Today, October 4, is the Saint Francis of Assisi feast day. St. Francis is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. On this day all across the world animals are blessed. At some churches, animals are brought in for blessings by the priest. At many Catholic schools, like my son’s, the students are encouraged to bring in family pets or pictures of pets to be blessed.
Today Koda and Summer are in my prayers. I am grateful for the joy they have brought to our family and pray that they continue to grow in good health for many years. Even heavier on my heart this morning was our sweet seventeen year old grey and black tabby cat, Kitty. She is very sick. For several weeks her health has declined and her behavior has been off. Then yesterday she became immobile and unable to eat or drink. She was barely responsive. A visit to the animal hospital late last night was necessary.
The hardest part of this story is to tell you that I am not home. My 23 year old daughter is there along with my 18 year old son. They held their emotions together enought to bring her in for evaluation and some medication to alleviate her painful symptoms. I can only tell you that it is excruciating to a mother to be in another state when her kids are enduring such a crisis. I love Kitty very much and realize that her time with us is temporary, as I learned after losing our dog Dot last year. But it is heartbreaking to not be able to comfort my daughter, my sons, and Kitty from far away.
This morning I woke up and realized that it was the feast day of St. Francis. Somehow the timing of this shed a bit of hope in this sad situation. In tears I prayed to St. Francis to watch over Kitty, and to make her comfortable. As the day went on my weariness began to fade. My daughter called to tell me the doctor visit went well this morning and more medicine was given. She and her brothers were taking turns watching over Kitty. It may have been more than the news from the vet that made me feel a little better, I believe that hearing about my children supporting one another in this difficult time was what boosted my spirits.
Family pets add so much to our lives, and have a way of teaching us about ourselves. They connect us to each other. If we are lucky, they are with us through years of growth and change. They calm us and love on us when we need it. Kitty has gotten me through tough moments just by her warm presence on my lap. She has made me laugh often with her antics, meowing for lunch meat while I make my son’s sandwich, or hunting stray socks in the upstairs hallway. For the past couple years we have allowed her onto our bed at night. She sleeps in the crook of my bent knees. When it’s time for bed she follows me up to our room. Every time I come home from errands Kitty is at the door to the garage waiting for my entry. Patterns like that are ones I will miss some day, and remember fondly.
Today she is asleep on a blanket in my son’s room and being watched over by her “siblings.” I hope she is comfortable and not in any pain as she feels the tender touch from the hands of the
family who loves her so much.