72: Angel Kitten

72: Angel Kitten

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Angel Kitten

Fun fact: Some cats seem to have an uncanny ability to know when a person is near death, and will lie with him or her to provide comfort.

“Yes, Darren, I agree he is adorable, but the last thing we need right now is a new kitten.”

Our son and his girlfriend had come to visit my terminally ill husband, who was in his final stages of metastatic prostate cancer. On their way out to our place, they had stopped at the feed store to buy dog food and were drawn to the tiny rescue kitten. They couldn’t resist his pleading eyes, but, more importantly, they believed he would be a comfort to my ailing husband.

We had moved Larry’s bed to the living room so everyone could be together when the kids and other visitors stopped by. I didn’t want him to miss out on a single thing during these final days.

Thus, he overhead my comment to Darren, and responded in his weak, toneless voice, “Honey, I think we should keep him.”

Knowing my husband like I did, I knew exactly what he was thinking — the kitten would be a comforting companion for me after he was gone. He was not particularly fond of cats, so I wasn’t about to let him make this sacrifice for me.

But Darren wasn’t about to give up.

“Mom, he shouldn’t be any problem. We bought everything he’ll need. There’s a bag of kitten food, litter and a litter box out in the car. Why don’t you give him a try? If you don’t think he’s a good fit for you guys, Dawn and I will keep him.”

He was pretty adorable, especially when he looked up at me with those big, soulful eyes. I picked him up. He was as soft as silk, and had the most soothing purr I’d ever heard.

“Hon, are you sure he won’t be a nuisance to you?” I queried my husband one more time. He was in a lot of pain, so even a pet as small as the kitten could be troublesome.

Larry held out his thin, unsteady hands, and I gently placed the kitten in them. When he clutched the furry, black-and-gray bundle to his chest, I had my answer — we owned a kitten.

The kids and grandkids loved our new pet. Although he was pleasant to everyone, he was absolutely devoted to Larry. When Jacqui, our daughter, first observed the bond between her father and the kitten, she was in awe — so much so that she bought a little red collar for the kitten with his new name engraved on the tag. From that day forward, he was called Little Larry.

Little Larry left my husband’s side only to eat and use the litter box. If someone picked him up, he became restless after a few moments and jumped right back on Larry’s bed. He didn’t just lie at the foot of the bed; he had to be touching Larry at all times. He preferred to be snuggled up on his chest or resting his head on my husband’s frail shoulder.

There was something almost mystical about the bond they shared. Everyone, including the grandchildren, learned to respect and admire their closeness and didn’t attempt to separate them for even a moment. It was understood that Little Larry’s mission was to be there to comfort and support Grandpa.

About six weeks after the kitten’s arrival, Larry passed away peacefully, surrounded by our five children. Our faithful little kitten remained at his side until his very last breath, imparting comfort not only to Larry, but to the rest of us as well.

Strangely, we never saw the kitten again after the night Larry died. It was as if he had accompanied my husband’s heaven-bound spirit on its final journey. I know Little Larry was more than just a kitten. Maybe, just maybe, angels come to us in our time of need disguised as little, furry bundles of love.

~Connie Kaseweter Pullen

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