|Purred: Fri Jan 18, '13 6:08pm PST |
|Six months ago, we were "found" by a tiny stray cat. She was around eight weeks old, weighed less than one pound, and covered in fleas. We took her in, naming her "Bowski" after our favorite movie. Within days, we had fallen in love with this tiny kitten who played (and loved!) like a tiger. She slept with us, hung out with us, and generally warmed our hearts in every way.
On New Year's Eve (what we think was her half-birthday), Bowski suddenly started having trouble breathing. By noon the next day, fluid had filled the cavity around her lungs. The vet diagnosed fatal FIP, and told us we had two options: euthanasia, or a surgery on her frail body that might buy her a couple more days, or weeks. We were devastated, and made the incredibly heartbreaking decision to let our baby girl go.
I cried for days. I kept thinking it would get easier, but a week later, I still struggled to cope. I remember sitting by the back door, where Bowski used to greet me every afternoon, holding her favorite blanket and wishing for any kind of comfort.
The next morning, we went to the vet's to bring home Bowski's remains. In the waiting room, I was drawn to a cage with a cat that looked just like my Bowski–but so much bigger, and healthier, with the energy she had in her early days. "His name is West. But watch out," the vet tech told me. "He's a little crazy, and he bites." But unbelievably, as I reached out to pet him, West stopped running around and looked straight into my eyes. He slowly blinked at me, then softly "nommed" my fingertips, the way my little girl used to.
It was all too much. We left quickly, but West was on my mind. I thought, maybe this was the universe's funny little way of showing me that there's still a lot of life left in the world. The atheist in my finds it hard to believe in a cat heaven–but I could believe that, maybe, for a moment, Bowski's energy had found me to say that things were okay.
Later, I got a call. It turns out that West wasn't at the vet for treatment–he was a rescued kitten in desperate need of a good home. The vet said, "We think he'd be perfect for you."
West is sleeping on my chest now, like he has every night since we brought him home. He is healthy, and insanely energetic. He purrs all the time, and is every bit as lovey as Bowski was.
He is completely his own cat, but sometimes, he does goofy little things that make me see my first kitten in him. Bowski was a "suckler–" when she got comfortable and lovey, she would "nurse" on her little security blanket. West is not... but in the middle of his third night here, I woke up to him suckling on the blanket alongside me. When I went to pet him, he looked confused, as if he didn't quite know why he was doing it (and he hasn't done it since).
But I think I know why.
I still miss her every day. But I think she would be happy that we aren't alone, and that another stray kitten has found his home. West has helped me to heal, and to come to terms with what life gives us, and takes away.
I just wanted to share this story with fellow cat-lovers, and anyone else who struggling with losing a best friend, or thinking of adopting another.
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