The Power of YOGI
Four years ago, almost to the day, the four dogs went nuts in the backyard. We found them surrounding a gray, long-haired cat. We got the dogs in the house. The cat was shaken up, but didn't run away. He was a mess, but sweet and friendly.
I had never had a cat, never really knew a cat, didn't think I'd ever like a cat, but Yogi stole my heart. We moved him to the front porch and that's where he stayed. I really had no clue about cats, nor how to bring one into a house full of dogs that tried to attack him. So I fixed a dog house for him, bought cat supplies, and spent lots of time visiting him. He'd come running from wherever he was whenever anyone came out to visit. He never went far, and though I worried about him, I figured he'd be okay since we lived on a dead-end road out in the boonies.
I tried to find him a home, and once even took him to someone who showed interest. My Mom was visiting and went with me to take Yogi to the home. We both were hesitant about the situation at the home, and after we left him there, we had second thoughts and decided to go back and get him.
Winter came and I padded up the dog house with a sleeping bag, heating disk, etc. I never met such a loving, personable cat. Spring came again and I enjoyed even more time outside with Yogi.
Then one day, a neighbor came over and asked if I had a gray cat. My heart sank.I knew something was wrong. She said one was lying on the road near my mail box. It was Yogi. His body was warm, and I thought maybe he was still alive. I rushed to the vet, but he was gone. I was never so devestated about the loss of a pet in my entire life. I felt guilty, knowing the statistics of outside cats. I was inconsolable.
I felt I had to do something. Atone maybe. I approached Cats Are Us and convinced them to let me put their shelter on Petfinder, which I did. That's where I met Catfish. We were building the addition to our house and that's where I planned for Catfish to live. I knew I had to keep him safe, so I insisted on getting the Cat Fence-In system, which the Boss installed. Tarzan was a stray that became more visible once Yogi was gone. I resented him at first, because this was Yogi's house. But he and Catfish got to know each other through the fence, and after he was trapped, neutered and let us pet him, he joined the cat house. I still think to this day how much Yogi would have loved living inside, with safe access to the outdoors he was used to.
But I was still devastated by the loss of Yogi. One day, a friend told me that he would give me a sign. I didn't think much of it, until one day when I went to make dinner. I went to the potato bin that sat next to the kitchen island. As I grabbed a potato, I saw something in the bin. I picked it up. It was an animal cracker cookie that looked EXACTLY like Yogi. I had bought animal cracker cookies weeks and weeks before, and transferred them to a zip lock. One must have fallen out. I had gone for potatoes so many times since then, but it was on that day I found it. There were about eight different animals, but the cookie was a cat, with a big bushy tail like Yogi. I can't begin to tell you the feeling of peace and love I felt from Yogi the moment I saw and touched that cookie. I KNEW it was a sign from him.
That night I had a dream. Yogi was in the front yard and we were playing like we used to. Then he turned into a black panther and leaped into the woods in a puff of smoke. That was the last dream I had of him since--and I knew in my heart he was at peace. I finally got some peace of my own.
I know now that Yogi was sent here to make me fall for cats and help them. Does that sound crazy? Maybe, but I know it to be true. If not for him, I wouldn't have gone to Cats Are Us and they might not be on Petfinder. I think he enabled more cats to be adopted through that one small act. He made me expand my dog-only world. Good came from such tragedy and heartache.
The end of this month will be three years since he was killed, and it still hurts and I still miss him. But I truly believe his death was for a reason, and for other cats out there who need homes.
Always remember that there are silver linings. There are things that will hurt us when it comes to losing our pets. But the chain of their lives are connected, their spirits matter and they do live on. I truly believe we will see those wonderful souls again when it's our turn. Don't ever doubt it. You might not always understand the reason for your pet-loss pain, or why a pet had to die to young, but there is a reason.
The pictures above are of Yogi when I first found him, and later, when he bloomed into the beautiful cat he was. And...the Yogi cookie.
posted by Sandy at 4/17/2007 08:31:00 AM