We buried Pudkhi today. I wrapped her gently in an old blue towel, covering the matted fur and dried on cat litter that marked the shame of her last attempt to be neat. I tucked fragrant lemon balm and peppermint beside her, and laid her down in an open apple carton. I added vivid larkspur and golden California poppies to cheer myself, and set the box on the door stoop in dappled shade. This last in honor of her own fondness for sleeping out in the fresh air on a warm sunny day.

Inside, after I cleaned up all traces of her sickness, I lit a single candle in the corner by the gas stove. I thought of the soft fur, almost white, between her front legs, and I remembered the way she would roll onto her side and stretch to let me rub there. I wanted to hold her on my shoulder one more time, and bend my ear to feel the vibration of her noisy purr. This was my goodbye.

I found her this morning collapsed in the litter box, too weak to drag herself out. I think that I knew last night that without an emergency run to the vet, on a Sunday evening, that she would not pull out of this recent crisis. At sixteen, she has been having problems with digestion, and with her kidneys. The medications tried have caused further difficulties. She has been lonely for several years, and deaf for 2 or 3 years. However except for in these last two serious crisis she has retained her pleasure in sleeping, in catnip, and in our company. A feline hedonist (redundant, I know), her purr could be heard across the room when her ears were rubbed with sufficient vigor and expertise.

Michael and I buried her at the building site of the new house she will never see. She is buried under the patio, with a small cairn of stones above.

I miss her.

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