There is a most amazing creature living in my house. She is so beautiful, and funny and fierce. Sometimes when I see her I think if she can be happy with three legs, I can be happy with one breast. Other times I feel a crushing wave of sadness that her exquisite perfection, her athletic prowess, have been diminished by amputation.
Before we got cats, I wanted them for a while. I even made a little cat bed, and experimented with calling “Here kitty kitty!” out the back door. We delayed because I could not reconcile my desires for a feline friend, with the carnage wrought by neighbor cats. The murdered song birds were especially difficult. (Though if I am honest their catching of rats was something that brought me satisfaction.) The idea came to me that a three legged cat would solve the bird problem. I asked around, “Hey if you hear of any three legged cats that need a home, let me know.” I even called the shelter to ask them. They had “just adopted one out two days ago” they said, but would keep me on a list, as amputee animals are harder to place in homes.
Eventually our yearning for a kitten overcame any reticent feelings. Enter Mr. Sparky “RatBag” Baggins. He was tiny and sick. Sourced from a feral barn cat colony. We loved him instantly, irrationally much. We nursed him to four legged spunky adolescent health. He was ten months old when I went with a friend to visit the shelter to look at cats, as she was considering a particular cat to adopt for herself. The minute I saw the cat in question, I was in love. She had four perfect dainty paws. She was using them to play with a bottle cap in her cage. She seemed less stressed than the other cats. Turns out she is deaf, white cats often are. She has one blue eye and one gold eye. She is seriously the most beautiful cat I have ever seen. My generous friend encouraged and helped us to adopt her, so that gentle Mr. Sparky would not be lonesome. We carried her home with us a few days later. We named her Trillium like the white flower. Within 24 hours she and Sparky were fast friends. An unlikely couple, we referred to her as his trophy bride, or as Little Miss. Whereas Baggins is everything scruffy, medium long hair, grey markings that seem like he is wearing a robber cape with a masked hood, she was divine.
She was a runway model with sleek fur that sparkles like snow. A personality quite fetching, sweet, goofy and unaware of her perfection. Her purr could wake the dead. She was a fearless adventuress, climbing to improbable locations in the house. She hunted flies while walking on hind legs, jumping straight up to capture them with front paws in mid air. Her antics to capture the toy Joe enticed her with were breathtaking. I have never encountered a cat so nimble.
Five months after coming to live with us she escaped out an upstairs window, probably in the bathroom. While on her travels in the sky box of the roof she managed to slip off. We didn’t see it happen. Her left hind leg was completely shattered. The boys found her curled under the bench on the back deck and called me at work to come. After spending five days at the veterinarian hospital she came home minus the leg.
The recovery was as you might expect. All the aftereffects of anesthesia and pain medications, combined with the difficulties of relearning how to use her altered body was hard to witness. She seemed mutilated with her shaved, swollen and stitched legless hip. Ironically the scar has three lines converging, reminiscent of a trillium.
I was crushed by the guilt of having called down a three legged cat. Of my wishes for bird safety somehow manifesting in her injury. “But she doesn’t even go outside! She is deaf!” I cried to the universe. I cried and cried. To look at her awkward hopping gate caused sad remorse to boil inside me. Because Baggins had his own bad luck health wise (that is future post) I started to wonder if our house had been cursed. Were my children and husband next up for a freakish accident or serious illness? I found myself googling “Can bad spirits harm pets?” in the middle of the night. (BTW The answer is yes, and I don’t recommend looking up such things at 2:00 a.m. when you are lying awake worrying.)
I went to a psychic. She checked in with her sources and said, “First off, Trill is okay with this.” and “Yes, you did call this down.” “This is a lesson to not try to direct everything. The universe is infinitely creative, it can provide the perfect answers to your dilemmas. For instance you could have asked for a cat that would coexist with birds. Which you got with a deaf cat that needed to stay inside for her own protection.” She went on to encourage me to stop feeling so bad about it, that my cat is actually okay with it and with her role bringing me this lesson.
Soon after the visit with the psychic Trill started to climb in my lap while I write. New behavior for her, as like many rescue cats, it took her awhile to trust us enough to sleep on. She sometimes goes so far down the slumber rabbit hole as to become limp, unfurling from her usual pillbug curl into a soft smear of cat in danger of slipping off my lap onto the floor. How can I hold a grudge against myself with that kind of behavior?
She continues to teach me many things. That she is still 100% cat even with a 75% leg ratio. That I am 100% woman even with a 50% boob ratio. That we can adapt, grow stronger, and have joy after tragedy. She is a daily reminder to turn things over to the Divine rather than wish for some specific plan. The ultimate “Be careful what you wish for.” parable.
We do manifest our world I believe. Though it isn’t always possible to understand why things happen from our perspective, and it doesn’t prevent us from experiencing loss. It still sucks when someone starts cancering. Especially children, or parents of young children. I don’t think our manifestation is always as in your face as my calling the shelter looking for a three legged cat, but I think we contribute to the experiences in our life directly with our thoughts, beliefs and feelings. It is easier to bear the difficulties if we think there is some reason it happened, senseless tragedy is soul crushing.
This isn’t about blame. If we are all here to learn how to be fully human, that is compassionate, loving, creative and giving, than it seems like a good idea to keep an eye out for messages. For opportunities to grow, give and celebrate despite circumstances. My dad once told me that once an idea is out in the world it has its own life. That sometimes we run into the consequences of our own bad choices, and sometimes we run into the bad choices of someone else. From our level we just don’t often get a broad enough view to know the difference.
4 Comments Add yours
Oh my, what a story, Iris. I’m so glad for the kitties in your life. They seem to be restoring and being restored all at the same time. They are beautiful. Maybe we need to have cats in our life again, but when we have less dogs. I am a firm believer in messages coming, and to listening when they do. Thanks for continuing your writing. Jan
Thanks for reading! And commenting too- so encouraging. I worried a bit to Joe that this post in particular would brand me a crazy cat lady. Xo to you and your little/big dogs too.
best not to try to force things. just take things as they come and adapt. i’m open to adding another cat around here. but waiting for one to show up. thats how all the animals here arrived. they just showed up. (at the co-op at USD i was voted “most likely to run a cattery”-even though they didn’t know about the Apollo 11 landing…!) interestingly, had a recent cancering experience myself. for now, they just cut it out. we’ll see how that goes. enjoying your blog. small is fine.
Glad you are well – the cancering club is very welcoming, perhaps too welcoming for new members. Have yet to restart my indigo vat- still a bit of summer to go…