Maddi lost one of her dearest friends this past weekend, although she doesn’t know it. Our beloved cat Selkie, who used to lie on the stairway landing with all her fat spread around her like a furry manatee, had rapidly become skin and bones and didn’t have the energy to roam the house as she used to. We were heartbroken to find out Saturday that she had irreversible liver failure — either from cancer or from not eating — and needed to be put down.
As we got in the car to go to the vet and say goodbye to our kitty, who hadn’t responded after two days of IV nutrition, Maddi clapped her hands in excitement, making the situation even sadder than we thought possible. How do you tell a baby that she is about to bid farewell to the best cat a baby could hope to have?
While her sister Deva either scurried from the room or put out a threatening claw when Maddi came near, Selkie was an eternal optimist. Each and every day, Maddi was given a new chance to learn to be gentle. For months, Selkie presented her fur to our rough-and-tumble little one, and for months she was rewarded with blows and fur-tugging. But Selkie soldiered on, purring as she endured what must have been torment at the hands of her little human sister. It’s as if our cat was waiting patiently for the inevitable day when Maddi would not smack her or yank her long hair, but would pet her sweetly. And in the last few weeks, Maddi finally did come around, just as Selkie knew she would. Maddi finally began stroking the cats’ fur gently and controlling her urge to shriek and flap her arms up and down. And then, as if her work was done, Selkie left us.
Maddi’s too young for the memories of her fur sister to linger — we’re not even sure she realizes there’s only one cat now. But Selkie left an indelible mark with her patience and sweet nature, and if it weren’t for her, I’m sure our little one would still be rough with animals.
In other news, Maddi learned three more words this week, for a total of 26. The first word was “yellow,” pronounced “yeddo” (she can also differentiate between objects that are red, yellow and blue, but hasn’t tried to say “red” or “blue” as far as I can tell). She also says “Cheerio,” which sounds more like “Cheew.” The third word is “boob,” uttered just yesterday, and we’re kind of hoping that she’ll go back down to having just 25 words again. Now that she talks so much, it’s time to either wean or start spelling more things out.
Coming soon: Pictures of our newly-gentle, 49-week-old animal lover on Bunny Day.