The cat’s last life

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_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

Lord help me, I do not want to write a column about my dead cat.
To be honest, we didn’t even really get along all that well. There were a few years there, I think, that she completely ignored me unless I was using the can opener.

She was not a great cat. She’d pee on the floor even before she entered old age, and occasionally leave a fresh turd underfoot in a not-so-cryptic message. When you tried to pet her, she’d bite you. And if you tried to hold her, she’d stiffen up like a longbow.

And she was old. Blaze Starr was acquired in the fall of 1998, a street kitten we adopted with her brother Henry to add life to our apartment in the Garden District of New Orleans. Even then she was a fiery one, like her namesake. When Henry was small, she held him down and chewed off his whiskers. That was Blaze. A real nasty one.

A couple of years in she ballooned up in weight, largely because she wouldn’t let her brother eat until she was through. At one point she was as big as a beach ball, and that’s no joke. She’d routinely startle first-time houseguests with her enormity as she made her entrance.

When our oldest was born, she disappeared in that tiny little pad as soon as we got home from the hospital. I didn’t find her for three days.

Yeah, she was there when our first child came into this world, moved with us to North Carolina and lasted through two more kids and three homes. She’d been with us for many years.

And in her way, she complained about it the whole time.

In her final days she had withered like a crone. All she did was cry. The last time I picked her up she was as light as a few pages of newsprint, nothing to her but fur and bones. She acknowledged me that time, gave me a look me right in the eye that said, This is what happens when you get old. Just you wait and see.

And it was something, to see her like that: the ball of fur we’d raised as a kitten now withered and wizened as a cat can get. It was really something.

But nothing worth writing about. Not really.

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  • John Muse

    Brian. My condolences on the loss of Belle Star. Now, in Belle’s defense, if you tried to pet me, I would scratch and bite you too. Although like her, I would always be interested in what’s in the can.
    Good article.