She was a scrawny, sickly little creature when I found her in 1983. Born to a Siamese mother who was sentenced to a life outdoors, she had no chance of survival. Flea and mite infested with an upper respiratory infection so severe pus oozed from her eyes. The vet didn’t hold out much hope that this little kitten, no more than 12 weeks old, would live very long. Undeterred, I named her Kasha…the English spelling for the Polish word meaning buckwheat and reflecting the color of her fur.
I didn’t know it then, and wouldn’t for many years, but that upper respiratory infection had collapsed one lung. Kasha grew and filled out playing heartily with her adopted feline brother, Ashley (also a rescue). Kasha and Ashley accompanied me through many changes of residence and several relationships until we finally settled just outside of Boston. Not long after, we discovered that Kasha had developed hyperthyroidism…then hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and chronic renal failure. She developed a toxicity to the only medication able to control her thyroid and from there she went into congestive heart failure. It was August 1999. Kasha was 16 years old.
I remember the day well. Kasha hadn’t moved in a couple of days. Her feet were swelling and she was losing the fur on her feet and nose where a perspiration-like fluid oozed from her skin. It was time. I lifted her into her carrier and, together with my life partner, Michelle, took her to the vet to ease her transition into the spirit world. As a member of an internet holistic cat care group, Holisticat, I had put the word out that Kasha was going to be “put to sleep” that afternoon. I told my fellow members the exact time of her appointment and asked for their prayers…not for a cure, but for peace for us all.
The vet prepared the “pink solution” as I lifted Kasha’s limp body onto the examining table. The vet began her final examination of Kasha, but Kasha had other plans. For the first time in days, she stood up and then, to the amazement of us all, she jumped off the exam table and back into her carrier. Hmmmm….we all just looked at each other. Obviously, Kasha hadn’t given up the fight so we thanked the vet and brought Kasha back home. I went online to inform the list of this turn of events and discovered that dozens of Holisticatters had prayed for Kasha at exactly the time of her vet appointment. Prayers came in from nearly every continent and apparently, Kasha heard them all. It was one of many “Kasha miracles.”
There was no magic cure for Kasha. We sustained her with homeopathic and herbal treatments until the vets at Tufts University Animal Hospital saw her and immediately recognized her fiesty spirit. She lived for a week at the hospital in a baby incubator in the emergency room as the doctors stabilized her. They told me how Kasha was so alert and sat up in her incubator to watch everything that happened in the emergency room. During that week when Kasha “supervised” the emergency room, not a single animal died. Not even the dog who had nearly been ripped to shreds by another dog, nor the dog that had been hit by a car…not a single casualty the entire week.
We brought Kasha home, then, and made the hour-long trip back and forth to Tufts for check ups and plans to heal Kasha. The vets were going to try an experimental surgery where they would treat Kasha like a trauma victim going in quickly, removing the thyroid quickly, and getting back out in record time. It was the only way, the only hope, that a 16-year-old could survive such a procedure. In the mean time, we focused on keeping her stabilized.
It was December 11, 1999, when we brought Kasha in for her check up and blood sample in preparation for her surgery which was to be scheduled within the next few weeks. That night when we brought Kasha home, she was salivating from the mouth…a kind of sticky fluid…and her breathing was rapid and shallow. We rushed her back to Tufts. It would be our last trip. The following morning we received a call that Kasha was dying of a septic infection and probably would not live even another hour.
An hour…the exact amount of time it took us to drive from our home south of Boston to Tufts.
Rushing to the hospital, I noticed a hawk flying above and to the right of our car. Hawk after hawk led the way to the hospital and so it was no surprise that Kasha was still alive to say her good-bye. The vet brought her to me in the exam room and I asked if we couldn’t just let her die naturally. The vet said it wouldn’t be an easy death and she left to get the “pink solution”…Kasha didn’t live long enough to be injected with it. Before the vet could get back, Kasha suffered violent and rapid seizures in my arms and died. The vet came back and knelt beside me as I cradled my dear Kasha in my arms, now lifeless but at peace. We cried together for we both recognized that an amazing, miraculous animal had just passed from our presence.
But the miracle didn’t end there….not for this kitty. I called my parents to let them know Kasha had passed. My father reminded me that two years ago to the very day, my grandmother had passed away at the age of 101 years. He then said, “It’s interesting considering you named your cat after your grandmother.”
Huh? My grandmother’s name was Katherine…whatever was my father talking about? What I never knew until that day was that my grandfather’s nickname for my grandmother was Kasha. And so the last miracle was revealed…on the anniversary of her transition into a life of spirit, Kasha had come to help Kasha.
Two weeks later we celebrated Christmas. We hung our stockings, one for each human and one for each kitty. Fifteen stockings hung on the wall, but one very special stocking sported angel’s wings, for Kasha surely is continuing to make miracles from heaven.