I lost my younger cat today, the one I had for nearly two years. From what I can guess, he was probably severely abused very young in life. Thrown, hit, that sort of thing. Yet he learned to trust me implicitly. He’d put his head into my hand, resting it there while I stroked his neck and ears with the other hand. And when I called, he would come running straight for me, irregardless of what was in his path, as long as it wasn’t a human, walking or standing.
Last night he was leaping high off the ground, spinning and leaping and catching bugs in his front paws. It almost looked like a dance of pure joy. A dance that represented wildness, joy, freedom and all things cat. Last night he stayed out, just as he usually does. It’s part of who he was–when I finally was able to touch him, when I let him in my house for the first time, I promised him that he could come and go as he pleased. And he has. So he stayed outside last night. This morning I stepped out and called, just as I have for nearly two years. Or nearly like I have. In my rush to see him and then get to work, I forgot to check well for traffic. And just as he has for over a year, he came running at full throttle… right into the wheel of a speeding SUV.
The SUV did come back and apologize, but it was too late. My beautiful Tommy Cat was gone. I hope that his death wasn’t in vain. I hope the man stops speeding. He could have just as easily been a child that got hit. One thing I know certainly, his life was not in vain. He came to me when I needed him most, after struggling with the abuse in my own past and beginning to heal. And so we healed together. I watched him brave his fears and learn to trust. I watched him react suddenly from a memory and suddenly realize the memory might have been a dark nightmare. And I saw him, joyful and free, in his element without any concern for what might have been in his past. He’s gone, but his memory and all he did for me will stay with me for a very long time. I learned more from that cat than I have from many people. Perhaps that was the reason he was with me during the time he was. It was a miracle that he ever came close. He had several near-brushes with death right after he started coming to me. The other cats his age didn’t seem to make it through the next spring. He had an extra year and a half, at least, than he would have had if he’d stayed on his own. He was a good and beautiful cat, and he’ll be missed desperately. I’m thankful for every moment I had with him.