What’s The Matter?
Mommy, what happened?
We heard you talking and you sounded sad. You got very quiet and you were talking very softly.
We lost a kitty today, my two little precious gems, and I was talking to a friend who knew him too.
We lost him? Where did he go?
You said that when Peaches died. You mean…he died?
Yes, he was very sick and in the hospital, and he died while he was there.
Who was the kitty? Did we know him?
No, but it might be that your mom knew him from when she was an outdoor cat. Do you know that tabby cat with the white paws who walks through our yard?
I sure do! I’d like to get him one day! I hope it was him!
No, but this cat was like that tabby cat, he lived outdoors all the time, he had cuts and scratches all over him and he was, well…I’ll let your Mama Mimi explain about neutering and tom cats.
You mean he never came inside?
No, he didn’t have any home or any people, at least not for a long time.
But how did he eat?
And who petted him and what bed did he sleep on at night?!
He hunted animals and he didn’t have those things you do, and it might be that he didn’t want them, sometimes cats like him don’t care about those things.
But he was cold! And he got wet! Why wouldn’t he care?
But what happened to him?
He got in a fight with another animal, maybe a cat or a dog or a raccoon, and he got a bad bite on his neck.
You mean like Mr. Sunshine bites me?
No, much worse, because the animal’s teeth went all the way into his skin and he got a really bad infection like the one Cookie had under her chin, but all the way around his neck.
And he came to visit my friend’s porch and ate the food she had out and she knew he needed help, so she called me.
Is that where you went the other day, and you came back all smelly?
Yes, we tried to catch him. We didn’t get him then, but he did get in the carrier all by himself and we took him to the hospital.
Like Jelly Bean went?
Yes, like Jelly Bean went. Only this cat was much worse than Bean.
Bean really hurt. He couldn’t pee.
But what happened?! You still didn’t tell us.
He was so sick that when they tried to fix him his body just quit working.
His body quit working? Like he laid down and went to sleep?
But mom, it’s been cold outside with snow, and tonight there’s rain and there’s been ice. He was out in that?
He probably found a protected spot.
He would come inside even if you asked him?
I’m sure glad he’s not outside tonight. What would happen if his body stopped while he was outside in the cold and rain and snow?
Well, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to catch him and bring him in. He wasn’t in a house with a bed, but he had food and water, he was warm and dry, people petted him, and then he went to sleep.
But he would have gotten all wet and cold and frozen…if he had stayed outside?
Yes, and we wouldn’t want that for any cat, no matter what they did.
But that tabby cat…!
He makes faces at you and he pees on things, but that doesn’t mean he should freeze.
Mommy, I don’t like outside, it’s mean.
Mama Mimi doesn’t like it either. She lived there.
But that kitty didn’t get to sleep on a bed!
And that kitty didn’t get kisses and hugs! [Sounds of kisses and struggling cats.] That kitty probably got about as much of people as he wanted, but you are stuck with me! Whenever we lose a kitty I love all of you even more!
Now go and ask your mom about tom cats and she’ll tell you what their priorities are!
The world has one less crusty old tom cat tonight. RIP Skeeter, oh, the stories you are probably telling at the Bridge!
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32 thoughts on “What’s The Matter?”
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Poor Skeeter. I am glad he was loved, and I know that he knew that he was. God bless you for doing everything possible for him.
Bernadette, I love the way you told your kitties about Skeeter. Thank you for explaining why you were sad. Your words are working healing in all of us.
Susan, I was at a loss last night for how to say something meaningful because I didn’t want to write another plea/essay but I had to express what I was feeling, I just needed to explore it in another way. I remembered how these two looked at me earlier in the day, don’t know if it was related to this but they all keep a close watch on me, and what better way than to explain it to them? The outcome was something that touched many more people, and myself, in ways I never could have expected. Really, my cats guide me and give me inspiration in ways I could never begin to explain. I am so grateful they are in my life, especially at the thought of losing one.
And it’s never too far from my thoughts that this could have been any one of the cats who have ever lived with me. Cookie was out there, so was Kelly and Mimi, though she had a part-time home, but before them it was Stanley and Kublai and Sophie and Fawn and Nikka’s mom and on and on and on. But I’m glad for the Fantastic Four who have never known hardship, and I hope they never do. And we’ll keep working for the best of all cats outdoors that we reduce their populations and get more and more of them inside.
Thanks, everyone, for the beautiful send-off for Skeeter. If he had to go, at least it was when he was in a warm and safe place, and he was already asleep and out of any pain. He lived his life and left it on his own terms, and what more could we ask for any living being than to help it in that? If his story helps one other person make the decision to help an injured cat who’s been hanging around, then his life brought us all a message. I’m sure that crusty old tom cat is up there at the Rainbow Bridge telling some fur-raising stories of his life on the streets.
I’m so sorry that he was too ill to survive his surgery. I’ve been in this same situation too many times, especially after I became involved with TNR. I’m always one to fight like hell with the ones they tell me I should just let go and it’s always tragic and heartbreaking when they don’t pull through.
Rest in peace Skeeter.
Melanie, if you’ve been in rescue any length of time there’s always one cat like this who doesn’t make it, and even though there are so many others in need he always breaks your heart.
We are so sad…but we know that Skeeter got some love and didn’t suffer any more…. It never gets easier, but thank you for giving him a chance!
Random Felines, we are glad we had the chance to help him when he asked for it, even if it was only for a comfortable place to die. Even that is a good thing.
A sad but sensitively written post, Bernadette. Poor Skeeter. You both tried. At least he crossed over in a warm, safe place with humans who were trying to help him. He might not’ve known love, but he did get a taste of kindness and compassion.
Tammy, we kept saying we can’t save them all, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give them love and comfort even if their chances aren’t good for survival.
I’m so sorry about Skeeter. At least he was loved in the end – that’s what matters.
What a sweet post – just beautiful. I see a childrens’ book hiding in there somewhere.
Ingrid, I am honored to have accompanied him on the last part of his path on earth. And that would be an interesting book, or perhaps the Fantastic Four want to be famous, they keep having these conversations on my blog, though they have in an interesting perspective on things and have seen a lot already.
It is so moving that Skeeter went to seek out help and comfort like he did! I’m glad he got some care at the end of his life, but sad that he didn’t make it.
Carolyn, animals are amazing creatures and if you understand what they are communicating, you’ll know exactly what they need. It’s just getting to where you understand that’s the interesting part.
Yup, that’s pretty much how it is. Apache has been asking me similar questions and wondering why Mom is upset, preoccupied, and smelling funny. Beautifully written, thank you!
Thanks to you Peg and Bernadette for helping this lost soul.
Peg, sometimes it’s better to communicate through them! They’ve been watching this whole thing, and Cookie too. They have a lot of questions…
Andrea, you’ve done your share of this, it’s just good to know there are people out there who will help an animal who’s considered a throw-away.
Sincere condolences… How heart-heavy of a situation… You gave Skeeter the love he obviously craved at the end, and I’m sure he took it with him. Take solace in the fact that he didn’t die alone and unloved. Wishing you heart-healing at your own pace. What angels you and Peg are.
Kathy, thank you. Skeeter would have no idea how famous he became, though I’m sure an old tom cat is already assured of his own fame. We are glad we could help him when he asked.
Skeeter, Rest in Peace. Thanks to you and Peg he wasn’t alone and out in the cold when it mattered the most.
Thanks, Barbara, every wish for him is a wish for all the others out there who’ve been helped by kind souls as well.
Rest in peace, Skeeter. You were lucky to have people who cared about you. Goodbye beautiful boy.
Thanks, Katie, and glad he was in comfort.
Wow that’s sad. I read the post on Skeeter and thought he was going to make it. He was so cute! You guys did what you could, and he got to come inside at last, in the warm.
Mark, we did too and he had our hearts right away, but at least we could give him some comfort in those last few days.