This is a reprint of an examiner article from 2009, dedicated to Mayi, my beloved Boddhisatva cat. She died 5 years ago on May 5. I love you Warrior-Kitty-Goddess.
I love cats. My whole adult life I've always had a couple. I'm grateful for my current ones, Tiggy and Shivee, who sit and watch me right now as I write.
But they are cats.
Mayi was a whole other forcefield.
I used to call her "The Venerable and Illustrious Visiting Devi from the Boddhisatva Kitty Galaxy."
I knew she was different from the start. Even as a kitten, she spent much of her day in deep tranquility, her front paws crossed in some feline lotus posture.
When I sat down to meditate, she would go wild. She would bolt into my lap from any other room, plunging into samadhi.
She grew up with Shivee, my long-haired Aries fighter-boy, which was a bit like having the Supreme Kitty Goddess and a sweet-natured juvenile delinquent share the same food dish. As Shivee wrecked the joint, trying to sleep in the kitchen sink, walk on countertops and pee in plants, Mayi sat in loving detachment, watching with bemused humor.
Since he was twice her size, Shivee would sometimes attack. But he'd forget the scrappy warrior lurking beneath Mayi's equipoise. When she had enough, she would trounce him like a true Samurai, leaving a trail of gray fur tufts all over the floor.
But she would always eventually profer what my partner called "the Paw of Peace." As Shivee groomed himself to recover from the ass-kicking, Mayi would amble over and extend a paw. Sometimes even offer a lick or two on his cheek.
No hard feelings. And, "dude, I will sooo kick your butt one more time if you bother my bliss again."
During most of her life, I constantly ran to one meditation intensive or retreat after another. Each time I packed, she would give a piercing look, "Where are you going again? Why do you need to leave? What are you seeking that isn't right here?"
It took fifteen years to know she was right.
One day Mayi gave her trenchant commentary on a ring I loved from my then-spiritual teacher. She spontaneously grabbed the glistening ametheyst in her mouth, dashed to the balcony of my third floor apartment, and spit it over.
Though I hunted, I never saw it again.
Though she lived to be seventeen, she never had an illness, never showed any sign of age. She was part meditation master, part eternal kitten.
One day, as usual, we played her favorite game. She would roll joyously down the apartment hall, over and over like a barrel, while I tickled her white belly. Later that night, she crawled into bed with me, purring peacefully.
That next morning, May 5, at 5:55 am, I woke to hear her sneeze five times.
And then she was gone.
Cinco de Mayo. Forevermore, Cinco de Mayi.
We cremated her and made an altar, offering her favorite foods. Raisins, feta cheese, nori. We tearfully bid farewell to the Supreme Visiting Kitty Devi from Nirvakalpa Samadhi Loka.
"All hail to you, Oh Great Cat Goddess", we wept.
A few nights later, she came in a dream to say goodbye, bathed in an iridescent, supernal light.
"You don't need me anymore," she purred, a slight smile in her eyes. "All will be well."
I keep her ashes in a gold and rhinestone heart-shaped box on my fireplace mantle. A tiny bit was mixed with the ink when I got my latest tattoo.
So now she breathes within me too.
She is never gone.
Tosha Silver's first book Outrageous Openness is available in San Francisco @ Books, Inc (Market Street), Scarlet Sage (Valencia), Sacred Well in Oakland and Lewin's Books in Berkeley. It's also available online via Amazon.com and as an audiobook (and iTunes if you're outside USA).You can reach Tosha at Toshasilver.com and on facebook. This piece was first published at The Examiner.