Zelda didn’t come home after the most recent rain storm. Two days passed before we took notice. After three days, we pronounced her dead. Her departure comes as no surprise.
For the past few years Zelda the Wondercat fought routine seizures, exercised poor grooming habits, and showed signs of savagery. No amount of food and water satisfied her. Litter box instinct abandoned her. And her behavior at doorways betrayed a feline version of dementia: She never seemed certain if she wanted to be inside or outdoors. Twenty times a day: in she came/out she went/in she came/out she went.
And then the cycle stopped. After twelve years, seven homes, and three states, her quiet death in some uncertain shrub, window well, or alley feels anticlimactic and, perhaps, a bit unjust. Although, I suppose her incessant meowing and late burst of affection was Zelda’s way of telling us she was nigh on life number nine. She never did learn English.
We searched our basement, garage, and neighbors bushes for her body, but to no avail. She left nothing to bury. All we are left with is a brand new container of litter and memories. When we finally broke the news to our children, Claire did not miss a beat. "That means I can get a lizard." We nixed that idea. A little respect for the dead is a learned behavior.
Godspeed, Zelda the Wondercat. May God take you where the fleas don't bite and you seize no more.