A few years ago we lost YinYang, a little tuxedo kitty. I wrote a heart-felt eulogy that was printed on March 11, 2011 in the Naples Daily News, but not archived on my staff page.
That single column generated the most email ever. I've had several recent requests for it, so I am posting it here.
If you are going through the loss of your friend, know that the pain never goes away. The tears are still there as I read this piece, 18 months later.
This is what makes us human.
So often I hear people telling me that they have a ‘brown thumb’. It is not only silly but emblematic of the chasm separating the plant world and the non-gardener, who has no sense really of the milieu of living plants.
Last week we buried Ying Yang, a little tuxedo kitty that came to us when just 3 days old after his mommy passed. In his four years, he knew the human hand solely as a source of food and stroking. Hand-raised and constantly fondled, he was regal and self-assured, claiming the alpha cat role as if born to it, ruling our little pride of six, now five, feral cats.
Suzie and I are so hurt that tomorrow may come, or not. I don’t care. My heart surges with pain. It’s not fair. Prime of life. Special kitty. All of that. None of that. We just loved him like we love each other, that’s all. The world implacably laughs at fairness.
One day we will smile looking at his picture, remembering him. Not today. Not tomorrow. When? I don’t know. Never.
Did you ever hear someone refer to a dog and claim ‘he thinks he’s people’? It’s an innocently natural projection, endearingly intended. But they are not like people. In the struggle to understand them, comparison to people does nothing to move the ball forward. They are simple, proud creatures, worthy of our respect on their own merit, not as miniature people. They live splendid, independent, proud lives. And get over referring to them as ‘pets’. They are not. They are companions. Anything else is demeaning.
They are so willing, aren’t they, to be part of our world? Recent research with wild wolves, for example,
shows that even in the wild these animals are able to follow a human gaze. They figure out what you are watching. They follow the motion of your eyes. The idea here is that dogs possessed, even tens of thousands of years ago, a natural predilection for our world. But they are not of our world. Cats, even less so. They are what they are.