Thursday, November 18, 2004


I've always prided myself on the fact that I'm not terribly sentimental over pets. I mean they're animals. They have short life-spans, and their demise is just a matter of inevitability. Surely, you wouldn't want to go before your dog or cat?

But I forgot about Tot.

One time when I was about 5 or 6, my dad let a neighbor give me a kitten which I inexplicably named Buttercup. She was a pretty calico cat and I loved her. She grew quickly and became an excellent mouser. She was an outdoor cat and being such, we didn't bother to get her spayed. Quickly, she became a mother and a grandmother.

After a few years, a litter of kittens was born to Buttercup's daughter, Calico. They were the cutest kittens in the entire world. There were two almost identical ones which my sisters and I named Lumber and Mill in honor of our father's place of employment. There was another one we called Stubby. She was the cutest thing. She was chubby and hyper and she bounced when she ran. We adored her. Then there was the runt. He was the sweetest. He was so small and slow and frightened, with slightly deformed ears and feet. The other cats didn't pick on him, but he was always by himself. He quickly became the favorite. He didn't grow at all, but stayed tiny and helpless. We named him Tot, and we'd feed him and baby him and love him.

One day, as things like this always do, my sisters came running in, with tears pouring down their little faces, screaming, "Mom just ran over Tot!" We owned a big Suburban. She never knew, and Tot didn't have a prayer. I ran outside in what felt like slow-motion and saw the lifeless body of the little cat in our driveway. My sisters were sobbing and begging me to do something. I walked over to him and told them to go inside. My second-to-oldest sister got the rest of them inside and I got a shovel. I couldn't stand to see him just lying there, and I didn't want my mother to see. She loved Tot too, and she would have been devastated.

I scooped up his poor little body with the shovel and carried him to the hill behind our house, where he never got to run with his brothers and sisters, and buried him. I don't really remember how I handled it, but I remember my mom getting all teary when she found out. I was glad she didn't have to see him. I think I put on a brave face, but I definitely remember silently crying for him late at night when no one could hear.

It all seems so silly now. I mean, he was just a little cat, and he probably wouldn't have lived very long anyway with all of his health problems. It was probably more humane this way. But no matter what I tell myself, I still feel a pang of sorrow every time I think about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On : 11/18/2004 4:06:02 PM jack (www) said:

Just saying hey.


On : 11/18/2004 4:16:23 PM Inanna (www) said:

Yep. I'm feelin' ya.


On : 11/18/2004 5:23:57 PM Zelda (www) said:

Hey Jack.

Inanna - Depressing, huh?


On : 11/18/2004 9:44:34 PM Fleece (www) said:

I had a stray for a few months too when I was a kid, we called him Cappy. He was a sweet cat but a car ran over him too by mistake. Of course having a cat now would be out of the question as I figured out I'm allergic.


On : 11/19/2004 12:42:36 AM Jeanette (www) said:

I had a sad kitty died story all typed and ready to post this morning, but then I chickened out. Because it was too, too sad. And, well, let's just say this ...

Hi, my name is Jeanette, and I have lost a cat to death.

Thank you. (sitting down now)


On : 11/19/2004 3:37:35 PM Jay Loves Kitti (www) said:

Animals are just animals. But then they're also members of the family. We had a dog that I had put down last year because it was clear that she would eventually bite one of the kids.

I cried as I filled out the forms at the shelter. I knew it was the best thing, but she had been part of our family for 10 years and I felt horrible doint it.