Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Tale of the Cat's Paw Shell

It's taken me nearly a year to compose myself sufficiently to tell my brief tale, but it's one that begs to be told if you have ever loved and lost a pet.

The beach is a place I go to walk alone, to think, to contemplate, to generate ideas. and to seek peace.  The morning after we lost our beloved cat Taj, who had blessed our lives with joy and companionship for nearly 16 years, I again sought the solace of the beach so I could be alone, think about her as I had during the many long months we nursed her through her illness, and experience my grief in the place I find most comforting.

As I was walking along the shore, my vision blurred by tears, a solitary seashell caught my eye.  Fittingly, it was a cat's paw shell.  Unlike the others, it sat alone in the sand separated from all the others, and it blazed with an intensity I couldn't ignore ... an almost fiery orange glow that was impossible to miss.  I veered from my path to inspect it more closely, and as I touched it, I could hear Taj speak as clearly and surely as if she were human and still at my feet:

"Please don't be sad.  I left this shell for you so you would know that I've reached heaven safely.  Thank you for always being my friend and for taking such good care of me when I was sick.  I'm well again, and I'm very happy.  Please be happy too.  You will always have my love and gratitude, and I know you'll always love and remember me."

I knelt in the sand, clutching the shell to my chest, and rocked and cried until I could cry no longer.  Then I put the shell safely in my pocket and carried it home.

The shell no longer glows, but the memory of that moment on the beach will stay with me always.

April, 1994 - January, 2010


  1. Thanks Bev for sharing such a beautiful moment with us.

  2. Bev, I am sure someone shared this with you!
    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  3. Thank you both. Wendy, yes, I've long known the story of the Rainbow Bridge, and in fact a copy was provided to us by our vet at the time we received Taj's ashes. It's so beautiful ...

    My post was meant to be accompanied by photos of both the cat's paw shell and of Taj, but an error message keeps preventing me from attaching pictures. I'll keep trying!

  4. Here in France, we do not know this legend, which is something really beautiful. Many thanks Wendy for sharing it with me. As my in law's brother just lost their beloved cat, i will find more words to make their sorrow lighter.

  5. Bev, You have your lovely Taj's picture up!!
    That was so nice that your vet gave you a copy of the Rainbow Bridge. I really do feel your sorrow.
    To Narrative Jewelry, I hope this helps your in laws brother's sorrow over the loss of their loss of their beloved cat. Tell them to adopt or rescue a cat. It helps heal the heart.