My dad ran over our cat Smitty today; the car's wheel broke her back and she was dead in minutes.

It was an accident, of course, and everyone's been pretty sad about it all day today. My dad buried her in the shade of an old oak tree in the side yard where several other departed pets also lie: our cat Fuzzy, my turtle Pat, and our little dog Scruffy.

"We can't ever sell this house," my mom once told me. "There's too much family buried here."

Smitty was absolutely ancient. She came to our house as a stray some 14 years ago; we already had several cats then, and she just sort of showed up and inserted herself into the household. I believe she thought, "There's so many cats here, they'll never notice me". She was old even then, and had arthritis so bad she couldn't get into the litterbox. The arthritis largely cleared up after a few months; evidently, it was diet-related and whoever had her before hadn't been feeding her properly.

So, I'm guessing she was something over 20 years old. She'd been failing recently; she was an outdoors cat because she liked to pee on the carpet, and the Texas summer wasn't kind to her this year. If you saw her sleeping in the shade in the carport, the phrase "bag of bones" would immediately come to mind.

The accident happened because of a game she liked to play. She'd sleep under the car, directly behind the back left wheel. If you started the car, she'd move, but she liked to wait 'til the last possible minute. She'd been playing this game for years; she always moved out of the way.

But today, she stayed where she was.

My mom thinks she might have been getting deaf over the past couple of weeks and just didn't realize my dad had gotten in the car and turned on the engine.

I suspect maybe she knew, and stayed put on purpose. I think she'd decided it was time for her to go. Smitty was the most quietly willful, persistent creature I've ever known. Anytime she put her little mind to something, she got what she wanted, eventually.

I'm sad to see the old girl go, even if it is probably for the best. I was sorry I hadn't been out there much to give her petting the past couple of days.

In better news, I heard back from my friend in Columbus: it's not a brain tumor. Yay! What he has is a bubble of fluid at the base of his skull that's been creating pressure that has in turn been causing his seizures and numbness. He says the doctor thinks that they can siphon the thing out relatively easily.

I'm so glad it's not cancer. He had a brain tumor in the same location when he was a teenager, and because it was right at the nexus where the spinal cord grows into the base of the brain, a tricky spot that controls basic body functions, the doctors couldn't do surgery to take it out. He had to have a chemotherapy agent injected directly into his brain. The doctors said if it ever grew back, he'd only have a 20% chance of beating it a second time.