This weekend, we had to have our cat put down. Only a couple of weeks ago, she was out in the field, hunting mice, looking very spry for her rather advanced age. But very suddenly, she lost weight. So we took her to the vet, she got hydrated, and we discovered that her kidneys were failing.
We brought her home with some cans of special food, a syringe to feed her with, some medicine, lots of instructions, and many many what-if scenarios to consider. Or if this, then this scenarios.
When we woke up Sunday morning, she was hiding under a futon we have out on the enclosed porch, where we had ensconced her in a nest of toweling so she'd be comfortable. Hiding, I think, in case an enemy sensed her weakness and attacked.
When I was little, we lived in Japan. One night we spent the night at our housekeeper's place. She had a little shrine with the picture of her father, and a small altar for an offering. I need something like that--a little dish in which to place a branch of catmint, the effigy of a mouse. A bouquet of stray bird feathers.
There's a knot right at my solar plexus that keeps coming undone when I think about her, when I go out to that porch to do a load of laundry, when I walk by the chair where she often slept, tucked into the corner of seat and back. Her dish on the floor.