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On Cats and Traffic


This is a hard column to write. I’d rather not do it. But feel I must.

Sunday, August 10, on a sunny afternoon I lost my best friend.

Charlie the cat was only four years old, but he had given a lot of pleasure in those four short years. I will never regret knowing him.

Charlie was a starved little tiger kitten, probably less than six weeks old, when I first saw him. I wasn’t really interested in a cat at the time. I’d just moved into my home and there was a lot of work to do.

The doors were open as we worked. I did not intend for Charlie to be an outside cat, but there was no way to corral his natural urges. Within weeks he had won the battle and become a free soul to come and go.

He never was bad about it and spent every night at the foot of my bed. It was a comfort I soon learned to enjoy.

This has not been the best summer on my block. Some weeks ago my son’s little red Honda was stolen. On the fourth of July some careless fireworks burned down a neighbor’s hedge.

A few days later another little red car crashed and knocked down a light pole across the street from me. One young man left the car. The passenger remained. I never heard the outcome of this accident. If you can call it an accident

Sometime back, the street beyond mine was cut through to give access to a main route beyond us. A shortcut. Traffic increased quickly. We are only a few blocks from a high school.

We soon noticed cars traveling at increased speed. It has escalated and is a worry. This is near a neighborhood school and right or wrong sometimes children play too close to the street. It has been noticeable enough that I’m uncomfortable with it.

I was not ready for the nice police officer that came to my door to ask if I had a cat. He told me one had been killed and was lying on the pavement across the street.

I walked over to the other side and identified my lovely companion. He had been in my lap not fifteen minutes before. I was stunned and simply stood there. The neighbor brought a garbage bag from his house, and the officer placed Charlie in it.

I was having difficulty speaking, as he carried my wonderful pal back to my home. He offered to bury him for me, but my son said he would do so. I couldn’t bear to look in the bag again. And I didn’t sleep much that night, or any other since.

The warmth of my pet’s long body stretched along my leg is very much missed, as is his soft purr.

I suppose I will get over it. I might even want another cat, someday. It has been suggested. But right now I can only mourn the loss of my wonderful companion. And I don’t see how a minute or two saved is worth the pain I am feeling.

You can say he was only a cat. But he was my cat. A well-loved cat. And worth more than the thrill of a push on the gas pedal.


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