We human beings, poor delicate orchids that we are, get all blushy and bashful over our odors and vapors and assorted effluvia.
Cats, on the other hand, are proud of it all — perhaps especially their snot rockets.
“Snot rocket” is, obviously, a Latin-derived term generally confined to use by specialists. This esoteric bit of language entered the Tabby’s Place dictionary via Senior Veterinary Technician Denise. Since it’s such technical language, let’s define it properly:
1: globule of nose goo expelled at high speed, often for pyrotechnic effect
E: Raja held the world record for distance in firing snot rockets.
A high percentage of Tabby’s Place staff members are snorkeling our way through snot rockets this week, as the rowdiest allergies in recent memory take hold of central Jersey. But that’s not the only reason I have blowing-noses on the brain. There’s also the passing of Raja.
Raja, as you surely know, was one of the Great Ones, those Tabby’s Place cats whose lives with us becomes lifetimes, whose legends will never die.
I hope it won’t seem cavalier to remember Raja’s snot rockets even as we’re mourning. I’m quite confident that Raja would want us to remember every inch of her, the glamorous and the gooey. But, since Raja was much more than her mucus, I’ll also share the update sent to her sponsors:
“As you know all too well, our once-robust Raja has been doing a slow fade for quite some time now. We’ve been grateful for every remaining hour spent in her light, even knowing that sunset was coming.
“Still, ‘goodbye’ was so slow in coming that I confess I came to think — or, more accurately, feel — that Raja would always be with us. She was frail; she was retiring; she was so fragile we had to stop brushing her, even hanging a sign on the Lounge door warning folks not to pick her up for fear of hurting her…
“…but she was still with us. Still feisty. Still the phenomenon we knew and loved as Raja. And she was still enjoying her one and only wonderful life.
“That all changed quite clearly today. Dehydrated and depressed, Raja failed to rally even on intensive fluid and heat therapy. She cringed away from our touch, hunkering down in the furthest corner of her Hospital cage. All her torbie colors were swirling into a fast-sinking sunset. The time had come.
“And so, in a choir of tears and sighs and sniffles, the Tabby’s Place team assembled around Raja, gently stroking the cat who had loved us so well — and lapped up our love so gleefully — for nine-plus years. Kidney failure could never steal the everlasting bonds we’d forged with this capital-C Character of a cat.
“I believe with all my heart that we will hold and kiss and, yes, brush Raja again. And, oh, how she will chirp on the other side of the veil.
“In the meantime, though, we grieve from our depths. I know you are grieving with us, dear sponsors. Raja has been, in a very real sense, your cat. You have generously carried her through cancer and diabetes and kidney chaos all these years. Her elegant thriving and undiminished joy have had everything to do with your devotion. As we mourn, it is a colossal comfort knowing that Raja had your hearts, too. I can never thank you enough.
I don’t suspect there are snot rockets in heaven. But I know, beyond doubt, that all manner of rockets and Roman candles and rejoicing are firing today and every day now that Raja’s joined the choir. We miss you, sweetheart — every inch of you.