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Friday, 01 January 2010

Billy and Peaches - A Love Story

By Judy Watten

My friends Jonathan and Zoe were leaving Taiwan to return to the States in the summer of 1969. They asked us if we would take their two cats as they weren’t sure where they would be for several weeks; we agreed at once.

Billy and Peaches had been raised together and were very very close. They spent most of the day together, took their naps together and groomed each other. Billy was a striped gray-and-black cat and Peaches was - well, just peachy.

One day Billy hurt his right front paw on something, gashed it across the pad of his foot. We took him to the vet, Dr. Matthew Chinn, who sterilized his wound and gave him some antibiotics to take for a while. It healed neatly.

One day Billy disappeared. We weren’t too worried about him as we thought he’d be back for dinner but days went by. No one had seen him in our neighborhood. About a month later, I was riding in a taxi on the outskirts of Taipei and saw a dead cat on the road with the same fur colors as Billy. I yelled at the taxi driver to stop.

I got out and examined the poor cat’s right front paw and there was Billy’s scar. I was heartbroken. The taxi driver took me to Dr. Chinn’s who came back with me, putting the cat tenderly into a box.

Later that week, the cat’s cremated remains were interred in a Buddhist pet cemetery, a reverent restful place for beloved pets, with eternal flames, incense and chanted prayers. Our whole family wept. I put Billy’s picture on the mantel and thought about him whenever I looked at it. Peaches seemed listless.

A couple of months went by.

Looking out the front window one day, I saw Peaches licking a stray cat, licking him all over very tenderly. He was a poor bedraggled fellow, very skinny, with matted fur. We brought him in, fed him and cleaned him up as best we could.

And then it struck us that Peaches knew this cat, recognized him in spite of his appearance. We looked at his right front paw and, yes, there was the scar from the old injury.

Billy had come home.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

What a cute story. You built the suspense beautifully.

Oh, yes, and thank you for writing "a couple OF." It brings out the crotchety old lady in me to constantly see "a couple" without adding the "of"--common usage these days. I mean, you wouldn't say "a pair shoes." There, I've had my rant for today.

No love is ever really lost. We will always remember the ones we love in whatever form they assume. They will find us. I needed to read that today and I thank you for the reminder, Judy. All the best in the coming New Year.

...and the cat of ashes had a better send off than [perhaps] he did a life.

That's heavenly story to a cat lover like me!! Now I am wondering whose cat you buried!

I spent a lot of time in Taipei and don't recall ever seeing a cat. Saw Devil Dogs though.

I agree this was a cute and intriguing story.

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