By John Moore, Columnist
Pets are an integral part of many people’s lives. They provide enormous amounts of comfort and delight for those fortunate enough to have one.
We recently had to euthanize our cat Checkers who was 16. This was to say the least, traumatic, and my heart goes out to all those who have had to do the same. Our cat suffered from a urinary tract infection among other things for several years. Seventy percent or so of felines are euthanized because of this condition.
Checkers came to us in a unique way. One day I was walking our dog Shelda around the block. Out of nowhere, from underneath a car, a tiny black and white kitten darted out in our direction. Ironically, our dog was black and white as well. This kitten followed us home and was determined not to leave. We posted signs around the neighborhood and at the school but no one came forward. It became quite obvious this tiny kitten, whose eyes were barely open, was ours.
Checkers, who was named by one of our sons, and Shelda, became best friends. Both animals were females and Shelda quickly assumed the role as mother. The kitten became a cat in no time. We thought Checkers would be an indoor cat but that didn’t happen as she kept climbing our screened windows to get out. Shortly after she became an outdoor cat, I heard a scratching at our door, realizing Checkers was in I hesitantly opened the door only to find there was a racoon wanting to come in to say hi. I knew then Checkers was no ordinary cat.
Checkers used to meow like crazy whenever we took Shelda for a walk. It was because she wanted to come with us. For short round the block walks, she often did. One time, we went for one of these walks and Checkers disappeared. I went home and waited for her to appear but she didn’t. I went looking for her and I heard this meow way in the distance. Upon further investigation, she was perched high up in a tree. Come to find out, a bunch of crows had chased her and so she scrambled up this tree. e property owner saw this commotion and got a pellet gun and scared the crows off . Desperate to rescue Checkers my son and I took our ladder, some rope, and a bucket to the tree. I climbed up to encourage her to jump into the bucket. She turned her back and didn’t budge. Being late at night, we reluctantly gave up and went home. The next morning, Checkers appeared, bright and early, at our door. I felt kind of foolish and quickly raced to retrieve our ladder, bucket and rope hoping my neighbors wouldn’t see me.
Years later we were walking Shelda on some trails behind Maskwa Aquatic Club. We came upon a woman where upon she stopped and said “you wouldn’t happen to be the man on Armstrong Court years ago who that kitten followed home?” It was our dog who gave me away and she said she was the driver of the car our cat had come out from underneath. Her children were watching the kitten and her daughter wanted to take her home. She cried when she saw the kitten follow us home. It reminded me how lucky we were to have had Checkers for all those years.
Shelda passed away, a number of years ago and we are thankful for the joy and comfort these pets gave our family. We miss them dearly! May God bless all our pets and those who cherish and look after them. Happy Easter and a happy April!
Photo by Karina Guseva: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-kitten-on-window-sill-9952903/