My mother always said that Iíd grow up to be a crazy cat lady, I guess this page will kind of prove her rightÖ This page is dedicated to my cat, my friend, my baby - Daryoon-heika. Heika , if your wondering, is Japanese for emperor. Donít look at me like that, itís not my fault! My baby was a little spoiled and when he was a kitten, I would sweet talk him by calling him Daryoon-sama (the equivalent of Lord Daryoon). After a while, that wasnít enough to appease my great beast and -heika was the only honorific he would answer to. Yes, I am a firm believer that cats understand the human language.
It all began in December, two days before my birthday. We were living in Altoona, renting a little house that was just terrible. Our resident kitty was very pregnant and I was kind of hoping that she would hold out until my birthday. At the time I was working second shift at a factory and got home a little after 1 am. When I stumbled in, mama Nika (the cat) was waiting near the door for me and my husband was beside himself. He thought she had gone into labor around 8 pm but she wouldnít stay in the birthing box we had made for her. She kept pulling herself out and waiting by the door, wailing.
As gently as I could I picked Nika up and placed her in the box. We had it in the bedroom in the closet so that it would be dark and private, the box was lined with soft blankets and we had made sure that there was nothing cluttering the box. I didnít want to disturb her so I didnít stay near the box. Sure enough, she popped out and it was obvious that she was, by force of will alone, holding back from giving birth. I couldnít understand it and Nika staggered over to me. I picked her up again, but this time I sat by the box. I made sure to lean over so she could see me and let my hand dangle into the box. The darn cat stayed put.
When Daryoon was born (I think he was the fourth kitten, I donít really remember any more) she cleaned him off. It was clear even then that he was tiny, the runt of the litter. After he was mostly clean but still not dry, Nika began nudging my hand. Trying to interpret what she wanted, I began to pet her. Then she lifted this tiny, dark, fuzzy bundle and shoved him into my hand. He was so tiny he wasn't even the size of the palm of my hand. I held him for a minute, looking at his tiny ears and tightly closed eyes and fell in love. I was worried about holding him for too long and placed him by her belly so he could begin nursing.
I was certain that was Nikaís way of giving that kitten to me. I loved him, from his velvety gray fur to his purple nose and paw pads. Once he was able to walk and be out of the birthing box, he would follow me around. I finally decided on the name Daryoon, from the anime Arislan. Daryoon was the best and fiercest warrior who was utterly loyal to his Prince. I thought that since my kitten was a boy and he followed me everywhere that would be a good name for him. Strong and proud, just like him.
Well, a great warrior my Daryoon-sama wasnít. But, he was loyal and he loved me more than anything else. Itís been several years since his passing and I occasionally still tear up when I think about him. I loved that damn cat right back. He wasnít my familiar, but he was a witch kitty. Whenever I would do candle magic he would wait until the spell had been released and then he would suck on his paw to wet it. Once the fur on his paw was sopping wet, he would put out the candle flame. He always knew and he was always right.
I had ten loving, marvelous years with him. I carry a lot of guilt for his death, perhaps if I had been more attentive I might have noticed that something was wrong. I wasnít even the one to find him, my husband did. It looked like my baby had passed away in the night, it almost looked like he was sleeping on the floor of the apartment we had in Pottstown. But he was too still, too flat. My Heika had always been larger than life; we called him 18 tons of love. He just looked flat and dull and small.
Because of the timing of his passing, on November 2nd, I was afraid to do ritual for a long time. We had done Samhain and honored the dead and then this happened. I was paralyzed in my practice, unable to write or perform a ritual. Fear gripped me each and every time. I wasnít sure I could handle losing one of our other cats in such a short time near another holiday.
For a long time I was angry with myself, with my Gods, with my dreams. I felt like something should have warned me, given me a clue that time with Heika was short. I still kind of feel that way. I treated Daryoon like he was my child and he had a childís absolute trust and faith in me. He could humble me with a glance and bring me joy with his purr. Out of everything I miss his deep, rumbling purr the most; even more than his squeaky, girly meow.
My mother thought that he was a reincarnation of a cat that we had when I was a child, named Bernard. The two cats could have been twins and they both loved me the same. I never really got over losing Bernard (who ran away when we moved) and Iím sure I wonít get over Heika either. Iíll miss them both; no matter how many others come into my life.
Heikaís spirit is still around, keeping an eye on me. Iíll catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. I get so excited sometimes, thinking that I was wrong and he is still here with me. Iím always wrong, but I do feel a little better knowing that heís still around watching over me.
I donít want to end this with a sad story, so I leave you with one of my favorites about Daryoon. I am afflicted by killer migraines at times. Usually I just lay down in the dark and hope and pray that they pass, sometimes I try to doctor myself to get them to pass. In this instance I decided that Iíd rather just be in the dark. While I was curled up on the bed, trying to ignore the way my head was throbbing and threatening to explode, the Heika was being very cute. He really wanted to be near me so he kept curling up next to me and pushing his head under my chin. Then he'd purr enough to shake the bones in my head loose and I'd push at him so he's scootch over and place his head in my hand and kiss my fingers. After a short time, he'd be under my chin again and purring. He was such a sweet kitty!
I miss you, Heika. I hope that you have peace, lots of catnip, and lots of loving. Rest well with the Goddess.
Heika as a baby. See how tiny he is! This was shortly after he was up and running around after me.
The last picture I ever took of him. It's kind of crappy because it was with a cell phone camera.
Heika as a kitty loaf. I like this picture because you can see how grey he was.