It was not the easiest of days, that slightly humid day in July. After progressive medical issues we, that is the Lewis family, decided that it was time to send our two remaining cats on their spiritual journey. This was no spurious decision, for what person rushes into a double euthanasia, but a gradual one as Sebastian (age twelve) and Bela (age unknown but in all probability circa ten) had both reached a nadir in their health from which there was no humane or even practical treatment.
Sebastian came to us unexpectedly in September 2001. His first few weeks on earth were anything but guaranteed. Born into a feral litter he was discovered, half alive, in a rubbish bin at a local beach by two women out walking. Then restored to health by a local veterinarian, my family found out about his plight by reading a sign on that very same beach. I was then informed that we had adopted a new kitten named, not by us but by the vet’s staff – and so Sebastian moved in with us in our small rented house.
Bela’s story is so different, especially as he was once considered to be a she! In December 2008 we learned that a cat had been abandoned in the schoolyard at Our Lady of the Hamptons, then Kate’s school. With the permission and blessing of the Principal we intervened in the face of expected snow and took Bella (sic) home for Christmas. And the New Year. And into January. Temporary became permanent, and we took her (sic) to the vet for a full inspection. And it was then that the technician, inspecting the nether regions, exclaimed, “Look! It’s a boy!” (Or some such phrase.) And so Bella became Bela that day.
Sebastian was the cat who, raised with labradors thought he was one of them. We jokes about him being the “labracat.” And almost until the end all dogs would defer to him. Bela was our “mystery cat” who always lived his own life, often disappearing, Macavity-style, within the house. On occasion, until we blocked off the opportunity, he would climb into the wall spaces of the basement. And at other times he would sleep for hours in the most unlikely of niches. Yet now and again, perhaps when the moon was blue and the stars were bright, he would sneak onto the bed in the early hours of the morning, and purr softly at our feet.
Happy memories and gentle deaths. And if there is a place in eternity where loved animals may gather, I dream that they are there. Reunited with cats Thomas and Luke – and, as far as Sebastian is concerned, reasserting his authority over Henry and George.