When I was a kid, I was obsessed with cats.
I collected posters of them and taped them to my bedroom walls on every side.
I had a calendar with a picture of a new cat each day.
I named all of them.
I did a “top 40 cats” every week, based on which ones I liked the most…similar to Casey Kasem’s top 40 hits.
Ophelia was a white cat with mysterious green eyes. She usually won spot #1.
But then there was Fred, a bright fiery orange cat…who shocked everyone with his allure. (By “everyone,” I mean me and my imaginary audience of cat fans.)
I don’t remember any of the other names… but I passionately organized these 365 cats into a list of my favorites, sometimes spending hours deliberating over who should win.
Lol…yeah. That’s how I entertained myself as a 9-year-old kid.
(Along with collecting and counting my 2000+ stickers, and writing novels on my Commodore 64 computer.)
But in real life, I was slightly allergic to cats. They made me sneeze and itch.
Plus, my dad hated cats so we never had them as pets…only dogs.
My only “pet cat” was one that my brothers and I smuggled off the street. She was a stray cat who looked lost, so we saved her. We hid her in one of the bedrooms.
That lasted about four days… until the cat started scratching us. So we put her back where we found her. “Good luck.”
Since then, I’ve always liked cats “from a distance.” I’ve never owned any. But they intrigue me. They are beautiful, sometimes funny animals.
Sandy the cat, who I briefly mentioned in an email a few weeks ago, was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a pet cat.
She belonged to Dan’s parents in Nebraska. She, too, was a stray… they kept her around with food and took care of her. I had interacted with her a handful of times over the past year.
The last time I saw her was in July. She let me pet her for a good half hour. She was the sweetest, gentlest creature. I’m certain how I acted towards her (and vice versa) was the epitome of love. I didn’t rush. I wasn’t in a hurry to move away from her. I let her nuzzle my hand for a half hour.
That “delay” contributed to Dan and I missing a tornado that would have crossed our path on our drive back to Colorado.
The storm destroyed a small town that we passed through, hours later.
So, Sandy was a miracle cat.
A sweet angel.
Two days ago I learned that she died a horrific death… I’ll spare you the details, but it was awful.
I spent 2 days bawling my eyes out, recoiling in horror the pain she must have felt. Then my sadness switched to anger… I wanted someone to blame.
I love animals, and loathe the idea of them ever being hurt.
But from the other side, Sandy offered me a message — she didn’t want me to worry about her, or any pain she might have experienced. She’s just fine now.
I could also entertain the idea that she playfully chose to go out that way. “No big deal.”
It was a way to turn an emotional tragedy into something I could be at peace with.
Sandy also had a message for me:
Don’t recoil from love. Don’t shun the opportunity to love someone or something, just because it’s scary that you might eventually lose your beloved. Embrace love. Enjoy life to the fullest. Say “yes” to every possible adventure — as long as it doesn’t involve dysfunctional behavior on your part. Say yes to it all. Say yes.
That was comforting to hear.
Very timely, too, since Dan and I have been contemplating and talking about marriage.
Speaking of adventure, next week we’re headed to Cancun, Mexico, for a beautiful round of lounging on the beach, basking in the tropical sun, and exploring the local area.
It will be my second time in Mexico!! Woohoo!!!
Stay tuned for pics.
Need writing or editing? Book services for when I get back.