We had our first Cat (Sofi) around the mid-nineties. In fact she was my wife’s cat. I have found her in an advertisement, “looking home, for a kitten!”. When we went the address to pick up Sofi, the Owner Lady at the door inspected us with her eyes from head to toe and with a quite concern She asked “ Have You taken care of a cat before?”. We said “Yes”. (My Wife Mübi/Müberra had a lot of experience from her childhood with the street cats. As my Mother in Law stated “She was coming home with a different cat almost every other day. When she was not allowed (The home was not suitable for this.) she had continued to care them by carrying food from the house. She knows their language and how to communicate with them. Long after, I have recognized from Tırtıl (another cat who had given birth of a five kittens before Sofi had died) that Cats have two languages. One is between them (Tırtıl was speaking to her kittens with a different language which looks like they listen and obey to her.) The other one they use it to human beings. They may have the third one which is “frequency communication”.
The owner Lady said “ A couple of other people took the kittens and brought them back that they were not able to care for them. This is not good for kittens!” With a convincing style, we said: “Don’t worry.” By thanking her we picked up Sofi and came home. Sofi was a special character. At once, She had learned how to use her toilet. She can make personal (for people and animals) and the mood analysis. Whoever within the family had inside trouble; she approached her/him and tried to rehabilitate with a mutter. She was close enough but in distance where required. She could express her requests very clearly. If you do not met these, you might have faced with her protests. But overall, her most memorable behaviour was experienced during the İstanbul Earthquake (We lost my Mother in Law- Hafize Çık). I was outside of Ankara at that time. Later, as my Wife expressed when she could not contact with her Mother against all the efforts, she realized/felt that we lost her. She laid down and started crying. Sofi came to her chest, close to her face and started licking her tears. After three hard years of struggle, we lost Sofi around her twenties.
After we have decided to bury Sofi, I asked Mübi “Where do you want me to bury her?” – “Where I can see when I look at the kitchen window. I would like to continue to feel her”. I did not know at that time, this was the start of a Cat’s Cemetery.
After Sofi died, still we had Tırtıl’s kittens as Misket and Bukovski (They became big cats now), we have given our attention to the other kittens where needed. We have taken some of them into the house, some others preferred to stay outside. When the years went by we became happy for recovering some them but at the same time we had to face with some deaths mostly because of natural reasons. Most of the kittens who died were left by their mothers from the beginning. Later we have argued that their mothers had known that they have a defect. Anyhow, in different times I have buried “Kara”, “Zeytin”, Sarman” and “Panda” to nearby Sofi and this place became a Cats’ Cemetery on its due course. Kara, Zeytin and Sarman were outsiders but Panda was at home.
Panda was the most special one we have ever met. He was always full of love and goodness. When you take him to your lap he immediately starts muttering with a gratification. He was a situation manager. When other big cats tried to kick him at feeding time, he stood still in distance; kept his position with a cool manner and waited with patience. When the others were busy with eating, he made an approach silently and waited. Then, he got closer and closer and put her mouth to the dish without bothering them. In time he educated them to become accustomed to him even the tough ones. After placing him on your body, he stood there until you felt uncomfortable. Especially in the morning, he made you busy on purpose to get your attention. He did not show it but was very courageous. At home, We also have a dog (Tiftik) which is very gentle and kind to the family members though, I have never observed a reaction from Panda to Tiftik or vice versa…
One day, we have observed that Panda stood silent like he was getting a rest. We did not bother him but recognized that some things were not on their way. On the second day afternoon Panda was lost. The same evening we had searched for him. The cats hide themselves before they die. And once they are hidden, it is almost impossible to find them unless they come back. But Panda did not give any clue of dying. The other morning my Older son Mert shouted at me “Dad. Dad! Panda is dead!” When I ran out of the outside door, I saw Panda’s body lying down at the front door. It looked like he had wanted to come back home but he could not find the energy to climb up the door. I buried him next to Sofi. The air was drizzling. I could not differentiate that whether I was crying or the wet on my face made by the rain. As if I was drizzling for Panda.
Someday I went up to the Cat’s Cemetery for another purpose early in the morning, when it was just the time for the sunrise. I glanced at the cemetery. A cat was approaching silently. She was the mother of Panda. She came and sat in distance. Stayed silent. When we came with her eye to eye, she turned her eyes to the place where Panda was buried. She stared into there. Then she left. Within a hurry, I have tried to catch up some pictures without losing respect to the moment…
At the Cats’ Cemetery some thoughts came and went to my mind. Death may be one of the most important educators to face with ourselves. When I feel very sorry for Panda (With respect to those who lost their loved ones and no comparison at all by any means) I asked myself the reason for this. He was very good. He pleased me a lot. He was very adaptive etc… But I recognized that mostly I feel sorry losing those that I have. Then, I thought that; it is not so simple though, facing the loss/death is to relinquish what you have or what you are provided and try to let them go away…
After her mother, I looked at Panda’s place and left by muttering to myself without knowing what it is…
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