To the owner of the little, gray cat I hit yesterday at 5:45 p.m. on Lovely Street,
There is nothing more awful: driving your kids down the road in rush hour traffic, seeing a little grey cat beginning to trot out of the woods on the right to cross the road only ten feet ahead and knowing there is no way to stop in time. All the while, there's a line of cars following too closely behind you, frantically laying on the horn in attempt to scare the cat back into the woods. There is nothing more awful than the the double “bump” under the tires, the little lifeless lump in the rearview mirror and the tearful explanation to your kids about what you just did.
When I was eleven years old, I had a cat who I still remember to this day as the pet I loved most in my life. I would look into this cat's eyes and feel like my heart was going to explode from the love I had for him. He was a really special cat, and he would sleep at night with his two front paws around my neck as though he was hugging me, and he would push his little nose into mine and purr and purr as I fell asleep. He knew he was my cat, and sometimes he would just watch me and purr. He would wake me up in the morning by gently pressing on my sleeping eyelids with his big double-thumbed paws. When I woke up to see his face, he almost looked as if he was smiling at me. Oh, how I loved that cat.
On June 5, 1979, I found my cat lifeless under the bushes just outside the back door of my house. A veterinarian's autopsy found that his spleen had ruptured, more than likely from being hit by a passing car. I imagine the driver, having seen the cat walk away from the scene, hoped he was not badly injured and drove away.
I cried for hours, and that turned into days, which turned into weeks. My heart hurt in a way that I will never forget. I cried in school, at home...everywhere. My friends were worried about me. My parents (my dad is a psychiatrist, my mom a social worker) were fully and appropriately supportive of my need to explore the full gamut of grief emotions. It took such a long, long time for that feeling of loss to subside. In retrospect, the severity and duration of my grief can be attributed to the fact that it was my first real loss of someone (I thought of him as a someone) very dear to me. But that didn't make it less painful to me at the time. I remember thinking that the person who hit my cat should have found me to apologize.
So, whoever you may be, I want to sincerely apologize for killing your little, grey cat yesterday evening. Maybe the cat didn't belong to anyone, but if it did, I just wanted to express my sincere regret.
15 Wildwood Drive