Gail Wieder, Special to The County
3 years ago

Eighteen years  ago I was looking for a kitty. I walked into the Central Aroostook Humane Society, and adopted a 3-month-old kitten and named her Zoey.  

She was so pretty; she had an orange and white face, freckled nose and beautiful white chest.  She was a little nervous at first. We had a big lab mix dog, Beau, whom Zoey took to instantly. She would sleep beside him, lay on his front legs, and look up at him as if to say, “This is my dog.”

We live in the country so Zoey was an inside/outside cat. She loved to get into the long grass and catch whatever she could find — moles, mice, birds, chipmunks.   In her early years, I was always chasing her to drop whatever she had in her mouth.   Sometimes, I saved the catch; other times I was not so lucky.

I remember one day in the summer, I walked into the kitchen after being outside and there was something black laying on the floor, about the size of a soda can. Now I am not scared of mice, but was not sure what this was and whether it was alive or dead.  Well, it was dead — and a good thing, because when I took the dustpan to pick it up it was the ugliest rodent I have ever seen. It had long claws and its mouth was like a digger claw. It was a star nose mole.    

She caught a few doing her younger years and always brought them to me as if to say, “Got another one, mom.”  Zoey was always a great mouser, even in her elder years.   

Zoey loved her cat treats. She always got more then she should have.  We just couldn’t say no to her. When she meowed for them, actually it was the only way to get her to be quiet. 

The last few years she lost a lot of weight and was having kidney problems.  I always knew when she needed meds because she wouldn’t use the litter box; she would go to the bathroom in a different spot.  This is a cat’s way of telling you something is wrong. She was in kidney failure about a year before we lost her. 

The last few months she was with us, I knew the time was coming. She had slowed down a lot and ate less, lost some weight, but still always purred when you touched her.  I lost my Zoey a few months ago; I knew it was her time to make her way over the Rainbow Bridge.  

I carried her to my car and to the vet’s office.  While I was waiting for the vet to come into the room, I was petting Zoey and telling her what a great kitty she was.  We enjoyed her for eighteen years, and she was truly the best cat.  She was still purring. At that time I was thinking, “Am I making the right decision?”  But I knew in my heart that I was.   I couldn’t let this little girl suffer any longer. She went quickly with my hands on her.  

It is so hard to lose a beloved pet. It feels like your heart is breaking in pieces.   I always make myself remember, when I lose a pet, that I have given them the best life, because they are part of our family and need to be pampered and spoiled.  

Zoey will always have a place in my heart.

“When the cat you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” (Author unknown)

Gail Wieder is a member of the board of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.