Tuesday, December 04, 2012
In those last moments all I could do was call his name; all he could do was purr – a ritual we’d engaged in since his birth in my yard in 1999, a call and response that has tied our lives together in a way only undying love could, and here, he was dying, and I had to let him go.
No animal or human has ever attached itself to me in the way this cat has – he needing me so utterly I could not help but reciprocate: love for love, need for need, call and response.
My fingers stroked his fur even as the vet eased the needle of death in the cat’s leg, the vet searching for a vet searching for a vein that would perform this one last insult life issued before expiring.
I still called him Tiny Tug, even though I knew Big Tug, his father, had expired years ago, laying down his life in the tumble of trees behind our house, pausing on his way to death to say farewell – he like Tiny Tug’s mother, Jelly, knowing we kept sacred the one offspring of earlier litters none thought would or could survive in the wild, Jelly nudging the accident prone and troubled-breathing Tiny Tug into our doorway for safe keeping, and he, Tiny Tug, latching onto me as mother, father and best of friends, sleeping with me at night, clinging to me during by day, as if the cat expected me to expire before he did, or leave him the way his parents had, comforted – I hope – by the my voice and touch as the tender mercy of the vet’s needle too him out of this world and its worries and into that other place beyond pain and sorrow.
I cried over Tiny Tug the way I had cried over my mother, knowing feel well that someone special had just departed from my life, someone the like of whom I would never meet again, and whose absence would generate a hole in my heart I could never fill until the last beat ceased and I like Big Tug, Jelly and Tiny Tug moved onto the mysterious other realm.
A day later, I still have the cat carrier in my car, and feel something contained in it, as if when leaving Tiny Tug’s body behind I carted away his soul, a spirit even now more firmly attached to me, clinging to my heard with all his claws.