Whatever happened, I’ve become quite outgoing. I used to wait until guests had left the house before I complained loudly that those were not good people and they should not be allowed back on the premises under any circumstances. Now, I tell the guests that right to their faces! In fact, I’ve been known to put on a trackball clinic right under the kitchen table for people without the mad skills I’ve been blessed with.

Me, after getting drips from the faucet.

 I’m well-loved by my people and the other pets, I have a fabulous heated bed with a convertible top and my choice of various delicious kitty foods. In short, I started life as a feral kitten and have lived it as a Queen. I think all kitties deserve such a life.

In my heated bed, tail out position.

 Thanks so much for naming this room after me. I’m truly honored that it will exist long after I’ve gone to heaven to join Bumper, Francine and other beloved friends. And thanks for all you do for cats and kittens, particularly the wild ones!

So, as you may have figured out, Petunia Louise's ma is our dear friend, Cynthia, who's generosity has help make so many positive things happen at the shelter.   We appreciate you so much, Cynthia,  and we'll never be able to adequately thank you for all that you do.   You are awesome.  

And speaking of awesome, don't forget our awesome $5000 matching donation challenge is still on.   Make your donation now, and your dollars will be doubled until we reach that $5000 cap.  

We're half way to meeting the match, and we have until Midnight Sunday to do it.  

If you would like to support our shelter, and help make shelter improvements for the cats, like the Petunia Louise Community Cat Room, please visit our FUNdraising page to make a tax-deductible donation.  

Thanks!   We'll be back with lots more today!  We've got a name to announce next!  


  1. Have to admit I got a bit teary reading this.

  2. What a beautiful story! Cynthia and Petunia Louise ROCK!!

  3. Cynthia she is one lovely lovely old ladycat!

    She is the oldest Ive ever seen a cat turn out to be! Love her colour and the fact shes not scared of people any more!

    *Hugs and purrs* Petunia!

  4. I was blubbering like a fool reading the story of Petunia Louise's life. God bless Cynthia!

  5. What a gorgeous cat and what a life! Thank goodness for those sweet little boys who found her.

  6. Oh Petunia - what a wonderful story! Sending love and purrs to you and your Mom.

  7. This is such a beautiful story. I can't believe that beautiful kitty girl is 20 years old! She looks like a young lady to me =) Cynthia, you are an angel!

  8. What a wonderful story! Petunia reminds me of my once-feral-feline and what a scaredy cat he is, too! Sometimes it's the chicken-kitties that steal your heart the hardest <3

  9. such a lovely story and such a lovely puss! thanks so much for being her wonderful mom Cynthia!


  10. What a neat story, and what a pretty kitty! Thanks for sharing and thanks to Cynthia and Lauria for being Kitty Rockstars. :)

  11. Petunia is a beautiful girl, and clearly she's had a wonderful life with Cynthia, who has to be a kitty angel of the highest sort! Thank you for sharing this sweet story with us, Cynthia, and for all you do for the Itty Bitties.

  12. :''') Beautiful story of a beautiful cat and a woman with a beautiful heart!

  13. I love your story, Petunia Louise. Thank you for sharing it. I'm glad you now have the gumption to tell guests when they are not welcome and I applaud you for your initiative in conducting trackball clinics for those of us who need to work on our dexterity. :)

    Cynthia, you are an absolute *angel* for kitty-cats everywhere. Thank you for all that you do. God bless you.

  14. This is the kind of story that makes one cry. Petunia is such a dear cat, and her mom is an angel. Thank you so much for sharing this heartwarming tale.

  15. I am teary eyed here too. Cynthia is an angel and we are all blessed to witness her example of kindness and generosity.

  16. I cried too as I read Petunia Louise's story. And to learn her mom was IBKC heroine Cynthia...well, what a team those two make to help less fortunate kittehs! The community room is a brilliant idea to help promote adoptions - and is a wonderful tribute to a special girl!

    My own tortie and white is only 18 years old. I will tell her Petunia Louise's story and I am sure she will purr her approval!

  17. She looks wonderful for 20 years old. I will read this to my elderly cat and tell her I expect her to live just as long.

  18. I love Cynthia and Petunia Louise! And I love the IBKC for bringing us together.

  19. What a beautiful lady.

    There seems to be something in my eye.

  20. Petunia Louise you are wonderful! And you so make me miss my sweet Boo, who went to the Bridge two years ago at the grand age of 21. *sniff* Big hug to you and your mom!!

  21. Aw, thanks everybody! Petunia is a great old girl, and even the vet says she looks great for her age. Of course, she's quite old, and if she has a few days when she seems a little quiet, I do what Irish Catholic ladies have done for centuries -- I hang black crepe. I tell my husband that I don't think she's feeling well, and nobody lives forever, and that we've had a great life with her, etc., etc.. And about an hour later, she's under the kitchen table playing a vicious game of trackball and meowing her head off. I pull down the black crepe and say she must have had a little virus. :)

  22. Cynthia, thanks for sharing Petunia Louise with us.

  23. What a wonderful story! Petunia sounds like quite a character.

  24. Petunia Louise has had quite a wonderful life.
    Her namesake room is a wonderful space for kitties to relax and be discovered!

    Petunia, please give your mum (Cynthia) a kitty hug of thanks for us.

  25. Holy mother of... That's almost exactly the story of my dear departed Gretchen. She was a torbie, too. She was born to a feral, was the only cat we kept from the litter, and for the first 15 years of her 19-year life, was a figment of my imagination -- as I had no way to prove to guests that she existed. Suddenly, just like Petunia, she got over it and became the most whorish lapcat in the world. She stayed so pretty and youthful up till the end, just a few weeks shy of her 20th birthday. Here she was at 17.

  26. I am just now seeing this! I was out of town (as usual) at this time last year. SO, I missed it! What a wonderful story to read. I had wondered who Petunia was, and here was her story all along. I hope she is still sleeping in her warm bed and enjoying her long life.



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