Saturday, April 14, 2012
Once upon a time, a litter of kittens was born to a mama cat who lived in a laboratory facility at a major university medical center. One of the kittens in this particular litter was an adorable little "tabico", with a coat of riotous calico colors and tabby stripes. Genetics, for whatever reason, had been unkind to this sweet little baby, for she was born with only a stub where her right front leg should have been. She was a happy little girl, and didn't seem to miss her leg as she stumbled around the cage where she lived with her mother and siblings. Things went along okay for a few months, but then it was decided she shouldn't be allowed to grow up because she was genetically "defective", and wouldn't be a satisfactory candidate for whatever it was that they did to cats in that place. There was a very kind lady who worked in the lab and it was her job to care for all of the cats. Knowing the little tripod kitty had no future, she talked to a friend of hers who already had three other cats who were missing a limb, and convinced that friend to adopt the baby.
One afternoon, the nice caretaker lady put the baby into a carrier and loaded her into the commuter van she drove. A few minutes later, she picked up her friend, who was a member of the vanpool. When the friend saw the kitten, she immediately knew she had made the right decision - perhaps the best decision she'd ever made. Though the nice lady had given the baby as much attention as she could in the lab, she had many cats to care for, so the baby was very hungry for human contact. The friend removed the kitten from the carrier, and she snuggled in her new friend's lap for the entire hour-long journey to her new home. When the two of them arrived at the house, a bearded man greeted them and began to make the most silly fuss over the new arrival - talking kitty baby-talk to her, and snuggling and petting her. Then, he put her down onto the floor, and, looking around, she noticed the most amazing thing... there was no cage surrounding her... there was nothing but wide open space as far as she could see. All of a sudden she began to run - up and down a long hallway, under a couple of giant black pianos, over a huge expanse of bed, some chairs, a sofa, a slippery linoleum floor where she totally lost her footing and rolled over and over, but quickly picked herself up and began to run up and down and up and down and up and down the long hallway, as fast as her three tiny legs could carry her, until she simply couldn't run any more. She collapsed in a heap and the man and the lady flopped down onto the floor beside her and laughed and petted and kissed her and told her she'd never be in a cage again.
After that first happy night, she spent the next nineteen years in her forever home - being adored by her humans, and playing with the other cats and a couple of friendly black dogs who also lived in the house. Then, last summer, she started to feel bad, and her people became very concerned and took her to the doctor. She didn't understand what kidney failure meant, but her people did, and they were very sad. They brought her home and began to care for her - giving her treatments she really didn't like, but which she graciously allowed herself to be subjected to. She knew her people were doing all they could for her, and, even though she was very sick, she felt loved and well cared for her. Then the day came when she could no longer walk on her three weakened legs, and she didn't want to eat any more, and, that afternoon, her people took her for one last visit with the doctor.
Rest in peace, sweet little girl... you are so missed...