Chapter Thirty—Doggone Lonely
Bailey had to stay for two overnights at the vet. It was the longest time I ever experienced. I was surprised by how empty the house seemed without Bailey, and even more so by how accustomed I had become to having her around. I got to thinking about times before Bailey came to live with us, and I had trouble remembering just how I spent my days without her. I soon became quiet bored, restless, and lonely.
By the time Lolly discovered me sulking in Bailey’s bed, my tummy was growling louder than my purr. I was still a little put-out by all the insensitive laughing from the night before. She actually had to lift me up and out of Bailey’s bed and give me a big cuddle before I softened my sulky stance a little. Still holding me, Lolly hand fed me some of Grandma Brown’s famous spam-tuna combo. As she fed me she talked to me. It reminded me of the old days before Bailey was part of my family. Lolly just held me like she holds her dolls, and assured me that Bailey was okay, and coming home soon.
With a fuller tummy, and cuddles from my girl, I started to feel a little more like myself. I still missed my doggy-pal, but I reminded myself that I was Head Pet, and it was my responsibility to ensure that all people and pets in my care could rely on me regardless of the circumstances. I realized that, despite my own personal mortification, perhaps Lolly and Grandma Brown really needed to laugh last night—and I helped them do that. With that insight, I began to feel better about all the events of the day before. Not only was I needed, I was well loved—both Bailey and I were—and that is nothing to sulk over.
It was then that I was reminded of Monty’s and Cleo’s wise advice but this time it resonated deep within me—almost like a purr within a purr. Suddenly I understood their words even more now. I wasn’t a kitten anymore, I wasn’t even a young cat, I was an Elder Cat—someone who has lived enough of his lives to really begin to understand the whole wide universe a little bit better. This realization shook me and thrilled me. Before this moment, I never really considered I would be so fortunate to have the “Elder Cat Moment of Insight”. I always thought it was something that would happen to others, but not to me. As I sat there, in that moment, I began to purr the most magical of purrs.
It started deep within me—somewhere way past the very tip of my tail—and it rumbled deep and strong. This rumbling seemed to grow within, or maybe wash over, me. As it did, it was like a wave of the biggest joy and contentment settled into me. It sparkled and tingled, and I could feel it everywhere from the tip of my whiskers to the tip of my tail. My little girl noticed the change in my purr. She looked at me quizzically, and then held me closer. I could feel her heart beating, and I could feel this magical purr of mine wrapping around my Lolly and snuggling her close.
My Lolly let out a deep sigh. She missed Bailey too. Our house seemed a little sad without her. Grandma Brown, curious about the deep grumbling purr sound, came to investigate. “By Jeeves Oscar—that is a mighty purr! At first I though one of the neighbours was using a wood chipper—but all that rumbling is coming from you? Perhaps you are part lion after all!”
To recognize the lion within a cat is one of the most highest compliments a feline can receive. I was deeply touched to be honoured in that way. To let Grandma Brown know just how deeply moved I was by her words, I reached my paw out to her, and tapped her gently on her hand. We looked at each other for a few seconds. Grandma Brown’s eyes brimmed with tears. “Oh my, but aren’t we an old soul today!” she said in a crackly voice as she gently stroked my extended paw, “Thank You Orange-Boy!”
We sat there like that for quite a few moments. It was a perfect moment save for one notable absence: Bailey. Had Bailey been there, perhaps the moment wouldn’t have lasted quite so long, or been quite so poignant; after all, Bailey’s key philosophy to life is, any time is snack time. Somehow, Grandma Brown must have been thinking the same thing I was because she cleared her throat and said, “Well, I think we should honour our dear absent pup with a little snack—here’s a good boy, let’s have some tuna.”