The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
AMBIENT THOUGHT – SPECIAL EPISODE: Trinity: Queen of Felines
We invite animals into our lives in hope that they will become our family. We find them as strays or in animal shelters or maybe a friend has a pet that has a litter of babies and wants to know if you want one.
The last one was the reason a little black and white, half Manx female kitten came to live with me.
My then wife and I was going through a divorce. It was rough on both of us. We were both innocent and guilty at the same time. Even though there were good times, I believe we were only brought together just to bring our daughter into this world. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t change a thing because of that.
I moved into an apartment with my two cats, Sphinx and Max. Sphinx was a beautiful black and chocolate brown, part Himalayan, part Persian female cat and Max was an all white deaf cat. I like to give voices to my pets and Sphinx would have had a posh, upper crust English accent and Max would have been a normal guy with a New York accent that would said ‘WHAT?’ a lot.
To help the transition of the split between me and her mom and a motive for her to come over and see me on weekends, I wanted to get my daughter a kitten. A friend of mine that I worked with at the time just so happened to have a litter of kittens born and said I could have one. She told me the daddy was a regular tom cat and the mom was a purebred Manx cat. If you know your cats, Manx cats do not have tails. I thought that would be awesome. Up until the moment I saw them, I had never seen a cat without a tail unless it had been in an accident.
The day comes that I was to go pick out this little kitten out of about ten. I go to my friends house were she had them all in one room. Kittens everywhere. I looked around and my friend had pointed out a couple that was already taken. So I narrowed in on the ones that didn’t have tails (some were born with them).
And there, sitting by itself, was a little black and white kitten, smaller than the rest, the runt, and had no tail. It just sat there looking at its brothers and sisters and they didn’t pay it any mind. First thing I thought of was it felt alone. Just like me.
Not anymore, little one.
I scooped it up and looked to see what it was. A little girl.
I had found the one.
I thanked my friend and took the kitten to my truck. It was a warm afternoon so the windows went up and the air came on. I had already bought a new litter box and bowls and some food of her own and she scampered around all of it as I drove carefully home. She sat in the litter box and started to scratch, even with no litter in it. I didn’t want a premature pooping or peeing going so I pulled her out. She soon tired of running around and wanted to see the world pass by. She climbed up the back of the seat and onto my shoulder by the window where she stayed all the way home. At red lights, we got curious looks and a lot of smiles.
When we got home, I introduced her to Sphinx and Max. Sphinx gave her a couple of hisses and walked away. Max, on the other hand, just watched her, never taking his eyes off of this little black and white puff ball. I sat her down on the floor and she automatically walked around like she owned the place. I think Max was impressed by this because it wasn’t too long after they became buddies. Sphinx was just annoyed. The look on her face was ‘How dare he bring another girl in this house?’, in her posh upper crust English accent. Well, that’s what I heard in my head.
I walked into the bathroom and she followed me, running to keep up. I realized I had not named her yet. I was going to let my daughter name her but I wouldn’t see her for a week. I didn’t want to be walking around calling her little girl of just cat. I looked up to see a poster I had on the wall. It was a movie poster for The Matrix. On one side was Morpheus, Neo in the middle and on the other side was….
“Trinity….. Your name is Trinity.”
I like to think she looked up and gave me the slow cat blink as if she liked that name but I probably imagined it. Nobody knows what their real names are, do we?
Trinity was introduced to my daughter the following week and it was a great connection between one little girl to the other. Both ran around the apartment, being friends. They even took naps together on the futon. It seemed I picked a good one.
That was our introduction to this sweet, tough feline.
Time past. We watched Sphinx get old and pass away, living to be almost twenty years old. Posh and beautiful until the end. We watched Max get old and without warning, pass away one night as my wife and I looked on helpless. If I remember correctly, Trinity came and gave him one last sniff. After I buried him, she looked for him days after, meowing whatever name she called him.
Then she became the elder animal, The Queen, above two brother cats we adopted, CJ and Sam, and a big silly boxer named Louis. I believe they accepted that and knew their place in the animal hierarchy. There were the occasional fights and bickering but it wouldn’t be long until one or the other was snuggled with the other. But Trinity was always a ‘human’s’ cat, preferring our company to her fellow felines or canine.
Then recently, her age started to take its toll. She clung to her humans more, following us around or wanting to be near us on the couch or meowing and scratching on our bedroom door, waking me up early because she was lonely. She got use to being there at the door for me to pick up and carry her down the stairs.
Then, this past Saturday afternoon, she took a turn for the worse. She sat alone on the couch, not moving much and not eating much. We watched her closely. Then Sunday afternoon came and she seemed to be going down hill. I hoped she would pull through this and start to perk up but something in the back of my head, that voice that gets attached to people and pets that we love, started to tell me the end was near.
We have two couches. My wife takes one and I take the other. Trinity stayed on mine and we bundled her up in a towel so she would stay warm. She seemed cold to the touch. I decided I would sleep down stairs with her so I could keep checking on her.
I kept the TV on with the audio on mute. Something I do when I’m tired but my head won’t let me sleep when it’s too quiet and as a form of comfort when I’m scared. This was both occasions. I also left it on for her so it wasn’t all dark in the room.
I woke up at midnight. There, laying between my legs with her front legs stretched out was Trinity. I believe it was her last conscience act. I stayed up and watched her and lightly talked to her for the rest of the morning. I dozed with my hand on her body, feeling her labored breathing.
Later that morning, my wife kissed her goodbye before going to work. We knew this was it. We both knew without saying that it wouldn’t be long.
So… at just after 7:00 AM on Tuesday May 8th of 2017, I listened to Trinity say a couple of very small mews, then I watched her act as if she was going to throw up. I picked her up so she wouldn’t choke but there was nothing. Her body was as loose as a rag doll. She kicked her legs a couple of times and then one last exhale. That was it.
I got down off the couch and looked at her. Nothing. I felt her body for breathing or a heart beat. Nothing. I just stared at her for what felt like hours but was only a few seconds.
The Queen was gone.
Then I cried. It was loud and mournful and there were a lot of tears. Our cat, CJ, and our dog, Louis, watched from the chair and I believe they knew what was going on. I cried hard for a few minutes and after I got control of myself, I called my wife. I hated to call her at work but she would have hated me if I didn’t. We cried on the phone as I told her Trinity was gone. Then I texted my daughters mom and asked if I could bury her on their farm. She said yes, of course I could, and told me to pick any spot I wanted. I found a place near a honeysuckle bush and buried her there, the sweet smell of honeysuckle in my nose as I dug.
The third bush from the farm house. It had to be the third.
I sat down after I was done and a few more tears were shed. Before I said a few parting words, I left her a honeysuckle branch on her grave.
Trinity was a cat that was as tough as they come. I told many people on different occasions when I talked about her if I had to bet on her or a huge dog in a fight, it would be a tough decision. She never hid, like the other cats, when somebody came over. She always showed herself and tried to make friends. And because of not having a tail, she didn’t walk like other cats. She always put one front paw in front of the other, like she was walking a tight rope.
There are many other stories about the masked Trinity but I don’t feel like typing them all. Maybe, if you see me out and are so inclined to know another story about her, I might just tell you. Like the time she took off outside for eight hours and we thought we would never see her again until I heard a scratch at the back door. Or the time I tried to put her in a cat carrier and she wanted no part of that. I was lucky to escape with all of my fingers.
But I’ll leave you with this. I was lucky to find her. Not just for my daughter but for me. And then for my wife, Mindy, and my step-son, Joseph. We all shared our lives with her and we were blessed to have her share hers with us.
Our pets are more than just another mouth to feed or a ‘thing’. They become our families and become one with us. We take them with us, while they are alive laying on the couch napping or playing with their favorite toy. Or after they are gone. We take them with us, forever, in our minds and in our hearts.
As I said before, whether you like it or not, I believe in God. And by saying that, I believe in Heaven. I also believe that Heaven, our own personal Heaven, consists of not just the people that preceded us but the animals we loved and called our family.
Trinity is there, in her perfect cat form, along with a hearing Max. I bet they are together again, walking around, giving much missed head bumps. And Sphinx is there, maybe the stick she had up her butt on earth has been taken care of. And she is being sweet. But still as posh as ever.
And they are waiting, along with the others, for the rest of their family. Purrs ready and head bumps for all.
I will miss you, little girl. I will think about you. I will always love you, my little girl, the Queen of Felines.
Until I see you again…
– Loyd Elmore
May 12th, 2017
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.