Smokey Zakat Sabir 1996-2007
Today Smokey died. Lying on her side under the house where she’d been hanging out lately, she wasn't moving when TaSin pointed the flashlight her way this morning and came inside to tell me the sad news. I last saw Smokey yesterday afternoon when she was sleeping in the bathroom stretched out on a towel. She was so still....Her breath shallow. When she stood up she scared me--her hair was sticking up along her spin like she'd been shocked.
I went into the kitchen and saw that she hadn't eaten, so I opened some chicken flavored dinner, heated it, chopped it up so she didn't have to do more than lap it up and put it in a low dish by her face. She refused it, and walked slowly to the back door lay down to rest on the hem of the patio door curtain. She then mustered her energy and walked slowly to her hideout where we found her unconscious the next day.
This had been her MO for the past few months as she grew thinner and thinner. We got a really nice homeopathic doctor to give her relief from any pain she might have had from a growth near her liver. Daphne gave her acupuncture treatments and we began to give her Pedialyte for the dehydration.
I remember the fiery feline who ran away from our neighbor's dogs as they chased her through holes they chewed in our fence repeatedly. It was just this March, then April and May that she stood her ground and was ready to fight for her right to occupy her land, her yard, her patio, her house without their interference. They didn't frighten her at all. She was so fast, whipping by their noses into the cat-sized opening in the door. She also snarled at other cats and they ran for their lives too.
Nobody messed with "Za Cat!" as we called her. Proud of her fearlessness.
Smokey liked sitting on my lap and I tried to accommodate her. She could no longer leap into my lap, so I'd pick her up. She and I were night owls. We also liked late night snacks and she joined me often as I snacked to stay awake as I wrote.
I remember Tuesday as I tried to type and hold her at the same time. She rested her head on the keyboard. I missed my deadline once again. Oh well, I thought. I wish I had held her a little longer when she walked over and looked like she wanted to sit on my lap Wednesday and I told her I had to work and she left the room, the house and our lives.
Smokey is gone. Smokey is gone. Smokey is gone.
Gray and white, she was classy, elegant, a really beautiful feline. She was even-tempered and when she was younger very playful—nipping at TaSin’s toes when she hid under her bed. She never scratched us or tore up the furniture or swung from curtains—she was the perfect indoor cat. She was quiet so our landlord never knew we had her –this is for years.
I used to call her a cat/dog. She came when TaSin whistled. She even ran to the window when TaSin was approaching the door and then waited for her to enter. When TaSin traveled Smokey warmed the bed until she returned. I heard Smokey sat in my office chair while I was in New Orleans this spring. Her favorite pastime was to chase a laser light, and to box with my brother. She also liked to catch flies and eat them, moths too.
When she got older, she didn't like children who were noisy and liked to scream in fright when she'd poke her head out at them. So we spared her their idiosyncrasies by limiting their visits and keeping them away from her. This was her home and she had rights.
We gave her the best food, fresh air and took her into see the doctor when she was ill. We even insured her last year when she began to get sick more often. The insurance company has yet to reimburse me.
The vets couldn’t tell us why she threw up so much. Perhaps the mass which was causing her pain in the end was a smaller tumor then? The carpeted apartments probably didn’t add to her longevity—the fibers toxic I hear to human beings and animals. She was eleven human years, about 61 cat years. Her demise reminded me
of my dad’s passing at 59. He stopped eating too.
She is under the house and I have calls out to animal control and the fire department to see who can help us get her from under there. We want to bury her under the tree in the yard she loved to hang out in.
I wanted to give her a funeral but TaSin said people would not take it seriously so I deferred to her. Smokey was family and I will never forget her as long as I have breath to call her name. I am even hopeful that there is a heaven so I can see her again, but even if there isn't such a place, I know like other energy, she is with us still—her breath my breath, TaSin’s breath, our breath.
Energy doesn't disappear, it only changes.
I always wanted to get a house so my children could play in the yard, swing, run around. My children are grown, so I guess Smokey was the beneficiary of this dream. TaSin and I got the house just in time for her to live out her old age free—unbothered, a queen.
PS The exterminator pulled her from under the house, Sara came over and we buried her under the tree. We put her favorite toy in the hole with her. Sara pulled rose petals off the flowers and sprinkled them on her grave, I added lavender. I then pulled all the weeds, mowed the lawn and tidied up. I felt tired and a little better as I walked through the cat door, with Smokey's heart-shaped ID collar on the door knob.