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jupiter

Goodbye, Jupiter
by Mike Stanfill, owner/operator of the Infinite Cat Project

About a month ago a stray cat had a litter of kittens in the back seat of my car. One of her babies was born with a prominent red spot on his forehead. I named him Jupiter and he was instantly my favorite.

He was going grow up to to be the mighty hunter, the cadger of snacks, the warmer of laps on cold nights, the little terror at the foot of someone's bed.

But his body failed him and he died today, having lived only thirty-three yesterdays. All that's left now is to remember him, which will have to be enough.

Goodbye, little cadger, mighty Jupiter, and good hunting in your field of stars.

Addendum:

In violation of probably too many local laws I laid little Jupiter to rest in my backyard, beneath the shade of a massive oak tree I planted 15 years ago.

He sailed off into eternity with a bag of kitty treats close at hand, just in case he gets hungry along the way. To keep him warm I wrapped him in a towel on which his whole family had slept.

There was no eulogy but I quietly asked Mother Earth to take back her child and to keep him safe as I gently folded her earthly arms over him.

Deep down inside I think I always wanted to keep Jupiter as my own. I guess I got my wish.

Strange as it may seem, since I have seven cats in and around my home, I haven't had to trust a pet to the mercies of the earth in over 45 years. I was ten and his name was Speedy. He was a young black cat we raised from a newborn. I woke up one frosty November morning to find his body stretched out on the patio as though he'd simply gone to sleep and never awakened.

I cried then, too, hoping that he would wake up, shake his ears clear of loam and slink off into the field for a dinner of fat mice before the last spade of dirt was laid into place. It's hard to forget a pet you bury with your own hands.

Currently I have a pair of twelve-year-old cat siblings, plus two that are at least seven years old, all pure black. The oak tree awaits them, too, as it does us all, but hopefully not for many, many more years.

Thank you one and all for your kind words today and for letting me to share my grief among friends without seeming like the sentimental dolt I am.




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