Goodbye, Alice Cooper…

Alice Cooper the Cat, that is; not the rock star. Yes, this is one of those blog entries again. I’m too shocked and angry and blubbery to really register how abysmally tired I am of making these kinds of posts.

I came home last night from the dealership and went about business as usual: feeding and watering the goats, chickens and ducks, and settling them into the barn for the evening. I finished up in the barn, came inside and opened a couple of cans of cat food. After scooping the food into their bowls, I turned around and noticed Alice was missing.

“Oh, no!” my heart screamed. Alice never misses a meal. I smothered the panic rising and tried to rationalize. He’s asleep upstairs and didn’t hear the can opening. It would be a first but it might be true. Or, as I strode to the bathroom door, he’s shut in the bathroom. I opened the door. No Alice. I gave a quick, cursory glance around the rabbit room, knowing that if he was in there, he’d have come running for dinner. I guess some part of me already knew but didn’t want to believe. Still rationalizing, I ran upstairs. Maybe I closed him in my office…even as I knew I hadn’t been in there since early morning and he’d been down to breakfast since then. He’d played with the rabbits later that morning, too. I remembered him chasing the blue feather on a stick, the cat toy I bought, I think, for Samantha and 8-Ball and that has entertained nearly every feline since.

When I got to the top of the stairs, something compelled me to go into Mom’s room and turn on the light. I went straight to the new bed she’d created out of a cardboard box; cats love boxes, love any hidey-bed they can find. I looked down and saw a fluffy, white tail. Even before I reached in to touch him, stone-cold and hard as a rock, I knew. I knew he was gone. Didn’t stop the major freak out that followed as I picked up my beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy and gave in to hysterics. I went racing downstairs with him. Mom came running.

“What’s wrong?”

“Alice!”

“Why? What’s wrong with Alice?”

“He’s dead!”

Poor Mom. I think she aged 20 years in the span of about 20 seconds. No sign of illness or injury. Happily running around with his litter mates, Emmylou and Ozzy, Mom Priscilla, and pals Whitney, Kirby (surrogate father), Rosco, Paz and Pearl right up until the end. Other than a couple of fleas–and we’re not “infested”, just overdue to pick up more flea prevention–he was fine as frog hairs. Or seemed to be. After I calmed down enough to talk without babbling, I called my best friend, Mary, who works at a vet hospital in the Midwest. Without actually seeing him, but based upon my description, it is likely he had some sort of congenital heart disease or defect, possibly something he was born with but wasn’t detected earlier in the year when he went in for neutering, shots, etc.

I am devastated. I lost my cool last night after I found him, railed at God, yelled, swore better than the best truck driver or sailor, raged. He was only 15 months’ old. And such a sweetheart. When he wanted attention, he planted himself at your feet, looked up, blue eyes squinting as he grinned up and purred loud enough to shake the floorboards–or almost. My last moments with him were in the rabbit room that morning, a brief playtime with the feather and a quick cuddle before I ran out the door to the food pantry.

I got Jeremiah 29:11 again yesterday, too. To paraphrase, it says that His plans are to give us a hope and a future. I’m not sure if I believe it now. I’m not sure it truly is a good future without Alice. I do know I was blessed for the 15 months that we shared on this earth. I just can’t wrap my mind around the why of it though. When they’re older, like Ariel, though it cut to the core, I knew it was coming, expected it. At 16 years of age, it was inevitable. But with Alice, well, I guess this is an example of that limited understanding of humans. I know when I signed on to this homesteading thing, when I signed on to rescue and care for as many unwanted and unfortunate animals as He gave me the means to do so, that heartache was a part of the deal. But I’m angry right now. That beautiful flame-point, double-pawed, blue-eyed sweetie was beloved of everyone in this household…and everyone who visited. I had more offers to give him a home–even from another best friend, whom I know would have cared for him as well, if not better, than I could…from the moment he was born. He was impossible not to love. There’s the blessing, that such a creature should grace my life at all. I’m about out of hope though. That’s 3 in as many weeks: Ariel on November 1st, Charity the Chicken was found decapitated a week later in the barnyard (owl hunt) and now Alice. I feel as though I’ve been clubbed to my knees. Though I try to hold onto my faith, wanting desperately to believe that I may one day see all those–human and humane–that I have lost, that’s lagging a bit, too. Awful thing for a minister to say but I’m lucky even to make a coherent post through the tears.

I love you, Alice Cooper Burbank…heaven must’ve needed another angel.

May God bless you & keep you!

PS I have pictures of him but they’re all on my cellphone. As soon as I figure out how to download them, I’ll post them. =O

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