What I Learned When My Cat Almost Died

Frequent readers of this site will doubtless be familiar with my cat Ashes; my sweet-cranky Tortie has been with me 12 years, since I took her and her two kittens in from the street on Halloween 2007. Her children predeceased her, Hallows in 2012 and Samhain just last year, but despite some ongoing health issues and an unfortunate addiction to string, Ashes has held her own. As a stray, I’m not sure how old she is exactly, but at least 14, which puts her at about 73 in human terms, an age when mortality begins to assert itself, and even a simple health crisis can prove deadly.


In late November Ashes began to decline rapidly. It started with a sneezing cough, likely transmitted from the stray and feral cat colony I still manage, which has been plagued by a respiratory infection for some weeks. After a couple days she began to cough up small puddles of foamy saliva, and when she stopped eating and using the box, isolating herself under furniture and in closets, I knew it was time for the vet.


She initially displayed unusual symptoms for a respiratory infection, just the sneezing, and we were unsure what the problem was. Test followed test, visit followed visit, until she had gotten so weak she needed closer monitoring and better medical attention than I could give her at home. Ashes, a medium-haired feline, is eight pounds of fluff and steely determination, and as close as we are with each other, it is impossible for me alone to medicate her or perform any procedure she doesn’t want done. Which is anything out of the ordinary.

Ashes snuggling with her daughter Hallows, just a kitten when we met; like any single mother, Ashes kept her kids hidden until she’d hooked her beau

So I admitted her to the vet’s clinic on December 3, and the testing continued. By this time she was unable to keep down anything, from meds to food, vomiting it immediately, and the respiratory infection had become apparent, with running mucous. I was told that injectable antibiotics were not effective for that type of viral infection, and we knew she wasn’t taking in the oral meds offered; what I wasn’t told was that there was a third option: IV meds. After three days of getting no treatment for what we knew she had, and ongoing (as well as expensive) diagnostics performed to find out if there may be an underlying contributing cause, we finally “backed into” the IV solution when a scope of her throat was proposed, to see if any swelling or blockage could be detected.


For this she would need to be sedated, via an IV, and, almost as an afterthought, it was suggested we might try giving her the meds that way, too. Well, as soon as she started actually getting the medication, she improved rapidly. Further testing revealed that she suffered from both an upper respiratory and a bacterial infection, simultaneously, which was complicating her situation. She ended up at the vet’s for a week, and after taking out a second mortgage on the new house to pay for her care, I brought her home on December 10. I’m pleased to report she has continued to improve, and seems back to her old self, but it was touch-and-go for awhile, and I had almost given up hope that she would make it through this crisis.

Ashes napping with her son Samhain; she never sought out her children, but was always receptive when they approached her

In looking for celestial clues to her illness I’m using her adoption date of October 31, 2007 as her “birthday”, and December 4, 2019 as the critical turning point in her illness, as well as my own birthdate, July 27, 1960. There is no “Ashes” asteroid, but there’s an “Ash”, a foreshortened name I call her frequently, as well as an “Asher.” And for cats in general, there’s Kitty, Katz (phonetic match for “cats”) and Fellini (for “feline”).


The generic feline indicators showed a fraught time for cats. With Kitty at 12 Capricorn conjunct Venus at 11 and Saturn at 18 Cap, the stage was set for the loss (Saturn) of a loved (Venus) feline companion (Kitty). Having this grouping nestled atop my natal Saturn at 13 Capricorn, ancient lord of death, and with transit Saturn about to make its final opposition to natal Mercury at 19 Cancer, ruling pets, the next week, I had little hope that this universal energy wouldn’t be translated to me personally.

Ashes seems alarmingly comfortable amid this family of vampires at Halloween; perhaps that explains the strange marks on my neck after we cuddle…

Add to that transit Katz at 21 Aquarius, exactly conjunct Achilles, with Damocles and Anubis standing by at 22 and 23 Aquarius, all opposing Lachesis exactly on my natal Uranus at 20 Leo, and it seemed that cats generally (Katz) were vulnerable (Achilles), and a sudden (Uranus) death (Anubis, Lachesis) was the doom hanging overhead (Damocles). Transit Fellini at 28 Taurus opposing Osiris at 24 Scorpio was the apparent last straw, with all three cat signifiers allied to death indicators.


When I looked at points specific to Ashes, I immediately saw the issues with getting an accurate diagnosis. Asteroid Ash at 6 Scorpio was exactly conjunct my natal Neptune, also conjunct the 7 Scorpio Sun of her adoption. The pairing that had created such a close spiritual bond between us now threatened to confuse the health issues she was facing, and might leave me isolated and alone. In addition, Ash conjoined Mars at 10 Scorpio, indicating the severe inflammation with which she was grappling.

No room for socks! Ashes quickly takes advantage of any empty space she comes across, enjoying a new snoozing venue whenever possible

Asteroid Asher, however, gave me hope: at 2 Aries, it was closely conjoined Chiron at 1 Aries, a source of potential healing, and both were standing still, approaching station, giving them additional power and clout in the situation. Asher turned direct on December 7th, the day after Ashes turned the corner; Chiron turned direct December 13th, which turned out to be the last day Ashes experienced her hangover sneeze, which accompanied her home for a few days after her discharge, and kept me on pins and needles during her early recovery period, fearing a relapse.


There were other indicators of loss. Despite the hopefulness of Asher/Chiron, this pair also squared asteroid Rip at 1 Capricorn, another death indicator (as the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”), which might argue for her passing (though Jupiter also there at 0 Cap suggested a more positive outcome).   A forming conjunction of the Sun at 12 Sag with asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 19 Sagittarius, had the Sun conjoined my natal Juno at 11 Sag (I have always seen Ashes as more of an equal partner than a pet), with Requiem exactly squared my natal Moon at 19 Virgo. Transit asteroid Miller at 24 Virgo was exactly sextile Osiris at 24 Scorpio, and both formed an exact Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with asteroid Fellini at 24 Aries in her adoption chart, which could spell “death (Osiris) of a cat (Fellini) named Miller (Miller).”

Ashes makes plain her dislike of daddy traveling without her; perhaps she thought if she was very, very quiet and still, I wouldn’t notice her in my overnight bag until it was too late

As well, Asher in the adoption chart, at 18 Libra, was exactly squared by transit Saturn, and Kitty at 15 Libra was still within orb of the square. Also here was Mercury at 23 Libra for the adoption chart, now squared by both Saturn and Pluto at 21 Cap, ancient and modern lords of death. With adoption Asher also conjunct my natal asteroid Alex at 20 Libra, and the adoption Ash at 3 Leo on my 4 Leo Sun, Ashes and I had always enjoyed a special closeness, but this connection also put me personally under the current transit Saturn/Pluto gun, susceptible to the losses they can elicit. The peril was further highlighted by transit Uranus exactly squaring adoption Ash from 3 Taurus (as well as my Sun), threatening a sudden separation.


In addition to Ash on my Sun, Ashes’ adoption showed the transit Sun on my Ascendant; she truly is the Light of my life. The adoption Venus at 21 Virgo conjoins my natal Moon, and she has filled my home with love; natal Ash at 20 Gemini in a close square identified the source of that love. Adoption Saturn exact with Katz at 6 Virgo, on my natal Pluto at 4, showed perfect timing for becoming a cat (Katz) parent (Saturn), in a relationship that would be deeply transformational (Pluto) for both of us. Even natal Fellini exactly conjoined adoption Miller at 9 Aries told the tale of Ashes’ new identity.

An attack by Catzilla? No, it’s just Ashes, deftly navigating her way through my Yule Village without upsetting a single one of its 111 residents

I have detailed many passing charts, but have no real experience with “near misses.” I always suspected that these would show the potential for a tragic outcome, as this one did. But the cosmic selection process by which some of these transit “passing windows” manifest in death, and some do not, still eludes me.


Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

3 comments, add yours.

Sandra Mosley

So glad to hear that Ashes made it through the window.


I’m so glad Ashes pulled through. She’s a beautiful cat, and you two are clearly soulmates.


An excellent article, thank you.

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