Sunday, August 01, 2010

Bathsheba the cat: 1991-2010

When my wife Jennifer was six years old, she received a cat for Christmas. Ever the precocious child, Jen named her cat Ebenezer Scrooge, aka "Ebby."

In May of 1991, while in her sophomore year of college, Jennifer lost her childhood pet to a lingering illness. Naturally, Jen was inconsolable at the loss of her beloved Ebby as he grew up with her.

As it so happened, Jen's mom would be visiting her at her Winona St. campus apartment the day Ebby passed. On the way to Minnesota from Chicago, mom decided to stop by a local veterinarian's office where she knew a litter of kittens had been born weeks earlier. There was one cat remaining, which happened to be the runt of the litter. What mom saw was a scrawny black and white kitten with a stubby tail. This cat was also feisty, as she like to gnaw on hands and knock over anything standing (A plant. A desk lamp. You name it). My wife was appreciative of this new cat and decided to name her Bathsheba.

In 1993-94, while student teaching in Cottage Grove, Jen lived with her folks in River Falls, WI. When Jen would come home in the evenings, Bathsheba could hear the car coming down the street. As a result, this cat would jump into the sink to look out the kitchen window which had a view of the driveway.

The following year, Jen accepted a position to teach in south Texas (eight miles from the Mexican border). While driving from MN to TX, Bathsheba would either lie in Jen's lap or at her feet. And if there was ever an instance they had to stop at a toll booth, Bathsheba would awake and instantly hop in Jen's lap so she could look out the window.

Like most cats, Bathsheba had a routine which she did not like interrupted. At night she would sleep on the other pillow in Jen's bed. So when Jen and I got married, Bathsheba took to growling at my head while I was asleep in her spot. She also expected her food promptly at 6:00 am everyday.

In our married life, Jen and I have moved three separate times. And every time we transported the cats (we've added two since we got married), Bathsheba would always have to take her customary spot in Jen's lap.

The past two years it's been obvious that Bathsheba was deteriorating. Her left eye was completely glossed over due to cataracts, her right eye was also getting cloudy, her hearing was nearly non-existent and she had pretty much become emaciated. Saturday was the third consecutive day which she refused to eat, which pretty much sealed our decision. Bathsheba could no longer endure the simple routines of a cat's day-to-day life.

After a few phone calls, an animal hospital in nearby Andover would accommodate our request to end the suffering of our beloved pet. With much sorrow, Jen placed Bathsheba in a sizable box containing a comfortable blanket. Naturally, the cat would not acquiesce. She insisted on her normal position while in a vehicle: Jennifer's lap. Loving and loyal until the end.



Yasemin said...

I never met Bathsheba but I feel like I knew her. What a wonderful story about a loved one....

W.B. Picklesworth said...

That was very tenderly written.