Monday, June 15, 2009


The sleek black newcomer stretched her legs. She liked this new place. Fields of wild ’nip, lots of high places to climb upon in order to survey her new surroundings. And the food was tasty... and plentiful.

From her perch - did I mention that she liked to climb? - she saw a grey cat off in the distance. Despite the fact that the grey one was about a quarter-mile away, she could hear the other one’s purring. Damn! she thought. That one purrs about as loud as I used to breathe, with that miserable asthma...

...which seems to have disappeared mysteriously. Strange. But I’m not about to complain.

The black one jumped down and ran to encounter the noisy little grey cat. “Good Gawd,” she said. “You’re almost as loud as I used to be! And you look strangely familiar. Last place I lived, there were a lot of pictures of a little grey cat, looked just like you.”

“Well, I don’t know where you used to live, but my name’s Matata. Pleased ta meetcha.”

“Neighbor here. And speaking of ‘here,’ what is this place, anyway?”

“I don’t really know. Some of the others call it ‘The Other Side of the Bridge’ or some such. All I know is, it’s really nice... except I miss my sister Hakuna.”

“Hakuna! Holy crap! I know her! She used to hide under the bed all the time. She didn’t like me too much.” At this, Neighbor essayed a wry grin. “I guess you are the grey cat in the pictures after all!”

“Well, Neighbor, welcome to the - heh - neighborhood. Lemme show you around, introduce you to a few of my friends. I got a lotta friends.”

* * * * *

Neighbor, the Mistress of Sarcasm’s Animal Companion, passed away peacefully in her sleep sometime early Saturday morning.

Neighbor was not a Well Cat. She had suffered from various breathing disorders since before the Mistress came into her life five years ago, likely owing to her life as a former Urban Street Cat. Last week, she had suffered a near-fatal asthma attack, an attack that seemingly came out of the blue but that hinted at the seriousness of her health issues. But after treatment and a new regimen of medicaments, she seemed fine.

As we prepared to depart on our Beach Vacation, SWMBO noticed that Neighbor had not come down for breakfast and became concerned. When she saw her lying inert in Elder Daughter’s old bedroom, she fearfully asked me to check on her, knowing what the answer would be. It was left to me to make the sad pronouncement.

Thank Gawd we found her before the Mistress did.

Neighbor’s loss leaves a hole in our lives, the Mistress’s most of all. Neighbor was her boon companion these last five years... and the Mistress gave Neighbor’s all-too-short life a quality it never could have had without her.

Ave atque vale, Neighborly Neighborson. May you always be able to climb the High Places, wherever you are.

Farewell Neighbor

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