Without Her At Christmas

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



My dear cat died in early June. At age seventeen, she’d lived a long life, but it’s always hard to have a beloved pet pass away.

After many years, I finally re-upholstered the leather furniture and put in my order for a Siamese baby that was born that same month. Eight weeks later, near summer’s end, I had that delightful and playful ball of fur in my arms. A Chocolate faced Siamese with a very light body but a dark face, paws, and tail. My new love began to fill the hole left by Samantha. She played delightfully with our middle age, declawed cat we still had.

By the holidays, my declawed Samtu, as in ‘Sam-2,’ was in my lap every time I sat. We’d formed an instant bond. She was friendly to my husband as well. As with our other previous cats, Samtu would never go outside, but being a curious youngster, sometimes when a stranger came to the door, we had to shoo her from the area, to make sure she didn’t go out. Between dogs that sometimes run loose, Coyotes, Hawks, and other predators, a declawed cat would not live long outdoors.

I had marvelous photos. Even before Thanksgiving, I had numerous outfits and hats I posed Samtu in, and she tolerated it well. I shopped for toys to the lively family addition. A few could not wait until Christmas Day, but most we put away to make Christmas special. Special for all of us.

Now December 23rd and we had a Christmas tree full of presents below for our kids and grandkids. Early that morning, the pest control man came, and I let him in to spray the house and basement for spiders.

Shortly after he left, I noticed Samtu was not around. I called her. No answer. My heartbeat quickened. “Oh no, I thought, She can’t have gotten out when the bug-man left, but I was busy and didn’t let him out.

By the time I’d run to every open room screaming her name and found the unlocked glass door to the patio, I was sure what had happened. I went screaming out the glass door into the chill air calling for her. Nothing.

After a quick search of our front and rear yard area and looks into adjoining woods, I was sure she was gone. I called my husband at work.  He came home immediately to help me scour the woods to find my Samtu. By noon, I had made ‘Lost Kitty’ signs with her photo on it, and an email went out to the neighborhood. I drove many loops of our community and even went out on the highway to see if there was a trace.

Christmas eve afternoon as I sat in misery, my children all had come by, and my husband was as much comfort as he could be. But we all feared the worst, after a night, likely in the woods with predators, for my defenseless little darling that could not even climb a tree.

About three that afternoon, the phone rang. “Is this Mrs. Smith?” a strange voice asked.

“Yes,” I eagerly answered, hoping it was news she had been found.

“Well, I’m sorry to report that I saw a dead cat in the gutter coming into our neighborhood, it was two-color light and dark. It might be the one you are looking for.”

My heart sank. What a terrible Christmas Eve this would be. My husband and I instantly grabbed our coats and got in my car. My heart was racing as I neared the entrance to our neighborhood. Dread made my hands tremble on the steering wheel—my husband silent in the passenger seat.

He spoke first as he peered ahead, “I don’t think that’s her,” looking at a bit of fur ahead.

“No,” I quickly added, “that poor cat’s black and white, not chocolate and light brown.” It wasn’t her. We examined the cat that had no collar, so all we could do was call animal control and report it on the neighborhood email, hoping it was not bad news for another neighbor on Christmas Eve.

It was not good news for me, either. We had a family dinner at a restaurant that night, but even the excitement of Christmas coming among the grandkids, I just couldn’t get in the spirit. I was thankful for my blessings that surrounded me, and I tried to ‘cheer up’ for the sake of others. Inside, my heart was breaking, thinking of the scenes of my poor scared kitty with no claws facing a wild animal the night before. I could not divert my mind.

After a fitful night, Christmas morning came, and my husband and I were up early. We exchanged our ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting and kissed. Dressed in robes, off to get some coffee in the kitchen. As I passed the den with stockings on the mantel for the grandkids, and our two cats, only the older one still with us, my heart was breaking again to see the little stocking with a new name, “Samtu” stitched on it, and cat toys sticking out. Santa had done shopping early, and the little lighted balls that flashed colors would be fascinating. Another rolling toy said different phrases like “That’s a good kitty.” It would be such fun to watch her playing with the new toys. I had the batteries charged in my best camera. Expectations of memorable moments captured on digital images had filled my mind the night before.

Christmas without her was going to be tough.

As we passed the den towards the kitchen, I happened to glance to the glass doors and there at the bottom, was that tiny chocolate face peering in, mouth opening and with one paw moving against the glass. “Let me in,” she must have been saying.

My heart racing and screams of joy almost scared her away as I rushed to the glass doors, threw it open, and snatched her up in my arms. The tears were already flowing. All my prayers were answered that day. I didn’t have to spend Christmas without her, after all.

February 23, 2020 15:06

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