Friday, January 06, 2006

John

I've written about John my neighbor once before. He was looking for a new cat because his old one was wearing out the floor. It didn't make allot of sense at the time. Now it does.

John is seventy-nine years old. Yesterday, John put his cat in a box and carried her the mile distance to he humane society. It was cold and on the way, he'd be walking up hill. She was very sick, she'd lost control of her bowels and that's how she was wearing out the floor.

John has a friend who's younger who does his yard work. He thought about letting him take his cat to the pound, but he said he didn't want to bother anybody else with it. He told me they wanted twenty dollars, he didn't have it. They took her anyway.

"They prob'ly gave her a needle, had her go to sleep, then through her in a fire," John told me yesterday. "They asked me if she ever bit anybody, I says no. She bit me once when I cut her trimming her nails. I didn't know I'd hurt her, she never bit no body. She was a good cat." I asked him her name and how old she was. After doing some math, he replied, "I had her eighteen years. She didn't have no name. Feller told me, you should call that cat 'Missy' so I did, called the other one Missy Two, Missy, Missy Two, see?"

It was tough listening to him. I really didn't know what to say. I told him I know it's hard. I looked down at my dog, Loki, and said, "I don't look forward to when it's his time." John agreed and said that would be tough.

Today I saw him again. Usually, if we talk, it's about something that happened out front or who isn't putting out their trash or Westerns or his Caprice Classic. It was a captain's car in the police. Today, he told me, "I sure do miss that cat. She's got this toy she plays with at the bottom of the stairs. Meets me in the morning. Toy's still under the table. She's smart. Goes down stairs until I tell her to come up and she does. She knows I don't like her in the closet and she don't go in there. She sits on my lap. She always had weight to her, that cat, but not no more. Her hips, she's something wrong with her."

"Allot of life left the house with her gone," John said after a pause.

I really didn't know what to say. John seemed ready to cry. I know I was. It's hard. I don't think he knows how to open up, and I'm not really sure I want him to. I feel for the guy, I really do. He wants a new cat, maybe. Their eighty dollars at the pound, and his niece tells him he's too old to have a new cat. "But I can take care of the litter box, ain't no trouble," he tells me.

I told him he could find a cat in the paper or the penny saver. I'm sure he'll give it allot of love while he can. I wish there was somebody there to be with him and listen and watch westerns. I feel bad that it isn't me, but it isn't.
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