Thursday, March 5, 2009

The death of a stray cat--freedom or security?

I can't stop crying. A cat died today. He was run over by a car. He wasn't one of my cats--he was a stray--but it doesn't seem to matter. He was a beautiful big gray tiger cat who hung out in the back yard. The back yard is huge, taking up almost an entire block, with lots of little cottages on the property. There are benches, and tables, and fountains and trees. It's a cat's paradise.

Since most of the tenants have cats, originally I thought he belonged to someone. He was well fed, but I later found out that neighbors would feed him or he would go into people's houses through the window and eat their cat's food. While the weather was good I wasn't worried about him. But lately it's been raining a lot and I would see him outdoors.

I couldn't let him in as Max, my alpha male cat, would have a fit. He seemed feral and wouldn't come in anyway, not if I was there. I thought of taking him to a shelter this past week but didn't know if it was the right thing. He made it through the winter and spring would soon be here. He looked like the kind of cat who preferred having his freedom than having security. Perhaps I was projecting my own preferences onto him. Yesterday when the rain really started pouring I looked for him with my cat carry case in hand. If I had found him I would have taken him in. But I got soaked and he was no where to be seen. He must have had his hiding place.

This past week I prayed to St. Francis of Assisi, who is the protector of animals, to take care of him, to end his suffering, to find him a home, or to help me figure out how I could help him. Perhaps this is how my prayer was answered. His suffering has ended and he is Home. But I can't stop crying. It can't just be about him. It's about the suffering of so many helpless beings, and my feeling unable to help.

Goodbye, tough guy. I am sorry that I didn't know how to help you. I still don't know if you would have preferred to be safe and warm in a cage in a shelter, or if you went out the way you wanted to--free.


Anonymous said...

I feel that a soul which is loving and kind to animals is a unique blessing bestowed upon chosen people. It's ironic that the very same love for all creatures can also be so profoundly painful.

Answers to prayers aren't always the ones we would want or expect. Like you, I prayed for God to end my own pet's suffering and pain. To take her in her sleep, quietly and painlessly. I did get my answer to that prayer - just not in the way I wanted it to happen.

It sounds as if God listened to you and chose His perfect timing to bring His creature home. And, perhaps once the grieving subsides, it will be comforting to think of his little cat spirit in a new, warm, loving home where he has plenty to eat, shelter from the storms, and someone to love and adore him until he sees you again.

I know your cats, wild birds and other beloved creatures will be waiting to greet you with open arms (paws?) at the rainbow.

My thoughts are with you. ~pamela

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