A Blessing Named Bituminous

A lapful of love, a warm chin in my elbow, a soft paw tapping my chest, green eyes gazing into mine. This was Bituminous for many wonderful years.
This morning his time ran out, and I let him go peacefully before he lost his peace in this life. He snuggled his cheek into my hand right up to the end, enjoying my gentle love that wanted to keep him forever, but even more wanted for him to never know the suffering that would have come soon due to his failing body.
My Bituminous—a mighty hunter in his younger years; a friend small in stature but great in trust; a beloved member of our family for over eighteen years. Somehow, because he had beaten the odds so many times over the years, I thought he would keep on going forever.
I learned much from my little friend. Early on he showed me what trust looks like. I remember stepping outside before bed and calling him to come inside. The night was black and so was he, and all was silent. Then a small piece of the night would step into the circle of light spilling from the windows, and Bituminous would come running joyfully to me from the darkness. A small creature, less than one tenth my size, hurrying toward me without hesitation, with perfect trust. From him I learned to have a greater trust in God, who is so much greater than I.
In recent years Bituminous has helped me learn to slow down and savor quiet moments. Over the past few years I have spent many happy hours with my warm cat on my lap, with him sleeping or watching me, and me reading or watching his calm breathing. Life slowed down as I stepped out of the rat race, into peaceful reflection and silent connection that enriched my days and helped me grow into the person I am today.
Thank you, Bituminous, for the gifts you brought me. You were a gift in every way.


I stepped outside and called Bituminous. The night was quiet, except for the drone of insects, and dark, with no moonlight. The yellow light from the living room spilled out the windows onto the deck where I stood, but didn’t extend out into the yard.

I waited. I called again, then thought I caught a glimpse of movement out by the driveway. A moment later a small black form emerged from the darkness and came bounding towards me. He leaped up the steps and came to me gladly, rubbing ecstatically against my legs. Scooping him up, I held him against my chest and felt his soft fur on my cheek, heard and felt his contented purr. I smiled and sighed happily; my cat was safe for the night and, as always, I cherished the opportunity to hold him close.

Now fifteen years old, Bituminous has been an indoor cat for two years. He spends time nearly every morning purring and kneading on my lap as I sip tea and read while watching woodpeckers and songbirds at the feeder. With him on my lap, I’m more inclined to rock quietly and be still for a while. His calming influence helps me since, though I love to sit and reflect, I usually have a hard time actually quieting myself for more than a few brief minutes.

Bituminous exemplifies trust for me. Trust so deep that there’s no hesitation, not a moment’s question of whether it is safe to approach. I have always been safe harbor for him, so he happily streaked from the darkness to my arms when he was younger. Now he confidently walks up and asks for lap time whenever he hears the subtle creak of my rocking chair. He simply is my cat, and he loves to be with me. I love him, too, and am thankful for every day I have with him.