Thursday, November 1, 2012

My First Cat: Snowball

Originally written on August 24, 2011
On May 23, 2011, it was overall a normal day- a day that I don't remember at all because it was just so ordinary...until that evening, I can only remember one final minute with my 16 year old cat Snowball. She wanted to go outside, she was demanding it, she was trying to lead me to the door. I thought she wanted to go in the backyard that is fenced in. I opened the sliding glass door, she peered out but nope, that's not where she wanted to go. Snowball then lead me to the front door; my mom and our roommate were both watching TV and I was getting dinner ready. I opened the front door and off she went. I continued on with my cooking, unaware that that would be the last time I would ever see my cat. I pretty much forgotten that Snowball was outside as the evening continued, I supposed I assumed that my mom or roomie would let her back in since I did tell them "Snowball's outside" and they did saw me open the door for her. So I went to bed...until I jolted awake "Is Snowball inside???" I checked around the house as quietly as I could but nothing. She must have been still outside, waiting to come inside and prepare myself for a bitch-out- I swing open the cat. Snowball? I got my shoes and from then on, I searched my entire community looking for my cat, quietly calling her name because I didn't want to wake anyone up. But at that moment I wasn't really worried- this has happened before and she always came home. After I covered the gated neighborhood I figured she was really mad at me and refused to come in for not letting her in or something. I couldn't go back to sleep though so I figured I would wait a while and hope to hear her cry, even opening the window a smidge so I can hear her cries. When my mom woke up, I told her that Snowball's still outside and hasn't come home yet- I went to bed while my mom took over the waiting. She even left the front door open so that Snowball can just walk in. Roomie woke up around late morning to take her dog, Harri, out to pee but he ran out the front door; Mom was outside talking to a neighbor and Roomie chased after him. I heard the commotion and went outside, telling Roomie that Snowball's missing. We both started searching right there, calling for her name. Nothing.

For the next 3 days we searched the neighborhood, expanding to the whole area basically. I even made flyers, asked dog walkers and people coming home from work. We used Harri to help with our search, using Snowball's little fur-ball that I saved after brushing her fur one day and he pulled us in all kinds of directions. We kept our windows cracked open just in case she came home and cried. Every hour or so, one of us would venture out of the house to look around for another check in case we would see Snowball casually walking on the sidewalk from her adventure. I had vivid dreams, even daydreams, of finding Snowball and holding her in my arms, so vivid that I could actually feel her...but then I would wake up holding my pillow tightly to my chest. I never have felt my bed feel so empty before in my life. I was so worried, so scared, so many 'What If's' were circling in my head
What if someone took her?
What if that someone is taking care of her?
What if that someone is abusing her?
Snowball can be very feisty and one may not know how to handle, or their own mood swings so What if they were scaring her so they can control her?
What if a big animal- say a dog- managed to get a hold of her and killed her?
What if a possum or a raccoon managed to get her?
Snowball was 16 years old, she may have been feisty and would get into a fight to protect her home as well as herself but she was also getting up there, her reflexes weren't really as quick as they once were but she was still sharp as a tact
What if she felt so left out in our family (which is completely UNtrue) that she decided to leave us?
What if she walked away to die?
Snowball did have a tumor in her stomach area, but we had it tested and it was beign...but it grew...but we thought it was just those fatty tumors...but what if it became a REAL tumor that got fatal? That last week I had with her, I discovered a small circle patch of fur missing at her hind leg that was dark pink and had puss on it...What if that killed her? On May 24th, I had planned to call the vet about that tumor to have it taken out.
What if Snowball knew of my plans and decided to make her grand escape so she wouldn't go to the vet?
What if Snowball knew that this was it and went away to die?
What if someone took her and killed her?
What if someone took her and she died on her own?
Bottom line is: I wanted her home, dead or alive
Eventually we all came to the conclusion that Snowball did indeed went away to die.
I had a weird experience not long after that. One day I went outside to get something from my car and was greeted by a ghastly smell- the smell of a dead animal. I know that smell anywhere since I've seen roadkill and you can just never forget that kind of smell. It's sick. I was also on alert for that smell because I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, it would lead me to my cat. Well anyway, that fleeting idea came to my head and I started to follow it and nothing. Now, that dead animal smell is very lingering, it can drift for a good length. Hmm okay not walking forward is where the smell is so I went back to my front door where I originally first smelled the smell- maybe it was in a backyard- even a neighbor's- but that's where the weird part comes in: I couldn't smell that smell anymore. I went back and forth, there was no way in hell I could've lost that smell! But it seemed like I did and I went back in my house baffled. I didn't even get whatever it was out of my car because it wasn't important anymore. Maybe it was my sign that Snowball's dead? I had been begging for a sign from God, from Snowball herself, from Missy, from my Grandmother, to just give me a sign- it could be in my dream, it could be a chopped paw in a package demanding ransom- I would've taken anything to know what happened to my cat. I still do.

I do know that it's a natural thing for a cat or a dog to do when they are dying. Probably more so so that we wouldn't have to see them in pain, in suffering, dying. I do believe, always, that Snowball loved me to death. She was my companion, my best friend, my confident, my second mother who told me what to do "feed me, let me outside, clean my litter box, pet me, play with me", my sister, heck I've even joked that she was my wife! I've never encountered a cat like her- if I came home really late (or anybody like my mom and Roomie), she would be right there giving you an earful "where were you? Do you have any idea what time it is??", she would also talk to you, she would also greet you when you come home and Snowball would always expect a greeting back- "Hi Snowball!". She had such a sense of humor, she played pranks, she was also very smart. I believe she would have been a great mother if we'd allowed her to breed (which we didn't, she got fixed). Although it was Snowball's House, I know that she did love Missy and she did love Harri. Snowball did witness Mom and me taking care of Missy when she was ill/dying so perhaps that made her decide to leave us behind. In March, she got sick (too much calcium) and when Snowball got better, her attitude towards Roomie had change a lot- they became late night walking companions, Snowball let her pet her more, she even started to play with her more with her favorite toy (the gold string) and tapping between the stairs' rails. Before the illness, Snowball was pretty wary of Roomie, playing nasty tricks on her or not letting her go up the stairs to the point when Roomie would yell out either my name or Mom's to help her get Snowball out of the way to let her and Harri pass. But Roomie loved her at first sight- they were actually a lot alike in many ways to the point where my mom and I said that Snowball was Roomie in a white fur coat.

I think the hardest part in all this is that I never actually got to say goodbye to Snowball. I got to say goodbye to Missy- and yes it was hard- but I wanted Missy to see me and Mom as the last people she saw before she died giving her some sort of comfort and I always thought Snowball would've gotten the same thing. But at least with Missy I got closure, I also have her little urn. With Snowball, I didn't get closure and I don't have any of her remains other than her little furball that I combed out of her one evening, never thinking that it would one day come in handy and special to me. I will never know what happened to Snowball. Although I do believe she has passed on, there's a tiny little hope in me that keeps my eyes peeled whenever I'm out and about, looking for a white cat. I look at roadkill more closely, wondering "is that my cat?" and then feel my heart torn apart of relief and disappointment when I find out it's not. I do know that in heaven we will be reunitied...but it would be nice to know where her remains are resting at...

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