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     This has been a year of new experiences. The funny thing about new experiences is that they're, well, new... meaning my husband and I don't have the slightest idea of how to handle them and we spend most of our time simply flying by the seat of our pants! Today, we had the burden of a particularly sad new experience that we did our best to muster through and explain to the children... the death of our family cat.
     Now, let me explain the existence of this cat. First of all, this feline, belovedly named Battle Cat, came to live with my husband and his grandmother years before we got married. They had no idea how old she was then, but since she's been here for at least 8 years, it's safe to say she was pretty old when she passed today. You may wonder why our family friend is named Battle Cat. Simply put, she was a mean old cuss that would attack anything that moved. Seriously. When my dog, Milo, was just a pup on a chain out in the back yard, she stalked and then chased him until he was completely wound around the base of a tree... and then she went for his face. Cruel, heartless, hairy, prone to biting, and grumpy as all get out... kind of like Taylor, but with less charm.
     As Battle Cat aged, she grew calmer and more timid. Don't get me wrong, she'd still scratch the crap out of you if you petted her too far down her backside, or if you looked her directly in the eye... or if you simply went downstairs to do laundry, invading her terrain. But she had a sweeter side, too. A side that would purr and rub your ankles with her bony face... A side that would follow you from washer to dryer and back again as you transferred a load of clothes over. However, as she got older, she also grew more frail. And then she started eating less. And she got very thin... everywhere except for the bulges in her belly that kept growing by the day, causing her to walk poorly and bite when she was touched. Battle Cat has littered with tumors (don't call me insensitive... it was a great pun, and you know it).
     So, last night, we told the kids that their sweet kitty was sick and in pain, and that she was going to be put to sleep tomorrow. We did NOT tell them that Daddy was going to shoot her instead of taking that lean, mean, biting machine to the vet... I'm pretty sure they would've had a heart attack  if we had tried! So we let the kids say their goodbyes and spend a few last moments with her. Cameron dissolved into a tearful puddle, saying that he will miss Battle Cat and that he loves her. Taylor responded by telling Cameron that he was a baby and that it was time to kill the cat. Yes. My daughter is scary weird and truly uncaring... however, I think that Battle Cat was somehow honored by her callousness, as it appeared to be a tribute to the way that mean cat lived her own life.
     So tonight, we say one final farewell to our precious kitty. She will be missed (by at least most of our family), but we are happy that she's not longer in pain. See you in Heaven, Kitty.