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  • Mj Pettengill

A Feline's Gift in the Night


Kaya Kitty, a Fierce Hunter
Kaya Kitty, a Fierce Hunter

My cat’s name is Kaya. She’s still a kitten and growing fast. During my recent illness, she was my constant companion. Perhaps she would not leave my side in any given situation. Still, she clearly watched over me throughout my darkest hours.

The day that I went to the hospital, I struggled to walk. I leaned into my tall, strong son as he assisted me to the car and to where I needed to go. It was a harrowing day, filled with more lessons than I could count—they are still emerging.

When I returned home, Kaya was waiting, soon weaving in and around my ankles as cats often do. I walked through the house with her following and meowing. As soon as I changed into my warm, flannel nightgown and sat down, she was on my lap.

I drifted in and out of consciousness. At one point, I thought that I saw Kaya following a mouse across the living room floor. Neither of them were scurrying. It was an act of what seemed to be chugging along. I closed my eyes and returned to my dream in progress.

Later in the night, when I was between worlds, I rolled over in my bed and reached for my cat. I thought I had heard her purring, but it may have been another cat, dreaming in another place in time.

My fever was raging, as they often do in the night. I found what I thought to be Kaya’s paw and held it in my hand. It was so soft and velvety. Suddenly, I realized that no arm or leg was attached to this paw. In fact, this soft lump on the bed was not a paw at all.

I bolted upright and turned on my bedside lamp. I looked, and in the palm of my hand was a dead mouse—a trophy from my brave warrior cat.

This was a first for us both—Kaya and her premier kill—me, with a burning fever holding onto a dead mouse. All of this unfolded in the middle of the night. I looked into the lifeless black eyes of the mouse, and sadness crept in. The child within often steps in during moments such as this. Sometimes, it’s hard being me. I certainly would have rooted for the mouse had I witnessed the struggle. Then again, Kaya is an instinctive hunter. It is her nature to kill rodents and small birds. She wishes to teach me and is also grateful for my efforts in teaching her. After all, she watches me unpack the shopping bags. I have a lot to learn about hunting.

Carrying the mouse by the tail, I managed to make my way to the kitchen and toss it out the door. As unsettling as it seemed, I was able to find gratitude, meaning, and honor her offering. Kaya’s a good cat and perfect for this old farmhouse. Hopefully, the news will spread throughout the rodent community, and they will avoid the fate of their companion.