Today was a day of shock and sadness. Our 8 month old kitten, Slate, left this world with hardly a warning. His visit to the vet at 4PM, after having signs of dizziness, lethargy and a little cut that would not heal was only 4 hours before he died at roughly 8PM. It was possibly cytopenia, aplastic anemia or something else that would bottom out his hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cells and platlets, leading to his shortness of breath and eventual death cuddled up on my lap in his blanket. I do miss him already, hence my quick memoir to his 8 month life that blessed Ben and I in one of the hardest times of our life. As Ben said, the Lord has a purpose even for the tiny creatures we allow into our home, and his affection and comfort during these months was incredibly supportive and meaningful, even coming from a tiny soft kitten.
Slate came into our home before we really had a home! We picked up Slate and his sister Bella from a cat-loving couple who had adopted them into their already 9 cat home after finding them in an air conditioner vent. They were 2 weeks old when found and we made them part of the Clark family at 11 weeks. When we first had them we were days away from being married and they were our first pets as man and wife.
Slate made his appearance as a scrawny kitty who could not cuddle enough. He loved our attention, and while he still had claws, would climb your pant leg if you did not pick him up soon enough after his adoring ‘meows’. His trademark move at 3 AM was picking up my earrings off my dresser, large or small, and dropping them from the waist height ledge, waking up both residents in the room. This would happen continually until we climbed out of a warm bed and scooped him off the counter, spreading around the other items on the ledge to try and deter him from jumping up repeatedly. Looking back it makes me smile and tear up as I know that every morning after those incidents I would wake up, roll over and find him curled up next to my shoulder purring quietly in his sleep. If he woke before Ben or I he would be sure to run into the room at the sound of the alarm and hastily get as close to us as possible as we scrambled for the snooze button.
Slate has been the most affectionate kitten I have ever been in contact with! He would let you flip him upside down, backwards and forwards, constantly purring and settle into your arms, belly up ready for some love! You could pull on paws, ears, scratch his belly (unusual for cats), or any other method of cuddling and he would never jump, scratch or run away. He was constantly ready to snooze in your arms.
Slate also had a passion for water. Whether this was part of the problem he eventually died of or if it was just a strange infatuation with H2O, Slate could not hold back from racing to your side when he heard running water. He took a front row seat on the counter top while Mommy or Daddy did the dishers, even allowing us to soak his tail in bubbles…which he hardly noticed. He would also wait under the sink while we washed our hands, occasionally trying to balance on the bathroom sink, intently watching the water flow. He would find any glass of water within his reach and take a sip of anyone’s cup! As soon as the tap was loud enough to hear, the gallopping of padded paws across hard flooring could be heard before seeing him leap to our side by the double sink.
One final fond memory of my little prince is how he enjoyed watching tv with us. His stretched out position across our glass coffee table was a prime location for him to comfortably view the television and follow the moving items with his eyes across the screen. I have thankfully captured this on film so Ben and I can laugh at his cute antics after the shock of his death has passed by.
So I leave you with a kiss Slate, and Daddy does too…as well as you sister Bella. I’ll miss you more in the mornings when your cute eyes aren’t the second set I see after Ben’s.