A cat’s funeral and chocolate lava cake
I woke up Tuesday, Aug. 6 with a sense of dread. I’d spent
the night before pouring my heart out to my sick cat, Payton, telling him what
a loyal and wonderful cat he had been.
I know he’s a cat, but just in case he understood, I wanted
him to know what he’d meant to me in the last 11.5 years of my life.
He’d been suffering from severe arthritis, significant weight loss and senility, and a neighbor confirmed what I already knew –
it was time.
So on this particular morning, after a night intermingled
with my tears and Payton’s purring (yes he still purred through it all), I
stood in front of my closet and pondered, “What do you wear to a cat’s funeral?”
Payton and his sister Phoebe were a gift to me – two tiny,
adorable orange tabby bundles of joy that I fell in love with on the spot.
Turns out they were the kind of gift that kept on giving – from the laughter
they brought as curious kittens to the loyalty they demonstrated by running to my
front glass door each evening as I returned from work.
“Boy and Girl,” as I affectionately dubbed them, offered
purrs, headbutts and snuggles when I was almost engaged, but wasn’t, and the
six heartbreaking months that followed. They were there when I left the county
and transitioned to the city about seven years ago – a solid source of comfort
in my otherwise changing life. They’ve been there for all the laughter that has
ensued from hanging out with the neighbors and soaked up the sun with me on
gorgeous spring days on my back patio. They’ve left plenty of hairballs yet shared
a multitude of purrs.
Payton was particularly clever … having discovered that if
he opened up my jewelry box using his claws, then snagged a necklace and
dropped it on the floor, I was bound to finally get up and feed him his
breakfast. Either that or he’d stand on his hind legs and slam my bedroom door
shut and then look at me with that “Well now you need to get up and let me out
Everything felt empty after I said goodbye. I looked at the
tattered blue collar that no longer held my cat, the empty carrier in the back
seat of the car – and I cried for the loss of my friend. As tears plopped onto
the yellow skirt I chose to wear, I reminded myself that I wanted to be happy
for the life he lived and the joy he brought to me.
I got home and discovered a card from neighbors in the
mailbox. Others came over to talk to me about the day. On Facebook, people
offered kind and supportive messages. Another neighbor made dinner, even
offering a chocolate lava cake with raspberries for dessert. As I finished that
chocolate cake and went home to snuggle with Phoebe, I realized that while days such as this are never easy, and my life was a little bit empty, it was also very full.
8/7/2013 9:12:58 AM
By Jennifer Williams