One night while driving home, we were stopped at the ramp to the highway because of a small black and white kitten that kept trying to go onto the road. Fearing for his safety, we pulled over and I tried to call him into our car. He was clearly scared and started to go back into the long grass. Our maid picked him up and brought him into the car.
Terrified, his meows filled our car. Eventually he decided to hide under my seat. We stopped at the store to pick up some cat food and set him up with a bed of blankets in our bathroom. The next day we took him to the vet.
The vet confirmed the cat was male and approximately 2 months old. He dewormed and gave the cat a vaccine. He told us to come back in 3 weeks for his next dose.
We decided to let Sulayman take responsibility for the cat. After given a choice of names, he decided on Jasper. Each day, Sulayman would bring his food and water dish to be changed. One day I overheard him saying to Jasper, “cat come eat your betunia [tuna], I want you to be strong!”
The first few days were actually a bit stressful. Neither of my kids have ever really been around pets let alone a kitten. They were obsessed with Jasper and would chase him around, pick him up, and Zakariyah kept trying to pull his ears and tail. I had to be extra vigilant.
Eventually they learned to pet him gently and even used a toy I made to safely play with him. Whenever Zakariyah would pet Jasper, he would start clapping and dancing. At night when the kids were asleep, Jasper would cuddle up and sleep in my lap. He was a very friendly cat and adjusted quickly to us. It was easy to imagine Jasper being a part of our family for many years so we also quickly grew attached to him.
After a couple days I noticed that Jasper wasn’t eating very much. Hubby just thought I was giving him too much food and I thought he was being picky with certain foods. However, one day he didn’t eat anything. That’s when I started to wonder if he was sick.
The day after, he spent the whole day hiding behind the fridge and refused to eat. We decided to take him back to the vet the following day.
When I went to get Jasper, he was laying stretched out and he had soiled his bed. We left for the vet immediately.
When the vet saw Jasper, he started to shake his head. After checking his temperature, which was very low, he gave Jasper a needle. The vet said it was unlikely that Jasper would survive the night due to liver damage.
Having to leave Jasper at the vet overnight knowing we might not see him alive again was truly heartbreaking. In the car, Sulayman started crying, I want my cat!
Although the vet said it wasn’t our fault, you can’t help but wonder, what if we had brought him in sooner or what if the vet had been more thorough at his first checkup, or what if…would Jasper still be alive? So many ifs but all too late.
Death always reminds us how precious, unpredictable, and temporary this life is. For many, Jasper’s life seems so unfair and pointless. But I can’t accept that. As Muslims we believe we will see Jasper again on the Day of Judgement. His time here was short but at least we’ll have eternity.
Until we meet again 💖