Friday, 23 September 2011

Travelling cat

Jan calls today to report on my Smokey. I ask, a little anxiously, if he ever sleeps with anyone.

It’s his favorite thing – going to bed at night, cuddling right up against my chest and purring loud enough to shake the walls. He only stays until he’s sufficiently reassured that he’s the most loved cat in the universe and then he wanders farther down to sleep at the end of the bed.

Jan says he comes to bed with her - or nestles against her when she reads. This tells me he feels safe and happy.

For the first three or four days of this little horror show, I couldn’t think of him without sobbing uncontrollably. He is my responsibility. I promised him I wouldn’t leave him. I promised to look after him. And suddenly I couldn’t. He symbolized all the losses and shocks bolting through my life…all the never-mores. And I missed him so much.

When Jan and her family offer to let him board, I’m so relieved, so grateful. And I'm also devastated at the thought of people moving him from home. Smoke is one of those cats who cannot bear a cage…not even a few minutes for transport. His skinny little legs turn into iron rods. His eyes bug out in terror. You look at him as you try to squish him into the carrier and you know that he is sure he is being killed.

The other thing is – sometimes in his life, he’s had to live with people who didn’t love him. He wasn’t beaten or starved. Just not loved, sometimes, not even liked. He was a sad, shy little fella when I got him, desperately glad to be petted or cared about if no one scary was around, if there were no loud noises to make him run and hide.

He isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He doesn’t do cool tricks. He only has one facial expression. For the first few years he lived with me, he ran from strangers, hid when anyone came to the door. Not so cute, right? It’s the kind of nervous standoffishness that makes some people think, what a miserable little beast. Some folks take that kind of stuff as judgment. It embarrasses them to put a hand out for a friendly pat and have the cat arch down and skitter out of touch-range.

I knew Jan’s family wanted to have him, especially Jesse, Jan’s eldest son. I never worried he'd be treated kindly. But the question all along has been – would they love him? Would he have someone to cuddle against at night?

The answer is…(there is a big oh-oh silence as Jan and I talk)...
“there may be a little problem…about Jesse,” Jan says. About, ummm.. Jesse wishing he didn't have to go. About everyone kind of loving Smoke a lot. Of course he’s mine. Of course they would give him back anytime. But….

I guess this is the best bad news I’ve had in weeks. Maybe I can consider letting him move on knowing that he has a whole family to love him and a whole big house to roam. Knowing that because of Jan, Dave, Jesse and Neil, I don't have to let Smoke down or leave him to the random and often unkind fates animals sometimes meet when their humans can't care for them.

Still miss him though. 


Carol Dean said...

All I can do is hug you in my heart, and Smoke. What a blessing that you both have Jan and her family.

Luana said...

Linda you brought me to tears today... The hardest thing about moving to Korea was leaving my cat Rod behind. Actually I lied...he wasnt a cat he was a part of my soul. He would snuggle into my neck and purr louder than any cat Ive ever heard. I know he is happy and in a loving home with my ex ex boyfriend but it is with a heavy heart that I think of him everyday...Rod...not my ex lol.....

Howpublic said...

Carol Dean...It surely is a blessing.
Smoke's last owner died of lung cancer. Now, I'm NOT planning to die..but the coincidence just chilled me. And so often at the vet's there are lovely older animals whose owners could not, for one reason or another, keep them. They break my bloody heart. It will take me some time to stop missing him - but the relief of knowing that he's got a happy little cat life is more enormous than I can express.

Pat Barber said...

I do know how you feel, Linda. I have 2 dogs, male & female, both 70+ pounds, both spoiled rotten - by me. They are not pets, they are family, life savers, they each have pieces of my son's and my soul. Since they are about 9-10 years old, and I am much MUCH M-U-C-H older than that (grin) - I've made up my mind that I will not have animals after them. It just wouldn't be fair to the animals, since by then they'd almost certainly survive me. I can't bring myself to break their hearts like that. Whatever you ultimately decide about Smoke, you will decide with your heart and based on what is best/easiest on him. Bless you, Linda. Bless you!

Howpublic said...

Is it not the most bizarre notion that animals are "pets?" Me, I've come to think of them as inter-species friends. And as important as those of our own species. Thank you all for sharing your own stories.