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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Nikki's Return

By: Nancy Fortner

Nikki was a sealpoint Siamese cat who was big and bulky and not at all what people expect in a Siamese, but he was also cuddly and talkative and just what I needed when my husband was away on long patrols in the submarine service.

Nikki and I became very close. He would greet me excitedly when I came home from work or school, trying so hard to rub my shoes with the top of his head that he would wind up turning summersaults! He played "fetch" like a dog, retreiving small balls of tissue that I threw for him. We carried on many converstions, with Nikkie's vocal inflections telling me what he meant.

We had Nikki for fourteen years, through many moves, several other pets, and the births of three children.

Then the children developed asthma! I didn't even want to consider that they might be allergic to cats, but they were! When I learned that with every attack they were experiencing some small but permanent lung damage, I knew that we couldn't keep Nikki.

It took me a full year to get to the point at which I could bear to part with Nikki. During that year I didn't play with him or pet him as much as usual. This wasn't intentional on my part, but my heart was breaking at the thought of parting with him. Sometimes he would jump into my lap and give a puzzled and irritated yowl when I didn't automatically start petting him.

Eventually I put an ad in the newspaper, saying I would interview people who wanted to adopt my cat. I didn't know how many people would want an older cat, but I had to give Nikki a chance for a new home. Several families came out to meet us. I finally chose one that seemed to be extra good with pets, and I gave Nikki to them. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done! I still feel the pain.

Several years later I was lying with my husband in our darkened bedroom. Suddenly I felt a small animal jump upon the bed. Then I felt the bounce of small feet walking across the mattress.

I thought it was the neighbor's cat, and I asked myself: "How did Bandit get into the house?"

I was lying on my side, and to my surprise, the cat climbed onto my hip and settled down there just like Nikki used to do!

I stretched out my arm in the darkness to sweep him off, and my hand passed through thin air! Cold prickles ran up my neck! If I had been dozing before, now I was thoroughly awake!

I snapped on the light and called to my sleeping husband. He woke up and I told him about feeling a cat in our bed. We searched the bedroom. The door and the windows were closed, and there was no cat anywhere!

I had the strong feeling that Nikki had just died, and he had come back to say good-by.


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