By Larry R. Fiori
Even in death she was graceful, so delicate. She lay in the plain cardboard box that the vet had provided for the trip back home; her head resting between her front legs as if in sleep.
Although the years had dimmed some of the fine distinction, she was what books called a Coon Cat, so named for the subtle dark rings that encircled her spindly tail. But what truly defined Sabrina’s beauty was the white piping around the ears and face that served to showcase those creamy, jade-colored eyes.
She had been back home now for about an hour and it had started to rain. The vet had asked if we wanted to leave her with him for disposal, but I knew there was only one place for Sabrina: the side yard where she always lay, marking the predictable path of the afternoon sun.
Sometimes I’d watch as she moved, keeping pace with the warming rays next to the garden where the sun seemed to linger in the late afternoon. There she would sleep that soft cat’s sleep, content in the fading light.
I gently placed Sabrina’s feather-light body within a clean sheet, careful not to change her final position, and wrapped the soft cloth around her cold form. The wooden box I’d made from some good scrap wood allowed enough room to slide her into the opening without disturbing her in any way. She had been a classy cat and she deserved her dignity. The box was placed inside a heavy plastic bag and taped shut. The whole package was only a bit larger that the shoebox, but it would do.
I unlocked the storage shed, took out the rusty shovel and put Sabrina’s box inside to protect if from the falling rain. The spot I’d chosen was partly under the eve of the roof and once the top surface of mud was removed, the soil underneath was workable. In a few minutes, I had prepared a fairly deep hole, cutting the edges neatly to fit the special guest.
Special: that’s what Sabrina had always been. Even as a tiny kitten, she had a way of getting your attention. It was a distinctive sound, unlike her normal vocabulary, that signaled her desire to be picked up. As soon as she felt secure in someone’s arms, she would produce that Rolls Royce purr of hers; smooth and effortless. Her tree sharpened nails would curl outward in little spasms of pleasure, but never enough to hook or scratch any hand that could find those sensitive spots behind her ears.
The rain had soaked through the back of my light jacket and small beads of water were making their way from my hair to my face. A few warm tears were mixed with the cool rain as I took the box from the shed and placed it gently into the snug little grave.
At seventeen, she had lived a long and wonderful life for an outside cat. The vet had been amazed at her overall condition and said her heart could have gone on for another ten years. But not so the kidneys. Her last few days were difficult, I suppose, but she never let on. That was her style.
A few final pats with the shovel and the job was done. Sabina was home to stay, to bask in the sun’s warmth forever. It was a perfect place for Sabrina.
A very touching story of a very special cat who basks forever in the warmth of the sun in her special place.