When I was a little kid, I thought that my dad knew it all. (what kid doesn’t?) So when he told us kids that our beloved cat Rusty probably had a tumor, we were devastated. I remember the bulge in our poor orange tabby’s stomach and felt bad that he was sick and according to dad, dying.
I remember us climbing into the family station wagon and driving to the vet’s office.My mom held him as dad drove to the vet’s office. I can remember sobbing all the way there. In my memory, it seemed like such a long drive to get there but the reality is that it was only about 6 miles from our home.
I didn’t want our cat to die. My father had explained that they would probably have to put the cat “to sleep” and although I didn’t really understand what that meant, I knew that this meant we had to say goodbye to our beloved Rusty.
As a child, the pain of losing a beloved pet felt like my world was being turned upside down. I had never really experienced the death of anyone before and being a child, I didn’t understand death or dying.
What a horrible car ride that must have been for my parents. I know that mom and dad were both very upset and dad somehow had to drive while his children wept in the back seat.
I don’t really remember what happened once we got to the vet’s office. I think that we waiting in the car. Dad took Rusty in to see the vet and a little while later he returned with Rusty.
Tears of sadness turned into elation as dad told us the happy news. Rusty did not have a tumor after all. Rusty, our beloved orange tabby, was not a “he” after all, Rusty was pregnant.
A few weeks later, Rusty’s “tumor” was born. Soon we had several kittens running around the house and I remember the fun we had with dad naming them all.
Today I own an orange tabby and I remember Rusty and that day that we found out that sometimes dad doesn’t know it all. It didn’t matter at the time. We were so relieved that Rusty wasn’t going to die that I don’t think any of us kids questioned why dad didn’t know that Rusty was a girl cat after all.
I only wish I could have seen my dad’s face when the vet told him that his boy cat was really a girl. I am sure that dad was happy that we waited in the car.
I am blessed to still have my dad as another Father’s Day rolls around. I will probably remind him of the story of Rusty and we will all laugh about it. I know now that dad doesn’t know it all but you know something, it doesn’t matter. He is still my dad and I still count on him knowing more than me sometimes.