We have… had… three cats. Our oldest, a diminutive grey tabby called MiniMe because she was a petite version of a much larger barn cat, had been failing for some time. Old age. There was nothing to be done. She was comfortable, or so it seemed. We provided kitty beds, rugs, towels wherever she chose to lay. Tempted her with treats. It was all we could do.
But yesterday I found her hanging, weak and helpless, caught with her claws buried in a rug overhanging one of her favorite perches. I don’t know how long she’d been there. After I extricated her, I held her for a long time. She told me it was time.
Those who have companions will understand. Those who don’t, won’t.
I called the vet and took her in. They have a grieving room set up, with comfortable chairs and an ordinary wood table with a thick fluffy towel. I laid her down on the table and encased her frail body in my arms.
The vet administered an anesthetic first, then left us alone for it to take effect. MiniMe continued to purr. She did not require the next injection, but rather passed quietly in my arms.
I left with an empty carrier. And an emptier heart.
MiniMe’s constant companion is Tom. He’s been fretting for days, worried about MiniMe and unable to help her. I stopped at the grocery store to find moist food to tempt him to eat. I want to avoid the kind of fretting that will require yet another visit to the vet.
While in line at the checkout, I was unaware of anything but my own grief, so it came as a surprise when the cashier told me the woman ahead of me had provided a gift card for me to use for my purchases. The cashier asked if I knew her. I didn’t, her presence had barely registered.
You hear of the kindness of strangers. Why she picked me, on that day when I was fighting tears, I will never know.
I will make a donation to an animal shelter in honor of that unknown woman who sensed I needed consolation. It reminded me there is goodness in this world.
Pass it on.