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My Beloved,

    After the divorce, my 3 year old and I moved into a low rental appartment.   I was now divorced and my ex husband had returned home to his country where there
are no extradition treaties between Barbados and Canada.  As a result, I was 
not able to get any child support and furthermore, I had lost my job.

    Though the appartment was a blessing f
or me due to my limited income it did have
a big downfall as no pets were allowed. 
Now this clause was very hard for me to accept.  I needed the appartment because
I was a struggling single parent living on welfare at the time. But how could I deprive my three year old of the joys that that I had all my life?  How could I deprive my young son the priviledge and enjoyment obtained from having animals?

The first couple of years we did live animal free and I was very lonesome for a pet.  I had had dogs all of my life and now for the first time, at the age of 25,  I had none.  
 My best girlfriend, Coreen, was also a single 
parent, and she always had both dogs and cats.  We were always at her house and my Steven, loved her cats.  Coincidently, her beautiful, black cat just had just had a litter of six kittens and she was giving them 
away.  She asked me if I had wanted any 
and of course I said no.  I couldn't have 
animals in my appartment, and I was a dog lover anyhow. I  really was not that fussy about having a cat.  But she kept urging and Steven kept pleading and I gave in.  Still, I had to let my six year old at the time, know that if the landlord said we had to get rid of
it so be it.  He agreed and we ended up coming home with not one kitten but tabby twins!

    We did have Mercy and Fancy for about 
six months trouble free.  Then out of the b
lue Mercy walked into the living room one day and just died in front of my eyes.  The whole thing took about 2 minutes.  Steven was not yet home from school and I didn't know what to tell him.  When he came 
home, we had a burial for our Mercy and I said a little prayer over her grave.  Since 
Steven was so heart broken, I suggested that Fancy could have a litter of her own 
and we could keep one kitten from that litter.  Besides easing my little boy's pain, I felt it was important that my son witness 
the birth experience just like I had when I was a young girl.

Chino, was a beautiful black and white long haired cat who looked like his grandmother, the black cat that Coreen owned.  We had Fancy, the mother, and Chino, known as Chi Chi, the son.  Fancy was a quiet cat but her son was very energetic.  At the time that we named him, we did not know that chi is the chinese word for energy, and our cat was exactly that, chi chi; double the energy. 
But the inevitable caught up with us.  The inspectors for our public housing came by and saw that we had cats, and gave us an ultimatum - get rid of the cats or we get rid of you.  My son who was by this time about 
13 years old took it in stride, he knew that the day may come that this would happen.

    Two years later, the public housing
authorities had relaxed their rules about animals in the appartments. Apparently 
they had taken too many tenants to court and had lost too many cases over it.  However, I still did not have animals at the time nor was I planning on getting any.  Steven, however, had different plans in 
store for me.  He was now 15 years old and still loved cats.  And one day, he came 
home with a cat.

    This cat was a beautiful calico coloured 
cat about six months old from what I could tell.  I asked Steven who's cat was she and he said that he had found her scrounging in the garbage cans.  She was apparently scared to death and trembled when he tried to pick her up.  When she got to our house 
she was literally screeching.  I didn't know what to do.  I told Steven that we obviously couldn't keep her as she appeared to be scared to death of us.  But when I tried to take her back outside she clung to me and screeched even louder.  I knew then that 
this cat had been traumatized by the 
outside and it was better to let her stay in the house with us until we could find her 
owner.  The screeching had stopped about
6 hours later, but she hid from us for about
2 days. Then gradually she started coming out to see us.  She would let us pet her but she would not let us pick her up.  This was strange for us because Fancy and Chino were loving cats that we picked up and 
cuddled like babies.  Tao would have none 
of that.  Yes,  you guessed it, we never 
found her owner  She was definately abandoned and we were going to keep her.  How could I say no to my son!

    I named her Tao after the chinese
philosophy of the Tao, and sort of a tribute 
to my Chi Chi at the same time.  Tao was either called Tao, or Tay Tay which was the nick name that Steven had given her.  Though she became used to us and loved 
us in her own way, she always remained fearful of people.  If visitors came to the house she would run and hide!  She also 
remained fearful of the outside and refused to leave the house.  It took her about five years alone just to be brave enough to venture upon the balcony of our 

We did notice other piculiarities about our cat.  She had no balance whatsoever and when she would jump to a piece of furniture she would always miss and fall to the ground.  She had no sense of smell and she literally had to see you put food down for 
her before she would go to it.  She seemed 
to have a shorter attention span and could not understand simple instructions that our other cats had absolutely no problems with.  In fact the only thing that she understood was "are you hungry" and when she heard 
that she would run out to the kitchen to 
wait for her food which as I said before she literally had to see you put down before her eyes.  It was obvious to me that this cat 
was retarded.  But she was lovable nonetheless.  
At bedtime she would run from Steven's room to my room, spending a bit of time 
with each of us while we slept.  Though we couldn't hold her as she wouldn't let us, she was always in a room with one of us.

    Tao preferred to be the only pet in the
house, but she had to contend with sharing her house with the various animals that we had after her.  There were other cats, and dogs as well.  When a new cat came into 
the house, she would hiss at it but within a week the new cat became the dominant animal in the house.  As far as dogs were concerned, they wanted to play with her 
but she would have none of it.  When we moved to the new appartment two years ago, she was the only animal in the house and she became more affectionate than she had ever been.  She now would lay in our laps and purr but still, it was very rare that she would let you hold her.

By now Tao was aging, she was now 15 
years old and I was starting to worry 
about her health.  Her shiny coat was 
dulling, she was drinking less and less.  And she was becoming skinner and skinner.  It was getting to a point that she was always hungry but when you fed her she ate only a mouthful or two.  I knew that I needed to take her to the vet for a check up but I had 
no money.  I had been struggling to keep a job for an entire year - working here and there for a month or two at a time.  The bills were piling up rapidly but the money was 
not there to pay them.

    On June 17, 2002,  I had had a particularly hard day at my new job.  I came home and went to bed for a nap.  When I woke up 
later that evening I noticed that I hadn't seen Tao yet that day. I asked my son who was just on his way out the door about her.  He told me he saw Tao earlier during the 
day but she was not doing well.  Steven left to go out with his friends, and I immediately looked for Tao.  I found her in my bedroom 
on the floor.  There was blood from one end of the room to the other. Obviously Steven had not seen this or he would have told me immediately.  I called to her and though she tried she could not lift her head. I panicked and my heart broke,  I couldn't bare to see my poor beloved cat like this.  The pain pierced my heart like a sword.

I tried desparately to find a vet that was open after hours and one that I could travel to in a bus because I had no other means of transportation.  I finally found one and I pleaded with her over the phone to see my cat and not to charge me a fortune because 
I only had $40.00 in the bank and I had to wait for two more weeks before I got 
another pay cheque.  I cried all the way to the vet with my poor Tao, wrapped up in a blanket in my arms.  Tao never even moved and if she had been well she would have 
tried to escape because she did not like to 
be held nor did she like the outside.

    When I got there,   the first thing the doctor said was that she looked like she got hit by a car.  I explained to her that that 
had not happened because Tao would never go out of the house.  Upon examination Doctor Chapman told me that Tao had a broken eardrum, an abcess in her ear, and was suffering from head trauma.  She said that she could possibly treat her with 
antibiotics, but with her advanced years, 
she could not tell how long she would live.  She said she had no way of knowing if this was Tao's time to go.  I then made the decision that my beloved cat be put to sleep.  I could not bear to see her this way anymore.

Doctor Chapman, did not charge me for the consultation, nor the cremation, she 
charged me only for the euthanasia.  In 
fact, she even gave me a 15% discount on that.  The entire bill came to $36.00 which left me with $4.00  in the bank.  I owe a lot 
to this wonderful doctor who took pity on a
47 year old woman crying over her beloved cat.

    I cried all the way back home as my 
empty arms ached for my cat. I had left a 
big part of me back there in the vet's office.  It is still hard for my son and I to be without her.  Every time we use the can opener we expect to hear her meowing for food.  When we open the fridge or cook we expect to 
see her as we turn around but she is not there.  When I come home from work I expect to see her there at the door waiting for me but of course she is not there.  In the middle of the night I still feel for her to see 
if she is in bed but of course she is not.  My now 25 year old son and I both know that I have made the right choice.  My beloved 
Tao is finally in her resting place free from the trauma of this world.

~ Carol Roach ~
©used with permission
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 Carol Roach 



The midi is Heaven's Heartbeat by ©Night Angel.  It is used with permission.  Visit Night Angel's wonderful site here.


July 6th, 2002