This world can be so cruel. Some lives are harder than others, but there is blessed ignorance to distract from the cruelty. Who will weep for an unknown cat, taken by the predators that roam the adjacent woods? There are so many other seemingly more important things to bear our tears and weigh down our shoulders. But I will weep for the unknown, those of short and insignificant existence.
The subject of this essay is a tattered, long-coated stray-cum-barn cat. I named her Persephone, and she was a nuisance, a stray, to anyone but me. To me, she would shyly approach and beg to be rubbed. I would occasionally get a meow of greeting out of her, though she gave voice only rarely. She slowly integrated into the cat ‘herd’, but was always a loner. Before lowering her guard enough to let me welcome her to the house, she was ragged and pregnant, giving birth last February to 2 misshapen stillborn kittens. I don’t care what species you are; many animals are ingrained with a sense of duty and affection toward their offspring, and to not have that come to fruition can cause heartbreak across the species barrier.
It took months, but Persephone eventually came to trust me, and while she maintained the inbred fear of nearly everything, she opened up to my affections quite beautifully. She blossomed in a way I can wistfully appreciate, because I saw her struggle to overcome her fear every day in a way we can only hope to achieve. She would run away nearly every time I opened the door, but in the end, her love and desire to be touched overpowered her fear and she would run up to me to rub on my legs and let me pet her as long as we both needed. She never offered to bite or scratch (except the time I took her to the vet to prevent anymore unfortunate pregnancies).
I may be the only being alive that feels sorrow at her passing, but I write this essay in ode to her short existence.
Persephone, may you know no more fear.
**Update: Persephone was found 6 days later locked in the garage. We don’t really go in there in the wintertime, so her presence in there went unnoticed. She is alive and well, and continuing to blossom in her charming, skittish way. I thought about removing this post, but a slight superstition has me believing that if I take this post off, something really will happen. Don’t begrudge me a few superstitions 🙂