Gifts of Life and Death


Romeo passed on yesterday evening. This makes me very sad. We had been together for 14 years. One of the guys at work found Romeo and his sister China in the back of his truck during the work day. The mother must have been moving them but we don’t know from which of the many stops they appeared. The kittens were about two weeks old and the operator brought them to me at the end of the day when he found them. He said I would probably hurt him if he didn’t.

I bottle fed both kittens and kept them in a cardboard box for easy transport. If I went any where for more than two hours, so did the kittens. The box sat on my bed at night so that I would hear the kittens crying and wake up to fed and potty them. Kittens this small can not potty on their own and need help. The kittens also went to work with me in that box. It sat in the bathroom and I would go take care of them every two hours. It didn’t take them long to start meowing for food when they saw me. Shortly after that, when they saw me, they would launch themselves at me and climb up my pants leg. When I started feeding them they were so small that I used an eye dropper. We progressed on to an animal baby bottle and then I cut the tip off of that so the formula/wet food mixture could get through. As they learned to lap up the mixture from a saucer, things became messier. They liked to stand in the food as they ate. Romeo became my shadow. Wherever I went in the house, there he was. He would sit outside the shower door waiting and calling for me. When I came out, he followed me to the sink and sat on the counter so he could stand up and pat my face with his paw. His name suited him well.


Sadly, China passed a number of years ago. But Romeo has been with me these many years. I was always his momma in the true sense of the word. We went through moving, family changes, comings and goings of other dogs and cats, and all the changes that life brings. It turned out that Romeo had a fine ear for music. He would come whenever he heard whistling. It had to be a classical tune though. He wouldn’t come to other whistling. He had his standards. He wasn’t always an easy cat. He would follow us around yowling for food that we had, especially tuna. He liked to sit at the sink and demand that we turn on the faucet so that he might have water that was properly aerated to suit his taste. But he was always my Romeo Kitten.

So what is a fitting tribute for my fine Romeo Kitten? I think to mention the fact that he taught me about the gifts of life and death. I received the gift of watching him grow and knowing that I had made a difference by giving him life. I received the gift of having him as a part of my life and having the joy of spending these past 14 years being adored by him. And at the end, I had the gift of being with him for his last time on earth. That was a gift that we shared, it went both ways. It was a gift for him and for me. Romeo gave me the chance to live my favorite saying. “I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do…or any kindness that I can show-let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.”


The lessons of Romeo Kitten live on.