Having a pet is one of the greatest joys in life. Pets offer companionship, mercy, and acceptance in a world that often lacks greatly in all three of these characteristics. I have only had 3 pets in my whole life, all cats, and each of them has played an integral part in my growing process.
The first cat was one I adopted from a friend at age of eighteen. This cat's name was Buddha, even though he was skinny and anxiety ridden. He used to suckle at your arm as though you were a salt lick. I was told this behavior occurred because he was removed from his mother too soon. Buddha was my partner when I moved out of an abusive relationship. Buddha helped me take the heat of learning how to be whole without being defined by the crazy person you were with. As importantly, Buddha needed me at a time when I felt very little worth. Being needed, even by an anxiety ridden cat is worth something.
The second cat was the feline love of my life. His name was Maximillian, and he embodied everything that a perfect partner should. He was loyal, he was clean, he was friendly to most humans. We had ten beautiful years together. He learned to walk on a leash, would ride on my shoulder as kitten, and was basically one of my best friends. The year I dated Nascar Pitcrew long distance, I found out he had diabetes. I chose not to give him insulin therapy, mainly due to cost, but also because I spent every other weekend with Nascar in Reno. Maxcat died July 23, 2007, and his dying process was arduous. I do not regret my decision to not prolong his life with daily injections, but I do miss him terribly, even today.
Today, I have a cat named Sam. She is finicky, moody, and I am her least favorite human in our house. My ego is bruised by her obvious distrust of me, and I feed into her negativity by grumbling at her. She has peed on our hardwood floors (ruining them), turned my new rug into her scratching post, and peed on my bed. Still, I consider her my animal partner. I have learned so much about independence from this strange little creature. She was a stray, living outside, before she was handed to me by some close friends. I recognize that we have been brought together for a reason. My relationship with her has been all about compromise of expectations. The wood floors have been bleached, the rug has been sprayed with animal repellent, the bed has been disinfected. I cannot even blame her for these acts, as none of them were vengeful. She is a lost creature, not very skilled in trusting, and I am a rough guardian, with expectations of her that are not aligned with what she has to offer. Over the last few weeks, we have reached a nice balance. She does not scratch or pee anywhere inappropriate, and I greet her with kind words and gentle caresses. Three or four times a week, she allows me to brush her long fur and we spend a few cherished minutes bonding.
Gabby, our lovely roommate is one of Sam's favorite humans. Nascar is the other. I admit there is jealousy on my part that the cat I wanted, loves them more. Another life lesson: sometimes tolerance of others choices is necessary and prudent (even your cat's).
Gabby had 2 beautiful chickens until today. Kid and Play, the chickens, are the inspiration behind this blog post. Gabby has been raising Kid and Play since they were chicks in our backyard. Gabby has developed a true bond with these interesting animals. Every morning she greeted them with their corn and refreshed their water. Kid would let many humans, including me, pick her up, but Play only trusted Gabby. They both would peck grapes from your fingertips and we were usually gifted a fresh egg every morning. They were very fun to play with, even for the little tykes who would come to visit. There is something quite peaceful about having your morning coffee and watching these two creatures frolic in their dirt baths.
While under the care of me and Nascar, Kid and Play were attacked last night. They did not survive the attack. Nascar and I stayed out all night, frolicking at EarthDance, and had chosen to not close the chickens up before leaving for the festival at noon yesterday. We knew we would be out all night, and made a conscious decision to allow Kid and Play the freedom of their yard all day. We usually lock them up at night for safety, but every once in a while, their chicken coop remains open all night. Never had we seen any obvious signs of predators lurking about. Last night, our risk had a poor outcome.
My heart is heavy as I write this. In a few minutes or hours (Gabby is away right now), Nascar and I will have to tell our sister that we let her down. I am saddened by this accident, and feel appropriately guilty, because Gabby loved those chickens. Kid and Play made her smile on the rough days, fed her when she was hungry, and loved her more than any other human they contacted. Kid had a funny strut, and amazing mane of white feathers at the top of her head, and was outgoing and playful. Play, contrary to her name, was more reserved, at times a little sickly, but always ran to meet Gabby every morning. They really were fantastic creature, with personalities and quirks all their own. Kid and Play, you will be missed. Thank you for teaching me about the sanctity of the pet bond, and thank you for all those wonderful eggs. I was lucky to be a part of your lives. I hope Gabby will forgive Nascar and I for allowing harm to come to you. We never meant to cause you girls or Gabby any harm.
RIP Kid and Play.