They might have called it March 25, 2021, but it turns out that the date was actually December 115th, 2020. On that day, our friend Zesta had to die.
If you’re keeping count, that is three cats in about one year. With the Captain, we took a week to mourn. Jackson took about six months to process. Zesta, I started writing about it the very next day — but then even more stuff happened in life and I have only just now sat down to finish this. Apparently, there are many ways to grieve, and I guess I will try each one, one at a time, in no particular order. So far, not a single one is any easier.
Zesta was personally my best friend since 2010. She walked up onto the front porch of the house I was living in, only a teenaged kitten, and helped me through some dark depression I was in. She hated the Captain and Cricket at first but eventually came around to only scowling at them if they got too near. She punched the Captain right in the face once — I saw it happen! Cricket avoided her at all times.
She was one of those animals who seemed to only like one person (me), but she grew to let the rest of the housemates get closer. Once she was an only cat, this past year, she blossomed into the sort of cat who would eventually mosey out and greet any visitors. She had special bonds with Manny and Jamie.
Physically, Zesta was a mystery: tiny nose, large ears, round ribs, big muzzle, outrageous sticks for legs, a thin little tail. Her paws were dainty doll paws. She had large expressive eyes that half of the time, we weren’t sure if she could see very well — until the past few months when we were pretty sure she had gone blind. She was not at all athletic, but she could run amazingly fast when she wanted to. Her legs seemed short, but they were actually long when she stretched out. I made a kitty comic about it, but here is some evidence:
Zesta was my shadow. She was me in cat form. She liked me exactly as much as I liked her, and she was my favorite thing in the whole world. She would chit chat with me and had a large chittery vocabulary. She slept next to me like a little stuffed animal. But she still had her own hobbies and wasn’t overly clingy, so I could never complain, even if I had wanted to. We would watch TV together. She didn’t play very often. She didn’t get into trouble, minded her own business, was always good. I never had to scold her for anything.
She had some asthma, and a few weeks ago we took her in to see if there was treatment that would ease her wheeze. As a result, we gave her steroids every twelve hours until this, the last week. At the time of her two week check up, she was wheezing a lot again, and they thought it might be some allergies, but we would wait and see how it went. That was Monday. By Wednesday evening, she was gasping for breath so she went to the ER. She had an inoperable mass in her neck that turned out to be an angry cancerous tumor. By Thursday night, we had to let her go. We went from hopeful to understanding there was no way out in about five minutes of conversation with the vet, maybe less. What a day. What a year.
And here are a few of my favorite videos in one easy to reach place, so that I may revisit them in my declining years, when all I have left is a url to keep me warm.
Bye Zesta. Eleven years wasn’t enough.