In this world, I’ve faced my share of sorrows – when my cousin Michael died, when we lost grandparents, when I miscarried our baby and when I’ve lost opportunities. I’ve also had my share of joy – when each of my girls was born, watching their smiles and laughter along the years, finding joy in Christ and always having animal companions by my side. Although I have friends and family who love me, it is true that no one loves you like a cat or dog. Not only do pets love us unconditionally, but they love us when we’re mean. They love us when our hair looks like we stuck our finger in the light socket and we haven’t had a bath in two days because of the world’s worst flu. Cats and dogs love us when we are truly unlovable. I have had many wonderful pets. I still have three dogs, a cat and a turtle that are all pretty great. But there are those pets that define us. They come into our lives almost accidentally it seems. It is one such pet that I write about today, my little Sissy cat.
When my husband and I were first married, we desperately wanted a child. We tried for over a year with no success. We went to doctors to find out what was wrong and they could find nothing. Everyone around me was having children and I wanted a baby! It was like a clawing need. One day my husband took me on a surprise mission. It was to pick out a Siamese cat. I love Siamese cats. I have always owned one. They are affectionate, smart and wonderful in many ways. Anyway, we picked out this little blue-eyed Siamese kitten. She was so small that my husband put her in his pocket and we carried her home.
I wanted to name her Chelsea or Zoe, but my husband said she was the baby sister cat and we should call her Sissy. Sissy it was. She was sweet and affectionate and loved to be held, so that’s what I did. I held her. All the time. She even drank from a baby bottle. Something I’d regret teaching her later as she tried to steal the girls’ bottles when they were babies.
I sometimes wonder if God knew what I needed at that moment and he sent me an angel in this little cat. She clung to me as a lifeline and I clung to her and she crawled right into my heart. She was a bit skittish for many years and scared of other people. Yet through all the moves and the changes in our lives (adding babies and so on), she and I were side-by-side. There wasn’t a night that I sat down that she wasn’t at my side. I even had a bedtime for my little Doxie so that my baby could get her time in with me without interruption. If my lap was free, that was where she’d sit. Sometimes she’d crawl up onto my chest and kiss me on the chin. She always purred. If my computer was on my lap, she sat on the arm of my chair and placed her paw or her chin on my arm and stared at me with those beautiful light blue eyes, purring (of course).
If I left on a trip, she’d pout when I returned as though to ask why I’d left her behind. Yet, she hated to travel in a car. After she was through pouting, she’d come out and howl at me for a good hour, fussing and arguing about why I’d been gone. I didn’t leave often, but she didn’t like it when I did.
My beautiful baby aged as I have, but a cat’s life span is so much shorter than ours. As I hit my mid-thirties, I noticed my baby beginning to slow down. She slept more. She ate less. Her fur lost its once beautiful sheen. Her eyes were still brilliant and she was as sweet and wonderful as ever. She was just elderly now and I knew our time would one day come to an end.
My precious Sissy died this morning around 5 or 6 a.m. I had rushed her to the vet yesterday because her pupils were crazy dilated and she was so disoriented. I couldn’t even see the blue in her beautiful eyes. I suspected renal failure. The vet said that isn’t what took her. He suspects an aneurism or stroke. She was 16. I hate that I left her there, but I had prayed that the Lord would take her if all she was going to do was suffer, so I praise him for his mercy and for answering that prayer.
This cat changed and defined me. She taught me about the depths of unconditional love and that I was great (in her eyes anyway). She was always sweet, always happy to see me and just good to the core. We could all take a page from Sissy’s chapter and learn more about how we should act. She taught me that love is more than carrying a child. Love is about a bond and a connection, whether it is with a child that you didn’t give birth to, one you did give birth to, or a tiny cat that came into your life and taught you these things.
I love you, precious baby, and I’m going to miss you terribly.