For me you came back, for you I let go

My wife and I trapped a pair of feral cat siblings behind a Walmart years ago. After we were sitting on the cold hard (winter) pavement for hours, someone called the police. Truck/ trailers full of merchandise coming into the back of the store. Not one but two feral kittens ran into the live trap. We took them home left the trap door open and allowed them to adapt to their new home. It took months, just to go into the room without them scurrying away to hide. And longer to get to touch "Sister" and "Bubba". Eventually we were able to pet Bubba and after some time he would allow being picked up. Sister was more difficult, but eventually she and I came to an understanding. Everything was on her terms. No sudden movement, no picking up, no holding..... petting only when she wanted. They both were to be inside cats but enjoyed looking out the windows at our outside cats. Bubba one day figured out the cat door and found his way out into the yard, no problem we had 'domed' the outside fence to keep cats in the yard. Sister was not allowed into the yard for fear that we could never get her back inside - as she didn't allow being picked up and did not accept being touched unless she initiated. All Good things come to an end it seems and one day she went out into the yard, amazingly I was able to call her back thru the cat door (my wife says I'm the cat whisperer) and she stayed for awhile. Later she found the cat door again and decided to spend her first night outside. I worried like a new parent. Sometime during the night we were awakened by the flapping of wings followed by a screech and what we thought was a cat fight and finally a loud bang as if something had crashed into our metal storage shed. We searched through the night, found no sign of Sister. The next morning we both searched again to no avail. She was lost. I had to go to work out of town but couldn't concentrate, worrying about baby Sister so I came home early to search again. Still no sign... I called and called. Crawled under the house. Looked in the neighbor's yard. Searched the vacant wooded lot next door for the umpteenth time and found nothing. I was devastated. While trying to make my way out of the woods I glanced toward the fence separating my yard from the neighbor's yard and at the base of a tree in the neighbor's yard was a tiny bundle of white and black fur. As I worked my way through the dense foliage I saw that it was her and sped my way to save her. Knowing she would not allow me to pick her up I worked a hole in the fencing to squeeze her through quickly. As I started to pick her up my neighbor's dogs ( a rhodesian ridgeback and a mastiff) ran up barking. I knew that I could fight my way out, but didn't know if I could do so with the baby in hand so I charged the dogs shouting. When they briefly backed away I scooped up Sister, slid her through the fence, closed the opening and faced the dogs again. Sister was safe! The dogs didn't bite me, I backed them down again and escaped. When I found Sister she had a huge scar over her eye (no damage to the eye) that went to the base of her head. We figured out that an owl had lifted her by the head, tried to fly off. She was able to reach up and work her way free and the owl dropped her on my storage shed, then she bounced off to the ground on the wrong side of the fence! I was able to pick her up after I got back in my yard (she was too exhausted to protest) and carried her into the house. She and I became VERY close after that and she started sitting next to me or at my feet, occasionally even sitting on my lap. I could even pick her up. When I saw her rolling on the floor, I would roll beside her. If I lay on the floor she would come and lay beside me or even sit on my chest. We bought a new house with 6.5 acres of land so the cats would be safe from traffic in 2002 and moved Sister and company to the new place. Everything was great! They all thrived being able to come and go as they pleased and we had no worries until Sister started getting older and seldom wanted to go outside. She had to have some teeth removed and went through the surgery well. My little princess was all grown up but was still my beautiful little girl. On occasion she would still climb her indoor cat tree when she felt good but was clearly older and slowing down. When she did climb the cat tree, she and I were nose to nose and I started rubbing my head on the shelf that she was on - she did the same! When I told my wife to watch she couldn't believe it. I did it again and this time Sister rubbed her head against mine! It was so cute! So adorable. We had many years together and one day in May she wanted to go outside again, I was reluctant but let her go. When night started to fall I frantically started searching and calling. Nothing. The next day, nothing. I was worried she had gone off to die and I would never see her again. Next morning we both looked to no avail. Same thing all day. We went out to get something to eat around 5 pm. When we got back I saw a shape walking towards our house and jumped out of the car- there was my baby heading home! She didn't register me calling, just headed home. I picked her up and headed to the front door. She squirmed like she did not recognize me. When we got inside she stopped squirming and gasped as if she were giving up her last breath. I cried and cried, telling her she had made it home...everything was alright. But it wasn't. She was dying. I told her it was ok. She fought it and fought it getting one last gasp of air then going limp. Her eyes glassed over and I thanked her for coming back to me - thanked GOD for bringing her home. I knew she was gone when my wife mouthed the words to me and Sister had been completely relaxed for an eternity. As I lay on the floor next to her sobbing with my eyes closed, I felt her little head rub up against mine ! I opened my eyes in disbelief and she rubbed her head against the floor! My wife and I both believe we witnessed a miracle. She came back. And of course I rubbed my head on the floor in response. She lived for a few days after that and I lay beside her on the floor when she wasn't strong enough to jump up on the couch, occasionally rubbing my head on hers or on the floor. Her headstone says simply" For me you came back, and for you I let go"

Tim Scott
TALLAHASSEE, FL