Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Farewell to Rufus and Momma Kitty!"

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Two very special pets from the world of "books and writers" have gone to the Rainbow Bridge.

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First, there is Rufus, who was has been known as's "shortest volunteer worker." He was owned by Amazon's former editor-in-chief and their principal engineer, and dating all the way back to the early days, he would accompany them to work every day.

Rufus had a wonderful life! He was able to sit in on all the meetings he wanted (something he loved to do!); stroll the hallways; take leisurely naps in his crate; he perfected his game of hallway tennis-ball-chase; and somehow he was able to charm people into giving him extra treats and goodies, whenever they saw him. Ah, to live a dog's life.

As soon as Amazon customers discovered that there was an "Amazon dog," he was overwhelmed with presents, and he was particularly delighted to receive an offering from his good friends in Guam. His celebrity status never changed him, though. He was always the same old lovable Rufus.

He was most proud of his accomplishment of starting up the dog-friendly culture that is present at today. Employees can thank Rufus for being able to bring their four-legged friends with them to work today, something that most companies wouldn't even dream of allowing their employees to do.

Amazon is sure going to miss you, Rufus!

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The next pet that has gone on to "meet the sweet reward" is my own precious baby, Momma Kitty. You probably don't remember the article that I wrote on April 3rd about writer's block, but I wrote a whole paragraph about her in that article, here.

I have been dreading this, ever since they re-blacktopped the road out in front of our house. Momma was so good about looking both ways before crossing the road, but there had been some strange, stray dogs out here lately that had been chasing her and the other kitties, and I knew that she had been depending on being able to hear the vehicles coming, just like in the old days, but she wouldn't be able to any more. Now the road was all smooth, and the vehicles travelled along it quietly. How could I warn her and make her understand that? I was frantic!

I tried to tell her, but she didn't understand what I was trying to say. She just purred and looked up at me with love in her eyes, enjoying being held by me and listening to the sound of my voice as tears ran down my cheeks.

Days passed by and she was ok, and this gave me hope. Then days turned into weeks and I was cautiously optimistic, but still I worried and prayed. I couldn't bear the thought of living without her. Then the weeks turned into months and I thought maybe, just maybe the hurdle had been crossed, but the months never had the chance to make it to a whole year. In less than ten months, my Momma Kitty, the only kitty to have survived the traffic on this treacherous road for anything over a year, was gone.

For eleven years, I was the one that she had loved the most. I was the one she ran to when she had boo-boos from fighting with the other cats; she would sit by the door and "meow" until I came out to see what the problem was, because that wasn't something she'd normally do. She was such a good kitty, and we could read each other. I had never had that before--not in my entire life--and now she was gone. I was going to miss her terribly.

My new neighbor, Sheila, had called me on the phone that morning, and when I answered, instantly I had been able to tell something was very wrong by the sound of her voice.

"Oh...uh, hi, Cynde," she stammered. "Is Dion around?"

"Hi, Sheila," I answered her, immediately on alert. "No, Dion went back to work this morning. Can I help you with something?" My husband had just returned to work after taking a few days vacation, and for some reason, she obviously didn't want to talk to me.

"Well, not exactly," she said. There was silence on the line.

"Is something wrong, Sheila?"

"I'm on my way to an appointment, and I'm going to be late," she said, agitated. Silence again.

I had been laying down because I didn't feel good, it was around 11:30 a.m., and I still wasn't dressed. Something told me to get up and start slamming on some clothes as we spoke, which I did. "Sheila, what is it?" I asked, alarmed.

"Well, I was just going to get out into my car, and I happened to notice that one of those cats are out in the road."

(The kitties in the photo above are Momma's last litter, from left to right: Luke, Capote, Grady, and Duke)

My first thought was, oh no, I bet it's Duke. All we had left now were three yellow tiger kitties: Momma Kitty and two of her kittens, both boys, Capote and Duke. Then Sheila shattered my world!

"I think it's that old one," she said.

I think I may screamed, "Oh no, not Momma!" but I'm not sure. I don't remember exactly what happened after that. I do remember thanking her and having a hard time getting her to get off the phone for some reason. Now that I think about it, I may have upset her with my devastated reaction, but I'm not sure. I just know that I had to get off the phone so I could finish dressing so that I could see if it was Momma; and she if she was alive; and then see if I could help her.

A few minutes later, I was dressed and ready, then I flew out the door. The very first thing I noticed were the two kittens, Capote and Duke, looking out towards the road, and howling, as if they were physically in pain. I have never seen anything quite like it, except when cats were in heat, and they definitely were. not! Just the sound of it made my heart race. Then I turned and saw that it surely was Momma lying there, so I ran with the soft towel that I had brought with me, and went to check her out.

Oh, how it grieved me to see what had happened to her. A car had driven right over her, and I won't describe the whole thing to you, but yes, she had died instantly, thank God. I said a prayer for her, then scooped her up, and tenderly wrapped her up in her shroud, then I cradled her in my arms, and took her to her favorite spot in our front yard so that she could rest there, covered, until Dion got home to bury her.

I went in to call Dion at work, and when I looked outside, both the kittens were nuzzling her. Then, each one of them got as close as they could, one of either side, and they both snuggled up next to her, and fell asleep. I totally lost it then. I told Dion what had happened, and I cried so much that I got the hiccups. I had to assure him that I was going to be ok, because he was coming home to be with me, he was so worried about me. That's the way he is; we love each other so much. I couldn't have gotten through this without him.

I know that some of you will think that this is ridiculous, but I loved her so much. I loved her in a way that I find hard to explain. I'm home every day, all by myself, and it gets so lonely, so I talked to Momma, for hours...and she listened happily, without complaint. When she saw me coming, she would literally run to greet me. And the night before she died, she came into the house on her own, and went looking for me.

I had just gotten out of the shower and Dion was drying me off, so she must have heard my voice. Dion had left the kitchen door open by mistake when he carried some things in from the car, and when he came in to check to see how I was doing with my shower, he just dropped what he was doing to help me dry off.

Then we both heard, "Meow!" "Meow!" and I opened the bathroom door just in time to see my poor little Momma Kitty looking more distraught than I had ever seen her in her entire life. I bent down, gently pet her head, and said, "how did you get in here, sweetheart?" She immediately responded by blinking her eyes at me, then wrapping herself around my legs as she weaved in and out, purring loudly as she did so. Oh, how I loved the way she talked to me. She was never too embarrassed to say "I love you, Mommy," no matter where we were or who was there.

Momma had basically been a feral cat, but she let me do anything I wanted with her, and she was the almost the same with Dion. We were her two favorite people in the world, but anybody else...and she took off like a shot! She had never come into the house that far must have been a sign from the Lord, because that was the last time I ever saw her alive. She had come to say "goodbye".

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As a side note: the kitten that took it the hardest and that has been missing Momma the most, "Capote," (this is him in the photo to the left) has been following me everywhere! He isn't Momma, but he is awfully sweet, and I know Momma would want me to take good care of him. Who knows...I may grow to love him a lot, if I can learn to let my guard down. He is so smart, and I already do love him (and Duke, too, of course). I just don't want to get hurt again, I don't think my heart can take it, that's all. Pray that he doesn't get hurt, would you, please? Thanks!

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.


Please visit my other blogs:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

That story made me cry. It's so hard to lose a pet, especially one that you've loved and are so close to! I wish you the best and know that Momma is happy and watching you somewhere.

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Thanks, Pam. You're very sweet. It makes me feel better just to know that someone cares and understands.
God bless you, my friend.

Diane L Wood said...

Thanks for sharing your loss Cynde. Brought back memories of the day we lost our old timer, Patches. He was my cat, 16 years old and very ill. It was the hardest thing I've ever done... take him to the vet... and...
Like you say the loss rips your inside to pieces. But you know what Cynde? I wouldn't have missed those years with him for anything in the world. All those memories like the day he proudly brought us his latest catch - a half dead brown snake, yes and half alive and yes very venomous. And the time he strutted inside with his freshly caught wild baby rabbit. I tried to stop him. He raced into the en suite and dumped the body in my work shoe and near filled it with blood. My daughter used to tie pretty bows around his neck and take his photo. He sat up like a professional model and I'll swear he smiled for the camera.
He was always on my knee on cold winter nights or on the bed while I read at bed-time. There are so many wonderful memories Cynde, I focus on them and am thankful for the years we had him.
All pets are precious, you are so lucky to have the others.
I believe the spirit lives forever even after leaving the body.
Momma Kitty will always be with you as Patches is always with me.

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Patches sounded like such a sweetheart. You should write a story about him, Diane--really!
I fully intend to write one about Momma. It's one that I've been procrastinating about for a long time, and now it's probably better that I did. It's from the beginning of our relationship when I had just married Dion and moved into his house (now "our home") after our honeymoon. She didn't like ANYONE but Dion, not even the boys, and she was NOT happy to see ME there! It took me MONTHS to get her to even tolerate me, let alone trust me, until the day she "saved" me from a HUGE snake. (Yep, another snake story) But, you'll have to wait until I actually write the story because I want to try to do it justice.
It's so hard to know what our pets are thinking when they do the things they do, but you can bet than nine times out of ten, they are motivated by their love for us. That warms my heart.
Thanks for sharing your story, Diane. It was so special, and you were so lucky to have Patches. I hope that he and Momma have met and are talking about us. That would make me smile.
God bless you. You're a dear friend.