Since Wolf’s sudden and most miserable cruel death on sunny May 14th it got really quiet. Wolf, Orange’s best hangout , play buddy and brother, and Orange had witnessed it. As usual when I leave. I had locked the two inseparables in “my” room/laundry room … to briefly set up microgreen sampling at a local market few miles down.
Can only imagine what it might have felt like for Orange, helplessly observing his brother’s despair. Wolf pulled and thrusted, at first with his little paws planted solid, dragging that ginormous bungee chair that pulled back to somehow tighten that noose in the hamper hanging from it, a morbid replica of Wolf’s little paws now also lifelessly hanging by his side moments later . That hamper I had hung months before when they were so tiny to enrich their tiny world.
I can see Orange walk up to Wolf, lovingly caress his brother’s cheek and ask him whats going on… but noone answers, only frantic gasps and I cannot even imagine his screams,. then silence..
I had heard him scream once, long time ago, if somewhere within 3 months can be considered a long time. That was because I grabbed him and was doing something to him, maybe I had given him a bath to kill fleas. Anyway he let out a scream of terror then. These poor kittens had suffered a lot having an inexperienced foster mom as their lifeline and sidekick.
Wolf, gentle doll, comes up to me as I sit at my laptop, and he jumps in my lap kneading me gently. its him that kneads my tummy gently at night as the other two are cuddled up around my ears or somewhere. Im in the kitchen and he walks up and asks for dinner, not intrusively but with his soft voice and sweet little face looking up at me.
Also Wolf, grabbing like bulldog onto his brother’s lip when hungry, back in the nursing stage. I was pissed with him then. Also Wolf, present but at a distance. Pick him up and he is all purrs, Wolf intrigued me more and more as he started ripening into his permanent self.
He was a slow deliberate eater, little growls stood his ground, the other two have left to groom and nap, only he is still sitting calmly ingesting his meal, every time. Dinnertime I still find myself wanting to call out “Orange, Wolf, Gabby”. the couple days following his death made me tear up having to pause and omit that name…
I havent really even cried till now that Im writing this. Not really even when I uncovered his body from the box , fully expecting tiny black casket, but its his frozen body in there. I decide to throw him straight into the white trash bag that my roommate is holding flush with the hole in the ground. the hole is not wide enough, I say to him with a tear or two in my voice, but he apologizes, he has to leave, so Im digging the rest. I throw his body in and shovel the dirt on top. Done.f
I dont cry when just seeming minutes earlier, I take the box from the cooler and set it on the floor just next to the backdoor for Orange to see. He gives it a couple careful whiffs and then… I will never forget, he turns to lock eyes with mine and we just stare.
innocent being, terrified. panicking, screaming “please release me!” If cats can cry Im sure Wolf did, I dont know that cats can have lasting depression, but thats Orange.
wolf was the one to always be screaming out for me, his mommy, if ever out of sight for more than a sentence or two. Both Orange and Gabby still do that, and I feel like I matter to them.
Orange doesnt seem the same… still. Even with Fox now around, as seamlessly as Fox has filled that empty hole that Friday May 19th, play sessions are sparse. Two days into Fox’s stay, Orange literally verbalized his acceptance:
All three and I were hanging in my “room” and Orange kept hissing as Fox got close. Then Orange turned and walked off, but instantly turned around and made eye contact with me. He let out a friendly murmur and brushed gently past Fox towards me. that was it. Moments later I lay down to sleep, Orange cuddling up beside my face and Fox all over him. Total acceptance instantly and forever. Took Gabby a few days longer. She transitioned from sniffing and hissing, to batting and hissing, to pouncing then hissing, to being sleepy a couple times and just not caring that he snuggled up next to her, to letting him suckle on her. I missed that transition somehow.
I only got there moments too late to see him hanging quietly. I didnt for a second consider he was dead, but assumed that he was just staying still, similar to how he wouldnt normally resist when I grabbed a hold of him. Thinky cat that he was, without a doubt I assumed he had figured resistance wasnt the answer here too…. barely but not alive, was only gone less than 2 hours. I have been spending most of my time at home , with them.
Hanging up that hamper had created a tiny playground and a joy to watch.
Was such a great idea! they had a blast rocking inside and on top of it batting each other through the fine mesh. then their growing bodies weighed it down, I watched it getting torn. still they enjoyed hanging out on it and I left it be.
One day Wolf got tangled in it. I could tell as I walked in because Orange was batting at him but Wolf seemed preoccupied with the mesh he was in. That was at least a month before this happened and I dont recall clearly whether it was just his paw or entire body, but I got him untangled easily and life went on.
I dont recall whether the hamper was torn in that area where he got stuck. all i know is that later that day I got home, having left his body at the emergency vet clinic for now…I couldn’t find any area on that hamper that could have turned into the unrelenting noose , except for that one thread that I cut to free his body.
I had taken it off and examined carefully and threw in the trash bin in front of the house, hoping that another animal might not feel tempted to frolic in it, and knowing full well that it takes two to party and get into a mess like that….
The nest day Orange would call out to his brother, gentle slate grey kitten with peaceful emerald eyes. Wolf had a doll like quality, almost puppet like. I pick him up and he just hangs limp letting out a gentle and very general statement of disapproval, with his eyes slowly observing the world around him, accept for me, I didnt seem to be a part of it at that moment at all. Rarely could I get any eye contact from Wolf.
Wolf had come so close to dying along with his sister Little Mouse, back when they were just weeks old. Both refused to eat and suffered diarrhea. It was the oddest eerie sight to watch two healthy kittens suddenly grow smaller and smaller each day, till it was just their eyes. Yet with the help of tube feeding they both pulled through many times.
Wolf eventually got over his diarrhea a pivotal point in ending that chapter where Little Mouse remained. If not for emergency vets, I would now be empty handed. Even the healthy two: Orange and Gabby had their critical moments that had helpful cat ladies turn their back saying”just let them die, you cant save every bottled kitten” One even went as far as try to ban my coming over with my plagued kittens, but the good and common sense of the other intervened. She couldnt just leave me stranded, and thankfully the vets had found no plague to speak of to ease her mind. its just nice to meet people that got that common sense and genuinely want to make things better.
I cant believe I only today remembered again that his eyes were indeed green. I remember thinking how Pickle’s eyes were amber/yellow and not green, or maybe he would have passed for Russian blue. I remember thinking how ironic that now I have this all grey kitten with green eyes.
the day before his death, I was calling out to the two brothers, as they would always be found together. I remember saying out loud to myself,” if they never show up I wont care that much” feeling disappointed that they dont come. Only to think ti open the door to the shed where I had just been, remembering that they like to follow me around.
sure enough there they were waiting for me to open the door…
Its funny how that day, Wolf was the only one that stayed out in the yard. He refused to answer. Few moments later I found him, resting on the shoulder of that large oak. that must have been his first time to enjoy this new hangout spot. I recall taking in the sight of him resting there, independent and oblivious to my presence. I walked right up to him, completely absorbed by the thoughts in his head. I pick him up, feeling habitual relief of anticipation to have all three safely tucked inside.
PS. I realize now , watching Orange and Fox at play, that brings me pure joy. Its probably the only pure joy I feel about anything. I miss the endless frolicking, and its pacifying to my spirit to see the tradition continue with sofa pillow always on the floor and balls energetically knocking inside the catit circuit in the hallway. Wolf was the first one to catch on and loved to spend free time sending those balls along their course one direction and then another. speaking of, there they go balls clicking.. Fox has picked up the slack with Orange and Gabby joining in on occasion 🙂
Here is a video of what taking care of newborn kittens was like: all 4 cuties scampering about, and bottle fed and even then I can see them all 4 already very close!