The beginning of 2022 has been clear and crisp, like a good sunny day after heavy rain. I started a new job in a new city. I felt invigorated and ready to write again. It is, for the most part, marked by fresh starts. It’s like walking around a flower garden when gentle sprinklers go off.
Yesterday, Saturday, I received news from my sister that our farm cat Kitty Boy was very sick. Within the same day, she informed us that he has passed away. I didn’t cry, I couldn’t because of the shock and the profound sadness I felt. I left home in 2018, without so much as an “I’ll be back” to him. When I saw Kitty Boy again in 2019 he was skittish around me and seemed to refuse to be near me. Whether it was because he’d forgotten about me or he was upset at my departure, I wouldn’t be able to know. He can’t speak.
(I left again to finish my master’s degree. I graduated in 2020 and have not been able to come home since.)
What I do know, mostly from spending time with him, from his gestures and gaze, is that he truly loved me. And I loved him too. It’s a gut-wrenching that he passed without seeing me for the last time. But as I reeled from the waves of grief and shock, I felt a purring furry skeleton at my feet—Coco, the senior Manhattanite tabby Mitch and me adopted one autumn day, telling ourselves we “were just looking”. Because I wasn’t expecting to take a cat home with me that day, we had to take Coco inside a cardboard box issued by the shelter. She hated it.
But slowly, we grew into her. And she, like Kitty Boy and every cat who has been with me, will pass knowing that I love them.
So, as with everything in my life, I would rather focus my energy on what (or who) I have rather than what has already been lost. Adopting stray cats mean to me that they will never be lonely or suffering, and that they will pass knowing that somebody loves them.
I remember Kitty Boy loved sleeping curled up against my stomach when I slept on my side. Coco loves doing that, too.
Doesn’t matter to me if you hate cats or love them as much as I do, it’s all about the love we give to other people and other beings on this earth.