The Eighth Save of Christmas
According to his former caretaker family, Blueberry was adopted as a kitten from a shelter in 2008. Of course, when a kitty is adopted from a shelter, their heritage is typically unknown. Thus we could not vouch for the fact that Blueberry was a Norwegian Forest Cat mix, but based on his size and bone structure, his medium soft, easy care fur, and his striking looks, we guessed he had some NFC in him, and/or maybe some Maine Coon. Who knows, and who really cares? What counts is that he was a very loving, human-oriented, seemingly healthy and easygoing boy with a gentle meow.
His current owners were moving overseas and contacted our organization to help find this big, affectionate boy a wonderful new home. They were in a rush to leave the country with their two other cats, and it was either a shelter or our rescue for Blueberry, who was being left behind. Why had they decided to take their two other cats but not Blueberry? I don’t know, but I got the call from rescue to foster him, and so he came to me.
At first, Blueberry was shy, peeking out from under the table or the couch to map out his surroundings before making an appearance, but within a few days, he was out and about and became a lap and tummy cat to his foster mom! I was smitten with this large, gentle, loving treasure of a cat. He loved to sit next to his purrson, and if whenever he sat on you, he would look into your eyes (or some would say your soul), raise his soft paw, and touch your face ever so gently. Wondrous. He loved the attention of his humans, was definitely not a “latch-key” kind of cat who would have been contented to stay home alone all day. According to his former caretaker, Blueberry would follow him around the house meowing gently as if he were talking. I asked myself again, who would abandon this cat?
Blueberry enjoyed a few blissful weeks with his foster mom and playing with his new fur friends, but sad to say, his story soon took a darker turn. Although he was, to all appearances, in vibrant good health, we took him to the vet for a general health check in preparation for adoption and learned he had a mass in his tummy, requiring an ultrasound and blood tests. A few days later, Blueberry was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma; the doctor thought he might have a few months to live, considering the size of the mass. Clearly it would not be wise or kind to adopt him out with and end-of-life diagnosis, and yet I could not stand the thought that this brave and loving cat should not have a real home to call his own in his time of need. I formally adopted Blueberry and would provide hospice care until he passed.
Within weeks, Blueberry’s health deteriorated. He lost interest in food and water and spent the day sitting on the cat tower lethargically watching the other cats moving and playing about him. He looked at me, and I felt he was pleading with me not to delay his journey across the rainbow bridge. He left this world much loved and mourned by his foster mom, his rescue family, and his cat friends.
As short and sad as our time together was, it was a pleasure to care for this special cat. He taught me care, patience, joy, endurance and appreciation of the dailiness of life, with all its ups and downs. Though we didn’t speak each other’s languages, I think we made an effective connection. It was painful but also an honor to be by his side at the last, holding his paw, touching his face, and wishing him well on the journey that each of us ultimately takes. Rest in peace, my dearest Blueberry.