Last winter, Katie, our beloved tiger cat, died at the age of seventeen. It broke our hearts; we found her when she was five weeks old and she was such a part of our lives that we couldn’t even imagine how to fill the gaping hole that was left when she died.
She was an amazing cat. One year after we adopted her, our daughter was born. We brought the baby home and placed her on our bed, not certain of what Katie would think of the situation. Katie circled the mysterious bundle, obviously wondering just what it was. The baby made a movement that startled the cat. She had not been expecting something alive. To our amazement, she didn’t run. She sniffed the baby from head to toe and then lay down next to her. She then looked up at us as if to say, “Thank you for bringing me this baby.” From that day on, our daughter was Katie’s Baby.
After Katie’s death, we were divided about what to do. Our daughter wanted a kitten. We weren’t so sure. It is so damn hard losing pets and with the pain of Katie’s death fresh in our minds, we weren’t certain we wanted to do it all again. But as time passed, we gradually weakened. We began to talk about getting a kitten. A friend mentioned that two kittens would be an even better idea. They would keep each other company and entertain each other.
In May we adopted two kittens from an animal shelter. They were only four weeks old, part of a litter that was discovered on a construction site when the kittens were only one week old. There was no sign of their mother so they had been bottle-fed by the shelter staff. We dubbed them Katie and Zoe and brought them home. We were ecstatic. We were no longer petless. Happy days!
They were so young their eyes were still blue and they each only weighed 1.5 pounds. We quickly discovered they did not know how to drink out of a bowl. They did not know how to use a litter box. They could not even wash themselves. It was like having newborn babies. We turned the little bathroom off our bedroom into a kitten nursery and lay in bed that night wondering what we had gotten into.
What we had gotten into was two furry, purring little bundles of pure happiness. They learned quickly. They grew fast. They became our obsession and our joy. We plastered Facebook with photos and videos of our darlings. We knew we had the smartest, prettiest, most delightful kittens in the world.
When we see the antics of our kittens, we remember our first Katie when she was a kitten. We no longer cry about her death. We laugh in joy at all the good memories.