The Five Things My Cat Smooshie Helped Me Realize About Life
By Paul Bunting
Although she had a lot of hard times in her ten year lifespan, Smooshie maintained her princess-like demeanor all the way until parting. Smooshie and I first met when I was out of state visiting family. My sister worked at a veterinary clinic, and I decided to drop by to say hello. My sister gave me a tout of the vet clinic, and that was when Smooshie first caught my eye!
She was a beautiful beige color Oriental Short Hair (picture a Siamese with a solid coat) sitting in a cage with her back turned to the noises of the clinic. I thought it was quite obvious that she was unhappy her small cage. Feeling for this beautiful cat, I commented how nice it would be to adopt her. Of course, being that I was visiting from out of state, and living in a building that cats were not welcome, I did not think it was actually going to happen.
I thought wrong. As life would have it, I moved to a building that was cat friendly, and my sister decided to move to Florida not far from where I was living. Of course, this was about six months after I made the comment about how nice it would be to adopt that Oriental Short Hair at the vet.
When Smooshie arrived she pranced out of her carrier and started sniffing around the place. It was then I was informed about the prior life if Smooshie. I discovered that Smooshie used to be called Misty, and she was five years of age.
Misty was raised in a cattery, and used for breeding show cats, as she herself was a purebred Oriental Short Hair. When Misty had had her share of kittens, she was adopted by a woman who decided to have her front and rear claws removed so that she would not risk having her wood floors scratched by cat claws.
Somehow Misty managed to cause enough havoc at this woman's home that she was taken to the vet as an unmanageable cat. Now she was living with me, and I decided to name her Smooshie because I think all cats are Smooshie little creatures!
The time in my life in which Smooshie was living with me was not a very enjoyable time. I had many reasons to not be happy with my life, and I blamed. I blamed the economy for my troubles. I blamed the state I lived in for my troubles. I blamed the condo board of directors for my troubles. I blamed anybody and everything outside of myself for my "troubles".
Through this Smooshie was right there. She was always waiting for me to get home, and she never judged me. I would even get angry with Smooshie for waking me up by purring and wanting to be fed in the mornings, and she still loved and accepted me. She accepted me when I retreated in front of the computer to spend hours upon hours in cyber space avoiding my "troubles". Smooshie was still right there accepting and loving me.
In the course of our time together there were many challenges for Smooshie. There was the time when I was gone for the weekend and upon returning I discovered the alarm clock had being going off for just about the entire weekend. She really did not appreciate that. I will never forget the look on her face as I walked through the front door. She was on top of the counted screaming - and let me tell you, that cat could meow!
There was also the time when the other cat I lived with bit her throat and it got infected. She had to be rushed to the vet for emergency surgery. At this point the vet discovered her jay was also broken, and it was an old break. She then had her jaw wire enforced.
About a year later I noticed something kind of off about the way Smooshie looked. It was as if she was telling me something. Again, I took her to the vet. The vet discovered lumps in her breast and recommended a biopsy. The results of the biopsy confirmed cancer. I was told that I could elect to have another surgery for Smooshie, but the chances of the cancer coming back were about 99%. I was also told this cancer was common in female cats that were not spayed in their first couple years of life.
Smooshie had been through a lot, and I decided to allow her to live as long as she wanted to without subjecting her to a battery of surgeries. After another five months Smooshie was not doing well. Her once beautiful coat looked battered. She had lost weight and stopped eating. I knew it was time, but I waited a couple more days somehow hoping she would get better. I loved Smooshie, and it was painful to let her go. She taught me so much.
One: Smooshie had been there for me when I was not there for myself.
Two: She did not judge me when I judged myself.
Three: She allowed herself to have fun whenever she got the chance.
Four: She had no difficulty speaking her mind.
Five: She was quick to forgive when upset.
Now it was time for her final lesson. Both my wife and I took her to the vet in the morning. Routinely, she fussed about being in the carrier on the way to the vet. On this occasion we opened the door to her, and allowed her out if she pleased. Once in the vet we were ask the difficult question of whether or not we wanted to be in the same room when she was euphonized.
We decided to stay in the room. I also deiced to hold her as she was being put to sleep. This part was difficult, and as difficult as this was I knew that is what she wanted. Smooshie was sitting in my lap looking like a ghost of the cat she once was. She looked at me as if to tell me it was ok. She was ready to go, and her body no longer worked in this world. I still had difficulty letting go.
I did not want to see things end like this, and I had no control. It was my turn to show her unconditional love and support. It was my turn to allow Smooshie to act however she wanted without resistance. It was my turn to be there for her no matter what the circumstance.
The vet injected her and within a matter of seconds she was gone. Her diseased looking coat lay down and looked just as beautiful as the day I met her. Her eyes closed and she looked to be in the most peaceful of sleeps. I wanted to hold her until she woke up, but I knew that would not be. She was no longer in pain, and she no longer suffered. I knew she was grateful to leave this world in my loving arms, and I was grateful to be able to be with her as she peacefully left.
The most important thing Smooshie reminded me is to respect life. Enjoy life. Life is a gift, and she was letting me know I would be much happier if I realized how much a gift life is NOW rather then as I exit this world. Thank you Smooshie!
Copyright 2005 Paul Bunting
About The Author
Paul Bunting founded the Bryn Marr Institute, which provides Hypnosis and Life Coaching certification via home study.