It isn’t always everything or nothing

In 2006 Derek and I adopted 2 Siamese cats, a brother and sister.  Some of you will remember that the brother, Luke Skywalker, passed away last year.  His sister Tabitha recently got her own cat stroller and I thought you might enjoy the story.

After Luke passed away we noticed that Tabitha was meowing a lot at what seemed to be nothing. She was also continuously running into walls and pretty much anything that was in front of her.  After the fourth time of drying her off because she walked right into the swimming pool we decided to have her eyes checked.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t a surprise when our vet told us that she is pretty much blind.  Now all of the near misses of the litter box actually made sense!!!

Tabitha’s new world is a lot smaller.  We created a little cat spa in our bathroom with a cat bed, litter box and food and water dishes.  She is safe from falling in the pool and even her near misses on the tile are much easier to clean up.  The only problem is that the Tabitha we have always known wouldn’t stand for a small world.  She would have jumped over that baby gate without missing a beat, ran out the cat door to the pool deck and talked squirrel to the cardinals.  If you have ever owned a cat you will know what that means. 

The hard part for us was accepting that this is Tabitha’s new normal.  That sleeping in her cat bed under the light of the skylight is her new basking in the sun and that pretending that she can’t find that litter box because she is blind is acceptable.  I keep telling her that if I can smell the litter box, she can smell the litter box so please use the litter box!! 

It was during one of these one-way discussions of what is not acceptable that I realized that Tabitha hasn’t lost everything.  She may not be able to see but she can still smell, hear and feel.  I had seen a woman recently with a dog in a stroller so Derek and I went to Petco and we purchased a pet stroller.  Yes, I can confirm that there is a pet version of everything.  My hope was to try and give Tabitha a sense of freedom where she could use the senses that she still has to enjoy a slightly larger world.

There was “some assembly required” so it took a few minutes and choice words to get everything together but that same evening we took Tabitha on her first stroll of the neighborhood.  She may not have been able to see it but she could smell the rain storm that had just passed, hear the crickets in the trees and feel the slightly humid breeze.  It wasn’t everything, but it was definitely more than nothing.  

Life can change fast, and accepting what the new normal is can be hard.  I am so inspired by Tabitha’s willingness to just be.  It reminds me that sometimes the best quality of life can be found somewhere between everything and nothing.  Realizing that can actually bring some peace to your soul.  It doesn’t always have to be about what you can’t do. Sometimes it is as simple as finding the joy in what you can, and knowing that it is enough. 


Mark Ramey