Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

Have you ever experienced the parting of ways and felt emotional when saying goodbye to someone so close to you? It becomes so hard to say goodbye, because there is a flood of memories going through in our mind, making us heartbroken. This is a story about me, my cat, Jack, and the heart-wrenching choice I had to make sending him away from me.

I adopted Jack when he was just one-month-old. He was a beautiful white, furry cat, with absolutely gorgeous light brown eyes. When I saw him, I immediately decided to adopt him as my cute little pet. So I brought him home, and everyone was so thrilled to see him.

He was so soft and adorable. I bought so many things for him, like a bathing tub, a cosy home, his shampoo, many toys and even some clothes. He was like a baby craving for attention and care. We handled him very gently and took great care of him.

In the beginning, he was a bit quiet and observant, but soon he got attached to everyone and loved playing with us. Slowly, he even started recognising his name and came to me immediately whenever I called him. He loved to sleep after having a bath and would sleep for hours. He also loved to drink milk and eat cereal like a child.

I tried to teach him how to say ‘hello’ and to shake hands. Whenever I would come home from somewhere, he eagerly came to greet me. Everything was going smoothly, everyone was getting attached to him. It was a wonderful experience seeing him growing up. He was like a part of our family that brought love and happiness in our lives.

But sometimes life throws unexpected challenges ….

I started observing that Jack had a lot of hair fall, and saw soft swelling and squishy protrusion below the skin. He was getting weak and it was clear that something was wrong with him. I took him to the pet hospital.

The doctor did a complete check-up of him and said that he had umbilical hernia. Jack needed to be admitted and operated immediately. All of us was so heartbroken hearing this. Jack’s operation was successful, but another woeful news was waiting for us. After the operation, a series of tests and examination took place and the doctor revealed that Jack was no longer safe to be in a house with people, because he had some viruses that could infect humans, especially kids. The doctor further explained that his condition required specialised care and treatment, that couldn’t be provide at home.

I was devastated, as were my family. That day all of us sat together and, with heavy hearts, decided what was best for Jack – to send him to an animal shelter. The staff of the animal shelter assured me that they would provide him with the best medical treatments, attention, love and care he needed. We packed his things, especially the toys he liked most and went to the animal shelter and handed over Jack to the staff.

At that moment, I was very emotional and every memory from the day we adopted him was going through my mind, making me feel disheartened. It was hard for all of us to say goodbye to Jack, our baby, but we knew it was for the best.

Sometimes, we visit the animal shelter to meet Jack. It’s good to see that he has adjusted there with the other cats. The staff there also updates me on his progress, which makes me feel that we made the right decision. But that feeling of misfortune, knowing we can’t take him back, is still heart-breaking.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 27th, 2024

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