I am a murderer, responsible for the death (an agonizing one, not clean and quick) of a creature I loved very, very much. The prickle of tears is starting again as I confess this unpardonable sin, and it is only right that I should flagellate myself this way….my babies depend on me to care for them, and I let Fluff-man down in the most awful way.
I had to leave Panama to renew my tourist visa, because document thieves stole my FBI Criminal Background Check document in Miami, and this document is required to begin the months-long process of getting my work visa. Without it I cannot apply, and replacing it has been a nightmare of delays and waiting. So, I booked Costa Rica to renew my visa over our school’s Christmas break. Because I have been robbed here in Panama twice already (once in my home and once in the street) I was not willing to give a key to my house to the next door neighbor who agreed to care for the cats while I was gone. Instead, I fixed a place in the screened metal security door where the cats could come and go, and I placed a large metal crate over this opening, so they could exit the house (into the crate) to access their potty, and the neighbor could tend it without actually entering the house. Belongings safe, right? No dogs have access to the cats, either, right?
Then, I took all six kitchen table chairs and placed one heavy chair in front of each and every door inside my house, so that the wind (which occasionally is pretty strong) could not possibly blow any inside door shut, which might trap a cat. Then, I filled each and every pan and bowl I owned with kibble or water, and placed them all around: kitchen, living room, both bathrooms. I even put one bowl in the bathroom sink and left the tap dripping into it, and filled both sides of the kitchen sink for good measure. Secure in the knowledge that there was super-abundant water and food available, and access for the kitty potty, I headed off on my visit to Costa Rica to renew my six-month tourist visa.
Well. The best laid plans of mice, men and kitty mommies aft gang agly. The chair I placed in front of one bedroom door did blow shut. The wind just pushed the heavy chair aside, and when the door shut, Fluff-man was inside. The food and water bowls, so many of them, were all in other rooms. The neighbor heard Fluff meowing after some days, and they took out the window glass to get him out of the room. However, because he’d had no water, he was dehydrated…and when you are seriously dehydrated, you lose the desire to drink. They did not know to force-feed him water, and they did not know to take him to the veterinarian, and Fluff died the next day.
I loved that cat, and would not have harmed him for the world – and I harmed him to death. I’d rather they had robbed everything left in my house than to have hurt that kitty boy, but hurt him I did. I am so awfully sorry that he paid for my mistake with his life, and it has been a horribly hard lesson for me, too, even if I am still living.