Saturday, August 15, 2009
Molly, a Ragdoll kitten I love, passed away yesterday. She was just three months and 10 days old.
If you don't know cats, you'll never feel the tremendous love they can generate -- both ways. If you earn a kitten's trust and affection, they will let you know by various gestures in cat body language and varieties of purrs.
If a kitten climbs into your bed and peers into your face, you have just received one of the greatest honors kittendom can bestow.
Cats, like any animals, do not make eye contact with other species they do not trust -- any form of contact may lead to danger. So, if a kitten, defenseless and loving, approaches you, familiarizes herself with what you look like, and purrs with pleasure in your embrace, you feel at peace with the world.
Unlike the majority of people in this planet, cats do not complain. They dislocate a bone in their leg, they just limp quietly, no meowing to call your attention, until you notice the infirmity and hurriedly takes her to the vet.
Molly belonged to a brood of five, one who died in infancy, and that tore my heart. In many births, perhaps it is inevitable that there must be a few deaths. But you don't get used to death. I am not strengthened by the loss of every creature that is capable of such affection.
Some rich people who love and respect pets do not sell their kittens -- they give them as gift to their rich friends. We are not rich, so we have to recoup the cost of veterinary care -- vaccinations, injections for deworming and vitamins, food, litter boxes, toys, and lots of toilet paper they unravel. Cockroaches they catch are free. Love -- both ways -- is priceless.
When the new owners take each of the kittens from our home, I console myself that whoever can afford a Ragdoll is capable of giving her a better life than we can. So we silently bid them Mr. Spock's leavetaking: "Live long and prosper."
When a kitten cries, it may be seeking your companionship, or asking you to cuddle her -- to her and your heart's delight. In Molly's case, she called from the bedroom to indicate that something was terribly wrong.
Angel, her owner, who even hired a yaya to care for Molly, thought the kitten just needed some attention and affectionate strokes. To Angel's distress, she found Molly on the floor, lips pale and breath fading with every weakening meow. Molly did not make it to the vet.
I hope that in due time, Angel will recover from this heart-rending loss. I wish for her the strength of heart to continue loving and caring for these helpless, lovable creatures, who entrust their well-being to their owners, trusting that their affectionate purrs and meows will beget them love.
I hope that Angel will remain that -- an angel-- to her little furry friends. My heart, shattered by Molly's sudden, unexpected and mysterious death, goes out to you, Angel. I wished Molly would have lived long and prospered with you. It was not to be. I am sorry.
My gratitude goes to every cat I encountered; they broadened my mind's horizon. From the kittens I learned that every living creatures, great and small, are capable of great affection and should be treated with that consideration in mind. From that point of view, I am trying to have more tolerance for the meanest and, at the same time, noblest creatures on Earth -- people.
I still find most people harder to tolerate than pets. There are many valid reasons, but if some of our species are capable of caring for the Mollys of this world, then I think there is still hope for us.