Sitting on my patio that clear and cold
January night, looking intently at me through the sliding glass doors, she
was the most beautiful female I had ever seen. It was love at first sight.
She was a tiny Maine Coon cat. Black on top with white chest and paws. She
seemed to be trying to communicate something to me. I invited her in and
gave her something to eat. She only ate a little of the food and quickly
wanted back outside, a routine she would often repeat. Then she disappeared
into the night. I wanted her to return and she did, often. I discovered
later that she belonged to a young couple a few doors down from the
townhouse I shared with my sweetheart. (Although they say cats don't
"belong" to anyone).
They had named her Fuzz-Nose and had provided her with a snug bed inside.
But she liked to explore the neighborhood, mostly dropping by to see Patsy
and me. Especially me. My girlfriend seemed a little jealous. She was rather
possessive in the early stages of our relationship, but her ardor turned to
indifference after she took up golf. She liked the country club crowd, I was
little interested in them and their snobbery.
Patsy and I were never officially engaged though she had agreed to marry me.
I bought a couple of gold friendship rings. She chose the words engraved on
the inner circle of the rings: "Sweethearts forever." "Forever" lasted about
four years. When she left me, she said it had nothing to do with anything I
had done or not done. I had been good to her, and faithful. Together we made
a sufficient income to live comfortably. I was Operations Manager at York
County's only radio station and she held down a desk job at CEBAF (now the
Jefferson Lab) in Newport News. I was very depressed after Patsy left me.
But I had my cats to comfort me. The young couple had given Fuzz-Nose to me,
since she spent so much time in my company. I decided to re-name her, and
came up with the creative name of...Kitty Kat. Hey, I had never had a real
cat before, though as a kid I played with a toy cat named Krazy Kat.
(Remember him)? Kitty Kat had a litter of four kittens in my utility room.
All of them beautiful. Kitty Kat had moved them inside to be safe and Patsy
made a nest for them behind a pile of books in the living room adjacent to
the television. Two were twins. Patsy named them Willie and Millie. The only
way they could be told apart was by the color of their eyes. Willie had
green eyes, Millie bright yellow. A huge male with light grey and white
silken hair, Patsy named Rufus (which I later changed to Max). Patsy said he
was a lap kitty. He liked nothing better than sit in my lap. (Even when I
was reading). He was always the first cat who came inside (I let all of them
outside on a regular basis). Max never spent a single day or night away from
except when I went on trips. When I returned, he would stay away from me and
pout for a while. Each of the four cats had a different personality. I
re-named Max again. I called him Wooly Booger, because he was so big and
fluffy. My neighbor called him "that fat cat." He looked larger because of
his hair. (All cats do).
Humans could learn something about love and loyalty from cats (and other
animal companions). Patsy stayed with me four years, Kitty Kat 17 years...
until the day she died.
I suffered a traumatic period in my life. Not long after Patsy left me, I
lost my job. A double whammy. But I had my cats. They compensated for the
fickleness of my girlfriend and unappreciative boss.
Of course I eventually lost all of them, too. Willie was the first to go,
run over by a car. I was surprised how heartbroken I felt. Millie followed
about nine years later. She went outside and died, from what I never knew. A
few more years and my lap kitty passed away from renal failure. (I sure
missed Wooly Booger jumping up on my lap). Kitty Kat was the last to go. She
lived longer than any of her litter. I watched her die. Just before she
expired, her little paw went up in the air, no doubt rigor mortis had set
in, but it looked like she was waving goodbye.
I had lost both my human and animal families. I never cried but a cold wind
blew through my heart. Still does. Good-bye Willie and Millie, goodbye Wooly
Booger. Goodbye Kitty Kat. I will miss you always. I had a dog, too, who got
along very well with cats. Blackie was a Chow-Sheltie mix. Black with a blue
tongue. After I had to put him down I swore never to have another pet. But I
rescued a little Chihuahua. Lucky is old in dog years but feisty and very
It is said that just this side of the Rainbow Bridge that connects this
world to the next, is a beautiful and spacious place where our beloved
companion animals await us so they can accompany us over the Rainbow Bridge.
I hope this is more than a myth. In any case, I agree with the great
American humorist Will Rogers who said: If dogs don't go to heaven, (and
this applies to other pets, too) I want to go where they go.