yellow and white cat

Image via Wikipedia

On Good Friday my wife and I took Sam to the vet. He had urinary tract blockage, common in cats, that two surgeries could not alleviate. We walked into the surgery room with Sam still asleep with the anesthesia mask on. We stroked him, spoke to him, stayed with him a few minutes before the vet came in with the medication to give Sam so he could avoid a painful death. He passed quietly, and we stroked him a long time. Sam had visited the vet’s many times recently, and everyone fell in love with him. He was an incredibly sweet, trusting cat who loved for someone to stroke his belly. We took the body home, spent some time with it before burying it with two other beloved cats in the back yard. My wife ordered a headstone to join the others.

Pets become more than pets–they often become part of the family. My wife and I do not have children, so our cats are, in a sense, proxies, although we recognize that they are not human beings. We probably love them as much as any other loved one, and I have not cried this much since my best friend died last year. But I did receive one gift that helped.

[The cat in the photo is not Sam, but he could pass for Sam’s twin]

Three nights ago I felt paws walk over my feet. Thinking it was our other cat, Frodo, I looked up–no cat. The following night the same thing happened. I raised my head, looked across my wife, and a cat sat “meatloaf style” on the other side of the bed. He looked at me. I blinked, since the cat was not Frodo. There was enough light to make out the light patterns of yellow and white–it was Sam. He stayed still a few seconds, then dissolved into the air. Now a skeptic may say that hallucinations can occur in the hypnogogic state between wakefulness and sleep. Or a skeptic who accepts psi may argue that the apparition may be due to my own psychokinesis. But I believe this was a gift, Sam appeared to me to give me comfort, and by God’s grace he was permitted to do so. I have never had a problem believing that non-human animals, especially higher animals, will be raised from the dead. I believe that, if God so grace me that I enter Heaven, that I shall see Sam once more, along with all the beloved pets–and all the beloved people–I have known this side of eternity. “And all manner of things shall be well”–St. Julian of Norwich.