Tea died this morning. For those of you who follow my blog, you will remember that she got very sick in December, but after some time at the pet hospital, some antibiotics, and lots of love and care, she recovered. She was never quite the same cat after that brush with death: her eating and drinking habits changed (we had to encourage her to eat and she was always thirsty) and she remained quite skinny, but she regained her energy and loved to be with people. When I returned on Thursday night after a short trip to Florida, I could see that Tea had deteriorated again. Even though we had a reliable cat-sitter come in every day, the wee kitty did not do well while we were away.
I watched her struggle through the weekend and this morning, I could see that she had very little life left in her. She had not eaten in days, could hardly walk, and I had to assist her when she did attempt to drink and go to the bathroom. Dean said it was time, so I packed her in a box with her fuzzy red blanket, walked out in the fresh spring air and warm sun, and drove to the vet. Thirty minutes later I saw her expend her last breath.
Tea was a special cat. As a tiny kitten, she and her litter-mates were abandoned in a park and as a result of that traumatic beginning, she craved constant reassurance that she would not be left alone or starved again. Last night at church we were singing, "The whole earth is filled with your glory, Lord." And I started putting specific names in that sentence, because "the whole earth" includes everything I see and touch everyday. I am filled with God's glory. Dean is filled with God's glory. Montreal is filled with God's glory. And Tea is filled with God's glory. Our imperfect and broken lives do not diminish the glory of God, as if he could be made smaller by coming in contact with us. No, his glory enlarges us if we will let it, if we can but see it and give it space.
I have seen the glory of God in a little 9 pound cat. It was evident in her constant desire to be loved and be near her master. She often meowed till I picked her up and then purred loudly as I carried her slung over my shoulder while I went about my daily tasks. This glory shone brightly when she greeted me at the door every time I came home and followed me from room to room. Though Jazz, my other cat, is notorious for trying to escape, Tea never thought once about leaving the safety of my side and would not stray out of range of my voice. Though her body was shutting down, she hung on for 2 days past when I thought she was going to die, too attached to the presence of people to let the life-link go. She brought much joy into my life and I count it a privilege to have been her rescuer.
May I be as loyal and grateful a companion to the One who has rescued me.
This is Tea in the laundry basket (November, 2008) and hanging out with Dean (April, 2007).