On the day we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Cooper, we wondered if our lovable, goofy and often clueless cat would be able to find his way over the Rainbow Bridge on his own. And as it turned out, he made it, with a little help from his friend.
Last year at age 16 we lost our first cat—a gray tabby with white splashes of color who we naturally named Splash. He was handsome and independent and had the attitude that goes with being a spoiled cat.
When Splash was two-years-old, he let us know loud and clear (by repeatedly soiling our expensive dining room rug) that he was lonely. So after a quick trip to the local SPCA, I came home with Cooper – an adorable kitten who was full of funny, quirky behaviors and none of the attitude.
Splash and Cooper lived happily ever after together until one day last year when illness brought us to the day we had to say goodbye to Splash. We worried about Cooper missing Splash because they were an inseparable team of two, often found curled up together napping or playfully grooming each other. Yet somehow Cooper managed on his own without his big brother and lived another year as an only cat.
Then Cooper became sick, and before we knew it we were told it was time to say goodbye to him as well. But since Cooper wasn’t the take-charge kind of cat his brother was and had generally happily followed Splash’s lead, we worried about him finding the Rainbow Bridge on his own.
As my daughter and I tearfully drove Cooper to the vet’s for the last time, we brought along one of his favorite blankets along with a toy stuffed cat that we had bought the prior year to remind us of Splash. We hoped that Splash’s “presence” would be comforting for all of us.
And it was.
As we opened the door to the vet’s office with my daughter carrying a very sick Cooper, a gray cat with splashes of white greeted us at the door. He stayed beside us as we were shown into an exam room. The cat roamed freely in the office and was perhaps a staff member’s cat, but I had never seen it before even though I had been there many times during the previous few weeks. My daughter and I casually remarked how much that cat reminded us of Splash, but we had other matters to attend to and turned our attention back to Cooper.
After we said our final goodbye to Cooper and returned home to quickly put away all of the cat things that might serve as sad reminders, I sat down, clicked on Facebook and immediately saw a picture of a cat that looked exactly like Splash. My small town has a private Facebook page where residents ask for recommendations of plumbers, roofers, etc., as well as post pictures of lost or found pets. Someone had seen a Splash lookalike in their yard that day and posted a picture to try to find its owners. Hmmm, a second appearance of “Splash” that day.
I showed the picture to my daughter and then it hit us—Splash is sending us a message. He is telling us that he is here with us and has taken Cooper over the Rainbow Bridge.
Later that afternoon I drove to a yoga class for some much-needed relaxation, while my daughter drove to a nearby town to join a friend in an annual 10-mile road race. It turned out to be a hard race for her because she was emotionally drained, but she was determined to finish it. As she and her friend were putting their gear in her car after finishing the race, my daughter turned around and saw a cat cross the street behind her car who, you guessed it, looked just like Splash.
Thank you for answering our concerns, Splash, loud and clear. And thank you for letting us know that with your help Cooper made it over the Rainbow Bridge.
Lisa Laham is a recruiter at a non-profit human services agency. She lives in NH with her husband, spends many happy hours in her backyard meditation garden, and looks forward to being a cat-mother again in the near future.