Minuet – recent photo by our daughter Beth
Does the fact that she was a cat make this post seem less sincere? It’s not. Anyone who’s adopted an animal knows that pets are family members–and family means loving unconditionally.
Minuet was beautiful and troubled. The moment our daughter Beth brought her home, we suspected this little cat had been mistreated, perhaps badly.
But love was the cure. The more we held and stroked her, the more she relaxed, finally believing, it seemed, that she would never be abandoned again. She soon became affectionate and playful.
And then Misha arrived. If Minuet was the moody goth girl, we joked with our teenage daughters, Misha was the carefree cheerleader. And yet somehow these antithetical felines got along, even spooning together when they napped.
That is, until Misha came of age.
Almost overnight, some insidious hormonal reaction occurred in Minuet. She seemed threatened by Misha’s very presence, repeatedly attempting to drive her away. And Misha, in-turn, defended herself; this was her home too—every inch of it. The claws were drawn.
We finally had to permanently separate them, relegating Minuet to the place she felt safest, the basement. And so, for a year she lived in isolation. We’d visit her throughout the day, holding her and reminding her we loved her. But it was a band-aid, not a fix.
And then, Beth, now out of college and living on her own, came to visit. Her heart nearly broke when she saw Minuet alone in the basement. After holding and re-bonding with her Minuet, Beth insisted on taking her back with her to California.
To say that getting Minuet into a carrier and onto a plane was traumatic would be a ludicrous understatement. Every fiber of trust we’d woven into her was shredded that day. Trudy and I cried as the plane departed, fearing our attempt at a solution had inflicted permanent damage.
But within a week, Beth reported, Minuet was exploring her new home and curling up next to her new hero at night. After all, Beth was the one who’d rescued her from the people who abandoned her. It saddened us to be the enemy, but sometimes love makes you the bad guy. At any rate, it was a small price to pay to restore this beloved family member, who was now living happily with her true “mom.”
Minuet passed away last week, while looking quietly into her Beth’s eyes, knowing she was loved…