Mazal the Cat is very sick.
She has quickly gone from being a Kliban-style Fat Cat to the size sleek Bracha was when she was healthy.
She has a large growth inside that is impeding her left hind leg. She can no longer leap. Even mild climbing has become difficult.
She wobbles and sprawls. This morning she curled up in the kitchen sink—that’s new.
Pete the Vet and I had decided not to speed her death except to spare her undue pain.
We may have gotten very near that point. [She has just climbed over to the little salmon sofa from Zalman’s recliner (her favorite spot down here), over me and the chirping keyboard, and is resting by my right side, a tail draped on my lap.]
I have been telling her what a good cat she has been, and thanking her for taking care of my mother, and for tucking Zalman and me into bed each night (as she kneaded our stomachs, combed our hair, washed our faces, then curled up and purred on the pillow between our two heads.) She has kindly modified the practice for me alone: she has been sleeping snuggled up to my right ear, her head on my shoulder, purring me to sleep.
Zalman used to call the two cats “Bed and Board”: Bracha would insist on joining us for meals, Mazal for sleep-and-dream.
Since Bracha died, Mazal has done double duty, joining me on the dining room table requesting samples. But really, what she has undertaken in the last two+ years is to make sure that I have been accompanied and steadied since Zalman’s death: the obligation to take care of another’s life and wellbeing anchored me, cat food and litter box , fur, purr, piss and all.
(Umm…had I mentioned her occasional practice of spraying, saturating the wooden floor by the washer and dryer? She used to leave a puddle of piddle next to Zalman’s chair in his prayer room each morning, which I cleaned up first thing; I think she was trying to tell us he was ill.
I wonder what the current spray-message is.)
She has just climbed down from the sofa, and is in the hall meowing loudly.
It sounds like she is hurting. I will try to give her one of the injections against pain that Pete the Vet left me, back by her left rear leg.
But I think we must help her leave today. She doesn’t deserve prolonged pain.
I hope, if it comes to that, that someone might extend that kindness to me when it’s my turn.
It is said that when someone dies near or on Shabbos, it means they have completed the task for which they have come into this world, and can now really rest.
She has been a faithful and generous and kind and good cat.
We will help smooth her journey in time for her to celebrate Shabbos in the next world.
Just before lighting candles
Pete the vet came. I had been sitting with Mazal and talking to her.
We settled her in my lap.
Leaving this world is not an instant thing; she did it in stages. Peacefully.
Pete and I buried her together in the back yard; her shroud is one of Zalman's undershirts with the tzitzis cut off.
It is almost shabbos, and my heart hurts. This shabbos, I greet the Shabbos Queen with tears. (I am a wreck.) I had no time to cook; will munch leftovers. Instead, I spent the day sitting with Mazal recounting all the good things she did in her life with us; I think she deserved it.
I need to find the tissues or a hankie.