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A casual blog highlighting my life with kids, grandkids and kitties...Also an avenue to show some items from my etsy shops.

**Please note..The other half of my life is dovoted to helping feral and free roaming cats in Walnut and the surrounding areas. You can learn more and follow our activites there at Walnut Iowa's Feral Cat Program! **

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rest my Ricky-boy

I'm here to write about a cat.  My cat who was killed on the highway on March 21, 2013 .  I've been looking at this blank page for days and cant think of a thing to write.  I want to memorialize him, to remember, but that hurts ...a lot...and I'm not sure I'm ready.  Then today my dear friend Cheryl Canada sent me this poem, written by an unknown author...originally written for dogs, I have substituted cats...

"It came to me that everytime I loose a cat,
they take a piece of my heart with them.
And every new cat who comes into my life
gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough
all the components of my heart
will become as generous and loving as they are..

And so its hard to be ready when the hole that his loss left in my heart is open, raw and still unoccupied.  The thought came to me that maybe being "ready" has nothing to do with producing a memorial.  Maybe the pain holding me back from sharing who this furry little boy was, is a selfish thing...If it's my emotion, my broken heart, my hurt that keeps me from writing, then he will be forgotten or never known.  Ricky deserves to be remembered and known.

Ricky was born during the spring of 2007.  His known history began when he was about 2 months old when he and his sister were found in an abandoned trailer in a town close to ours.   Skinny, full of fleas and worms, he and his sister were rescued and brought back to health. Then his waiting for a new home began.

My husband and I had rescued an abandoned kitten a year earlier (Possum)  and I felt that she needed a buddy.  Having had a male cat before, I longed for the affection and fun personality that I knew a boy cat would provide.  I had let Avoca Veterinary Clinic know that I was looking for a male kitten.

The day I got the call from AVC is like yesterday for me.  They basically said they had a little boy cat and I was instantly in the car and on my way to get him.  What his color was, his size, his age...none of that mattered.  I had found my boy-kitty and I was going to get him and bring him home.   The carrier sat on the counter at the clinic and I remember peering in and seeing not two brilliant blue eyes, but four!  Two frightened kittens were peering back at me...both near-white with seal points.  I immediately saw that they were Siamese mix and they were beautiful.   One was a male and of course he was the braver and came right to me.  I scooped him up, put him in my carrier, completed the paperwork and headed home.  Two blocks from the clinic, I called my husband to give him the good news of our new baby.  When Larry asked me how it went, I said "The hardest part was leaving his sister behind"   His reply will be a gift to me forever...."How much harder would it be to have 3 cats as opposed to 2?"....I headed right back to the clinic to get his sister.

Ricky and Lucy became part of our family that day.  Lucy is my beauty queen  and Possum is my quirky, plump sweet girl that is every one's favorite because of her independent mind!  But Ricky was my Ricky-boy!

Ricky was boy through and through and wanted outside from day one.  Trying to keep him inside was like trying to keep flies off the watermelon!  He made himself quite clear that going out was of great importance to him.  He would smack nick-knacks off tables, try to swipe pictures off the wall and wail like a sick cow until he allowed out.   A very verbal boy, I knew when he wanted in or out, a snack, a meal or attention.   He was as annoying as he was endearing. He could open cabinets to get to his treats, could eat through Styrofoam to get to the feral cat food and he could steal my heart by curling up on my lap for a long afternoon nap or by allowing me to cradle him and nuzzle his tummy.  I chuckled at his "squinty eyes"...he would lower them when he wanted something, sit straight as a stick and stare! A statue model should have been his career!  A great communicator, I always knew what he wanted.    We had a game we would play at supper.  He would come to my chair, lay down and kick the chair leg with his back feet.  I would reach down grab both feet and say "I'm gonna get your feet!" and I would shake them gently back and forth.  As soon as I stopped, he would kick the legs again until I took his soft little feet in my hand again and played our game over and over...

And so for nearly six years I enjoyed the presence of this sweet little soul.  Our morning routine included a full breakfast dish...a litter box run and a short visit to the outside. The morning of the 23rd, I had to go to Omaha for the day.  I let Lucy in, but Ricky didn't enter.  I intended to let him in before I left for the day, but I forgot.    I got the call in the late afternoon that he had been found.  The trip home feels like a dream.  I was so happy that my neighbor and my friend took care of him and took him to the vets office.  I was able to go the next day to see him.  I decided to bring him home and let my girls say goodbye...and I needed to see him, touch him and love on him just one more time.

Watching the cats say goodbye will stay with me forever.  But they are at peace, knowing that he is gone and not lost.  Not waiting by the door wondering where he is. I am still trying to find peace.  Ive known the risk of allowing him to go outside.  We've talked about how we realize that his life may be shortened because of it.  But he was so happy to be out there, to chase bugs, and play in the lay in the be a cat in every sense of the word.  I don't regret that.  I only wish we could have had more time together and I pray that he didn't suffer...that he wasn't mad at me and sitting the porch with squinty eyes...waiting for me to let him in.

Rest peacefully, my Ricky-Boy, mama loves you my little man!


Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful memorial, Kathy! I love the part where you turned around and went back for Lucy. It brings tears to my eyes that you thought to let the other cats say goodbye to him. I am not sure I could have brought myself to do something like that, if I even had thought of it in the first place.

I know the pain of losing a loved pet, and I feel something like this doesn't quite ease the pain but it does somehow make it more bearable. I'm thankful that you were able to share it with us.

Fran Wylie

Jennifer Murdoch said...

Thank you for writing this Kathy. Well done and a great tribute to Ricky Boy. I love your heart for God's little furry ones! Keep up the great work.

Hunter Hansen said...

I cried reading this. What a beautiful memorial. I'm sorry for your loss.

JJ said...

Kathy, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful, deep story of your very special Ricky-boy. I know it was difficult to write but, in turn, I believe it brought you even closer to him and will ease your journey of grief and loss. I too know your struggles with his desire - no, insistence! - to go outside at least a part of each day. We also had a male cat like this, and I held my breath each time he went out because we lived in at least 3 places where identified risks reared their heads. But he would act like he was caged or couldn't breathe, and seem quite satisifed once he got his outdoor hit. Geez. Men! Know that so many of us have walked a similar path and walk with you as you work your way through this BIG loss. I especially appreciate, though difficult, that you brought him home to say good-bye to Lucy and Possum and for more time for you and your husband to say good-bye as well. Many people don't realize that if an animal friend/family member can't be given the opportunity to know their loved one is gone - and not just missing - they will continue, indeed, to look and look. It isn't always possible to facilitate this, but you did! We're all here for you. You are such a loving and giving person and so many gatos depend on you. So please take care of yourself and remember you're human, as we all are, and not purrfect. So glad I met you and am, at least in a small part, on this journey through life with you. xxoo JJ

Valerie Haas said...

Thanks for sharing this memorial. I too lost a cat that loved to be outside. Very sad. Your writing helped me to share in your loss and remember my own sweet boy Zuc Skywalker...
Valerie Haas

Kathy said...

Valerie, thank you for your kind words. Writing this was difficult and healing all at the same time. I come back and read it over when I miss him...Im sorry about the loss of your Zuc Skywalker...sweet name!

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