Today's entry is going to be hard to write and it's going to be long. I have a lot to say and, for those who stay til the end, thank you for your attention.
Today's session is for Pretty, my cat. She's dying.
About 3 months ago we noticed that she was getting a little more lethargic than the typical "cat that sleeps all day". We noticed too that the mattes in her fur were getting worse, quicker. She's half Persian so the matting has always needed to be contended with, it was easy to notice that something subtle had changed. And then, on June 16, I couldn't find her anywhere and located her in the back of the closet at the end of the house. The same place her twin brother Wilson went when he suddenly suddenly got ill in 2011, just weeks after my Mother died.
I knew that day that she was going to leave us soon. It was a very difficult day.
This is a picture I took of her the day after. She didn't have a care in the world... She was comfortable, not in pain, just resting.
I took a couple of days to process my emotional strife before bringing it up with my husband. She is his Pretty girl. She has sat on his lap for 15 years while he gamed. (Me too but more him than me). She is absolutely crazy about him and he takes such good care of her. When her brother died so suddenly, it was equally difficult for my husband, perhaps even moreso in some ways. I knew I had to break it to him, I just didn't know how and I didn't want to either. So I took some time. Knowing full well that he already knew too and was likely waiting to bring it up himself. Both of us understanding it was going to be a difficult, emotional discussion to have.
I sat with her on the second day and opened up to Reiki through my tears. I could feel her consoling me, telling me she was ok and it was natural and not to worry. I also felt her urging me to have the discussion with my husband, to help him get through it. She wasn't going anywhere until he was ready to release her too.
That night we talked. And we hugged. And we cried. Together. She came out and got up on his lap and we cried some more.
We got some excellent veterinary advice on how to prepare for a natural death. I've had to put two cats down in my life and buried six more, there was no way I could do it again. Hubby didn't want to either. But we weren't sure if it was the proper way to go. The main concern the vet had was that she not suffer or be in pain. It was confirmed that she isn't sick, it is old age. We were provided information on what to watch for and how to keep her comfortable, timelines, process. I also researched it online. So we decided to let it happen naturally, knowing that if she did start suffering, we could take her in.
As can sometimes happen, she made a bit of a comeback right after this and seemed almost her normal self for a few weeks. However, it wasn't long before other signs started to show. I won't get into that, it's readily available on the internet, but I can say some of it isn't pleasant. At all... Yet still, she didn't complain. she appeared content. This final downhill turn started around the first of August. Here she is on August 4, 2020, in the same spot but we tried to make it a little more comfortable for her.
I haven't taken any more pictures since then, her dignity demands it.
Yesterday she entered into the final stages. The last time she ate was 4 days ago. She is still drinking water but we have to help her with that now too. She's a fighter. And she is still not showing any signs of physical pain at all. She is the most amazing being I've ever known.
I will be spending the remaining time counting off the Sins she has held for me and I will have the traditional meal after she passes to release her from them and back to me to be released back to Source to be transformed. I won't be making a separate post about that session, it will be private, but it will be done, likely within the next few days. She has been my greatest teacher these past 9 years and I will honour and respect her service in this way, she's earned all of the attention.
Now I'm going to tell her story and how it relates to Sin Eating (and other things).
When Pretty was born she had a twin brother in the litter. When we were contacted initially, Pretty had already been taken by a good friend of mine but her brother still needed a home. So we took him and my friend took Pretty (not her name at the time, I'll get to that later in the story).
It took us a couple of days to name him until one night he managed to peek his little head up at us over a box. All we could see were his eyes and the tips of two little paws and we both said, "Wilson!" The name was perfect for another reason besides Home Improvement, but that's not relevant for this story. So we had Wilson for a couple of years and then my friend was moving and couldn't keep Wilson's sister, so we took her too.
Here are the two of them in 2010 (Pretty on the left, Wilson on the right)
When we got Wilson, we were definitely helicopter parents. He was an indoor cat and I was OCD about it. The truth is that I didn't really want to get a cat, my husband did. It wasn't because I didn't love cats (I do. A lot!), it was because I was allergic to them. And while I wasn't overly keen on returning to sniffling and sneezing all the time, when I saw him as a little kitten, I couldn't say no. He was half persian, black and white, extra thumbs, very regal. And the back story was that his Mother (a pure Persian show cat) got out one night and hooked up with a local scoundrel and Wilson and Pretty were from that litter, kinda like bastards. Really, how could I say no to that??? So... I decided if I spent 15 years sneezing and sniffling when I was young with cats around, I could handle doing it again. And we kept him.
*Aside: Surprisingly, I noticed after we'd had him a few months that I wasn't actually allergic to him. At all. Nothing... I was, however, still allergic to "my" other cat (actually Dad's cat) who was still at home with my Dad. Whenever I'd go visit, the sneezing and sniffling and itchy eyes came back. But not with Wilson. I couldn't figure it out, still can't quite make sense of it really but I'm starting to get a clue. (Another story for another day)
The OCD with him being an indoor cat is directly related to having had 6 cats die on me between the ages of 7 and 16. All of them were indoor/outdoor cats that either got struck by a car or they just "disappeared". I wasn't fucking doing that again. Wilson wasn't going outside. Period. End of story.
When we decided to take Pretty as well, her first two years of life were VERY different from what Wilson was used to. Her name was originally Bandit (and it definitely suited her!!!) She actually was an outdoor cat. So my biggest concern in taking her was that she'd be constantly trying to get outside and I wasn't sure how long it would take to get her used to being an indoor cat, like her brother. Regardless, I couldn't deny them coming back together. The story wouldn't allow me to say no to her. So again, taking her also turned out to be an easy decision.
*Aside 2: Surprisingly (again), she never once tried to go outside. Not once. It blew my mind!!!
From that moment until June 2011, this was our little family. Me, hubby, Wilson & Pretty
The Name Change
Sometime in and around 2005 both hubby and I noticed that we rarely, if ever, called her Bandit. We called her Pretty. It started off as kind of a teasing thing because, compared to Wilson, she was super scruffy!!! Her whiskers and fur were everywhere no matter how much we groomed her, her expressions were always "not very pretty..." and she constantly made us laugh with how often she scowled!!! She was also a LOT smaller than Wilson but I'd put money on her in a fight. When they would wrestle, she always won. What she was exceptionally good at though was avoiding the fights. She could dodge like a level-capped Rogue. Wilson didn't stand a chance, so he eventually gave up and they started getting along. And somehow she earned the name Pretty. And it perfectly suits her (as does Bandit).
In June 2011, my Mother passed away from a long illness. A week after that Wilson got really sick and went to that spot in the closet Pretty is in right now. We took him to the vet and found out he was in kidney failure and he was in a great deal of pain and had less than two weeks, according to the Vet. It took us both completely by surprise. Neither of us saw it coming. It was a nightmare to make that decision to end his life but we did and he passed 3 weeks to the day after my Mother did.
The next two years are a blur.
During that time, Pretty transformed into an entirely different cat. She started to get chatty and more playful. It was like she was coming out of a shell. But I couldn't look at her. Every time I did it hurt, all I could see was Wilson and I felt awful about it. I knew rationally I was being ridiculous but the pain was very real. She was his twin, seeing her triggered me for a while. But then her unique personality started to expand and eventually I came to meet her, without Wilson's shadow draped around her through my pained vision.
By 2013, as I was finally starting to come out of my grief haze, I discovered a bunch of other "shit" I needed to reconcile within myself. And the so-called "spiritual awakening" began. Thank God. If it hadn't, I guarantee you I wouldn't be here typing any of this right now.
I started dabbling in all kinds of modalities and channelers, looking for needles in haystacks all over the place. One particular gem I found was related to the energetic assistance pets can provide, with respect and trust. That cats especially are able to absorb energy and they are pure empaths, willing to absorb the emotional pain of the owner, to help them.
After struggling for over a year trying to figure out how to meditate and getting increasingly frustrated with my "lack of spiritual sense", I found myself laying in bed one evening, feeling completely inadequate and frankly, cursed. I shut my eyes and I gave up. And as I did, I heard the words, clear as a bell, "She's a Sin Eater, let her help you." And my eyes flung open and I almost jerked up until I realized Pretty had been laying on my chest, looking me dead in the eye. And I laughed. Hard. Harder than I'd laughed in what felt like years. And she never budged, she laughed right along with me.
"Sin Eater??? Really? WTF is that?" I had never heard the term in my life so I kept that part to myself for quite a while. It sounded dark and ridiculous even though, somehow, I knew exactly what it meant. And, to me, it wasn't dark nor ridiculous, it made perfect sense. I began to see her in a whole new light from that point forward.
I remembered hearing a LONG time ago that petting cats helped people with anxiety. And suddenly it all kinda fit. I think I was avoiding her after Wilson died because I didn't want to taint her with my Sins. And I definitely had Sins. So she and I kind of made an agreement that day, that she would help me carry the load until I could manage it myself, the emotional stuff, the forgiveness stuff. After that, the meditating started to yield fruit and every time, she was right there with me. And I would thank her at the end. After which she'd mosy on away for a snack or a nap or something, completely unperturbed.
By 2016 or so, I was finally at a place where I didn't feel the need to involve her when I meditated and, curiously enough, I'm not actually sure when she stopped being present with me for it. But it was a while and I will be forever grateful for her assistance when I needed it most.
As I look back on all of this now, and how everything progressed to this point, it's obvious to me how it's all connected, even though it may not be clear to the reader. If indeed Pretty is one of my guides cloaked in a cat's body, then she has done a tremendous job in helping me recover and I owe her this Ode. The meal I prepare to consume upon her final release will release her as well, with gratitude and respect and joy and honour and forgiveness. In traditional Sin Eater fashion (as in before the ancient ritual became tainted and twisted by the the word "Sin").
May she prance off and live happily ever after in heaven with her brother, whenever she decides the time is right. Until then, my focus is with her. And my husband. We will get through this together, just as we did before.
I'll close with a few pictures of Pretty from 2010-2012. I didn't think they were blurry when I took them but they are now. I'm sharing them anyway.
If you made it this far, thank you for sharing this experience with me. And say a word of thanks for kitties everywhere, they're worthy of all the love for the spiritual service they provide us in our times of need. Whether you believe it or not.