Cassie came into our lives when we needed her the most and when she needed us the most. She had just lost her home and now faced the daunting task of finding a new one at the age of 12. My mother just finished chemo and radiation and lost her speech meanwhile I was spending every waking minute training. Cassie was the oldest of all the cats available for adoption but striking in her beauty and affection. With our hardships, it made no sense to adopt her, but we knew she belonged with us.
She had a formidable sense of will and strength, overcoming any obstacle to get what she wanted. This led to many mishaps, surprises and mangled cat carriers. She loved walking outside and tolerated a leash, since it served her purpose. If we had wanted a housecat, what we really got was a true adventurer. People were shocked to see a cat walking casually side by side with her human sister.
One day we were told that she had cancer but that she was “too old” to do anything. Two years later we were also informed that there was a bullet identified on an xray- from her tough upbringing in the Bronx. She shrugged all these things off like it was nothing. Even when she felt sick, she would perk up and rally if she felt her family needed her. She haughtily meowed in the face of all the naysayers. She had work to do.
The pandemic hit and she guided me through all the horrors I faced as a frontline worker. In her wizened state she helped keep me sane and fighting. I watched my colleagues struggle with the trauma and loneliness of fighting COVID and even then I coped only because of Cassie.
She entered her twentieth year of life and it finally felt like we could relax. She just got a backyard of her own and the pandemic was no longer raging. But, just days after the joyful anniversary of her adoption, she passed away in our arms.
She had held on with all her might so she could protect her family through the worst troubles, unscathed. When she saw that we were on our feet, she went to rest. It will always be too soon.
She helped her human mother regain her voice and she helped her human sister save lives.