Death of a cat


October 30, 2000


            For the second time since she had this litter of kittens, I heard out outside cat, Jelly, mourn.

            For time, she mourned after I had trapped one of her kittens and taken it off to the animal control officer to get it adopted. Jelly had wandered too far from the kitten, and it had taken the bait in a metal trap we had borrowed.

            Jelly went from place to place calling out for days.

            I never felt so guilty in my life than at that moment, having no way to comfort the wild creature or to let in know that the kitten had survived and even thrived.

            Its second kitten, one we called Tiny Tug, walked inside our house one day, with Jelly's apparent permission. Tiny Tug had been born with lung ailments and had developed an upper repertory infection. She knew we would take care it, and we did.

            The third kitten, one we called Angel, had grown that much closer to Jelly because she had lost the other two. They played in the yard. They ate at our porch. They even shared our out door furniture.

            So when I heard Jelly moaning again last Sunday morning, I knew something was wrong. Angel was not around, and I feared the worst.

            This morning, we got the news from a neighbor that one of the arrogant yuppies that used our street as a high-speed short cut had run over the kitten Saturday afternoon, got out of her SUV to kick the still-suffering kitten from under her tires in order to not stain her white vehicle more than it already was. The horrified neighbor -- knowing how we were trying to get the kitten inside our house for weeks -- rang our bell, and when she didn't find us home, rang the bell of a neighbor.

            We didn't know. We were away for the day, and drove out to Pennsylvania almost immediately after breakfast on Sunday, so that the mystery of the missing kitten was not resolved until this morning, with Jelly laying in a pile of dry grass on our front lawn, staring at the spot on which her kitten died -- moaning.

            Later, I caught the cat in the back, searching under pieces of wood and in the corners of our yard. Perhaps she didn't believe the death -- even though I think she witnessed the crime. Or perhaps, she was looking for the first kitten, perhaps hoping that fate which had stolen her last and best friend might be kind to her and return the kitten we had stolen earlier.




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