Squeaky the Calico Goddess, my co-priestess and familiar, died yesterday in my arms as I sang “Weaver, Weaver”. She was 17 and a half years old.
I remember her as the runt of her litter, very small, very sick and very unhappy. Her brother, Stinky, was healthy, happy and well adjusted which by contrast had him dying eight years earlier. By all accounts, she was not supposed to be my cat. But something about her plight reminded me of myself, so she came home with me that summer.
I had to nurse her like she was a foundling and all her instincts seemed miss-wired somehow. I held her in my arms and sang to her as often as I could. Slowly over the next few years, she turned from a wild-eyed waif back into a cat. As I slowly took on the mantle of priestess and witch, she began sleeping under altars and showing up for trances. She cast our circles as we planned, and grounded us when we were scattered. Dark Flame began speaking of the temple cats, and Squeaky was our feline priestess.
But she wasn’t only a magickal cat, she was also a mischievous one. Almost every person who slept here as part of the Anti-Globalization movement had stories about her. She snatched one of Starhawk’s socks, made love to it under the sofa and then peed on her bag. She use to gesticulate wildly on any leather items including boots, purses and apparel – whether you were wearing the item or not! I joked nervously at the time that she had apparently picked up on one of my fetishes. She liked her hot red harness so much she would roll around on the floor purring loudly whenever I put it on her. So she had a BDSM side, who doesn’t? ;-)
But the funniest stories included her apparent herding of guests who she felt had over stayed their welcome. She would march up to each of them stare them in the face, look toward the door and back to them. The message was clear, “There’s the door!”
On at least one occasion, she sat with her back to me and mimicked my talking as if to say, “Shut up already!” And on any given night, there she was demonstrating to me how to climb the stairs to go to bed, “You see, *this* is how it is done!” I use to explain that I knew I was in trouble when she started speaking slowly and enunciating. And she was definitely the only cat I knew who could cuss like a sailor, a British sailor in fact.
Squeaky earned the co-priestess title by sitting with people who were in distress. If one of my students began crying she would immediately go sit by them. In fact, I often watched her for clues as to when I needed to up the level of my tending. She would let them rub her head, or she would rub up against them. Once she even jumped onto the sofa and sat in a person’s lap just in time to bring them back from the edge.
She always sat with me when I cried. She was there for me when my brothers died. She was there with me for my descents into the underworld and watched over me through my many seemingly endless dark nights. The only time we parted ways was when I rescued the black kittens. I would like to think that at the end, she forgave me even for that.
I will miss her. Even now as I sit crying, I can feel her sitting between my feet. Last night I dreamt of bluebirds and awoke to hear two cats playing in the tub. I caught a glimpse of her briefly as I stepped into the bathroom. Devi looked surprised but delighted. He has been searching for her all morning, stopping to gaze at me with the biggest eyes. “She is gone,” I say through tears. And outside I hear the chirping of birds.
May the Bluebird of Happiness bless us all.
In love, may she return again …