RIP Agent Secret.
I got a kitten a few weeks ago, and I named him Agent Secret. He was all white with two little tufts of black on his head. He had one of those tiny, high-pitched meows that I like so much (some cats meow kind of nasally) and like his name, he was fast, adventuresome, fearless, and very good at hiding so we couldn't find him. He attacked everyone's feet, including the dogs', even though they were at least 20 times his size. But when he was tired, he would sometimes try to clean me, and he would sleep on his back in my lap and was just so sweet I felt my heart opening toward him like a flower.
Three nights ago my husband went out, and I let my kids watch a movie and hopped in the shower. When I came out, I discovered that my older son had opened the front door to watch for his dad returning, but he'd gotten caught up in the movie. One of the dogs was sitting half inside the house, and I thought Agent Secret couldn't be outside--because if he were, the dogs certainly would be following him around closely, as they always had. And Agent Secret was probably sleeping in one of his hiding places. So...I shut the door...now I berate myself that I should have taken a flashlight and searched for him, as he was probably nearby.
Anyway, the sad end to this story is that my husband found his body today, decomposing and bitten in his belly. The last couple days I had been crying intermittently with worry, but since I found out he was dead for sure the floodgates have opened. I feel so terrible...imagining his final moments, his being out on a great adventure, with nothing ever having caused him pain before, having no idea that anything could hurt him--and then some stupid giant fucking dog chasing him and grabbing him with his teeth, shaking him, batting him with his paws and watching him struggle before delivering the bite that broke the skin. Agent Secret probably meowed a lot, but no one could hear him except his murderer.
I gave each of the dogs a kick, but it didn't make me feel any better.
My husband, who is a dog person and fully immersed in the Brazilian rural culture that doesn't lavish adoration on domestic animals like some Americans do, thought he would help by giving me another kitten, not realizing that I would perceive this as insensitive, as treating Agent Secret as interchangeable, without his own personality, and as a toy as breakable and disposable as any of the many, many toys my destructo-boys have gone through. So I made him take it back. I don't feel like this is a good home for a cat now, since there are too many factors beyond my control (namely, my kids' and husband's behavior). It doesn't matter how many times I ask my husband to stay in at night while we live in this not very safe town; he still will go out. And it doesn't matter how many times I tell my son to close the door after he opens it, because insects come in and kittens go out--he's too focused on whatever is his fleeting desire of the moment, and he'll forget.
I had thought Agent Secret was so lucky, because I lavished such attention and care on him that I doubted any cat in the whole town was so loved and well-treated. But I feel that I did him a disservice in showing him that the world was a loving place, because rural Brazil is not a loving place for cats. Most of them run around half-starved and when people want to get rid of them, they put them in a car and drive them far away and drop them off in some random place.
I've been drawing a maudlin analogy between my kitten and me. I was raising this Lagonhense kitten in an artificial world where everything was provided for him and he was sheltered and cared for, and then when he went out into the real Lagoinha he got killed. I, too, was raised in an artificial environment (a Northern California suburb) where I was sheltered and had everything provided for me, and I became fearless and adventuresome enough to think that I would thrive here in Brazil. Instead, now that I'm in the real Lagoinha, my soul is being slowly batted around and bitten by the giant German Shepherd of life.
Okay...I did say it was a maudlin analogy.
Anyway, I feel better now that I've googled "what happens to cats when they die." I like this site. The comments are heartbreaking, but they do make me feel a lot less alone--love and grief are the same the world over. I particularly felt a kinship with this comment, from someone named Barb:
I lost my dog and Ihave a problem to cope with it.Something about its not being grammatical made me really resonate with it. All you get is raw emotion and pain. It rings true with a part of me that wants to scream, FUCK GRAMMAR! FUCK THINKING! ME HURT!!!!!!
I am very unhappy and devastated.I can not live normally. I have questions and no answers
If you've read this far, thanks for witnessing my catharsis.