Brush With Death

I don’t go around advertising that I have a cat. It’s not that I’m ashamed of her, even though she does tend to say things in public that are quite embarrassing, and she never knows which fork is which when confronted with more than one in a place setting. It’s just that we have a certain understanding: she respects my privacy, and I do the same for her.
Although I do draw pictures of my dog, I have never supplied a photo of him here. You see, he is a famous TV dog, and I cannot risk revealing his identity. One kidnapping and pocketbook-busting ransom demand was enough. I have, however, supplied a couple of photos of the cat, which I suppose is a breach of the privacy I mentioned above. (So I’m inconsistent in some respects. Be quiet.) In fact, you can see her here. Or here, in an entry dated one year ago today. She’s the one on the left. It’s not the best picture of her. She is much better-looking in person.
Or, rather, I should say she was.
You see, today she is … no more.
This morning she was lying on my lap as I lounged on one of the living room sofas. We were reading a book. I noticed that quite a bit of stray hair was collected on her hips, so I started to brush at it with my fingers to get rid of it. There was more than appeared at first glance, so I decided to give her a “proper” brushing.
I put on my pillbox hat and white gloves and called to her. She put down our book and scampered over, excited about the brushing. I set to my task with great care.
I brushed her for four hours. Non-stop. I only stopped when I noticed that the brush was no longer raking gently over skin covered with black fur. The brush met no resistance. Instead, my tired hand and the brush were just sort of hovering over a huge pile of gray fluff.
She’s gone.
Or is she?