Yesterday was awful. I lost all hope again.
The story is long, so here I go.
For those of you reading and don’t know about my farm, it is an animal haven. We have six horses – Thunder, Bandit, Jesse, James, Prince & Pete. We also have quite a few cats. So many people dump there unwanted cats and kittens off to us because they don’t want to deal with it. Or there is a stray cat in town that nobody will help or they say they will have to ‘get rid of’ because they can’t have it wandering around. So they usually end up at our farm. I have always thought that our farm is the best place for a cat. It can do anything it wants. There is a stream, woods, garden and lots of hay to play in. Some are more lovable than others, but they are able to live free.
Some cats come and go as they please and others stick around for quite some time. Sometimes we go out there and notice that one is gone and we just have to accept that they lived an amazing life and perhaps are off to better things. Poindexter was my very first farm cat. I’ve had him for over 6 years – which is a long time for a wild cat. He was the tom cat of the bunch. He was smart, cunning and had incredibly large teeth (which scared my mom, lol). He was always there though. Every spring, summer, fall and winter. He was there to greet me.
Sunday, my dad and I went to our farm to check on our animals and feed them. We have been living in a polar vortex for the past few weeks and it has been hard on everyone. The path to our farm is a half mile stretch that is most days impossible to get through. So we walk in the bitter cold and dredge through the waist high snow. I call this my workout for the day, because by the end I am spent. On somedays when my husband or my dad can get out there with me, we plow through the snow with our big tractor. It has a giant snowblower on it and can break up almost any drift. Luckily, my dad was with me on Sunday and we were able to drive the half mile back because he has plowed the day before.
I went into the tack room (room full of our horse supplies – harnesses, saddles, bridles, halters, etc) to feed the cats and make sure they all come into the room because my dad was going to move the tractor to put a bale of hay in the feeder. I gathered them all together and noticed my favorite cat didn’t come in like he always does. I walked out of the room as my dad was starting the tractor and noticed a cat stuck to the back of the blower. I didn’t know what cat it was and I didn’t know if it was dead or alive. I just screamed at my dad to stop. I ran to him to find it was my favorite kitty – Poindexter. His chest and front paws were frozen to the metal of the tractor and he couldn’t move, but there wasn’t any blood, cuts or scraps. He was alive though! He laid his head back and just looked at me with his big yellow eyes and it was as if he was saying, “Thank goodness you’re here! Help me!” My dad held him and I ran for some warm water to hopefully release him from the tractor. I poured a little on his chest and a few minutes later he was released. I scooped him up and huddled him close to my body to warm him up. He was like a limp noodle. We took him to my parents house and wrapped him up in blankets and tried to dry his fur. He didn’t look good. He was shivering and shaking so badly. I made a bed for him and prayed very hard that he would warm himself up and regain his strength. I came back to my parents house a few hours later to check on him and give him some water. I walked into the bathroom and another little kitten we are helping through this cold spell was laying right on top of him to try and warm Poindexter up. It was actually pretty cute because these two at the barn would not have anything to do with the other. I gave him eye droppers of water until he hissed at me that he was done. I thought that was a good sign that he was able to get mad at me. I was hopeful.
I left that night knowing that Poiny had to make it through the night for me to be able to help him more. I planned on taking him to the vet the next morning at 7:00am. I didn’t sleep all night. I prayed and prayed that he had made it through.
Monday morning I walked in the room to see the little kitten still laying on top of Poiny. Poiny had his eyes closed and was cuddled up into the same ball as I left him the night before. I knew in that moment that he was gone. I had done all that I could for him.
I know he is just a cat and to some I am probably making a big fuss of things, but I loved him. I spend a lot of time at my farm; in the garden, cleaning stalls, riding the horses, mowing, etc. He was there from the beginning. I think the hardest part for me is the fact that I tried so hard to save him. I put my full heart into it and still I wind up heartbroken. I told my mom, “Why does everything around me die?” And I know that isn’t true, but it sure feels like it. Jonah died, our family dog died, friendships have died and now Poindexter died. This sure feels like a lot of dying to me.
Although I didn’t stop Poindexter’s pain, I let him die peacefully. He had a warm bed, out of the cold and what struck me most of all, was that he didn’t die alone. He didn’t spend his last breathe without the kindness and love from someone else. The little kitten was there by his side. I had never thought about this until now, but Jonah was never alone either. When Jonah’s heart finally gave out, at that last second – he wasn’t alone. And although I’ll never know when that last second was for Jonah – he was tucked away with me the whole time. He never felt hunger, pain, sorrow or fear.