She called to me one Halloween night. My daughter was in the shower after having trick-or-treated at my dad’s, and I was doing some cleanup around the apartment. “Meow?” I heard. “Meow?” Like a question, “Is anyone there? Can you help me? I am so hungry and scared and lonely. Meow?” I went downstairs and looked around outside, but I couldn’t find the kitty who was calling me, and all was quiet. The next morning as we were leaving for work and school, she called me again. “Meow? Here I am”, and then I found her hiding under a car in the carport. She was the same color as my favorite sunglasses, all black and brown and orange swirled into a beautiful tortoise shell color, with cobwebs on her ears. She came right to me when I reached out towards her, and when I picked her up she melted in my arms and began to purr.
I already had a cat, a beautiful fluffy black tabby named Sammy, and she was NOT happy to have a new roommate. My daughter and I put up some flyers in the complex and spoke with some of the neighbors, but no one knew her. The apartment manager told me of a family who would feed the stray kitties that would come under the fence, but they had moved away and perhaps this sweet girl was just abandoned. She was not very old, we estimated her to be about a year or so. We decided to keep her, and thought there was no better name for her than Spookie since she called to us on Halloween night.
Sammy and Spookie did not fight, but Sammy let it be known that SHE was the Queen of the Apartment, and she was not about to be usurped. She hissed at this new kitty, and would lie in front of the food dish. Eventually, though, Sammy not only learned to tolerate the sweet little kitty, but they became great friends.
Spookie was pretty independent, but very good-natured and relaxed, and never did anything to provoke Sammy (that’s probably why they got along so well). She would sleep next to my daughter at bedtime, and once she fell asleep, would creep out of her room and crawl onto my bed to snuggle next to my legs for the rest of the night. And she was very playful, popping up like a little gopher between the arm of the sofa and the end table, to swat at my daughter in a game of peek-a-boo almost every day. She would also reach her arms under the closed bedroom or bathroom door, “Here I am! Come and play with me!”. And when one of us were sick, she would be our “medicine kitty”, lying next to us and never leaving our side.
When we moved to my dad’s, the cats could no longer be indoor kitties. They did love to be outside during the day, though, and even at the apartment they would lounge on the patio and bask in the sunshine. At night, though, they would come into the garage and find someplace as cozy to sleep. Spookie was not spayed, and before I could take her to the vet, my dad let her out of the garage and BAM, she was pregnant. She had a difficult delivery, poor baby, and only one kitten survived. While he was still very little and she was nursing him, my dad let her out again, and she became pregnant with her second litter. She was a wonderful mama, and we kept two of her kittens- Baghera was the beautiful boy kitty who survived from her first litter, and Oreo was a sweet girl from her second. She outlived both of her babies who died way too young, and outlived her old lady friend Sammy, and she adapted just like she always has.
My own daughter has grown. I got married and moved out then moved back home when my marriage failed, and still Spookie has remained as an ever loving presence in my dad’s garage, meowing whenever you open the door as a reminder that she is there and would love some company. Even when I would do laundry in the garage she would stand on the washing machine and reach out for me, “Pet me,” she would meow, “I’m here.”
Spookie is not a young kitty anymore, and has declined in health recently. She has become too weak over the last day to walk or to eat, or even to meow. She looks at me with unseeing eyes, tries to move herself, and cannot muster the strength to do so. Now it is my turn to comfort her. I have made a cozy bed for her, and as she sleeps, her little paws knead the air. Now I am the one reaching out to stroke her fur and whisper loving words, and to be by her side in her final moments. She came to us one November many years ago, and will leave us in November as well, this wonderful Spookie kitty that brought so much joy into our lives, my best pal. And in the midst of this heartbreak of watching her go, I cannot help but to think how blessed we were that she called to us that Halloween night. Rest now, my sweet Spookie, your beautiful babies Baghera and Oreo, and your old friend Sammy Kitty are waiting for you on the other side of that rainbow bridge ♡