Wednesday, January 25, 2006

O Cat of my Heart

That there is Finnegan. Or, as we called him, Finnegan Innegan Outagan. He was my best buddy for 14 1/2 years until July of 2004 when he died of kidney failure. I didn't even know he was ill until the day before the last day which goes to show you how little experience I had with the ills cats are heir to. He was only my third cat in my life, not counting some that were around briefly in my family during my teenage years.

Finnegan was a rascal and sometimes a brat, but he loved me passionately. He would come into the kitchen and, to get my attention he would run his claws over the edge of my hand made spalted maple drawer fronts, looking at me as he did it. When he wanted to go out he would run his paws on the glass to make an awful sound. But his best trick was when he wanted to go out in the morning. We don't let anyone out until the sun is up and the night creatures are in their hideouts. But Finnegan would start pushing it, earlier and earlier in the summer. He would climb up by my head ( or Olof's) and at first he would pat you gently. If you didn't respond then you would get a claw in your scalp. (I would often put the pillow over my head and ignore him) But his best way of getting your attention was he would get up on the windowsill and find something like a glass of water. Then he would pat it very gently, nearer and nearer the edge of the sill. Either it would fall of or we would catch him. Olof once got a whole glass of water on his head.

But Finnegan also came running to get on my lap every night. And when it was time to go to sleep he would run into the bedroom, hop up on my side and sit there, waiting while I got ready. Not until I lay down would he lay down and I could pull him in close so I could rest my cheek on him. When he decided I was asleep he would move to my feet where he would stay. However, if I woke up, he would come back up and lie next to me again. He would give me long loving looks and I would tell him how beautiful and brave he was and he would curl his paws in happiness.

his death was a terrible experience but also in some ways the best it could be. He went down hill fast and he spent his last night away from me as the vet was trying to get enough fluids into him so he could have some quality time. But it didn't work so we knew we should end it for him. He was in pain and miserable. I held him and it was such an awful feeling to feel his living spirit leave his body. I guess I am lucky I don't have many experiences of death but that just makes it more shocking.

After he was gone, Brendan took to sleeping in Finnegan's hiding spot. Then one night, I felt a cat hop up on the bed in Finnegan's place. I sat up and looked and there was no cat there. Soon after I had a very strange and amazing dream. I dreamed I was in a cave with bright little lights like fireflies on the walls and they were all spirits. One was Finnegan and he told me that he was coming back but not before November ( this was July). So I knew I should wait until November to try to find him. I did wait and when I went to the shelter, Fergus came running and claimed me.

Now the funny thing is, whether you believe in such things or not, Fergus had a few little things he did that were so like Finnegan it was striking. One was the way he would stand with his shoulders hunched up. He'd be running, come to a stop, and his shoulders would do this thing exactly like Finny. Also he would come up to me in the yard, stand next to me and lean in a little, just like Finny. It's like he was saying " I'm with Her." I also once caught Fergus doing the same paw move on the glass door, with the same annoying sound and there was the paw around the edge of the bathroom door trick too. In a way, Fergus was like a Finnegan who had learned a few things. But he still hated to ride in the car.

Do I believe in reincarnation? I believe that life is so mysterious I could believe anything. I was looking it up on the web today and one thing I found was this

"What factors decide where people are born in their next incarnation?

This is a common question for people to ask, and the answers can only be speculative at best. One common idea rules that a person in their next incarnation will be thrown together with the people they were most emotionally attached to - either by love (including friendship) or by hate. This would be a good incentive for people to never actually hate anyone they don't like, so that fate would hopefully not throw them together again. So a person may in some instances be reborn in a country where the people they are closest to have ended up. As to whether this is by their own choosing, who can say. Note that there is no reason to suppose that with such a theory, these emotional chains would not also work with favourite pets, physical locations, nations, etc."

The rest is at the address below.

I did see Fergus the night before last as I slept. He was lying on a table, it looked like in the hospital and I saw his beautiful eyes looking straight at me. Then they closed and it was like the image flew away. But I woke up feeling peaceful and it was the first beautiful morning we had had since his death. Then around 4AM this morning, Silas woke me up purring like crazy, then he was running around playing downstairs and he was very lively all morning. It's as if Fergus is here and Silas can see him.

And no one will sit in his chair.

So who knows? I think we can have extraordinary relationships with cats and I think our ability to do so grows as we grow older and wiser. Maybe once you find the Cat of Your Heart and you lose him, the next one is really the same one come around again, if you pay attention. Many of you have said your next cat was sent by the lost one. Well, maybe it just is the lost one. Wouldn't that be wonderful?


The Meezers said...

I am so in agreement with you! Ralph was my heart and soul, and he sent Sammy to me, and to ease his brother Norton's loss, in his own good time. Sammy has so many of Ralph's mannerisms that it scared me the first night I had Sammy home and he laid in bed next to me the exact same way Ralphie did- curled up under my arm with his head on my shoulder. He has the same soulful eyes and expressions that Ralphie had. Finnegan sounds like a he was a wonderful cat, and Fergus was who he had picked to be with you. Without a doubt, Finnegan and Fergus will pick another one to be with you. I believe that cats somehow think it is their duty to keep their love for us alive, and they pick others for us and send them to us when they feel we are ready.

Anonymous said...

This is funny, because I've not encountered another Heather, but I feel that Turtle - for all of her differences - is so like my kitty Charcoal (she died October 2000) that my husband and I have both actually called by Charcoal's name. I guess part of me believes that there will never be another Heather. Perhaps I'll be wrong.

William said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this.

William's mom

Patches & Mittens said...

This is an amazing post today! Really got mine Mom to thinking.
She says, yes, truth is stranger than fiction.

Finnegan & Buddy said...

Wow. The shivers down my back started when you said your Finnegan was "Finnegan Innegan Outagan". My Finnegan is named that because my Irish gran, gone these 20 years, would always say to every cat, as they were let in and out..."In again, Finnegan?" or "Out again, Finnegan?" No one knows why she said that, if she once knew a cat named Finnegan or what, but there it is.

I totally believe that the cats who came before pick out the next ones for us. I used to tell Jasper (6 years at the Bridge) about Bits, a cat we had when I was growing up, who would wrap his arms around your neck and hug you. Then I would try to get Jasper to hug me, but he never would. Well, guess who picked me out at the shelter by wrapping his arms around my neck? Finnegan. There's more, but I'll tell it on our blog tomorrow.

I also believe that all the ones we've loved are with us always. It was said to me beautifully when Jasper died - "his soul will journey with yours forever".

Fergus, Finnegan and all the others you've loved will be with you forever.