One day, as I was sitting in my home office, I suddenly heard a cat calling in distress. The fridge was making an incredible racket (I think it was in distress, too, as it died not long afterwards), yet above this din, I was able to hear a cat, or rather a kitten as it turned out, crying. I rose and went through to the kitchen and looked out the window. There on the sidewalk in front of the house was a young kitten, meowing forlornly. And thus Midget became a part of my life. That was in the year 2000.
Midget was a highly intelligent cat with major cattitude. What joy and unconditional love he brought to my life. He has been there for me through some of the worst times in my life - my divorce and all its ensuing emotional fallout, the disastrous rebound relationship, estrangement from my daughter, the death of my brother, living in the Stinky Towel Motel for 3 months... He has been a wonderful friend - sleeping under the covers with me, licking me when there was no one to kiss me, and just making me feel special to another living creature when there was precious little else to make me feel special. He was very forgiving, even about "the rebound" who didn't like cats in the house (next time, the cats get to pick my dates).
I never picked Midget up much because he had a painful tendency to hold on with his claws, but in late July, I happened to pick him up and was shocked by how much weight he'd lost. With 3 cats in the household, I wouldn't really notice if one wasn't eating much. He'd hadn't really appeared to be ailing much, but cats hide their suffering well. Blood tests ruled out diabetes, renal failure and thyroid problems, but revealed an alarmingly high white blood cell count. In the absence of any evidence of an infection, the most likely diagnosis was cancer. I enjoyed his company as much as possible for what little time we had left together. He continued to climb up and down the stairs, though I kept food, water and a litter box on both levels so he wouldn't have to, until the end. However, watching him, I realized he was suffering more than he let on. I wept every morning and evening and often in between, knowing that I would soon be losing one of my best friends.
Last Sunday evening, he wanted to be let outside, so I went out with him, along with his 2 feline siblings. He didn't go far, mostly just resting in the yard. Then I picked him up and carried him around for what I knew would be his last visit in our yard. Monday afternoon, I took him in for his final visit to the vet's. They were incredibly compassionate and understanding in the vet's office. They had me prepay so that I wouldn't have to return to the waiting room after his death. They had already asked me if I wanted to be with him (yes) and what I wanted to do with the body (take it home). They wrapped him in a fuzzy blue blanket (Midget loved fuzzy fabric) and took him to insert an IV catheter, then returned him to me and took us to their conference room. This was a much more comfortable and less "clinical" room than the exam rooms. They allowed us some time together to say our good-byes. Then the vet came in and gave the injection and Midget passed peacefully to his rest. They provided me with a cardboard casket to bury him in and let me keep the blanket to keep his body wrapped in. Then they let me out the back exit so that I wouldn't have to go through the waiting room.
I dug his grave in the side yard, under the shade trees, not far from my bedroom window. Expending the physical energy was therapeutic for me. Next spring I intend to plant lily-of-the-valley and maybe a fern on his grave. Meanwhile, I painted "Midget 2000-2011" with some flowers and grass on a big rock for his gravestone. I'm no artist, but he at least has something to mark his place.
I'm crying as I write this. It is so painful. He has left an aching void in my life and I miss him terribly.
While there is nothing in the Bible to say that our pets will be in heaven, there is also nothing that says they won't be there. The Bible does say, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. So, I believe God will give me my cats back in heaven, and I'm looking forward to seeing Midget again.