....I'm not sorry Dixie chose to leave her kittens where she knew I'd find them.
The remaining kitten drew his last breath ten minutes ago and will rest forever with his littermates. Sometimes I can't believe how emotional I become over kittens I've known for such a short time. Maybe it's because I put my all into any cat or kitten I think needs my help. Neither can I believe it was just a little over 24 hours ago this story began.
What I do believe is that every living creature deserves to be cared for and treated with kindness. I also believe with all my heart that each animal, no matter how new to this world, can feel when its loved.
I had a long afternoon of holding this last kitten (I was calling him Rocky, as if that strong name was going to help him beat the odds) until he was no more. My other cats, and even my big cat-chasing dog, showed compassion. Some might not think animals can feel emotions or be in tune with what their humans are feeling. I know mine can.
Kelly's kitten, Elliot, came and climbed into my lap. He played, nibbled my fingers and purred, as if to show me life goes on. Taylor climbed into my lap next and placed one big yellow paw over the fading kitten's body as I held him. He sat with me for a long time, purring and looking at me with his big green eyes as if to say he understood. Cody, who came to me two years ago as an abandoned kitten himself, patted my face with his paw, then rubbed his furry little face against mine as I cried.
Just as few minutes ago, Mandy, my lab-mix dog, followed me to the bathroom. She sat and watched as I gently wrapped the kitten for burial. She wanted to see him, and when she did, she sniffed him, then looked up at me with sad eyes. She sniffed the box in which the kitten and his littermates had been, then came back and sat down in front of me. She knew.
I don't pretend to understand why some kittens thrive and some don't. I have no idea what allowed Kelly's kittens to be any luckier than Dixie's, or why Dixie remains a stray on her own while Kelly will eventually have a forever home. None of it seems fair, but then, we've all had lessons about life not always being fair. This was another lesson, and as crazy as it may be, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.