We said “Good-bye” today to our kitty. Seventeen and a half years ago we took in our very first pet–a precious gray and white kitten. In that much time (almost half of my life!), we enjoyed a legend and his many lives–far more than nine!
This was our cat who was declawed as a kitten and then decided he wanted to live outside as well as in. Our cat who terrorized neighborhood dogs ten times his size.
He climbed trees and ladders and played on rooftops. He hunted daily and brought us those yucky, dead animal treasures–all with no claws.
(This picture was taken just a few months ago as, at age 17, he waited for hours to catch some little creature. Eventually, he fell asleep on duty.)
When we moved across town, he moved with us and then came up missing. After about three days we found him on the front porch of our old house, surely wondering where his family had gone. How a cat found his way several miles back “home” is a bit of a mystery. We retrieved him and then it seemed he understood and stayed put to learn his new neighborhood.
He took naps in the middle of the road.
He got into fights with raccoons, opossums, squirrels, dogs, and other cats. From his battle wounds we got to see his insides several times–science class, right? We pulled at least a dozen ticks of our little feline.
He survived the acquisition of three more cats and two dogs to our family, and upon every new pet’s arrival, he would just look at us like, “Really? We’re doing this again?!”
He chased my kids when they were toddlers, and bit their little bottoms, and then snuggled with them on the couch.
He learned how to open round, metal doorknobs out of sheer determination, and even unlock doors when desperate enough.
He was truly the stuff kitty legends are made of, and we loved him dearly.
Loving a pet brings an awful lot of joy. And it brings tough days like today. Days that make you wonder about the worth of inviting love and the inevitable pain it brings in.
Life is like that, isn’t it? The deeper we love, the greater the risk, reward, and then unfortunately, sometimes the pain. Makes you wonder about the guy who stated that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
And then you don’t.
At the end of the day, Rajah’s Christmas ornament got hung at the top of the tree, and after some reminiscing and some tears, a couple of parents are wondering when we got old enough to handle the tough stuff like this.
And life goes on.
And we keep it all in perspective because, though this wasn’t our favorite day, we are healthy and have more pets to love, and a whole family as well.
And, as strange as it sounds, it reminds me of a certain rhythm that life has. And that God is in control and knows and sees and cares–even about the little things that matter more than a little to our hearts.
And what a beautiful thing it is when hurting hearts are drawn together.