This morning I went downstairs to answer the door and saw a lady who lives a few houses down standing on my porch. Slippy frequently hangs out at her place, so I was thinking “Oh great, what did she do now?” When I opened the door, she said “Your baby got killed. I’m so sorry. It looks like she got hit by a car.” Though both Dan and I have had pets all our lives, this is the first time one has ever been hit by a car.
Everybody who gets a cat knows they’ll probably end up outliving the feline, and with Slipknot’s rambunctious nature I had always had my doubts that she’d ever die of old age. But still, it’s a sad occasion because she really was a sweet, smart animal. When we first got her and Sophie, they played and fought together in the house all the time. Slippy soon became obsessed with exploring the neighborhood, and in recent months she barely came home at all. If I tried keeping her in the house she would stand near the door and hiss at everybody until someone let her out. My interactions with her had dwindled to the short car rides home from picking her up from all over the city when people called the number on her collar. The most recent of those car rides was Sunday, and this time she actually stayed inside all day, sleeping on my desk, and slept on the bed a little bit that night.
But, back to this morning. I thanked my neighbor for letting me know and went to find a box. I walked out to the street to find another of our neighbors, one of the super-friendly old-school Oregon Hillians on the block, weeping quietly near the curb. Through her tears she said “I just loved that little kitty so much. She was so sweet and sometimes we would feed her. Why wouldn’t they have stopped if they hit her? I just don’t know why they wouldn’t have stopped.” She was such a tiny cat that someone could have totally hit her and not even realized it. It looks like she was in the business of darting out from under a car when it happened. As practical of a lady as I am, nothing can cut the icy feeling of seeing your cat’s magenta blood spilled all over the asphalt. It is just a cat. But it’s just a cat who used to fit perfectly into the crook of my arm. At least she probably never even knew what hit her.
I knew it would feel really weird to touch her, so I just did it as quickly as possible. I picked up her stiff body and folded it into the box I had brought, and carried her to the back porch. That was the heaviest shoebox I’ve ever lifted. When Dan gets home we will give her a hero’s burial in the backyard. Sophie has spent all afternoon in denial of her grief, playing with a ball downstairs and meowing for my attention. She may not attend the funeral.
I’ma miss that little cat with the big yellow eyes, and that insistent meow that Jett called “barking.” RIP Slipknot…everybody on the block misses you.