Cat ToyNovember 6, 2011
We bought a toy cat–small enough to fit in your hand. When you squeezed it, it made a noise just like our half-Siamese, and I would occasionally harass my partner with it. The batteries started to die, and it would make this rasping emphysema sound, and then it stopped working, so we put it up on the third floor. Our house is old–a typical 1920 four square–and we don’t heat the third floor in the winter; we store things there. We didn’t throw it away because it was cute, and about this time, our one cat, Cassie, grew ill.
After a month of treatment, our vet was near tears telling us there was nothing he could do. It was four days before Christmas, and we decided to euthanize her the next day. We chose to do it at home, not wanting her to die in the arms of strangers on a stainless steel table under fluorescent lights. I dug a grave in the clay in the back yard, left it open and let the snow fall into the grave. I went up to the third floor to get an old blanket to bury her in, and brought the toy cat downstairs. I squeezed it again–now it was silent–nothing. The vet arrived, we took Cassie into the living room, pulled the pocket doors shut so she could not wander off, and she was euthanized in our arms on the living room rug.
We went outside without our coats. We laid Cassie in the grave, and I filled it in. The next day I took all the cat furniture out to the garage, washed all the cat blankets and food bowls, put all the toys into a box and threw the medications away. That night, as we were in bed settling in to the new silence, the toy cat meowed. It was a single perfect long Siamese wail. We got up and walked into the office and picked up the cat. The only sound it would make was the emphysema rasp. Then, nothing.
We tell ourselves the cat meowed without being squeezed because it had warmed up from being stored in the unheated attic.
We still have the little cat. She sits on a shelf at eye level and smiles at us when we walk through the hallway. We squeeze it from time to time, but it has never made another sound.
This is a true story.