About a year ago I had a call from my nearly ninety years old dad. He’s a cat lover and owner of two cats. One’s name is Smokey and the other Sugar. The cats are sixteen years twenty days old according to the vet’s records; dad had recently taken Smokey to the vet today. The animal doctor performed blood tests and gave her a couple of shots.
Smokey the cat had done poorly for a few days. Dad was concerned for Smokey’s health. She was his late wife’s (my mother’s) cat. About 7:00 PM dad called me. He was crying. Smokey had died.
It made me think back to that day twenty-six years ago when I cried when my kitty died. Here is my cat Hallie’s story as I wrote it for the newspaper column I wrote back in September 1990.
Great big crocodile tears were streaming down my face. The tears wouldn’t stop coming. My sobbing was so loud my sons, Kristopher and Jason, wondered if I would be all right. My wife Miss Benita’s comforting arms had never seen me this way before. She assumed one or both of my parents had been killed from the magnitude of my grief. I was glad my daughter Sara was spending the night at her best friend Amelia’s house.
What had brought about this emotional upheaval in me? What would have me grieving with more intensity than when my grandparents or wife’s brother died?
A car squashed my cat. The kitty’s name was Hallie. Specifically, an SUV crushed her skull. Sadly, my two sons had witnessed the tragedy. They ran crying to get me to make it all better. I couldn’t make it better. While her little body was still warm, my kitty was dead. Her head was flat as a pancake.
Hallie was a beautiful, small Calico Cat. She had been born on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th. She died less than six months later on my wife’s birthday, September 14th.
Why make all the fuss about a cat?
I loved my kitty. She loved me. It was a love that demanded nothing from me. A love that would rub up against my pants legs even after I accidentally stepped on her tail. A love that would sit nervously in my lap as we rode to the vet’s to get shots, “get fixed”, and the very day she died, to get stitches out from the above-mentioned surgery.
She had a love for me that would wait for me to finish mowing the yard to get petted or have her tummy scratched. Hallie was one of the few that demanded nothing from me. She gave me her love and affection in return for hearing her name, a bowl of dry cat food, or an occasional saucer of milk. If you have ever had a kitty or dog die, you understand.
We can learn from a cat. We too should love with no strings attached.
NOTE: At the time my kitty was run over on September 14, 1990, I served as Associate Pastor and Day School Headmaster at First Baptist Church, Jasper, Texas. My sons were 13 years old, 10 years old and my daughter was two months shy of her sixth birthday. At the time, I wrote a local newspaper column. The above was my article that week. I received hundreds of sympathy cards with stories of others loosing their pets.