Monday, 20 July 2015

The Cats Who Saved My Life (a short story)

If you've read my book, The Distracted Yogi then you'll know all about The Cats who saved my life! 

Martin passed only just a week ago & my heart is still broken. I'm left wondering, just how am I going get by without his calm, confident & unassuming cat self? 

Somehow I will, I'll go on, I must for there are other little ones who need me & it's for them I'll continue until life's passions kick in again & carry me onto the next chapter of my life... 

So here it is, my short story, eventually it will become my next book-

The Cats Who Saved My Life

Martin and Sammy, two cats of common cat heritage (as common as is possible for a Cat
that is!), came into this life-dimension probably completely aware and up-to-speed
on Me, their latest Cat-Human assignment of sorts.
I, on the other hand, was completely unaware and, eventually, caught completely off
guard by their wily abilities. This cat infiltration of-a-kind lead directly to full on cat
occupation of the deepest most coveted corners of my heart, then once firmly
established there, claimed total control my heart strings with the deft expertise of a
skilled cellist!
I was sunk from the very beginning I just didn't know it, and yet, I must remind Myself:
This, is a love story.

Sammy: 1999- 2013
Speciality: Undercover Cat-Human Reconnaissance agent.
Mission Assignment: To Remove & Rehome potentially deadly or fatal diseases
and/or illnesses from select Human subjects.

Sammy came into my life as an unwanted alley cat and by the time we’d locked
eyes his life’s mission was already in full-operation mode. 
What appeared random and chance were carefully crafted moments of opportunity-Sammy knew exactly what he was doing that day when he glanced towards me, as I slowly and
deliberately scanned the pet cages for that ‘Special’ one, when with expert feline
precision, gave me the secret cat-wink!

I was smitten right then and there, only, I didn't get it then. I didn't get that our
meeting was a set-up right from the start.

Sammy looked and acted like a regular cat only he wasn't regular or ordinary at all. The
cat rescue people named him Sweetie Pie which, while appropriate, had to go!
‘Sammy’ was the name sake of a dearly departed relative and so seemed fitting for this
sweet, unassuming fur ball. Sammy was easy going, liked to cuddle
(his favourite past time!) and be very vocal towards the other cats in the neighbourhood.
Though I’d later surmised that this was probably some secret Cat communications taking
place all along, however, back then
I was completely oblivious I was busy revelling in Cat companion heaven.

In 2012 my health was coming to the apex of a very long journey called ‘recovery.’
I’d had bad car crash years earlier, long after Sammy and Martin were already firmly
established in my life and in my heart.

In the fall of 2012 my doctor told me there was a chance that my head injury sustained long ago could possibly morph into something more, more of what I didn't really know,
probably they didn't know either or just wouldn't say. More tests and scans were on the
agenda but Sammy got sick so I put that all aside somewhere in my damaged brain and focussed on Sammy instead.

‘Little Sammers’ suddenly developed some very distressing and baffling neurological
symptoms. He began crying and crying apparently for no good reason. Then after a few
days of constant yowling he would fall completely silent. This phase was always the
precursor to other more strange and disturbing behaviours such as:  walking in circles,
getting stuck in corners of the room and unable to find his way out, going pee outside the
litter box, then the final most devastating phase: complete catatonic demeanour. No sound,
no movement just a limp unconscious little fur-body.
I was a wreck. Sammy was my baby and to see him in such a state was a terrible shock.
The vet prescribed antibiotics and within 24 hours Sammy did come back from the
brink-three times in all. But, after the third pseudo recovery. I laid him to rest
permanently. He’d suffered enough. The vet said Sammy had all the classic symptoms of
a brain tumour so with my permission, a sample of his brain tissue was sent off for
analysis. The vet cautioned me though, saying “it could take years to get back
any results.” I'm still waiting for the confirmation that Sammy took on my troubles and
made them his own. It was his mission, after all.

Martin: 1998-2015
Speciality: Cat Companion Liaison (Earth Division): Cat-Human Interventions
Mission Assignment: Heart and Souls Recovery and Reintegration

Martin’s arrival into my life could not be more unlikely an event yet somehow he
did arrive and even more incredulously, he stole my heart!
In 1998 life came to an abrupt halt when emotionally I’d a hit a virtual wall
after my beloved cat Hillary died suddenly and tragically from a fall.
I was utterly crushed by her death but in particular it was the
mind-numbing guilt of not adequately protecting her from such an awful end to
her short life of only 5 years. The guilt was soul-crushing I had to do something to
cope so, one week later I began a half-hearted search for a new kitty and, in the
space of that distraction, nearly forgot about my grief if only for a moment or two.

It was enough to keep me upright, to keep me from going completely insane from those three, soul destroying what ifs; shoulda, coulda, woulda.

After only a few hours of scanning the local papers I’d found one ad and only one;
‘Rescued Kittens for adoption. To good homes only.’ I dialled the number with
hands tembling. Just one kitten left out of a littler of five. I had to get there
As I entered the home of a very young, very kind woman I was
immediately mobbed by critters of all descriptions; nursing kitty-moms, expectant
doggy-moms, abandoned puppies and kittens, lots and lots of kittens!
They were everywhere and so was the Love. It was palpable. I scooped up
one of the tabby boy-kittens as he raced by. I held him to my chest tightly but he
struggled and wailed his kitten cries piercing the air all the while threatening
to squirm away from of my tight grasp. ‘He’s not the one.’ The rescue lady announced, ‘That one there, next to your foot, he’s the only one left.’ 

This one, the last one, was clearly the feeblest of the litter. The runt.  He struggled to crawl even while his siblings romped and did kitty burn-outs all around the room and all over me! I felt a bit dismayed. I needed a strong, confident type cat. One who could handle my grief and still thrive despite possibly being ignored for a time, at least until the worst of the sorrow over Hillary could pass. This one, I’d quickly assessed, the one who looked too needy, cried feebly, and barely crawled on shaky legs, was clearly not ‘The One!’
‘Do you want him?” “Sure, yes, I’ll take him.” I said haltingly not quite believing what I
was saying. Why did I say yes?! I was perplexed; I couldn't believe what I’d just
done yet there it was, I’d agreed to take on this fragile, innocent soul for good; a
promise to care for him for the rest of his life.
‘Martin’ stole my heart and never gave it back until he left this plane of
existence just one week ago. I didn't want my heart back though; I wanted him, not his
memory or a photo but Him and his soft silky self.

After his sudden death I came to the painful realisation that it was not I who rescued Martin but rather the opposite was true. 

He'd nurtured me through countless illnesses,

 health crises, all manner of traumas, relationship endings and beginnings, career
 changes, and multi-digit moves, several across the entire province!

It was Martin who taught me how to love and it was Martin who saved my life.

Forever devoted. Michelle

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