The Reincarnated Cat
My friends and I have a lot in common. We are total rationalists, multi-lingual world travelers. He (P) is a still-youthful retired government engineer. She (E) is a former admin for a big multi-national Swiss trading company.
They, like most native Swiss, live modestly. In their neighborhood near the outskirts of Zurich, there is a big working farm; as well as the home of one of the richest (he invented a useful building product) Swiss men in the country; and . . .my friends.
All this by way of showing you we are not in la-la land.
However, they do have a warm place in their hearts for their cat, who like most cats, adopted them. It was many years ago, and the three got along comfortably. The cat had her favorite spots in the house, her well-understood signals, and a fairly regular schedule.
Both E and P gazed fondly at her, called her “Buesi,” and recognized her when she indicated, sometimes quite forcefully, “I’m hungry,” “I want to go out,” “I want to come back in.”
When P was ill for a few days, she stayed by his side, purring comfortingly. She chased other cats, plus birds, of course, away from the yard.
She’d climb all over E, who petted her and laughed.
The last time I went to see them just before Christmas, I looked at the cat sitting in her usual spot on P’s leg and said, “Hey, you don’t look like you did last time!”
P said with quiet excitement, “That’s because she’s not the cat you know.” Then E & P started talking at the same time.
The story that emerged was the black-and-white Buesi had begun to refuse food and she was moving more and more slowly. A young, light-ginger cat had started to hang around, but Buesi didn’t let her get too close.
Finally, E decided to take Buesi to the vet. Maybe their cat needed vitamins or cold medicine. “I’ll give her some tests tonight and call you in the morning,” he said.
In the morning, the news was bad – really bad. Buesi was full of a very aggressive stomach cancer. The vet said it was hopeless and E & P sadly agreed to let him put her to sleep.
As they drove back to their home, they wondered how they would be able to handle the empty house.
But waiting for them at the back door, just where Buesi used to wait to signal she was ready to come in was the ginger cat! With trepidation (who knows how a strange cat would react to them and their house?), P let her in.
Confidently, she walked over to the food dish and calmly looked up at P, just the way Buesi used to do! He stared as she looked back at him and waited for him to follow her. Then, she walked to the kitchen where the cat food was always kept.
After a delicate bite of cat food and a sip of water, Ginger Buesi walked over to the sofa where P always sits, and waited for him to come into the living room and sit down.
To say my friends were astonished doesn’t begin to describe their reaction. They related how the new cat walked upstairs to the bedrooms and office, then went downstairs to the basement where the laundry equipment and furnace are – just as Buesi used to do.
Now, THEY did not speculate, but I, having lived in California for a few years and down a road from a commune after that, immediately said, “Buesi is reincarnated!”
They did not accept that notion, but they did wonder if Buesi had known her end-time was near. Had she gone outside to give advice to the young ginger cat?
Did she saay, “Here’s what they like, here’s when they feed you, here’s how you remind them when they forget.
“Your duties are to patrol the perimeter. There are never any bad guys here, but you never know, and you have to be ready to protect your humans.”
We’ll never know, of course, but today there is a kind generous Swiss couple whose sadness lasted just a few hours before a new cat (mind-reader? reincarnation? coincidence?) came and brought joy into their lives again.