“She has risen from the grave! She has risen from the grave!” I was 3 years old when I leapt around my house making this absurd exclamation about our cat, Tiddles. It all happened shortly after Easter, and I clearly had resurrections on the brain. My oldest sister, Julia, was stunned, laying on the couch with her arm resting dramatically across her forehead, and Nora, the middle child, was on her way to the burial spot in the back yard to look for claw marks in the dirt.
That morning we’d held a funeral service for our cat who, only a year older than myself, my parents had presumably found dead in the street the night before. They had come home from a date night, their children having been tucked into bed by the babysitter, when they saw the black cat laying there, with that unique spot of white fur on her belly. When they told us about her death the next morning, we were all a mess. My dad took us out to the Blockbuster video store around the corner to get a movie, so we could get our minds off of things. When we got home, my mom came to the door to meet us, and between where she stood and where we entered, Tiddles slipped out of the closet and let out a big “Meeeaow.”
The scene that followed was almost Biblical, with your typical shock, skepticism, and evangelistic proclamations all happening in the same room. We loved on our cat for another 12 years. Her hair grew gray patches, her voice grew scratchy, and she watched us grow up like a sweet, and sometimes grumpy, little old lady.
The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
– WB Yeats
If you lived in Pendleton, NY in 1993 and lost a black cat with a white spot of fur on her belly, please know she had a respectable burial and was properly mourned.