Living Out Loud

And the cat came back….


“Sometimes the things you lost can be found again in unexpected places”
Many years ago I was working for a private aviation company at the New Braunfels airport and a litter of kittens were born one year to a stray cat who adopted the busy airport as her new home. One in particular seemed to capture my interest due to his curiosity and bravery that surpassed his siblings. This tiny tom would find his way into the coke machine somehow and surprised a person when they reached for a soda and got a handful of fur instead. I finally named him Troubles after he lost part of his tail in a fuel truck door one morning. It didn’t slow him down; instead he decided to take a ride in a single-engine Piston without the pilot’s acknowledgment. So that day I decided to take Troubles home with me. The drive home that evening was kind of sad listening to him wail as he looked out the window saying his goodbyes to the only home he known.
Troubles quickly became my youngest daughter’s partner in crime. He allowed only her to give him a bath and never raised a claw or scratched her. Their friendship continued as both grew older. Troubles started to follow the girls to their bus every morning believing he was the protector and mascot of the waiting children waiting for the bus. He then would return home and hunt for his favorite pastime, birds, until the bus delivered the girls back home and then he would sit at the end of our yard and wait for his name to be called. Troubles was the King of the household and would time-to-time leave his kingdom in search of new adventures in the neighborhood but always returned home by nightfall. Troubles was neutered but still thought he was a “Ladies man.”
One afternoon I was home early and had been working in my back yard and noticed when I went to check my mail that a cat was dead in the street. Apparently a victim of being run over, the cat was in terrible condition but I recognized the tabby stripes of Troubles with a sickening feeling in my stomach. So I began the sad task of burying my Troubles in my back yard near one of his favorite trees when he loved to climb. That late afternoon when the school bus stopped and my girls walked into the house ready to dump their backpacks in their rooms, I tried not to show any sadness to them. Instead I tried to let this day stay normal for long as possible but as soon as Lizzie started calling for Troubles, a tear escaped from my eye and I knew I could not allow her to keep calling his name. I sat them both down on the couch and started to explain the absence of Troubles. I tried to explain God must have a purpose and place for each of his creations and of the Poem of the Rainbow Bridge. Of course I showed them Troubles resting place and said they may place flowers or a special item if they liked. Both were heartbroken but Lizzie was just still shaking her head as her tiny face grew pink with tears.
Dinner that evening seemed to be ruined as death was an unexpected guest. Troubles’ absence was impossible to forget because he gave us so much to remember. Bedtime came and stories about Troubles adventures were retold. I reminded the girls to still say their prayers when Lizzie asked me a simple question but a heartfelt one, “Mama, can God do anything?” Yes, I answered, if it’s his will, his plan and said that whatever you ask for in prayer that you truly believe that you will receive it, and then it’s given. Good nights were given and then I quietly opened the front door to say a soft good night to Troubles as the night air carried my words to places unknown.
The morning seemed to come quickly and the girls were heading out the door to meet the bus. I was already laying back down since I was off that day and wanted to grab a few more minutes of shut-eye when I heard Lizzie run into my room exciting yelling “God heard me, God heard me, mama.” There was my baby girl with Troubles in her arms who looked more surprised than me. Apparently Troubles was off on another adventure and was not dead. I buried another tabby and started to laugh in spite of myself. I took Troubles and walked the girls back to the bus and got them off for the day as Lizzie sat smiling her biggest smile out the school bus window waving. And as I crossed the street back to home holding onto Troubles who by then was getting a bit impatient of too much attention and wanting his breakfast. Life showed again how it can be full of surprises and so the cat came back....
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” – Antole France
**Troubles lived to be almost 13 years old and died peacefully in his sleep over five years ago. He filled our lives with laughter and memories that love only can provide. Troubles reminded us that home is where someone runs to greet you. Rip Troubles