How Furball saved me from myself

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who loses their cat.... view prompt



I had my first panic attack three days after he died.

Furball was the most understanding cat I've ever met. It took only one look from me and he knew exactly what I wanted him to do. We would spend hours laying on the floor, watching TV together, doing yoga and sleeping in the same bed. We had a silly tradition, where he would escort me to our laundry room downstairs and then race through the basement back up. He would let me win sometimes.

He was always there for me. Whenever I came home and dropped onto my bed in convulsions from period pain, he would come and lay on top of me. He would watch me with concern if I cried in the bathroom, and he would keep me warm when I was reading books in my favorite chair.

I never thought I could lose him. The thought hasn't crossed my mind until I saw him lying lifeless on the bathroom floor. I dropped my bag and ran to him, looking for signs of life.

He was still breathing. He looked at me as if to tell me that he has already given up on life. He stopped drinking water a few days before, and haven't eaten since last night.

When my parents came home, my dad and I took him to the animal clinic. It was Furball's first time outside the house. My dad sped through the city, and I petted his soft fur all the way. He meowed in distress and I tried to explain to him that things are okay. That he will get better. I believed that he would.

We were told that he had a buildup of stones in his bladder and that doing an operation was a great risk. It was also very costly. My dad gave the surgeons a go-ahead and we waited in the waiting room.

He was only 5 years old.

I truly realized that he was gone when I saw his blue tongue sticking out a slightly opened mouth. He was laying on the operating table, a fluffy pile of fur with tubes and taped paws.

Suddenly all the blood rushed to my head and my ears started ringing. My vision went blurry, then dark, and I grabbed a wall to not collapse. Whatever the vet was sying was echoing in my ears as a low background hum and I wabbled towards the nearest room and fell to the floor. I saw how the vet brought Furball's body into the next room, and it took me an insurmountable strength to get up and go see him.

I was practicing witchcraft at the time and my practice strictly forbade to play with life. But in that moment I did not care. I put my hands on Furball's body and I asked every god and every deity to bring me back my boy. I felt my life force flow through my arms and hands and into Furball. I waited. I prayed. I cried. Nothing worked.

We brought Furball back home and I went to bed and stayed there for two days. I did not care about school, or family, or friends. My baby was gone and all I could think about was how it was all my fault. I spent so much time with him, we were so close that I should have seen the signs. And even when I did, I did not do anything because my parents believed that Furball will get better. "He's a cat," they would say. "Cats can heal themselves." I believed them.

On the third day after his death, I was still in bed in tears. I was falling asleep, thinking about how Furball used to sleep at my feet. He would shake his collar with a tiny bell, letting me know that he was at my door, waiting for me to open it. He would hop onto my chest, receive a few pets and then make his way to my feet and sleep there the whole night. If I went to the bathroom, he would go with me and would return to bed with me after I was done. He would never look at my bird, a 10-year-old budgie, that would hang in a cage above my bed. I trusted him, enough to leave my room door open for Furball to sleep on my bed while I was in school.

As I was falling asleep, I thought about Furball and asked him to visit me in my dreams. Suddenly, I could feel a presence of foreign energy in my room. Thinking that it's probably a figment of my imagination, I closed my eyes and tried falling asleep. The energy would not go away. I felt it hovering over me, as if it was watching me trying to sleep. Knowing that it might be an evil spirit (my witchcraft was getting more ridiculous during my grieving days), I carefully asked it what it wanted.

The presence stretched over my body and then fell into me.

My heart rate increased to the point where I could feel it in my ears. I looked around the room and realized I didn't know where I was. I tried to remember my name, and I couldn't. I turned the lights on and tried to breathe, but my lungs wouldn't expand. And I could feel something strange, something foreign in my body. It felt like I was possessed.

I bolted up, still not knowing what was happening and ran to my parents' bedroom. I turned the lights on and told them I was dying. They took my hands and asked me what was happening, and I could not tell them. I wasn't sure myself.

Was I dying? Was I being possessed? Was I about to kill them?

All I knew was that something bad was happening to me and I did not know how to stop it. I was shaking, I was crying, my heart was beating fast and loud, and I couldn't breathe. I realized I was scared to die. I did not want to die. But I could not escape death, and I allowed Furball to die, and it was my time to pay.

That was my first panic attack ever. It took my parents a long time to calm me down, and even longer to understand where it came from. My parents knew I was practicing witchcraft - a sin in our Catholic family - but they never judged me. I blamed it on magic, and I was ashamed to tell them I blamed myself for Furball's death. The panic attacks continued, and they got worse, but I started seeing a counselor only a year later, because I refused to believe that I was sick.

I stopped practicing magic soon after Furball passed away. I think Furball prevented something terrible from happening to my family because of the kinds of spells I was doing. They say that cats can see what the human eye can't and that they have a better feel for the supernatural than humans. Perhaps he saw that I could harm myself, and absorbed the accumulation of dark energy in the house before it got to me.

Furball came to me in my dreams only once after he passed. He was wet, cold, and delirious. That's the price he paid for being my familiar.

February 21, 2020 19:53

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