Eight Lives Left

Kate Hoehn

I was about six years old and I remember the dreary overcast on this in particular day as I ran from the bus stop to the apartment complex in which my family lived in. Afternoons were an anxious excitement, knowing that I’d be able to spend hours playing with my friends. This day was different though.

Unknown to me at that moment, my dad had been driving to work earlier that day and saw a cat that appeared similar to our very own Maine Coon-Tabby mix, Jasper. He pulled the car over and crouched over the stationary feline. My father painfully concluded that this was our family cat and that he had been hit by a car. He got back into his car and called my mother with the news.
“Are you sure it’s Jasper?”
“Yes.”
“Are you sure he’s dead?”
“Yes. His eyes are open and glazed over, not blinking, and not breathing.”
“Well, you can’t just leave him on the side of the road, Timothy! Go back and pick him up,” was the immediate response from my mother.
By that time, my dad had already made the short distance to work, so, he got back into his car and drove back to the spot where he had located Jasper.
“Honey, the cat isn’t here. The game warden must have already scooped him up.”

I walked through the door with my older sister, Sara. We usually came home and would find my mom cleaning the house while Maury on the television filled the room with background noise, but today, we instead saw her standing in the kitchen with glazed eyes and a frown. She called us into the kitchen and I hoisted myself up onto the counter as she informed us that we needed to talk. She then went on to tell Sara and I that God had taken our beloved cat to a better place and that it was okay for us to cry. Cry is an understatement for what I did. I instantly began to bawl. This crying continued for the next five hours as I lay on the living room couch, numb to everything but my sadness over the loss of Jasper.

I finally drifted off into my tear-induced sleep for the night. I woke up the next morning to the horrible reality that my cat was dead. I tried my hardest to make it through the day but yet again, it was tear filled. It wasn’t until that night that everything changed.

I was getting ready for bed and went to the kitchen for my nightly cup of orange juice. I picked up my lethargic feet, one step at a time, until I reached the glass sliding door

that led to the backyard, and flicked the light switch to the outside off. It was then that I saw a very muddy and frazzled looking Jasper, meowing to come inside. It was a miracle. I wrapped my arms around him and ran upstairs, screaming and crying with happiness to
my parents and my sister. They were all just as thrilled and overwhelmed as I had become.

It turns out that my dad is, shockingly, not a veterinarian or anything close to such. Jasper had been the cat on the side of the road the day before and he indeed had been hit by a car, but he was not dead. He had luckily only been hit with the outer side of the tire of the moving vehicle, which more or less smacked him in the head and flung him to the side of the road, where he lay unconscious. It was in this mental state that my dad had found Jasper and confused him for dead.

I sometimes forget the sadness I felt when I received the news of Jasper’s pseudo-death, or the joy I experienced when he came home alive, but anytime I tell this story to others or even just replay these events in my head, I’m filled with a sense of heartwarming love, happiness, and gratitude for being able to have Jasper in my life for sixteen years.

*Tip: If caught in similar situation, gently poke the cat in the eye (with toothpick). It will help you determine if the cat is dead or just unconscious.