Well, it looks like whenever Pearl decides to cash it in, it's not going to be today. I can't say that it won't be next week, but all signs indeed point to a cat on the rebound.
It still remains to be seen whether or not she had a stroke or she has a legion on her brain, as our vet suspects. Apparently the circling behavior she's exhibiting (which, by the way, is difficult to watch - it just breaks my heart) is a symptom of that. She also suspects that she's older than we think she is. The shelter we got her from told us she was about four when we got her, which would make her eight today; but the vet, after examining her teeth, suspects she's older than that.
Parenthetically, this was information I had to sort of pull out of the vet: she mentioned that she might possibly be suffering from dementia, "...but it's unusual in a cat who's only eight."
"Well, based on her teeth, how old do you think she is?" I asked her.
"Her teeth are a mess [like cat, like owner, apparently]. I'd say she was 12 or 13."
So even if she recovers to one extent or another, our time together is likely far shorter than I thought it would be. So I got that working for me.
But the news isn't all bad, if not all good. Yesterday I picked her up and she purred, really deep enthusiastic purring that gave me all the proof I needed that she remembered me, that she still loved me (she still won't purr for Toots - HA!) , and that whatever else is travelling through that brain of hers, and however fast or slow it's travelling, she's not in pain, or miserable, or (at the risk of anthropomorphising her) sad.
But she's a different cat, and it's unlikely that she'll change back to the feisty, territorial, take-no-shit-from-the-other-cats Pearl that she was. Maybe she's going to be content to sit quietly in a sunbeam and isolate herself from the world until the curtain falls.
The vet isn't enthusiastic that she'll change back. She counselled that the fact that she's eating, drinking, sleeping and shitting is about the best one can expect.
"If this is victory, it is bitter to hold, and [my] hands are too small for it." - JRR Tolkien