A True Story Written in May, 2009
This story is about my cat. Now if you're a dog person, you will still get something out of it, because--dog or cat, animals reveal the soft underbelly of our hearts. I have heard the role of our pets is to teach us about unconditional love. This tale taught me a lot more.
One night it was clear Kitty was on her way out. The vet said she felt putting her to sleep was unnecessary, and Kitty could die peacefully at home. Kitty was so weak that she couldn't stand or walk. I had to lift her to get her in the litter box. I had read that when cats are about to die, they like to go to dark, safe places like under a bed or a closet, so I set up my bedroom closet with everything she needed and put her inside. She didn't look happy. She loved sleeping on my bed with me, spooning against my tummy.
Late that night from my bed, I looked down at the floor. This skinny little, near-death cat had struggled all the way across my floor from the closet to my bedside hoping she could join me. I don't know how she did it. It must have taken every bit of strength she had. It was clear where she wanted to be when she died. I put a urine pad on the bed and lovingly lifted her. My husband was there, and later my daughter joined us too. My daughter slept between us, holding Kitty in her arms. The next morning Kitty died in her most favorite place on the planet in the warmth of her loved ones. But there's more...
About 6 weeks before Kitty died, a neighbor's beautiful white cat started showing up at our door. He was absolutely gorgeous with sensitive blue eyes and a playful, friendly disposition. He seemed like he wanted to be ours, but Kitty and he had an encounter at the screen door, and it was clear she was not ready to give up her territory. But he kept coming by everyday visiting just the same.
After Kitty died, I felt very depleted. It had been a long year, and as much as my daughter begged to have another cat, I wasn't up to doing it again. I had been glued to the house, and I wanted my freedom to come and go. My daughter was not happy about that.
Well, after a time I started letting this little white cat in for visits. I never fed him as he was not mine, but I did give him bowls of water because his owners didn't. He loved visiting us, and my daughter adored him. His owners have no desire to give him up, so we borrow him every day. And that arrangement suits me perfectly, as I have no responsibility--only the pure pleasure of his company.
His name is Snowball, but in truth...I dislike that name. Usually, I come up with special names for my pets. At first when he started coming in, I held him at arm's length--but once I had a name for him he was completely in my heart. I call him Friedrich.
The poetic side of me believes Friedrich was sent to us like an angel sent from heaven to help us with our grief while not imposing extra responsibility on me. He has become my loving companion. Like Kitty, my bed is his favorite spot, and so he meows outside my window every night begging to join me just like Kitty used to. And of course, I cannot refuse him. Kitty taught me that.