One morning, Woody, our cat of 15 years one day crawled into a bottom bookshelf. I was made aware of this by the faint rumble of noise coming from the living room. I didn’t pay much mind to it. We were used to hearing our cats making playful noises. It just didn’t seem like a big deal. It wasn’t until I went to refill a cup of coffee that I noticed my big Woodinsky, our 21 lb pound of a blonde calico cat had managed to squeeze himself into the lowest level of a corner bookshelf in of our living room. Strange, Woody hadn’t done something like this is quite some time. He was always squeezing himself into tight places, kind of like a size 16 woman trying to squeeze herself into a size 10 bathing suit. We didn’t know it at the time, but this gesture was our cat’s attempt to disappear and die alone. Days later we took him to the neighborhoods cat doctor, who lovingly suggested we put Woody to sleep. A bittersweet task that was more bitter then sweet but necessary He was in pain.
We learned he had a cancerous growth that made it difficult for him to move, lay still, eat, or drink. In short; live. So off we drove to the vet and said our final good-byes to one of the two cats we brought home 16 years ago.
Woody was a dog in a cat’s body.
I knew what to expect when we walked into the vet’s waiting room with Woody. I had witnessed other silent visitors who would bring their furry pawed loved one to give a final good bye then leave with an empty carrying case.
Weeks later, as I was doing some house cleaning, I was tending to a bunch of books that had toppled onto each other. I had forgotten how they got there in the first place. It wasn’t until I found part of my Bible that I realized the mess was the work of Woody during his final moments.
I stopped my cleaning task. I wanted to leave my disorganized book shelf the way it was. I didn’t want to move evidence of Woody’s last movements. There was nothing sacrilegious about tidying things up a bit. I guess I just wanted to keep a part of Woody alive and by my leaving the books alone it was my attempt to keep him alive in my heart. That was six months ago. I haven’t found the other part of my Bible.