36: The Paws in Our Plans

36: The Paws in Our Plans

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

The Paws in Our Plans

What greater gift than the love of a cat?

~Charles Dickens

After five years of dating, including four years of sharing a flat and the affections of a little cat called Figuero, it was time for us to make it official!

Neal’s proposal came over an ice cream cone, simple and sweet. Smiling so wide I could only nod my acceptance, I became his fiancée and was soon wearing the engagement ring of my dreams — gem-stones and diamonds.

Together, we threw ourselves into wedding plans, sharing each decision regarding the ceremony, the guest list, the menu. Like every couple, we wanted our wedding to reflect who we were as a couple. The cake would be vegan. The reception at an historic hotel. The bouquet and boutonnieres would contain not only orchids and roses, but also the joyful greenery of carrot tops, dill weed, and parsley.

But one of the most lasting decisions — our wedding date — we left up to our cat. The beautiful, long-haired tabby was the light of our young lives, an integral part of every day since his unexpected arrival one cold winter night. From his frostbitten ears to his elegant sweep of tail, he exuded personality and immediately warmed our hearts.

He woke us up each morning, taking quite seriously his role of Alarm Cat. He greeted us each evening, waiting none too patiently to share dinnertime. He cuddled between our knees at night, ensuring sweet dreams all around.

If he couldn’t be at the wedding, we decided, he could at least have a part in the plans.

We looked at the calendar and chose three dates in the autumn. Then came Figuero’s turn.

Neal wrote each date on a separate scrap of paper while I held Figuero in my arms. Crumpling each scrap into a ball, Neal tossed them randomly onto the kitchen floor one at a time. Loving nothing more than a crumpled bit of paper, Figuero watched with great interest, as if sensing the extra importance of this particular game.

The first piece he walked over to, we had decided, would be the date of our wedding.

As soon as I set Figuero down, he trotted over to the paper ball that had landed in front of the stove. With his big paw, he gave it a little swat of approval.

I scooped him up again, squeezing him with excitement. Neal smoothed the paper out and, with our heads together, the three of us read the date that would be special for the rest of our lives: October sixth.

Neal and I have been married nearly twenty-five years now, sharing fifteen of those years with our little man, who lived to the ripe old age of twenty-one. On every anniversary, I remember the way Figuero helped make our wedding special. I think about the joy he added, not only to that day, but to every single one we knew as a family.

A gift that goes beyond the years, his legacy is our lifetime of love.

~Kate Fellowes

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