The Special One . . .
by ADIA KILPATRICK, LoyalroyaL British Shorthairs

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While your mother licked your newborn siblings, I found you in a dark corner—cold, limp, still in your sac.

Reason prevailed over panic as my email mentors' memos metamorphosed into action . . . pinch open sac . . . wipe fluids from face . . . use a baby's nose bulb . . . gently blow!

Nothing . . .

Firmly swing!

Nothing . . .

Repeat resuscitative efforts.

Still . . . nothing . . .

Once more!

Your tiny mouth opens and detonates joy! From the moment your birth seemed also to be your death, you were my "special one."

The smallest, you always weighed the least. Easily and often you got side-swiped from the teat. So I cuddled your brothers while you had mom to yourself for a while. You remained the "runt of the litter" until solid food gave you the push you needed to catch you up with siblings.

When you became the last unplaced kitten, inquirers asked what made you the last.

Were you the runt?

Was something wrong with you?

"He is last because he is the best," I explained.

Only time could unwrap the surprise . . . that the newborn I'd saved was pick of litter.

Closer to the breed standard than either your parents or littermates, you are all I hoped for to launch my
own line of British Shorthairs.

I anticipated the fun of showing you off . . . and the pride I'd feel watching the judges handle you. I envisioned rosettes, titles and more pride.

Your owlet eyes, sweet expression, luxurious coat and gentle temperament endeared you to me as if you were my own child. Not only did I save the best for last, I saved you for myself . . .

Until the picture-perfect family who took your littermate asked if they could have you too.

Hardly a day goes by they don't send a glowing report of your brother, his blissful existence showcased in photos. How contented he looks wrapped in a blankie, cuddled in a little girl's arms. How serene he looks belly-up in perfect faith.

But with both parents' working and the girls school bound, he'll soon be all alone during the day.

With me, your life will consist of long car rides in a carrier, noisy show halls, strange cages and divided attention.

With them, you'll frolic free, grow with your brother, be cherished as I now cherish you . . . but a different life . . . and I think a happier life . . .

I can offer you diligent vet care, premium cat food, daily grooming, lots of toys, a clean, safe environment and all the love your little heart deserves . . . but not the level of freedom and happiness you'd have with the picture-perfect family.

You are all I most wanted, Special One, but I love you more than I love my hobby.

Have you noticed how lately I can't seem to leave you alone . . . how I keep holding you, smelling you, kissing you, photographing and gazing at you? Did you think it strange how batting the tear drip from my eyes brought more drips?

It's all been part of a hard goodbye, Precious Baby . . . but it is the most unselfish thing I think I've ever done.

This weekend you will leave—the kitten I've always wished for, will begin the best life I could wish for you. I love you so much!

Goodbye, my Special One. It is goodbye because I love you.

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