Friday, May 26, will mark one year since my Dominique died. That awful year of firsts--the first of everything without her is over. For the past few days, the tears have flowed almost as freely as they did in the days and weeks immediately following her death. Finding her little broken body will forever be one of the worst moments of my life. A year later, I still can't find the words to express my horror when I realized that it was her laying in the yard. Dominique was an indoor only cat who escaped unseen and was killed by my own dogs.
The dogs were merely acting on their instincts. They'd never seen an outdoor cat before that evening and have never caused any trouble with the cats in the house. Oh, I was angry at them for a long time. For awhile, all I could do was feed and water the dogs. I said some vicious, awful things to them. I wanted nothing to do with them. As the fog cleared, I realized that not only had I lost my feline friend, but I was loosing my canine companions too. They had no idea why Mom was being so cold to them. They had long since forgotten the event. They had forgotten before I even got home that night and I believe that if they had known they were about to break my heart, they would have not hurt Dom. I'm grateful that I don't know which dog or dogs were involved. I am not sure how I could have forgiven if I had known exactly who did it. In any case, the ultimate responsiblity for her death is mine.
I try not to remember the way I found her, but to recall her in happier ways. The last time I saw her alive, she was safely in the kitty enclosure, happily hunting bugs. I clearly remember stopping to watch her pounce and jump in the grass. I treasure that image of a happy, carefree cat. I remember the way she always let out a little mew before a pet and would head bonk my hand; the way she loved to snuggle under the covers with me and how every night there was a race between Dom & Ivy to see who got the best spot in the bed; the little jingle of her tags as she raced through the house; how she always waited behind the door for me after work; the silky feel of her tiny white paws; her giant, loud purr.
I remember that tiny kitten, just a five weeks old, stuffed inside my winter jacket for the ride home. She had been found wandering around a busy street and brought to my office. Even then, just a wee thing, she was confident, bold and curious--traits that defined her for the rest of her all too short life. When I introduced her to the two adult male cats who already lived here, she took one look, bopped them both on the nose, despite the fact that she was the size of their heads and that was that. Dominique the Dominator was home and ruler of the house. Full grown she weighed a mere five pounds, but she believed she was a lion!
Perhaps her life would have been longer if she had been afraid just a little bit every now and then, but she would not have been my Dominique that way. If something new was in the house, if something got knocked over at 3am, if the dogs' water bucket was tipped over, Dominique did it! She was into everything. The water bucket was her favorite thing to play in. She tipped it every day. We learned quickly not to leave any water in the bottom. Occasionally since her death that bucket has fallen over for no apparent reason. I like to think she was stopping by for a visit.
10 days after she died, Dominique sent us another kitty, another tuxie with a confident, goofy personality:
Sweet Boots. I believe she not only sent him, but that at times her spirit visits through him. They are so very much alike. Now when something goes crash in the night, it is always Boots who is at the centre of the commotion. The other cats accepted him immediately, as if they already knew him--maybe they did. Last night as I lay crying in bed, Boots came and curled up in the same spot Dominique used to sleep in, gave me a few head bonks and licked my hands, just like she used to.
I miss you, my little troublemaker. What I would give to pick you up just one more time and ask "Dom what have you done now??". Try not to cause too much ruckus at the Bridge. Say hi to Hoodoo and Twicket for me. A part of my heart resides with all of you wherever you are. I love you, my precious Dominique.