The First Goodbye

by Adia Kilpatrick
LoyalroyaL British Shorthairs

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The story of Adia Kilpatrick's first litter continues as she bids farewell to kitten #1. Enjoy the other articles in this series:

Ding dong!

They're here! One last, fast glance around the house... yep, all set.

Been up since dawn cleaning the house, the cattery, myself. Fed and brushed every kitten, placed colorful collars around their necks. Ding dong! Picture perfect family stands smiling.

Open door, greet, lead to cattery. Swell with pride watching delight infuse faces as kittens come running. Hand each person a tinseled stick-toy and take the lead shaking one in the air.

The circus immediately starts with one kitten after another pogo-ing high into the air to catch the flashes. Laughter amplifies as kittens slam into each other or land with a thud over and over again. Ping-pong balls bounce across the cattery and we roar at the furry shadows bopping behind.

I answer questions as kittens stampede behind a laser beam.

An "unlooked at" check lies atop a signed contract.

Picture perfect family cuddles their treasure and prepares to leave.

My smile trembles.

Reaching out to my first born kitten, I plead for one last minute. Clutch to heart, grab baby brush, shush thoughts behind stoic smile as I stroke, stroke, stroke...

"Thank you, sweetest kitten, for the incredible joy you've been to me."

Flashback to memories of holding warm, wet, squirmy blob... eyes shut blind... sweet suckling sounds... shoving aside littermates at teat... growing... eyes asymmetrically opening as whisker pads twitch at scents in the air ... furred body, soft and fragile as a bird, propelled by front paws... twisted expression at first taste of cat food... sneezing out first water sip... growing... tasting litter before shoveling it ... plopping into sleep wherever vigorous play yielded to exhaustion... vibrating with purr ... racing towards the sound of my voice... growing, now going... kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss... remove collar... swallow hard... slowly hand my joy over to its future.

Snap photo of picture perfect, elated family and follow out to van.

Lump in throat buoys over swallows.

"Love him for me," I plead.

Dazzling happiness in their eyes dries the tears in mine. Precious kitten lies calmed in its perfect faith... this inspiration its farewell gift. Windows up, waves within, the van fades down the street.

My ears strain towards its fading echoes as prayer escorts me back...

Back to the cattery...
Back to the fur in the baby brush...
The kittenless collar...
The fervent hope...
The bittersweet memories... of the first goodbye.

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