Good Kitty

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:10 pm

I had a dream last night where I was in the kitchen and noticed our cat Scrum staring intently into a patch of empty space just inside the hallway leading into the living room and bedroom area. All of a sudden I knew, just knew that he was seeing Scamper. I dropped to one knee, stretched out my right hand and began snapping my fingers lightly, the way I always do when trying to get one of our cats’ attention. As I did, Scamper materialized a couple of feet from me, just coalescing into being as he lumbered forward towards my outstretched hand. I began twiddling my fingers in the ruff around his left cheek and ear, and he burrowed his head into my fingers the way he always did. I began crying and telling him he was a good kitty, and then as my vision blurred with tears he dissipated into nothingness again.

I didn’t wake up, but I know that if I had, my face would have been damp.

This was a good dream, a happy dream. If I were to infer anything—and I’m not sure that I do—I would take it to mean that Scamper is content wherever he is, even if he’s just hanging around the house. Shawn once opined that in fact he is (and took this as a good sign), and while I have neither the belief structure to take his word for it nor have asked him about Scamper’s presence since, it gives me some measure of peace to think that it might be so.

I relayed my dream to Margaret this evening, and she took it pretty hard. I forget that, along with being a beloved pet, Scamp was a patient of hers. She will never quite get over the fact that she could not rewrite the laws of Nature and the Universe to save my cat from death, and I can only hold her and comfort her as best I can when some insensitive lummox reminds her of it.

All in all, I think it’s a good thing that I can still be brought to tears over the memory of a pet. It means I’m not completely selfish, that I feel for creatures other than myself. (Even as a pot of pork chili bubbles on the stove top in anticipation of tomorrow night’s dinner. On the other hand, the pig in question got to our house DOA; his petting days were long over. If I start seeing angry pig ghosts about, you can betcher fur I’ll be rethinking the whole meatatarian thing. Till then, pass the Tabasco.)

And when the unthinkable happens and Scrum also leaves us, I think I will want to take a bit of a sabbatical before bringing any more pets into our lives. We’ll probably still have our two pythons Chuck and Sally (they can live for 30 years of more), but reptiles are a different kind of pet; there’s no emotional attachment on their part. They recognize us as nonthreatening, but that’s about it. They don’t pine for us in our absence, they don’t perk up when they hear us coming. We’re basically just an armature of nice warm spots to curl up in or hang off of.

But while I don’t doubt there are more cats in our future (and who knows, maybe even a dog? Stranger things have happened), I think I will feel the need for a hiatus, for a caesura of a little silence and stillness, before diving back into the bright, happy distraction of young lives zipping hither and yon through the house. Give Scamp and his brother some time to reacquaint themselves before moving on to whatever it is that awaits them.

*Sigh* Good Kitty.

“It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.”

—Unknown, written on an anonymous tombstone

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