When our daughter was a senior in high school in 2015, a friend of hers had a cat that had kittens. I knew what was coming the day we went over there to look at those adorable little kitties. We finally gave into the begging and pleading to bring one of the kittens home: the sweet little Addie Cat.
We love cats, but we have two dachshunds, Duke and Daisy, who would really enjoy killing a cat, as well as any other animal that might come into the yard, much less the house. We worked out a system for Addie to stay upstairs and to come downstairs only when the dogs were out. Then we trained Addie to start being able to go outside into the world. She would come right away when we called her name, usually dropping down from one of the huge oak trees in our yard. The dogs constantly barked at her through the doors and partitions that always separated them. And there was the time when she jumped out of our arms and, like supercharged lightening, Duke chased her up the stairs and had her pinned to a wall with his teeth. It was a bit stressful at times, but we grew to love Addie and she was part of our family.
When she neared her first birthday, she started getting sick. She would meow strangely when I picked her up and she soon began to be in a lot of pain. The vet did tests and noticed her white blood cells were oddly high. None of the medicines seemed to help and she was getting worse – not eating, not drinking, and not wanting to be touched at all. We finally took her to the vet school here and she was diagnosed with lymphoma. It was such a sad day. We ended up deciding to free her from the intense pain she was living with and chose to let her go on from this life. It was gut-wrenching awful. She was the sweetest, most loving little kitty girl we had ever known.
For weeks I cried and cried and sobbed and sobbed. I even made a grief altar, with pictures of her on it, her favorite toys, her collar, and some candles. That really helped me dive into the grief and let it move through me.
Interestingly, just a couple of days after Addie passed, I noticed some cats appearing in the yard. They would just sit in the grass, looking out at the world, like little sentries keeping watch. It was almost as though they knew what happened and were showing up to give me some comfort that Addie was okay. They seemed to be telling me very clearly that Addie thanks us for freeing her and sends her love. It did not seem coincidental at all, to me.
One cat, in particular, a little black and white kitty with gorgeous amber eyes (whose
markings are called a tuxedo cat, I later learned) started showing up next to the house, behind the shrubs near the front porch. She was a little ragged-looking and even had a bit of her ear missing, which I guessed was from a fight of some sort. She was so fearful and skittish; when she saw me in the window she would look terrified and run away. She also looked really hungry. Of course, I still had lots of cat food – even several cans of the epic primo wet food that we gave Addie. So I put some of that out on a little dish and put it out for her. Peeking out of the window, I could see her creep up anxiously and scarf down the food. Every time she’d see me, though, she would bolt.
After a few months, she was coming up to the back porch to eat, and after a couple more months, she would even come up when I was sitting there. I’ll never forget the day when she let me reach over and put my hand on her while she ate. She did nip at me quite a bit at first– not too hard – but would tug on my clothes with her teeth, which earned her the name “Bitey.” It wasn’t the most endearing name, so I finally decided to call her Georgia. She would come when I called her and, very interestingly, she’d often drop down out of one of the big oaks.
She brought another friend along, a cat that looks so nearly identical to Addie that I named her Grace (aka Gracie). Interestingly, she had a ragged ear, too. A friend told me that these cats were ferals and had been part of a trap/neuter/release program in town. The ear nick was a sign that the cats had been spayed or neutered. In spite of my firm insistence of feeding and loving two cats only and no more, soon we were feeding Sandstorm, then Melon, then Black Jack, then Little Jack Black. We have six ferals now that we feed and love. But Georgia is my favorite.
I was thinking about all of this today because just a few minutes ago, Georgia and I were sitting out on my deck and she was sleeping in my lap. I noticed she was walking around out back, so I went out, sat down in the chair, and she jumped up in my lap, curled up, and started the purr motor. She has no idea what a blessing she is to me. That little one has healed all the holes in my heart that were gaping open when Addie left us. I never, ever take these moments when she sits with me for granted. Every time she comes when I call her and every time she sits in my lap it just feels like I’ve been sprinkled with the magic dust of remembering and knowing, without a doubt, that Spirit/God/Source is real, that there is an Infinite Love at work, and that miracles really do happen. All I have to do is look around to experience it. It’s usually in the simple things right in front of me.
We sat there together for a good half hour. I was a little cold, but it was so lovely to just be there with her, looking at the changing leaves, breathing in the air, feeling our sweet connection. Nowhere to go and nothing else to do, except receive the miracle of divine love, right here on my lap and all around me all the time.
I am grateful for so many things, but especially today for this blessing of simplicity, this blessing of Georgia, My Georgia. A normal, everyday occurrence in the world like a cat on a lap doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but wow – it’s a huge deal, for me. I’m so glad I said “yes” to the invitation to slow down and feel that wow and remember that there is so much more going on that I’m aware of most of the time, and that the magic dust is actually always sprinkling…if only I slow down to notice it.