Powder cat, figuring how to get off the couch
Animals live in a universe of synchronicity. They are so fully present in the moment that they seem to swim in the flow of time, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing. With dogs, you watch them playing and you see it. You watch them sniffing, hunting, racing across a lawn, a dog park, barking and jumping at squirrels, or just lying in full contentment after a full day and that now presence is obvious. And within that presence, they sometimes sense the future.
On Sunday, February 11, after returning from Orlando, it was obvious that our cat, Powder, at least 18, perhaps as old as 19, was dying. She’d been ailing for 4 or 5 years with thyroid problems, was nearly blind, and didn’t do much of anything except sleep and eat. I considered taking her to the vet to be put to sleep, but felt this would traumatize her. So I brought her outside with me and we sat in the sun, beneath a cloudless blue sky, with Powder in my lap for a long time. I talked to her, loved on her, asked her to return to us.
At one point, she squirmed to be let down, so I set her on the ground by the patio table and went inside for some water. When I came back out, she was gone. I couldn’t imagine how she’d moved anywhere so quickly, but figured she’d headed for the nearby bushes and shrubs. I found her deep in the greenery. She’d crawled into a deep hole the dogs had dug under the house, lying in the cool dirt, breathing hard.
That was when I knew for sure she was ready to move on – and that the dogs had known this before me and maybe before Powder herself had known. I picked her up and carried her back onto the porch and set her on a cushion where the dogs sometimes sleep. And then I broke down, sobbing, and Nika, Noah, and Nigel came over, licking me, licking Powder, saying good-bye to her.
In all the years we’d had her, she was the most tolerant animal in our household. Bring in a dog, a bird, another cat, a hamster, fish, a guinea pig, that was fine with Powder. She welcomed them into the fold. In 2007, the night before we had to put down our Golden Retriever Jessie, Powder knew. She curled up next to Jessie and spent the entire night with her. When our black and white tuxedo cat, Whiskers, and later, our orange tabby Simba joined the clan, Powder welcomed them. When we got Noah, then Nika, then Nigel, Powder was the welcoming committee.
After she died, I wrapped her up and buried her in the hole under the house that the dogs had already dug for her. Rob had to cover it with bricks so the dogs or other animals can’t dig into it, and I’m on a hunt for the right potted flower for that spot.
This happened 4 days before the solar eclipse on Feb 15, an event often preceded by or coinciding with external events that force us to release something so that new opportunities can be ushered into our lives.
The day before the solar eclipse, the Parkland mass murder of 17 people happened, and perhaps, finally, this horror will result in tighter gun control laws. The day after the eclipse, today, Mueller indicted 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 election and those indictments pretty much put an end to trump’s endless tweets about how this Russia stuff is all a witch hunt.
The personal, the global.
RIP, Powder. We hope you’ll be around soon!