This is probably going to be one of the most difficult posts I write. I’ll start it off on a happy note. I warn you – you may not want to read the ugly. It is gruesome.
A little while back I wrote about two kitties at the shelter – Alex and Lucky. I received a text message last night that they were adopted! Both kitties left our care and went to their new forever home together!! I had been worried about Lucky and Alex for months now. I was relieved to hear that they went to a family with two children whom would grow up with the cats. The kids were so excited about their new family members! Many congrats to my boys, Alex and Lucky!
We have a feral cat colony that lives near the shelter. Many of the cats are friendly and volunteers have come to know their personalities and have given them names. The first cat that ever came up to me when I started volunteering was Momma. She had huge green eyes that pleaded for attention whenever she looked at you. Momma was a brown tabby with white on her paws, belly, and muzzle. Her frame was petite and scrawny, but she never looked unhealthy or underfed. In fact, she ate like a queen in the colony.
Yesterday afternoon Momma was struck and killed by a car.
When J and I saw her convulsing in the street, we started screaming at the top of our lungs. J ran into the shelter to get a cat carrier so we could transport her to the vet. Everything happened in a matter of seconds, even though the images replay in my head in slow motion. There was so much blood and the rain made it worse. When J ran to get the carrier, Momma tried to stand but fell to her side, hind legs twitching. By the time J put her in the carrier, we suspected she had already gone to the Rainbow Bridge, as we couldn’t see her breathing. The ride to the vet seemed to take eons, although it was only a mile away. Before getting out of the car, I peeked into the cat carrier. Momma was a lifeless pile of brown fur, wet with rain and blood. It was only at this time that I became conscious of the fact that J and I had been crying. We waited a minute or two for the vet to see us. A man wearing a yellow t-shirt looked at sympathetically while he walked his dog out of the office. I focused on holding the vomit in my stomach. Finally we were brought into the exam room. To my relief, the attending vet placed a towel over Momma’s head before taking her out of the cat carrier. When she removed the towel, I stood so my view was obscured by the cat carrier. The vet confirmed she suffered from a skull fracture and died almost instantaneously. We had her cremated.
When I got home, I lost it. I mean really lost it. I cried so hard and I gave myself a panic attack. Then I vomited bile. I called Ron to tell him. He had to decipher words from a string of incoherent sounds and repeat them back to me so I could confirm. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breathe. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Momma in the street. And what I saw was so much more graphic and disturbing that what I wrote in the paragraph above. My head is screwed up enough by the incident. No need to screw up your head.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I took five sleeping pills and still had difficulty. I’ve been around death before, and moreover, I’ve been around cats that have passed to the Rainbow Bridge. Never has it affected me to this degree. I start to hyperventilate just thinking about going to the shelter tomorrow morning. The thought of even entering a car makes me queasy with panic. Today has consisted of intermittent periods of hysterics. The memory of Momma in the street has been burned into my mind. The nightmare replays on an endless loop inside my head.
While I know it was an accident, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming deluge of remorse, anger, and guilt.