Archive for February, 2008

February 24, 2008
Taken from God’s Lent Child, author unknown
I’ll lend you for a little while, a child of mine, God said
For you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or forty-two or three
But will you, till I call her back, take care of her for me?

Now will you give her all your love nor think it all in vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again?
I think our hearts accepted, and said “Thy will be done.
For all the joys this child will bring the risk of grief we’ll run.

We’ll shelter her with tenderness, we’ll love her while we may
And for the happiness we’ve known, we’ll ever grateful stay.
But should the angels call her back much sooner than we’d planned
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”

To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die ~ Thomas Campbell

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Katie, my One-Eyed Cat – A Tribute

February 8, 2008

I live in India, in the southern port city of Chennai (Madras), capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. My small family (myself, wife and son) are inveterate animal lovers. Several cats live with us in our apartment, and we feed and care for dozens more in the city and elsewhere, including the Parasparam Shelter. My wife and I run an organization, The Cattitude Trust, which is active in animal welfare.

Some months ago, one of our volunteers rescued a little kitten from a poorly-run shelter and brought her to us for care. She was emaciated and had an upper respiratory infection. We started treatment and nursing immediately. Her right eye though was very badly infected and despite our best efforts, eventually she lost that eye. We sought the help of an expert vet in USA, Dr. Kate, who advised us on treatment, and eventually we were able to save the kitten’s life. As she now had a permanent handicap, we didn’t try to re-home her, and so she became part of our family. And we named her Kate, after the American doctor who’d helped save her life.

As she grew up, Katie grew right into our hearts. Her handicap never bothered her. She was playful, talkative, loving and adorable. She would sleep with us, play with us and often would go into little paroxysms of loving.. she’d make a grab for my hand and make me hold her and caress her, and if I stopped she’d give a little meow-yelp and grab my hand again. She never protested if I picked her up and carried her around, unlike most of our other cats who are, after all cats, and hate being fussed over unless they’re in the mood for it. In fact she was just a happy child who’d taken the shape of a cat. Constantly playful, she constantly brought home to us the fact that Life, after all, is just a Play.

When we brought in two other rescued kittens.. Cornflake first, and after she found a home, Chloe next.. Katie was their playmate, their buddy and their mom all rolled into one.

In fact Katie was so special that hers was the picture on our Trust’s 2008 New Year greeting card! Katie’s presence in our home was Light, was Love itself.

Then the time came for Katie to become a young lady, and she started going on heat. Even here, she showed unusual behavior: She seemed to be in love with one particular male cat of ours, Ditto, the “black panther”, the surviving brother of our other “angel cat”, Fella, and she’d go sweetly nuts whenever Ditto came home. (Of course Ditto, being neutered, would just give her a disdainful look and walk away). Even in heat, Katie was adorable, and the way she’d roll around on the floor and meow under her breath in protest that she wasn’t getting a boyfriend, was funny and sweet.

Ditto
Ditto

It was time to spay her, particularly viewing her handicap, because if she left home looking for a mate it could be a real danger for her.

The night before the surgery I sat up with her till 2 am., and we chatted and chatted, and she nuzzled my neck and licked my hands and told me how much she loved me.

The next morning at 6.30 she was operated on by one of the best vets in our city, who’s done hundreds of such surgeries. The surgery was successful, and my wife then brought Katie home. When we last looked, she was coming nicely out of anesthesia and seemed fine.

I came home from work for lunch at about 2 pm and thought I’d look in on her.. she was lying against the door of the room where we’d isolated her, so I had to go in through the other door. One look at her and I knew she was gone, her one eye closed forever.

That was one the biggest shocks I’ve ever had.

We don’t have a clue why she died. Did her illness as a kitten leave behind some systemic problem which never showed up in her medical follow-ups? Did she thrash around and have a cardiac arrest? We’ll never know, and that makes it so much worse. We’ve had dozens of cats spayed, but never had this happen to any of them. Why our beloved, our beautiful child, our precious Katie?

We’d saved her from almost certain death as a baby, only to lose her in this most unacceptable of ways. Almost 5 years after we lost our angel kitten, Fella, also in tragic circumstances.

She was a martyr to Love! All she wanted was a mate, and because she lived in a hostile world, she had to be “done” for her own protection.. but alas, she paid for that with her life.

Our Katie has left a huge hole in our lives. With each passing day, the pain just gets deeper and deeper, the memories lash at our souls, the longing increases.

Some people may feel, understandably, that this is too much emotion over a mere animal, a cat at that.. but I know many more who will clearly understand the depth of our pain.

So I’ve set up this blog in her memory.. and also as a place where others who’ve lost a beloved pet and have felt the sorrow of it, can share their experience.

With special thanks to WordPress.

Katie
Katie

“I carry your heart, I carry it within my heart”..(e. e. cummings)

Katie n Cornflake
Katie with Cornflake

Katie n Chloe
Katie with Chloe

Katie n Me
Katie with me

New Year 2008