Public Comment

The Furry Ghost of Christmas Present By IRENE SARDANIS

Friday December 24, 2004

There’s a ghost in my house. It’s not the Ebenezer Scrooge or Bela Lugosi scary type; it’s my cat, Zeke. He died last Christmas when he thought he could outrun a car up on Sunnyhills Road. 

I thought I’d be over his loss by now. “He was just a cat,” you’ll tell me. “You can always get another one.” Not true. When we went to the animal shelter and found Zeke, he was just a small furry orange and white ball that fit in the palm of my hand. When we brought him home a few weeks later, he had us in the palm of his. Zeke grabbed a hold of my heart and he ain’t let go yet. 

Never thought I’d fall for a cat. I’ve had others before, but Zeke was special. He had a way of looking at me with those large green eyes of his and I’d just melt inside. Something about opening the bedroom door all sleepy-eyed in the morning and seeing Zeke sitting there, waiting for me to get up and feed him, started my day off right. 

Since he’s been gone. I sometimes think I hear his voice mewing outside the bedroom window, letting me know his spirit is still around. When he was alive, he had his “buddies” come over to play. One of them was a sleek black cat. Her collar said her name was “Little Lady.” She would show up and she and Zeke would run wild all over the house together. Lady still comes over and no matter how many times I tell her “Zeke is not here anymore. He’s gone,” she still comes back every other week or so to make sure it’s true. Or, does she, too, sense his presence in the house? 

Ghosts are hard to describe if you don’t believe in them. They show up in the strangest places. Whenever I open a can of tuna, for example, I expect to see Zeke jump up on the counter, waiting to lick the insides of the can. I know he is gone, but I still see his eager face, those great green eyes of his, begging for left-overs. Last week I had the flu and whenever I was sick, Zeke would get on top of the bed and lay on my feet to keep them warm. I felt his small body on the bed as I slept, keeping me company like before, as I rested. 

Okay, you want proof. The Christmas tree was still up after he dies. He used to bat the round colorful ornaments when he was alive. Zeke had been gone several weeks by then. I was in the kitchen cooking when I heard one of the tree ornaments crash to the floor and break. It was the wind, you’ll say, not the ghost of a cat. Sorry, the windows were closed; there was no wind in the room. It was Zeke, the prankster, making sure I knew that even though he was in Cat Heaven, his mischievous spirit is still around. 

I no longer leave cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, but I’m willing to leave a can of tuna on the heath for Zeke, just for old times sake.