Our dear old pal, Woody, a big beautiful orange cat belonging to one of my dearest friends, is now with the angels. He came to my friend at the right time; he needed her and she needed him. She had recently lost her oldest cat, and Woody had a lot of health issues and was shy and depressed, especially after being returned to the shelter twice.
But my friend, who truly is the Cat Whisperer, opened her heart to him, and drew him into the warm circle of her love. After many trips to the vet and endless patience and kindness, she nursed him back to good health. Woody, now groomed, trimmed and feeling much better, became a sweet and funny companion. Although he would always need meds for his digestive condition, he lived long and well.
Anyone who has the care of a beloved pet will tell you that they become so attuned to the pet as to anticipate their every need. My friend kept up a schedule of feeding and meds that kept Woody in good health for years. They had playtime together, too, and he even dropped his dignity long enough to chase balls and catnip mice.
He napped often on my friend’s work table, soaking up the sun. When he wasn’t sleeping, he enjoyed watching the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and even the occasional porcupine that lived near the house. He once gained the nickname of “Batman” when he went out into the garage and neatly caught a bat! Woody was a great old boy, and he will be missed. I had the privilege of knowing him for years, and he was obviously a happy and healthy cat who had the great good fortune to end up with my friend.
We humans live a great deal longer than our pets. A vet once told me that the reason for this is that our pets are smarter and more realistic than we are; they learn what they need to know faster than we do. They look to us for their well-being; for their food and water, care, veterinary visits, playtime and affection. When they are old and sick, they also look to us to help them pass on with comfort and ease. They know when they’ve lived long enough; unlike people, they don’t whine and fret about how long or how short their lives were or how much money and possessions they accrued, and so on. They are ready for peace and rest, and it is our job to see that they get it. My dear friend, so attuned to Woody’s every need, knew when the time was right, and lovingly let him fly with the angels.
When our sweet pets depart from us, they never really leave–they will make their presence known from time to time. Freed from their tired and sick bodies, they are firmly and safely in our hearts forever. I believe that they know when the time is right to nudge their former owners toward the next new friend. It’s no coincidence when this happens, and in fact it is a tribute to the pets we have loved and lost. It proves that our pets were so unforgettable that we cannot bear to live without a pet in our lives. I also believe that, when we find that new pet, we get a prompt from our former pets that this indeed is the right one.
Fly high and wide, Woody–our love goes with you.