Monday, February 21, 2005

Chipper, the Cat

I saw a bee sunning on the snowdrops today,
While overhead sang a titmouse, dressed in gray.
But as flowers bloom, and birds begin to sing,
Something is missing from the garden this Spring.
Last year we put to sleep our sweet, old cat,
For she got internal lymphoma, and that was that.
But while she won't be following us around,
she's still here, buried in the soft, cool ground.
As a young kitten she lost her voice, but now,
she's under a plaque saying "Here lies Chipper... MEOW!"

It's just about a year since we had to put Chipper, our 15 year old cat to sleep. Her sister, Toaster, is now 16, and REALLY creaky, but still hobbles around, and on sunny days now, shuffles up the hill, to sleep on the soft pine needles under her favorite tree, in the sun of what is surely her last spring, perhaps dreaming of when she was a young kitty and could climb trees and chase blowing leaves across the lawn. Not too long ago Toaster stopped eating, with no fixable reason that the vet could discern, and we actually made an appointment to have her put to sleep too, but then I gave her a little nibble of the rotisserie chicken we had bought for supper, and she ate it. For weeks I had to go buy a rotisserie chicken for her twice a week, but now she's back eating cat food again. I actually dug a grave for Toaster in the Garden, not too far from where Chipper is buried, and I'm not going to fill it back in just yet.When Chipper was a young cat she disappeared for a couple of days, and finally showed up at the back door without her collar, and when she opened her mouth to meow, no sound would come out; she must have caught her collar on something, and damaged her larynx getting free. Many years later she finally got back a little, croaky meow, but rarely used it. When she died this last year, we got two new kittens from the animal shelter, Sadie and Snickers, and I was happy to find they now make break-away collars. The kittens are getting to know their way around, and a blur of energy. Still, every once in a while, though, when I'm out in the garden, I look for Chipper, then realize she's here, and I walk up the hill by the azalea bed, and pat the large, gray boulder under which she lays.

What a pretty blog! I'll be back :-)
Thanks, Alicia... I'll leave a light on.
Wow. We've been through much the same over the last two and a half years - losing three of our beloved cats ages 21, 16 and 14. We too buried them in our garden and I always stop by and say hello whenever I'm out. While we haven't gotten any new kittens (and bravo to you for going to the local shelter!) we have gotten a couple of new puppies from rescue groups. I know we'll never be without a pet and I'll bet you're the same.
There must be something in your water; how did you get THREE cats to that age? I always thought of myself as being kind of a tough guy, but I must admit after 15 years or so you do get attached to the little critters.
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