Black Feline

Submitted by Al Paradiso to Contest #13 in response to: Write a story about someone who sees a black cat cross their path... for the tenth time that day.... view prompt

It always gets worse, or at least more frequent, on Halloween. It began twenty years ago, just before the first anniversary of her passing on 11/3/1998. I was with her for her last breath. She used the last of her strength to make her way to me and lied down at my feet. That was the last time she put her trust in me instead of finding shelter to die, just as her mom did five years earlier. She routinely trusted me above all others and above her own natural instincts. What was different, was that she growled at me for the first time in her sixteen-year life. With her failing strength, she told me she was upset with me and my heart broke. Throughout the year, once or twice a day, as I sit and work on stories, I often detect a fuzzy, black feline push past curtains which don’t flutter. It comes just past half way into the blue-carpeted room and every time I turn to focus on it, there’s nothing there. Sometimes it’s the size of a legless rat, other times it’s the size of a stalking puma. No flare, no explosion, no puff of smoke, just not there. The same path every time. The same path my Jaguar would follow when she’d come down from the bedroom late at night and scold me for staying up so late and keeping her waiting for me. Long black hairs, fluffy tail and head up, she followed that path chattering like a concerned mom saying, “What are you doing up so late? Come on; it’s bed time. Let’s go. Are you coming?” Half way into the room, she’d U-turn and walk half way back, still chattering to herself, then U-turn back to me and scold me again. Her circling said, “Follow me already!” I’d laugh and love her more for her concern and quickly shut down the PC to follow her. That frequent routine included her waiting for me at the foot of the stairs, crouched like a sprinter at the starting blocks, ears back, face focused on the top step. She’d wait for the ‘starter pistol’ to go off, my foot on the first step, before racing to the top and sitting casually to wait for her slow dad. We had a bathroom routine where she hopped onto the sink and watched (over) me until I said “bedtime.” She’d hop down, race to the bed and wait for me to get in before curling up against me for the night. Usually, I found her in the morning still between my arm and my ribs if she was not already up and waiting patiently for our morning progression, which she knew lead to food. For a short time, she’d wake me early by poking my nose or licking me until I woke then racing to the sink for the next step. I had to put a stop to that when she began waking me an hour before the alarm clock went off. In one of the few times I scolded her, I’d point at her and loudly say, “NO. Food waits.” It took a couple of days to get her to understand. For the next few weeks, I woke to her sitting on my chest with her HUGE face nearly touching my chin. Her arms folded under, she stared until I opened my eyes and startled. After a quick meow, sometimes with a nose lick, she’d race to the bathroom and wait for me. I got the message, “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting so patiently for you and didn’t wake you.” What could I say? She did exactly as I asked and got her breakfast a little sooner. Trust and love both ways bonded us for life. That bond began at her birth. She was not only a breach, but being the last of four her mom, Phoenix, nearly died of exhaustion. I was with her for the last two births. Every time mom paused (pawsed?), Jaguar’s sac retreated. I knew I had to help, so I pinned the sac down as Phoenix rested between contractions. Two more cycles and Jaguar was out. Unlike the previous kitty, Jag had trouble ripping the sac. I watched a few seconds until I feared she’d suffocate, then tore the sac for her. She wobbled to my voice and I became her life long dad. Phoenix was too exhausted to clean her or call to her so I moved Jag to her mom and she immediately nursed. Our bond was evident in several instances with terrified vets and other incidents where Jaguar trusted me and relaxed just because I asked her to. When her mom died, 1-23-93, Jaguar’s behavior changed and told me she was depressed and upset. Instead of sleeping with me, she slept under my bed. Instead of running to me when I called, she stayed there. When I discovered her there and signaled for her to come out, she ignored me. I had to drag her out to read her body language. She was listless so I curled up with her on the floor and begged her to stay with me just five more years. By then I hoped she’d find a reason to live that included more than just me and stay with me another twenty years. Just over five years later she got ill and when that horrible night came, I saw her struggling to lift her head and breathe. I whispered to her that it was OK for her to let go and wait for me with her mom at the rainbow bridge. I lied. She died a few minutes later and took a piece of me with her. I reach out to her in tears often and apologize for not doing more then still beg her to wait for me. Come October every year, I see that black speck enter much more often on her way to scold me. She never makes it to the first U-turn before she disappears. That speck brings it all back until her deathiversary every November third. It may come as many as twenty times in a day to remind me of her. I hope she’s saying, “I’m expecting you at the rainbow bridge. No hurry. I can wait.” Perhaps she’s just saying, “Don’t forget me.” As if I could. :'(


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2 likes 5 comments

14:26 Nov 09, 2019

Wow! This tale is so beautiful! I myself have owned a cat that I once had a very close bond with (two actually 😭)and I think this is an astounding way of showing such an amazing bond as that. I really loved this story and the way it was structured! Thank you for that! And keep up the remarkable work!

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18:09 Nov 06, 2019

It's a small part of one of 3 stories that drove me to write. It's taken 13 years to get this close to writing it. :'(

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18:09 Nov 06, 2019

: What a gorgeous tribute to a lost pet. I had to watch my two beloved cats pass away within a few months of each other and you found the words I haven' t been able to describe the experience. Thank you!

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18:07 Nov 06, 2019

Congrats. Thanks for allowing me to beta read this one. I believe it has a timeless appeal and true soul. Im sure it will be a great story for many.

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22:05 Oct 27, 2019

Sadly, this is nearly all true.

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