9: My Forever Cat

9: My Forever Cat

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

My Forever Cat

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

~From a headstone in Ireland

Snowball came to me as a Christmas gift when I was seven years old. She was part of my life until I was twenty-seven. Having a pet through all your growing-up years and into adulthood creates a remarkable bond. Snowball was a beautiful white cat with lemon-yellow eyes and a perfectly shaped pink nose. She was unique not only in her exceptionally good looks, but in her remarkable intelligence and devoted attachment to me.

When I was in elementary school, most days Snowball would follow me as I walked a mile to school. As I walked along the sidewalk, she would sneak through the shrubbery in all the front yards along the way. I could watch her from my classroom window, playing in the school courtyard all day. She would follow me home at the end of the day in the same manner.

Our bond was so strong that whenever I was upset or sick, she would always seek me out and sit by my side, never budging, until I felt better. When I would visit a friend, she would follow me and sit on their windowsill and wait for me. Later, in high school when I started driving to school, she would wait on the porch for me. She recognized my car and would run to greet me at the curb.

Snowball was a neighborhood sensation because of the way she loved to ride in the front basket of my bike and go trick-or-treating with my group of friends on Halloween. Sometimes, she would sit all day, obliviously basking in the sun in the middle of our street, forcing the neighbors to give up waiting and tapping their horns only to patiently laugh and drive around her.

She was remarkably courageous and fierce, too. Snowball loved to chase straying large German Shepherds and Sheepdogs out of our yard like a rodeo rider. We laughed as she rode on their backs, claws dug in, as they galloped, yelping for mercy all the way down the street.

Snowball eventually became a devoted mother of two litters. I was the only human she trusted to handle her babies right after their birth.

When I grew up and moved across the country I took her with me. Even at the advanced age of nineteen years, she was so youthful and full of energy that she chased after lizards on my apartment patio by running horizontally up the walls.

I cannot relate the details of her untimely illness and death because, even to this day, so many years later, it breaks my heart to think about that chapter of our lives. She lived to the age of twenty, but doubtlessly, she would have lived many more years if not for certain circumstances.

I was so devastated by the loss of my feline soul mate that it took me eleven years before I could accept another cat into my life. And during those years, I had this strong feeling that somehow, somewhere, she was still close by. It was a pervasive feeling that she was still with me, that her spirit was omnipresent and watching me.

I still have her ashes in a tea tin that I keep in a box in my closet. I couldn’t bury her, for I did not know where I would be living years later and did not want to leave her behind and far away from me.

Two years after Snowball’s death, my first child, Nicholas, was born. By the time he was two years old he was already gifted spiritually. I did believe he had amazing clairvoyant talent. For example, I would be sitting, writing out a grocery list, and thinking that I needed strawberries. And at that moment, my eighteen-month-old son would come toddling over and say, “Mommy, don’t forget strawberries!”

One day, he was playing on the floor inside my closet. When he came out, I asked, “Nicky, what are you doing in there, sweetie?”

My son said, “Mommy, I’m playing with a pretty white cat!”

It took me completely by surprise. I had never mentioned Snowball’s existence to Nick. I asked him, “What is a cat doing in my closet, Nicky?”

He replied, “She said that she’s watching over you, Mommy.”

~Lisa Wojcik

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