My heart and soul are broken. Kidney failure finally took my best friend, love and soulmate of 17 years, my cat Kaitlynn.
Almost 17 years ago, I walked into the Hamilton SPCA to research information. At the time I lived in a two room (yes, room not bedroom) bachelor apartment in downtown Hamilton and convinced myself I was not yet able to have any pet larger than guinea pigs (which Kaitlynn would love). As I walked down the corridor of the Human Society, sad cats sat hunched heads down. One five-month old kitten looked over her shoulder, smiled at me and made ‘happy paws.’
The volunteer touring me noticed the instance connection and within seconds, Kaitlynn was in my arms, sprawled like a baby, purring with all her heart in way she’d do for the rest of her life.
I didn’t take her then. I went home, slept on it, and knew if I didn’t go back and get her, I’d spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to her.
Now I know.
She spent the rest of her life taking care of me, protecting my heart in a way no other being can do. She saw me through many different jobs, several boyfriends and three different homes. In our first home, the shoebox in downtown Hamilton, she was thrilled – so much bigger than the kennel she’d spent two months in. We went for walks. Yes, walks along the sidewalks of the city, no leash and she stayed relatively near me, or at least would always come back when called.
When I became known in the neighbourhood as “the woman who walks her cat,” I knew it was time to move.
So we moved on up, to a one-bedroom condo in the sky. Kaitlynn would get to know the neighbours by exploring the hallway, and sometimes their homes, but missed outside. My current townhouse was her favourite of the three. More room to run up and down the stairs and some access to outside and the sun, thought at this point in her life she never became a roamer.
And that’s where she spent the last day of her life – outside in our small backyard on the grass bathing in the sun. Her final hour of life was spent near the Vet office on a patch of sunny grass beside me trying desperately to come to terms with what was about to happen.
She loved sitting in the sun, especially the last few weeks of her illness. Every time I look out my back window, I will look for her. I will notice every spot in the house that was hers and miss her with a gut wrenching pain only she knew how to cure.
Many people don’t understand intense attachment to a cat. I don’t understand anything else. What I also know is my soul is shattering into a thousand pieces and likely will for a very long time. But my life was better for it.
Seventeen years ago, a beautiful black and white kitten smiled at me through the glass. Love at first sight and forever.