You led us purposefully up the road, stopping to rest when you needed, sometimes in sun, sometimes in shadow. It was that kind of day, warm and cool equally soothing on fur and skin.
After a rainy summer, fall brought so many acorns they fell like rain when the wind blew. The rowan tree was loaded with bright red berry umbrellas.
When you were well, you didn’t walk when you could run and you didn’t run when you could cavort. Like a little deer, you bounced and played with us and your cat sisters and brothers. You loved to watch the squirrels and chipmunks and lizards outside our door.
Your life was an uphill adventure, but you gave it your all. You were born about the same time as Happy Cats. You and your brothers were one of our first rescues from a guardian with too many cats.
Half their size, you had to be fed in a carrier to give you a chance to eat. When we played, you could only hold your own by darting out from under the bed like a cricket, then back to safety. You got very sick and we later learned you had been born dead, resuscitation forcing the infection deep into your lungs from day one.
We hand fed you with a spoon for years, facing away on our laps, so much that your normal greeting was to run up and back into us, waiting to be picked up. You agreed to eat whatever we offered, a lifetime of supplements and medications in your food, in exchange for not forcing them down your throat.
You lost sight in an eye, hearing in an ear and all but your canines to inflammation, which we made the dentist leave so you’d keep at least that dignity. Rare skin conditions made your fur peel off in strips and the tip of your ear fall off. You pooped with 3 legs up on the side of the box, like Washington crossing the Delaware, to keep your tail out of the diarrhea we finally stopped with a raw diet.
You became a long, shiny little black cat and you loved to pet us with your tail. Your favorite place was curled on your back in a t-shirt, kneading your cat daddy’s beard. Very rarely, we heard a purr through your damaged membranes. Rarely you meowed and when you did, you sounded like a baby crow just learning to caw.
Neither conventional care nor alternative worked alone, but together through Dr. Pearson, they gave you almost five good years. You fought hard to be here and gave them back to us a hundredfold.
You taught us that we are here to love, to love through the shadow and pain and laughter and cavorting. Especially the cavorting.
This is a Happy Tale about coming full circle. Dr. Lee’s injection was painless and quick, and did its work even more quickly. We know you ran like a deer toward the light because your tail fluffed as you left us, acorns dropping like rain, autumn sun darting in the shadows of the rowan and oak. Breathe that white light deeply, little Johnny. On to your next adventure.