Rescue cats can range from quite feral (at least at the beginning) to unbelievably affectionate and human centered. Powder was the latter. In fact, in my mind, Powder was always a person. He appeared to have the wisdom, the depth of emotions and the social intelligence of a human.
He was making it very hard for me as a volunteer to treat him like the rest of our rescue cats. His eyes looked right into yours, as if they could see into your soul. He always appeared to have some kind of self-awareness you rarely see in animals.
He came to us very sick, weakened by FIV and skin cancer. He begged to let him out of the crate, not so that he could explore and run around, but so that he could be closer to you. After a few weeks Iron came to us, and he was placed in the crate next to him. And those two kept meowing at each other and trying to sleep cuddled up, that we couldn’t have the crate’s railings keep them apart anymore.
We emptied a room and placed them together. Both very sick with FIV, both fighting to stay alive, each one having his own battle to win, Iron and Powder held each other’s hand along the way. They did everything together.
For a few weeks, Powder was hospitalized. He has become too weak, and put him on IV for a while, without being very hopeful about his recovery. But he surprised us, and came back stronger – stronger than Iron, who started getting weaker and weaker every day, until he vanished. He died one day, in front of the window, and Powder was left alone.
For two months, his pave in front of the window was left untouched, until a week ago when we had to empty the whole room and move the cats to another place. Powder sunbathing in front of the window, on Iron’s spot, was the loneliest thing I have ever seen.
Powder is an incredibly human centered cat. Being around people made him happy. Simply happy. But he wasn’t getting any stronger, and waiting for him to recover before he could leave for his forever home was too risky. So despite the fact that he had not fully recovered, Powder left for his forever home in Germany a week ago, and we all believe that the happier he is, the easier his health will improve.
So Powder is finally at home. After losing his friend, after experiencing Iron’s absence and after almost losing his own life, he is finally where he belongs. At home. With him is another SCARS rescue cat Yieti, who also lost his beautiful ears to skin cancer. Ideally, Iron would have joined them, but fate believed otherwise.
After losing Iron, seeing Powder happy in his forever home is an overwhelming relief for all the SCARS volunteers. Somehow, it feels like Powder’s happiness has a compensating value for Iron’s death. Those two were so close to one another, that it almost feels like Iron is also there, in a way. We just can’t see him.