Yesterday was a sad day.
In some ways, I’m more of a country girl than ever before. It’s as though I’ve passed through some terrible rite of passage. But in other ways, I’m still just a tender-hearted city gal mourning the loss of my cat.
Early yesterday morning, feisty, loving, and fiercely loyal Shadow the cat was hit and killed by a car. This might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but it was a big deal to me. He was the first pet I’ve ever had. Unlike most rural folks, I didn’t lose two dogs this way during my childhood. I’ve never raised a piglet to adulthood and dropped it off at the slaughterhouse. I’ve never started up my car in the winter while a barn cat was sleeping in the engine. I’ve never had a pet, so I’ve never had a pet die. Heck, I cried when I ran over a bunny a few months ago. In a lot of ways, I’m still a sissy. And I’m ok with that.
Most people have this experience when they’re five; I’m having it at twenty-five. I feel like that intensifies the sadness. It’s been building up for a quarter of a century. But then I also feel like I’m too old to feel this way. Not sure I care.
I will miss seeing that ball of black fur racing towards me when I pull into the driveway. I will miss his presence during our dinners on the deck. I will miss watching him chase Jersey the dog around the yard. I will miss his stalkerish leering through the kitchen window.
A friend reminded me that Shadow was always a voyeur. He came and went as he pleased, stopping by our house long enough to eat some breakfast and take a nap on the deck. He freely roamed the farm and despite the dairy man’s many attempts, never enjoyed being held. But he was still a member of our hodgepodge country family (yes, I do include the cows) and he will be missed. Even my brother loved him. You can see the family resemblance.
I promise I’m not a crazy cat lady. I don’t like cats. I just liked MY cat. Shadow weaseled his way into my heart (see this post) when I was feeling alone in a new home and a new town. For that, I thank him.
For now, I will coerce the Dairy Man to give Shadow a proper funeral/burial (no matter how silly he thinks it is) and imagine my cat with wings and a halo, terrorizing all the puppies in pet heaven.
Here’s to you, Cat.