It’s been a sad week in our household. Our little kitty, Kisaki, died.
Anyone who has animal friends knows how they become part of your family, infusing your life with their little personality. Sometimes I think they’re very much like children. They get right up into whatever you’re doing if you aren’t paying them enough attention. They want to snuggle in with you when you’re reading or sleeping. They want to be fed and have definite likes and dislikes of those menu choices. We had Kisaki for seven years and she fully lived up to the meaning of her Japanese name, queen.
Kisaki had a tumor removed from her rib right after Thanskgiving. It turned out to be osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer. Of course, you never know what to expect or how long it will be before the cancer metastasizes, so you keep on living.
About two months after her surgery, the tumor started coming back, gradually enlarging to the size of a tennis ball. This last month we noticed her appetite starting to diminish and she wasn’t as spry jumping up or getting down from her favorite perches. Other than that, she was as affectionate and sweet as usual.
We knew the end was approaching. She wasn’t interested in eating and she was having real difficulty walking. When humans are close to death, they develop what’s referred to as a death rattle, a wheezy sound due to difficulty swallowing. Kisaki had that sound and I didn’t know if she’d make it through the night.
The vet suggested bringing her in and he’d give her some fluids to help make her more comfortable. She got her fluids and was getting a little oxygen, all of us there with her, when she died. We wrapped her in her pink blanket and brought her home to bury.
Now here’s where things start to happen that might seem a bit weird. I know it’s given me some things to ponder.
We got home and I went in to switch out of my sandals and put on shoes so I could navigate our uneven backyard terrain. There was such a strong sense of Kisaki’s presence that I expected her to come running to me like she did every time we came in through the door. It was the only time I noticed it, even though I find myself expecting her to be sitting on her chair next to my desk or her pushing open the bathroom door.
We may live in town, but it’s still quite rural. The field next to us has shared it’s abundance of weeds with us, so we had to clear a space before we could even dig Kisaki’s little grave. We buried her and I picked a bunch of the magnificent weed from the field next to us, putting them in a large vase, until I could get to the nursery and select something to plant. I was a wreck, as expected.
Later that evening I noticed one of our outdoor cats laying next to the vase on the cleared out area! A little later, all three of the outdoor cats who adopted us and we feed, were laying there, like they were keeping Kisaki company. At various times each day since we buried Kisaki, one or some combination of the kitties, spends time at Kisaki’s grave.
It’s as though the cats knew. Once we buried Kisaki, they stopped looking for her in the window. Kisaki would track their activity from window to window and they came to look for her in the same way she would look for them. Mutual tolerance. I guess. Nevertheless, I still can’t get over how they just hang out in her new area! Even though I know her spirit isn’t in that hole, the whole burial thing still bothers me. It’s comforting to know she and her kitty friends are now sharing something special together.