There ARE Cats in America! / Part 2

From Part 1 of There ARE Cats in America!:

“I’M NOT A CAT PERSON

First and foremost, I am NOT a cat person.  Second, yes this is the lowest of lowest blog-type entries. It is a blog entry about cats.  Third, I am NOT a cat blogger.  Now with that out of the way, let me tell you about my cats.”

I SHOULD NOT BE A CAT PERSON

I didn’t intend for this to be the Part 2 of “There ARE Cats in America”, but the story you are about to read is what chronologically came after Part 1.  At the time it was written, this blog wasn’t active, but I needed an outlet to vent my emotions.  I turned to the Notes App on Facebook and poured my heart out.   I’ve added photos and a link to the Azalea City Cat Coalition to the original story and a comment afterwards.  Part 3 comes next week.

April 22, 2015; 8:16pm

STRIPE

I’m very sad. I’m grieving. I have cried out loud, sniffed back tears, and have had my voice waver as I tried to express a thought. I’ve lost a pet.Late last summer a feral mother cat gave birth to 3 little kittens under a vacant house next to our home. We named the two boys, Grey and Black. The girl cat was Stripe.

Stripe was the last one to become domesticated. She was always wary of our hands at first. She ate last from the dish we set out; waiting for us to step back after the boys ate. Slowly, she began to trust us. She would let us scratch her head or rub the last half of her back towards her tail. Still; if Momma cat acted skittish, Stripe would bolt away–following Mom’s lead.

Stripe was the Hunter. She learned quickly from Mom how to stalk, how to pounce and how to capture.

Stripe was loving. She cuddled with her brothers and bumped heads with her Mom as they greeted each other. And when another stray kitten was dropped off at our house; Stripe was the first to adopt her new sister, Willow Kitty.

Stripe was the last of the kittens to find her “purr”.  The boys quickly found theirs and purred with contentment when being stroked. One day though, after Stripe had grown accustomed to us picking her up, she cuddled with my wife, Renée, and began to purr.

When the caSTRIPEANDBWts were young, our intention was to find homes for them and keep just the Mom as an outside cat that we named “Ava”. But, over the Fall and the cold winter–with cats all snuggled in beds and blankets on our porch–we somehow lost the feeling that they needed other homes. I bought an electric space heater to provide them with warm air on the porch. I took mild joy in scolding Renée that she bought the “wrong” cat food.  I left the front door open a crack to see if one of them would wander in. Much to my “house” dog, Spike’s, dismay; they did indeed venture in to check things out.

Stripe and Willow Kitty were spayed and vaccinated a month or so ago. We took advantage of a local Trap, Neuter and Return program for stray cats. We had done a good job of domesticating the cats and the thought of finding the girls another home came up again. Although we never really looked very hard.

Three days ago, Stripe seemed listless, she wasn’t enthused and “kitty begging” as I called,”Kitty, Kitty, Kitty! signaling suppertime.  Her breathing was labored. She crawled into the Cat Carrier set up on the porch and used it as her private room. We called the vet and set up an appointment the very next day. But, on that day Stripe  disappeared for most of the day. She returned looking as if she felt better. (Maybe, I thought, she threw up a hairball and now feels better) The appointment had been cancelled. By last night, she felt bad again. Heavy breathing, a “pained” look, and dull, almost oily hair, covered her.

I took her to the vet today. She suffered from a high fever and ulcers in her mouth. Her breath smelled. Tests revealed that she had Feline Leukemia. Possibly, she had developed it months ago but showed no symptoms. Her immune system had shut down and a virus had spread quickly through her body. I just got paid today and was willing to spend my entire check on Stripe getting well. The doctor informed me that Stripe would not get better. I told myself she was “just a stray wild cat”, but that didn’t stop the tears.

I asked many questions of the vet. I tried to be matter-of-fact and logical through the explanation of the options. The doctor was kind and answered them all. My last two questions:

“Dogs can be calm at a vet’s office, and you can make them comfortable before they are stuck with a needle. Cats are less calm and sometimes struggle with vet care. How do I know Stripe won’t be scared or skittish before she is stuck with a needle?”

The Doctor said, “I won’t even charge you; if she is stressed, we can give her a mild gas anesthesia, she can go to sleep, before we stick her with a needle.”

The second question:

“Could I pet her before this happens?”

“Yes, take your time and call us when you are ready”

I’m not a believer in the Rainbow Bridge. A place where we see our pets of long ago; after we die. I’m not a believer that a pet has an eternal soul. I do know that a pet, or any animal, has a soul as they live. I believe it’s okay to anthropomorphize human qualities in an animal.  I believe they care, they love, and they recognize us as friends or family. Stripe’s soul was huge and I know she recognized us as family.

Stripe

Stripe

I also believe, in the continuous energy of the Universe. Stripe’s energy is not extinguished. Her released energy will still hunt and capture some other form down the road.

I can’t finish this note, without telling you that I have tears running down my face again for that little “stray” cat.

And I have to say, as I was taking my time and stroking Stripe one last time, I noticed something. I rubbed her little head, and scratched her little chin. I told her that I would miss her and that I was sorry that she was in pain. I told her I was sorry that I could not “fix” her or feed her a can of Mariner’s Catch. She looked up at me and…she had once again found her purr.

Reading this story again, and looking at her photos, I still miss little Stripe.  I’m not, nor should I be a Cat Person.

END OF PART TWO

 

I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.

–Jules Verne

 

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