I saw her basking in the sunlight. Her shone fur with orange and black and brown. Her dainty black paws, and all-knowing green eyes gazed out into the distance. Haley, my childhood mentor, sat perched on the windowsill by the sink looking out into the treetops. Occasionally she went into the sink and catch the leaking droplets of water in her rosey pink tongue.
At age five, I played alone with pókemon figures. Haley offered me company by carefully stepping over my toys and placing herself in the center of my games. At age six, Haley and I lay side by side basking in the sun. At age seven, when I talked to my sister late at night, that cat sat by the door meowing. She was the night patrol; she made sure everyone was asleep when they ought to be. Obediently, my sister and I concluded our conversation and went to sleep.
My family and I chose another kitten from the shelter, she was grey and had a lively soul. Haley, not phased by the new family member, took the kitten in as her own. At age eight, I closed myself in my room, but Haley pawed at the door knob until it reluctantly opened, and offered me strength. She sat with me until my tears dried and her fur was well worn from petting. She was the Alpha cat of the family.
At age thirteen, Haley gently gnawed at my hair as I worked diligently on especially hard math problems. I listen to hear Haley’s soft purring in my ear. The family cat, Cindy, who was also like a child to Haley, died from a tumor. Haley endured. She kept giving us strength to endure the saddest of times.
At age fourteen, I watched a movie with my family as Haley sat on my lap kneading my stomach. At age fifteen, Haley sat in my mother’s lap and gently nuzzled her little black nose into the crevice of my mother’s elbow. Mom sipped her coffee and Haley caught the hot drips on her fur without complaint.
Hayley was tolerant and strong. Throughout my childhood ages, Haley was my babysitter, best friend, and confidant. Haley was the oldest child in the family.
At an old age of eighteen, Haley became sick. She had trouble seeing where she was going. She wandered around the house and she always found someone who was happy to see her.
Then her lost her balance. Haley tottered around the house and often times she ended up walking in circles for hours on end. Her back claws slightly gripped the carpet, making velcro-like sounds as she paced around the livingroom. We took our sickly cat up to Sea Ranch because we knew that Haley’s time with us was limited. She did not like it in the cramped, stuffy car, but she endured.
Her kidneys began to fail. Haley walked around the house, got lost, and then peed wherever she was, because she could not locate her litter box. Haley became dehydrated and cold, but through it all she never let her tail drag on the ground as she walked. She never stopped using her paw to ladle water out of her water bowl.
At the age of fifteen, on March twentieth, Haley became extremely ill. She could not lift her delicate head from the heating pad. She could not support herself to stand up. She was barely breathing. Haley was a warrior. She kept going for eighteen years for us, and because we needed her, she endured. We took Haley to the veterinarian, and he could not do anything to help her. She was just getting old. We took Haley to Pet Care, and they proposed euthanasia. The veterinarians put Haley on an iv, and they thought she had passed two times that day, but Haley ket surviving. The family talked over the proposal for many hours. We cried many times that day. I never lived a day in my life when Haley wasn’t alive. We did not want her to suffer in the last days of her life. Selfishly, we wanted Haley for more days than she could survive; those days would be spent dry heaving and struggling for air. We wanted her to pass peacefully in a warm blanket and plenty of fluids. We made the decision.
At three o’clock that day we went into the clean facility of the Pet Care building. The walls exhibited pictures of healthy cats and jovial dogs jumping around. These traits Haley had not shown in the last six months. We went into an exam room to see Haley for the last time.
They brought her in, wrapped in a dark blue polar fleece blanket, with a yellow band and a cord attached to her front left paw. She could barely open her eyes, but I saw her give a warm blink to the family as she recognized the familiar scents. I bent down and kissed her softly behind her ear and I could smell her signature scent of warm hay. I could hear hear breathing, just barely, and she couldn't move any part of her body. Haley could not completely comprehend the situation or the decision we had to make. I stood in the room crying. My warm tears dropped onto her cold fur, and I glared at the vets as if they had the power to change fate, and chose not to. The vets talked to us with soothing tones as we told them the tough decision that we made. They prepared to put her down. I wanted to wait in the car with my sister as they did this, but my sister and I selfishly petted Haley repeatedly, we wanted to be the last to touch our childhood mentor. We each had different but tender and pure memories of her. We reluctantly went into the car and waited in pain as we knew that Haley’s soul left that room.
Haley endured so many cats coming into and out of her life, so like Haley we will endure. I think Haley came into our life for a purpose, to strengthen our family- a goal she most definitely accomplished. Haley, a threshold guardian and a mentor, offered me support and love that I only hope I can offer to others one day. Haley has taught us all a lesson that we will never forget, she has taught us the meaning of love. Love is long lasting, tolerant, and durable. Her lesson will live forever in our hearts. Loving something hurts so much when it comes to an end. All things come to an end, but that is not to say that one shouldn’t love. Then they would be deprived of the joy that love brings. I will always remember my bright days with Haley. We do not want a cat like Haley again, because no cat can replace her. No cat can teach the same lesson. We have another cat, Kitten, that lived with Haley. She is different than Haley, and it would not be fair to expect the same of her as Haley. Each cat teaches their owner a different, but valuable lesson. Haley’s paw printed card from Pet Care wisely concludes Haley’s chapter in our family’s life with a saying: “ only the truest of friends leave a pawprint in our Heart.” I love you Haley.