My daughter recently made the decision to put down one of her beloved cats, the one she called Mama. They had been together since Mama Cat was selected as a kitten, along with her handsome black brother NuNu, from a free litter somewhere in Topeka, Kansas sixteen years ago. The cat lived and traveled the world with my daughter, always there to provide silent loving companionship through everything in my daughter's life - jobs, marriage, college, different towns, and states, and different countries, war, divorce, and everything in between.
The cat was frail and had been suffering from a variety of ailments for a long time. If she had been my cat, I would have likely chosen to end her suffering long before, but it is a decision between the animal and the owner and the veterinarian. At the final moments, my daughter's broken-hearted sobs brought tears to the men's eyes - the good Dr. J who administered the merciful death potion, and one of my daughter's friends. At the the moment of death, suffering lifted from the old and ruined body of the dear cat, and her body appeared instantly young and vital. There were hugs all around in the small room at Dr J's clinic. We all know we face the same crossing and we all wonder if our crossing will be as peaceful and in the arms of someone as loving.
My daughter's contingent of loving friends were in attendance for the funeral. There was a coffin and men to dig the grave and provide a cross to mark the grave. There were women for hugs and moral support and coffee and donuts. There was an obituary, eulogy, and a chance for each person to say a few words. We all have had beloved pets to bury at some time in our lives.
Thursday evening, I had the chance to go with my daughter to the local humane shelter to see if there was a suitable cat or kitten available to take over some of Mama Cat's vacated duties - big paw prints to fill, no doubt about it. My daughter chose an adorable kitten with huge ears and the tiniest mew. She looks like a tiny, furry pixie. Already I can see in her the mature cat who will rule her kingdom with the fearless grace and feline wisdom of Bastet, the protector goddess of Egypt.
How lucky that the Creator of all things chose to package the wisdom of the mighty felines - the tiger, lion, jaguar - in the form of the domestic house cat. How lucky for human beings to have the purring, playful grace of cats in our lives. How lucky for our broken hearts that there is such a thing as a kitten for us to love and look after.
Catarina - choosing our family for adoption.