The other day I read about a cat who was raised in a hospice. Oscar, death kitty extraordinaire, can predict when a patient is going to die. When the patient gets close to the final hours, Oscar finds them and lies on them until they have passed into the next world, making me think my great grandmother Mimi might have been onto something when she said that cats sucked the soul out you. She used to make the sign of the cross when she saw a cat on the horizon, even at our sweet senile pet Paintbrush who had so lost her mind that she sat by her cat bowl for hours, waiting for dinner when she'd already been fed. Sometimes my mother would give in and give Paintbrush even more food which she'd nibble at, a confused look in her eyes as to why she wasn't hungry. A lot of people in the geriatric psych ward that was connected to the social work center that used to employ me had the same belief system as Mimi, making pet therapy day a real joy, people screaming, terrified of the one lone cat that was supposed to make them feel better. The real accomplishment the cat served was killing rats in the kitchen. For this I gave much thanks. The pet therapy dog fared a little better, although the mentally challenged adults that were intermingled in the dementia clinic would get overexcited and scream for the better part of an hour until Fido took his leave. The dementia patients would pet Fido, often calling him names of dogs from their youth.
As for the death kitty, the nurses use Oscar's skills to notify the family that there loved one's time has come. He doesn't cuddle up to anyone else, just the dying. Nobody knows how Oscar obtained his skill, although he has received an award commending him for his work. He's a tiny little thing if his picture is to be trusted, running toward what so many of us flee. Often those last hours aren't as peaceful as they are rumored to be, a slipping off in a morphine haze. There's a lot of jerking and the famed death rattle, bodies that resist the end, transitions being so difficult at times. But I like to think that Oscar makes it better, even if that's just a fantasy. After all, the end must be full of wild visions. And what's the harm of one little friend to blanket you at long last, the hard work of this world finally done.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"All my humor is based upon destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, without disease and violence, I'd be standing on the breadline right in back of J. Edgar Hoover. " Lenny Bruce
Drinking movie suggestion: The Night of the Hunter
Benedictions and Maledictions