At 11:24 AM EDT on March 21, 2023, in Nazareth, PA, my dear girl Ashes passed peacefully into eternity. We had been together 15 years, with never a cross word between us, a wonderfully close and affectionate relationship. I brought Ashes in off the West Philly streets in 2007, along with two of her kittens, one of the first beneficiaries of Leo’s Cat Rescue, which I ran with my friend John Mignone for over ten years.
Ashes had a close call with death in 2019, when a double whammy of infectious and bacterial viruses knocked her for a loop, but she rallied, and in the following spring we moved from Philadelphia to our home in Nazareth Pennsylvania, where we became even closer. By then it was just the two of us, her children having passed.
Last August Ashes’ annual physical revealed elevated liver values in her bloodwork. The cause was uncertain, and we tried a supplement to assist the liver in processing toxins. Ashes has always been a difficult patient to treat, at least for me (I understand she is more compliant with vets and techs). Though small, she’s mighty, and I frequently describe her as “eight pounds of fluff and steely determination.” If Ashes doesn’t want a thing to be done to her, it won’t get done. Miraculously, though we had tried these before with no luck, Ashes readily accepted her medicine in a salmon-flavored Pill Pocket. After a month, we returned for further bloodwork, to find that the values had remained static, neither improving nor deteriorating.
The plan was to continue the supplement for one more month, retest and then take a month’s break to see if anything changed. But Ashes had other plans, and refused anymore of the Pill Pockets. And so it was with a sense of impending doom that we proceeded for the next six months. The most likely culprit for the liver levels was cancer, but, unwilling to put her through any of the treatments for that at her age, we opted not to pursue further diagnostics.
A cat for all seasons: Ashes was always in the thick of things as the decor rotated yearly
As the time passed, I noticed that Ashes seemed thinner, though she retained her appetite and contented demeanor (eventually she dropped to six pounds, losing a quarter of her body weight). In late February I began to notice a change in food intake and box output. Never regular with her bowel movements, these became downright erratic, and she began to refuse her normal food, though she still could be enticed with treats and foods she especially loved.
I took her to the vet, and fresh bloodwork confirmed that the liver values had spiked hugely. The vet pointed out to me where the exposed skin of her ears was yellowed with jaundice, a sure sign of a failing liver. We took steps to improve her condition in the short term, with anti-nausea meds, appetite stimulants and steroids. Ashes responded somewhat, and began to eat better, but not enough to sustain her over the few weeks or months that might be left to her.
I opted to release her before her suffering became apparent, though I’ll never know how much discomfort or pain she might already have been feeling, or for how long, as cats tend to keep their pain to themselves. I scheduled her to be euthanized a week after our initial vet visit, and we spent a few precious days together, cuddling and cooing.
On the Sunday before she passed, my old rescue partner John, who had first introduced us, his husband Michael, and my cousin Renee, who tended Ashes when I was away, came to say their goodbyes and give her a send-off. She was eating very little by then, and becoming more and more inactive, but she brightened with all the attention, played the gracious hostess one final time, and took a few bites of what would be her last meal.
Th next day she took another turn for the worse, began coughing and sneezing, vomiting occasionally, but with an empty stomach, just bringing up foam, and I was hoping I hadn’t waited too long for her passing. She rallied a bit later in the day, we spent our last night together, her sleeping on my chest, as was her wont, and the next morning she didn’t resist as I bundled her into the carrier. An hour later it was over.
I had called to schedule the procedure on the Friday before, the 17th, at 10:08 AM EDT. I formally adopted Ashes on Halloween 2007 (in cases such as this, where a birthdate is unknown, an adoption date serves well as a marker for the pet), and the 2 Gemini Ascendant for the fatal call closely aligned with that chart’s 3 Gemini placement of asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life. The MC at the time was 9 Leo, conjoining both my natal Sun at 4 Leo and asteroid Ash at 3 Leo for her adoption (Ash is closest to Ashes, and a nickname I frequently called her). The Moon at 29 Capricorn was exactly conjunct transit Pluto, modern ruler of death.
By the time her appointment arrived, that Moon has moved to 29 Pisces, just hours away from a New Moon with the Sun at 0 Aries. In extreme balsamic phase and the critical 29th degree, the Moon indicated an ending, and was T-squared the horizontal axis for the euthanizing, with Ascendant at 26 Gemini and Descendant at 26 Sagittarius.
The Moon conjoined asteroid Lachesis at 21 Pisces, Atropos at 22 Pisces (named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death) and Neptune at 25 Pisces, ruling hospitals (including veterinary clinics), medications and euthanasia, and kicked off a cluster of points, with the Sun at 0 Aries, asteroid Vet at 2 Aries, and an exact conjunction of asteroid Miller with Mercury (ruling small animals and pets) at 4 Aries. These opposed asteroid Osiris, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, at 0 Libra, and asteroid Ash at 25 Virgo. It was clearly her time.
Further indications of the passing of my beloved cat abounded. Asteroid Fellini (for “feline” at 9 Aries conjoined asteroid Alex at 14 Aries, opposed asteroid Rip at 10 Libra (which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription), with a T-Square formed by asteroids Kitty and Alexandra at 13 and 14 Capricorn, with Kitty exactly conjoined my natal Saturn, ancient ruler of death.
Transit Saturn at 1 Pisces was exactly conjunct Damocles, the doom hanging overhead, also conjoined the 2 Pisces MC and asteroid Katz at 5 Pisces (German for “cat”, and a phonetic match). Asteroid Asher (another variant for Ashes) at 2 Leo conjoined my natal Sun at 4 and her adoption asteroid Ash at 3 Leo, squared Venus (a loved one) with asteroid Nemesis (ruin or destruction) at 5 and 3 Taurus. Asher is also involved in a Grand Trine Kite pattern, with trines to Sun/Miller/Mercury/Vet in early Aries and asteroid Anubis (named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) at 5 Sagittarius, itself stationary (turning retrograde on the 28th). The String of the Kite is formed with an out-of-Sign opposition from Asher to Pluto at 29 Capricorn. Transit Anubis was also squared my natal asteroid Katz at 10 Pisces.
Oddly, Anubis was also stationary at my birth; from 3 Aries (now conjunct the early Aries stellium for Ashes’ passing) Anubis turned retrograde eight days later, conjoined natal Fellini at 9 Aries, also the degree of transit Miller at her adoption. Nearby is natal Osiris at 14 Aries, exactly conjoined at her passing by transit Alex, while transit Fellini had exactly returned to its natal degree.
My natal Kitty at 13 Virgo was sesquiquadrate transit Pluto at 29 Capricorn, also squared by transit Requiem ((named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 18 Sagittarius. Requiem also opposed my natal Vet/Ashes conjunction at 19 and 20 Gemini, and conjoined Ashes’ adoption asteroid Atropos at 19 Sag. Transit Rip at 10 Libra was closing in on the adoption Kitty at 15 Libra, and setting off a natal T-Square of Requiem at 14 Cancer, Saturn at 13 Capricorn, and Osiris at 14 Aries.
I will miss my dear one more than I can say. Farewell dearest daughter, faithful friend, precious love.
My dear girl was returned to me on April 3rd, in a lovely carved wooden box, with a certificate verifying her cremation on March 27th. As an astrologer, I was curious to know how that was reflected in the skies. Asteroids useful for stories involving fire include Burns, Burney (for burning), Flammario and Flammeus (for flames).
The day was dominated by the continuing conjunction of the Sun with asteroid Fellini (for “feline”), at 6 and 12 Aries respectively. Two major patterns key off this conjunction, which appears at the fulcrum of a T-Square with asteroid Kitty at 15 Capricorn and Flammario at 7 Cancer. This connects two cat referents (Fellini, Kitty) with a point symbolizing cremation (Flammario), in this context.
The second pattern is a Grand Trine, with the Sun/Fellini conjunction trined to both asteroid Burney at 12 Sagittarius and Asher (for Ashes) at 5 Leo. Again we see a focus (Sun) on cats (Fellini), specifically regarding burning (Burney) and a PNA for my cat (Asher).
Another indicator of the circumstances is a pairing of Saturn at 2 Pisces with asteroid Katz (German for “cat”, and a phonetic match) at 9 Pisces, opposing asteroid Flammeus at 3 Virgo. This depicts the cremation (Flammeus) of a deceased (Saturn) feline (Katz) generally. Specific confirmation of which feline is given by asteroid Burns at 23 Capricorn closely trine asteroid Ash at 24 Virgo (a nickname I often called her), a stunning, all-but-literal celestial restatement of what occurred that day.
Truly, is there anything that occurs out of season?