Yesterday, when Esther came to help out, I just couldn't bear to tell her about Jeffery. He always greeted her when she arrived. I'm sure he had affection for her, though he had an ulterior motive, too. She always opened a fresh can of cat food for him. Because his tummy couldn't tolerate as much food as the other cats, she would give him a quarter of a can at a time, over a period of three or four hours. Because he would eat and then ask to go out, then a short time later ask to come in and eat again, he was very happy that she accommodated him.
I couldn't bear to tell Ester about Jeffery's not being with us anymore. I knew I would fall apart. I needed some time to just process the whole thing. So, I kept running out to do an errand or two and we didn't have much time to chat.
So, today when she arrived, I asked her to go out into the garden with me in front of Jeffery's pine tree. I showed her the little curved bridge I had created and the little pile of dirt beneath it, the catnip and flowers (now wilted) I had placed upon it. I explained that Jeffery was there, and the circumstances surrounding his death. She had a very astute observation that had not quite occurred to me.
I had presumed that Jeffery had freaked out because of memories of being caged regarding the fire. What Esther pointed out to me was that the area I was driving by when Jeffery started freaking out was the very area where the forest fire had occurred. Maybe he could smell the remnants of the scorched trees, where the trauma had occurred and that was what had triggered his freaking out.
Later, I was sorting through some papers and came across the veterinary records of last July when I first adopted Jeffery. I recall that when I adopted him from the shelter, where he was scheduled for euthansia I had to sign a waiver saying I knew he was very old and not in the best of health. I had not remembered what I now have read on his medical record from last year. He had a heart murmur and signs of renal disease.
It is all making better sense to me now. I am more grateful that he lasted as long as he did. I'm not feeling quite so guilty that I put him in the car inside the cage. I had been feeling it was my fault. If I hadn't done that, maybe he could have still been with us.