Saturday, January 11, 2014

For The Love Of A Cat


 R.I.P. Tabby- 3/94-1/14

I just lost my almost 19 year old tortoiseshell cat Tabby yesterday morning. She had a long life, she went pretty fast and she had no pain. I am devastated. She was not my only pet, I also have three dogs; but she was unique.

My late, ex-husband found her in a paint shed at work when she was around 2 weeks old. Her mother had left her to die. She was so little she fit in the palm of my hand. She was so weak she squeeked rather than meowed. I started giving her milk in an eyedropper and the first few days I was lucky she took about that amount in a day. We didn't think she would make it. We went out and got kitten formula and started feeding her in a doll bottle when she finally did  perk up. Not only did she make it, she lived longer than any pet I have had. She grew up with cats and dogs, so she begged like a dog when she wanted something, and had no fear. With her small bone structure, she weighed 8 lbs at her heaviest, yet would walk up to my dogs (even my lab) and punch them in the nose. She ruled! When she wanted something, the scared dogs backed off. They all had an understanding though, and were like a little family. Later when she got older and I had her front claws removed, it didn't take long for the dogs to figure out that she no longer had any way to hurt them. She became as affectionate as any dog you would ever find. I talk about her and them like they are my children, and in many ways, it's like they are. You will never find the kind of loyalty and unconditional love that you find in a cat or dog.

I miss her and I miss the routine of her. I keep thinking she will be there watching me or I need to check on her. My children were little when I got her. She had kittens in the middle of my bathroom in front of all of us when she was young. She cuddled up with the labs I have had. She saw me through a divorce, my children leaving home, many moves, and even Hurricane Katrina. This cat lived in 4 different states, and when I look at it now, I think she was one of the few consistent things in my life.

This loss is also symbolic of change for me. I see everyone getting older, I see me getting older. I see my health declining, I see my children who have their own lives and no longer need me. These are all things that naturally occur in life, but there is such a sense of loss with it.

I know new things will come along and I will find a new "normal." I actually have it all worked out in my head, but sometimes the longest distance is between your head and your heart. Letting go of the former things is a very hard thing to do. Having been such a physical person, there are parts of me that have to change. It's not a giving up of any kind, but being realistic. I won't be hiking up mountains again, or power walking through nature. The list goes on. So here I am in this place between the old and the new. My cat is running free somewhere over the rainbow bridge. Someday I will be running free too, without the limitations I have now. I look forward to that. So I look to God and I pray, that tomorrow I'll see the sun. I know in my heart, that rainbows can only be seen after the rain. I feel lost in this place, but I know that God is here right next to me. That keeps me going, as this loss is making me face my other losses that I haven't fully grieved yet. I have a hard time letting myself do that, but I so look forward to reaching the other side, and finding my rainbow.

For all of you who are grieving, who have been facing loss, I pray God's comfort and peace during your journey through the grief, and that you will soon find your rainbow too.

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