Dear Sneaker Squeaker,
Today I got a terrible, but not unexpected phone call. It was the shelter letting me know that your heart murmur wasn’t just a murmur, but heart failure. When they took your chest x-ray, nothing was right. Your heart wasn’t right. Your lungs were full of fluid. At 3 months old you had reached the end of your life.
I always thought that something wasn’t right with you. Your meow was strangled and squeaky, thus your name. You panted at odd times. Your eyes never quite opened. I had hoped it wasn’t a terminal “not right,” but it was. The news was a blow to my already bruised and battered heart.
When we took you from the shelter you were so tiny and so sick. I would work on the computer with you in my jacket close to my heart. I was committed to you even though I wanted to keep my distance. I didn’t think you’d make it through the first week. I ran steaming water in the shower and sat with you in the kitten spa to try to make you well, and it worked. Yesterday you weighed enough and were healthy enough to go in and get adopted, or so thought my untrained eye.
I knew when I saw messages from the shelter that you were sick. I hoped it was a “we need you to foster him a few more weeks” sick, but it wasn’t. When I called and they told me the horrible news, I wept. When they asked if I wanted to come in and say goodbye I paused, and then said “No.” I had said my goodbyes the day before. I had kissed your soft fur and told you I loved you. I couldn’t do any better than that.
I loved your brown and black stripes that had started to grow down your back like a monochromatic skunk. I love the trusting way you flopped down when you sat on anyone’s lap, certain that they would support you wherever you landed. I loved how you would play with your sister and the big cat. I loved your sweet purr, a whisper of your sisters big engine. Because no relationship is perfect, I need to acknowledge that I didn’t love how you peed all over the house, but that flaw wasn’t enough to keep me from loving you completely.
I had hopes for your forever home, but it turns out I was your forever home. Your forever was 13 short weeks. I loved having you here, and I know you loved being here. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I hope you and your three siblings are somewhere sharing a sunbeam together. Know that part of my heart is still with you.
With deepest affection,
P.S. I do want you to know that when I heard you were dying I adopted your sister. I hope you don’t mind, but I needed some joy after so much loss. The sadness was overwhelming. Her whole name is now Adventure Sneaker-Squeaker Blackie Tiny No-Name as a tribute to you and your brothers and sisters. It’s a big name for her, but I think she can carry it. We love you always!