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Cats have special powers I am convinced, although I probably don’t need to convince the pootie people of this. My cat has her rituals and since she is old I worry what might be the cause of her deviation to a certain ritual or sleeping place. Since I feed her in the morning she begins my day by circling my bed. Until recently she would take a running start, leap onto the bed, pounce across me, turn around and crawl onto me. She would repeat this until I got up and fed her. More recently she climbs onto the bed… not jumps, climbs… so I can hear her claws piercing the mattress. Purring, she walks over to me and sits on my chest or stomach and stares at me. If I lay there longer she remains on my chest or moves next to me with her head on my hip. If I get up she trots ahead of me looking backward every few steps and races into the kitchen. Once in the kitchen she continues toward her food bowl walking sideways and watching me the rest of the way. As we approach her food bowl she begins to chirp like a bird. Instead of waiting at the food bowl she detours to the bathroom which is just off the kitchen and circles the sink, chirping, until I pick her up and place her on the sink. She reaches for the sink with her paw, finds her footing and begins to drink from the faucet. When she’s done she jumps down and walks about half way to her food bowl. I gently pick her up and put her down encouraging her to eat.

The deviation is that now, instead of jumping off the bed and detouring to the sink, she stays on the bed and takes my spot when I get up. Then she curls up right where I was laying with her head at my pillow. Here she stays for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon. If it’s chilly in my room she crawls under the blanket. Of course, I don’t make the bed because that would disturb her.

The other deviation is one that doesn’t worry me. When we are eating dinner she shows up and lies down on the carpet where she stays for a while… on her back… beckoning… begging any of us to pet her belly. If no one comes to pet her she looks up at us and begs some more. The rest of the evening and nighttime until she is ready to curl up with her favorite person is spent begging for belly rubs.

She is an old kitty. I have lost track of the years and am uncertain of when it was I first brought her home. I chose her from the SPCA at a time I wanted someone or something to take care of. She was skin and bones sleeping with her head turned away in a small cage. I didn’t have a particular type of cat in mind, I was prepared to follow my instincts and let those choose the right cat for me. I asked about Shadow because her face was hidden in her tummy and because of her color. She is dark brown with faint stripes that are more easily seen in the sunlight. When she was shown to me she purred but I wasn’t allowed to hold her unless I chose her for adoption. Then the next words closed the deal for me. She is polydactyl. She has an extra toe on each paw and it is extremely precious. She was an indoor/outdoor kitty who had been taken care of but was very unhappy in her cage. She was about 2 years old at the time.

I renamed her Sasha and moved into a studio apartment about 6 stories high. Out my window was a ledge that made its way around the circumference of the building. If you’ve ever been to Eureka you might know the Ten Windows Williams building. That is where I lived. It was kind of spooky from the outside but not too bad once you made it past the staircase. So this cat liked to climb out onto the ledge and walk the circumference of the building. Once my mom and I were eating lunch across the street and there she was again, sitting on the ledge, then she got up and walked around. I ran home and waited for her at my window. When she finally showed up I grabbed her by the scruff and pulled her inside. During the day she didn’t interact with me too much. I found her hiding spot behind the refrigerator and pined for her to visit me. At night I could feel her wrapped around my head but by morning she was gone again. As I traveled around northern CA I took her with me; she seemed to tolerate the drives and motels.

I made my way back to San Jose so I could be in the same town as the man I planned on marrying (I don’t know if he knew that then), but he had a parrot and I wasn’t going to give up my cat. The cat and the bird shared the house for a while, but not without torment. Once when I was taking a nap with the bird on my shoulder, I closed the bedroom door so the cat could have the rest of the house and there was her little determined paw reaching under the door. Sadly, the bird went to live with her other preferred human. But the cat stayed.

My cat has endured a lot of things over the years. I brought in a stray cat to care for at the end of her life. Sasha did not like my lap being shared and made it known. She withdrew her attention from me.

When we brought our daughter home from the hospital I lost track of Sasha. Finally, when the baby was about 6 months old I realized how much I missed her and became attentive again. Night after night she slept with us under the blankets, on my chest, between us, at my feet. Over the years she became extremely affectionate. She ignored the baby. When we moved out the crib and brought in a big girl bed, Sasha became interested in the little one.

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Now things are changing rather quickly for me and it might explain the deviation in my cat’s morning behavior. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer on May 18th. Is it possible she knew I was sick before I did?

It is May 20, and nothing has changed in my life except now I know that I have cancer and I have had to tell my husband, my parents, my sister, my friends. I feel healthy, maybe a bit tired. I look the same. I pretty much feel the same except for the waves of anxiety, worry and sadness. I called my husband first, then my sister and then my parents. It was a very hard 30 minutes of disclosure. I knew the biopsy would test positive. I knew the lumps weren’t right… almost electric at times but not painful. I would lie in bed and wonder if the sensation I experienced was real or if my mind was playing tricks on me. I messaged the lumps and afterward they ached. Sasha stopped jumping on me but gently lay down along side me staring at me then moves into my spot when I get up.

Today is May 29. We learned Glen's Aunt passed away in her sleep yesterday morning. In his surprise and worry Glen told his dad about me today. I have an unwelcome visitor at my chest. It is becoming more real. I had blood tests today and I'll have an MRI in a couple of days. I am receiving several calls a day from Kaiser, I can barely keep the upcoming appointments straight. Glen refuses to have me clean up the dinner dishes. I'm wondering if I can pull off looking like an observant Jew covering my head with a scarf instead of a cancer patient. I'm wondering how my daughter will take this news. In her world when someone is sick, they die, unexpectedly, like her grandmother and great Aunt... it is me she comes to with all of her hurts, now I will be the source of her hurt. I am praying Sasha hangs on for another year, to get me through this and comfort my daughter and relieve my husband of having to face his daughter yet again so soon... too much responsibility for any pootie.

To the Daily Kos Community: Thank you in advance for being there for my husband. I know it is you he will turn to. And for those of you wondering, he really is a plumber, but now he will also become a caretaker - my caretaker.

I love you Glen The Plumber and I'm sorry we have to have this visitor in our lives.

Originally posted to remembrance on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps, J Town, and Monday Night Cancer Club.

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