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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: Replacing the Family Pet
By Sherry A. Jackman


When our cat Snoopy had to be put to sleep, I prayed in a replacement for him. We got Kitty Baby from one of my church elders, when they had to downsize into an apartment.

After 10 ˝ years it was time to say good-bye, as her health had deteriorated to the point where she was screaming often.

“Kitty Baby, what’s wrong?”
“Evan, I’m taking this cat to the vet; if he can’t find out what’s wrong with her, she’ll have to be put to sleep.”
“Carrie, there’s nothing wrong with that cat, you’re just overly sensitive.”
“No, dear, you just turn your hearing aids off and don’t hear her half the time.”
“I still say there’s nothing wrong with that cat.”

I took Kitty Baby to the vet who thought maybe she had some kind of virus and prescribed antibiotics for her. I took her home, but after the medicine was all gone, she was still howling constantly. I called the vet’s office and he said she was quite old at 13 ˝ and it was probably time to say good-bye. We also weren’t sure if she was deaf or had suffered a stroke, which would cause a lot of discomfort and screaming. I found out the cost for euthanasia and cremation for the cat. The cremation was $43, so I arranged for my friend’s son Chad to dig a hole in the backyard to bury Kitty Baby once she was put to sleep.

I knew both Evan and I had to have a replacement kitty, so I went to our local Animal Shelter and looked at cats that were up for adoption. Deciding we had to have another orange tabby, just like our two previous cats, I noticed a nice looking male who seemed to be about two years old. I asked the Shelter employee if I could see that one.

She pointed me to a room where I could get acquainted with the kitty and see if he was a good match for our family. I sanitized my hands from the container on the wall and she brought in this nice orange male tabby. He bonded with me immediately and snuggled right in my arms, purring loudly. One complaint I had about Kitty Baby was that her purr was so soft you could barely hear it. Determining this little guy was just right, I told the Shelter employee I would take him.

I went to the front counter and paid a deposit, arranging to pick him up in a few days. I went home and the next day Kitty Baby and I went to the vet, along with a giant shoe box for her casket. The vet led Kitty Baby and me into the treatment room where she was given a shot, and I held her while she breathed her last. I was more relieved than sad, as I had found a suitable replacement to be our new family pet.

After Kitty Baby was finally gone, the vet assistant carefully wrapped her in a plastic garbage bag which we put into the big shoe box and taped shut. I took it home and Chad buried her in the back yard next to the garage.

The next night, since Evan was going to be home, he decided to go get the kitty from the Shelter so he would have at least one night at our house before having to be there all alone since Evan and I both worked nights.

What a joy Tiger, whom I have now dubbed Mr. Kitty, has been. Nine months after we got him, Evan went in the hospital for surgery and moved to a nursing home for his final months. Meanwhile, Tiger aka Mr. Kitty and I have become close pals. He is my earthly comfort. In January 2007, Tiger got lost in a snow storm and was gone nearly two weeks. He came home rather thin.

Recently, Tiger and I moved into an apartment, where he has chewed phone cords in two, escaped for 18 days during which time Evan passed away, and was prayed back home by close friends. I knew my loving Heavenly Father would not suffer me to lose both my husband and my kitty at the same time. Mr. Kitty aka Tiger has provided such comfort that I know the Lord was helping me select this replacement for our kitty who was too ill to keep alive any longer.

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This article has been read 351 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Sprock05/22/08
The overall structure of your piece is solid, moving the reader naturally through your points in an easy manner. I found myself a bit put off, I guess, by the easy transition from one kitty to another to the kitty as a companion in place of husband. I am sure that processed was filled with much more agony than you show and I would have liked to have you focus on one of the transitions in further depth instead of summarize all of them. Okay, I admit it--you made me want to know more about your experience, which is good writing!
Yvonne Blake 05/23/08
Cats can be such good companions, can't they?
I would have enjoyed some description of the cats' personalities instead of the visit to the vet and shelter.
I've developed an allergy to cats. I miss having one around.
Well done.
Marlene Austin05/26/08
You give very clear details in your writing. The step-by-step "recipe" format left little room for the reader to feel much emotion about such emotional issues of loss and replacement though. Include some personal reaction/emotion from your MC to help pull the reader in to your story. :)