A week ago today the first feline love of my life, Bolla, was put to sleep.
I called her my fur coat because she had (a) an extraordinary ability to shed fur, and (b) a tendency to deposit herself on the laps of seated humans. I very much appreciated this last characteristic the time when the winter heating wasn’t working!
Bolla was abandoned by her previous owner(s) who at least had the decency to leave her at the door of a cat sanctuary here in Rome. The personnel named her Bolla (‘bubble’ in Italian) because she was as round as one. She was at the sanctuary for about a month before we came along to give her a new home. She would stay with us for 7 years, 9 months and 3 weeks.
Bolla had expensive tastes—she turned up her nose at cheap cat food and cheap litter sand. She loved meat for humans, whether raw or cooked. She became our quality control expert: if she liked a particular cut of meat, then it was a good one. She was friendly and easy-going, though only with humans. Her interaction with other cats was mostly in the form of hostile hissing or ignoring.
Close to four years after acquiring Bolla, we were given a kitten whom we named Tempesta. Until that point, I’d never seen Bolla upset or angry. Poor Tempesta got paw swipes and was hissed at. About one and a half years after Tempesta disappeared, Wikileaks moved in with us. She too got more than her fair share of one-way aggression.
When we got her, Bolla was obese. We had no idea what that would mean for our future together. The first health scare was when she was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. So that’s why she had a silent meow. The next scare was the diabetes. So that’s why she was peeing all over the place and drinking vast amounts of water. The last was the feline leukemia. In the end, it wasn’t any of those that led to the painful decision to put her to sleep, but neurological complications arising from the diabetes.
I’m sure there will be animals in the new heavens and the new earth. If both Bolla and I will be there, I look forward to some cuddling and tickles under the chin, just like in old times.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)