short stories

Bear Bear, is that you?

Nine lives? How about recycled kitties? Am I crazy, or have I just found a truth that nobody has discovered yet?

Female Siamese cat curled up in a blanket
Bear Bear

I owned a cat named Bear. She passed away, and oh, how I miss her. I wouldn’t consider her the friendliest cat that I have had, but I loved her uniqueness. Although she lived with my whole family as well as a few other cats, you would notice right away that she was mine. I suppose if you were to look at it through her eyes, I was hers. I say this because a dog will adjust to the human that owns them; however, a human must adjust to the cat that owns them. I suppose only cat people would understand this.

I have never considered myself a cat person. I would much rather be around dogs. But Bear was different. She pulled at my heartstrings and taught me what it was like to truly love a feline. I have had a couple of other cats that I liked but loved; maybe it would be a stretch at best.

Bear was wild as a kitten, and I tamed her by feeding her bits of cooked steak. This, my friends, may have been the downfall of who would become “Bear Bear” and not just the simple “Bear” as a name. The best way that I can describe It is like a child with that special toy. They will give it a special name and not just call it a doll, truck, or whatever that special toy may be.

Bear grew to drive me crazy with her little games. Games such as “Pet me, pet me, pet me, but just don’t touch me” or “You can pet me now, but I’m going to bite you when I’ve had enough” There was the “I will run and jump in your lap if you rub your fingers and thumb together and show you the best love, but my purr will be very low and only if I want to purr”. And, of course, “You can rub your fingers together until they turn raw, but today I’m going to turn my back and hate you until dinner time.” Just thinking of her little nuances brings a tear to my eye. I do realize that you cat people are thinking that your cat does the same things sometimes. I have had a few in my day, but none would match the deliberate way that she did it. It was almost as though she was part human at times. I haven’t the words to explain it in better detail (this is coming from someone who does a great deal of writing).

As I stated above, she passed, and I was heartsick over it. Throughout my life, I have had many pets cross the Rainbow Bridge, and they have hurt my heart, but when Bear Bear passed, I felt it down deep in my soul. I tried not to show it to my family (my male ego), but I became physically sick for a while. I was destroyed! After a few weeks, I was able to put her death behind me, but I would catch myself calling for her and rubbing my fingers together now and then. Would I ever truly get over her? I wasn’t sure; however, I believed that I would not.

Sometimes I think about how cruel it is that we outlive so many pets in our lifetime. Then again, I believe that God feels our pain and finds ways to help us adjust. This is what happened to me. Although I didn’t learn to adjust to her passing, I was adjusted to it in the most unlikely way. The saying goes that cats have nine lives. This is because they cheat death throughout their lives, whether it is jumping from too high up or dodging that speeding car. Most of the time, when a cat dies, they are in their ninth life! But what if the cat in question had an easy life and only used up a few of their lives and not the whole nine? What happens then? I am here to say that I now believe that a cat can come back after death without entering Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary“. (Now, I will tell you that, as a Christian, I don’t believe that, but what has happened to me is weird, to say the least.) Has God brought my cat back to me? This may be the only logical (or illogical) solution to the issue at hand.

A male Siamese cat lying on a bed
Boo Bear

We have a friend who is moving overseas. He had two kittens that needed a good home. After my wife saw them, she knew they would become part of our family. She told me about them needing a home, and I hit the roof. “We don’t need any more cats,” I yelled. She said that I would change my mind when I saw them. I have to admit it; she was right. Although one was a yellow-haired cat that is a true lover, the other took my breath away. This kitten looked exactly like Bear Bear. I’m not talking about a resemblance; I mean exactly as my long-lost friend! Not one hair was different. This must be Bear Bear’s doppelganger! Now there are a variety of differences in that this cat is male and about twice her size. Well, I thought it wasn’t her, but the resemblance is amazing. I shall name this one Boo Bear in memory of her.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Awe, what a cute story.” But wait, there’s more to this story, and it becomes almost eerie. All of us catch ourselves calling him her or calling him Bear Bear instead of Boo Bear, not just because he looks so much like her, but because he acts just like her too! Every day, he gains more of her peculiar ways. Mind you, he is a different cat, or is he? This is like living with the ghost of my long-deceased cat. Sometimes I look into his eyes to see what is going on in him. When I said he was her doppelganger, I wasn’t kidding! Everything he does is like watching him walk in her footsteps. Did she make it halfway over the Rainbow Bridge and decide she wasn’t ready to leave yet? Is this a Frankenstein-type move to bring her back? Should I go dig up her grave and make sure she is still there? Oh, there are so many questions I have, and none of them are answered. Did Bear Bear use one of her nine lives to come back as Boo Bear? The questions just keep filling my mind. Although I love Boo Bear, I believe that it’s my Bear Bear who has come back to keep me company. Oh, how I wish that I could read this cat’s mind to finally find the truth behind those blue eyes. I know one thing for sure: if this cat dies, I will await her or his return.

I guess the only regret that I may have is that I wish I could’ve taken both of their pictures with the same phone and under the same lighting. I guarantee that both of these cats are identical in color.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this post. I would love to hear from you if anything like this has happened in your life. I would also love to hear from others about their thoughts on this true story. As always, I will close with this thought. Remember, we are all in this together.