Blackitty – The Feral Cat That Reminded Me How to Live

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Blackitty, a feral cat that belonged to the property on which I live before I did, received his angel wings Saturday night.  Not ever having been able to get close enough to touch his black fur that appeared when in the sunshine to have diamonds adorning it, I had the gift of holding him as he passed over from this place to the magnificent place I believe all kitties go…safe, well, beautifully whole, and in the company of millions of others. Finally, after 6 years, I was able to hold him, stroke his fur, and bestow kisses on his sweet being.

This is only a fraction of what he taught me.  Whether a coach, cat lover, teacher, writer…whatever your call…the lessons of this precious life apply.

Appearance is not everything – from the time I met him he was scruffy, one ear clipped and the other torn, a tail that was too thin and did not match the rest of his body…and he looked like he had already lived his nine lives…but he showed up “dressed” as he was and in his own way everyday

Risk – in the beginning of our relationship he would not even come to eat until the door was shut with no possibility of encounter.  Over six years, one step at a time, he risked…sitting just out of reach but making eye contact…trusting to come to the food when I was still only partly in the door…stepping over the threshold of the door to eat with my domestic cat…walking into the living room if I stayed stock still…until the very end I had to stay stock still…traipsing up the stairs and back down again…curling up on a warm blanket across the room in the cold weather…venturing to jump into a chair and see what it felt like to sleep there…chasing the laser light I had to reach for in such slow motion he could not tell…letting himself finally, after years, purr loudly in my presence

One step at a time – all he risked was done one step at a time…when he was ready to try…what a delight to be witness to his decisions

Loyalty is precious – he became fiercely loyal to Faloopity, one of my domestic cats…they were Mutt and Jeff…Blackitty followed him everywhere and tried to do all the same things…and if Blackitty did not show up at the back door to greet him, Faloopitymy cat went to look for Blackitty so all could be right with the world…everyday, Blackitty, even when his hind legs gave out, would try to sidle up and share the touch of his best friend. And in his last minutes, he looked right into my eyes through the webbing of the cat carrier as I told him I loved him and what a friend he was to Faloopity…loyalty goes both ways and I think he knew I would never let him suffer

Show up – he did…everyday…even when drenched from the rain…or sneezing…and in his final days, with his hind legs unable to support him and in pain…he never stopped coming

Give as much as you can – he gave all he was capable of giving…especially to his best friend…and the final step of allowing himself to be petted was given in his own way…finally…without even a hiss…for 6 years I gave him as much as I could and in that moment we celebrated his life

Sacrifice is worth it – towels and blankets hanging over the slightly open door in winter so he could come in and get warm made for a much higher heating bill…his purr and his relaxation was well worth it…and lent some humor to life for I had to bundle up double to withstand the cold…not a House and Garden photo op…but I never would have shut him out

Observe and listen – he was always attuned to life around him

Learn to play – the animated life is joyful…he got a kittenish expression on his face and the stress of living outdoors was absent in those moments…he let me see new sides

Be open to receiving – he opened his life and his cat heart to letting me be as much as I could be to and for him and he gave it back in spades…every new step he made had me in awe of one’s capacity and of believing in what seemed unlikely, if not impossible

Often the smallest thing brings the greatest joy – just his presence some mornings  made my day

Trust – pages could be written…it was not easy for him…but he found it somewhere inside him to risk trusting…for a truly feral cat he stretched himself far more than I would have ever imagined…it was spectacular

Worth writing about and honoring – every single life is worth writing about and honoring.  Today it is his and it is with gratefulness for his impact on my heart and the companionship he gave…may I always be conscious of the positive effects on my life of many…animals and people…and to share the words with a world sorely needing the stories of goodness and of joy

Thank you, sweet and courageous Blackitty, for your life and that I was able to share it for 6 years.  My heart is both broken and at peace…I will always imagine you in this room and remember what you have taught me.

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