Our friend Janice picked out Mabel at the Seattle Animal Shelter. Mabel was such a friendly cat that they had her out front, greeting people. I sat with Mabel in the back seat on the way home and we bonded.

About a year later, when Janice realized her other cats were pushing Mabel out of the house, we took Mabel home with us. (Mabel had been lobbying to move in with Janice’s neighbors, whose last name was…Label. Fortunately, their dog hated her.)

So Mabel joined our household in 2010, and we fell madly in love with her. She was like a mother to me. A tiny little black cat (such dainty paws) with a big, fierce heart. Mabel was at least part Bombay, and made our introduction to that amazing breed. “Mabel’s in charge,” was her tagline.

In January of 2013 Mabel was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma (a “high grade,” aggressive cancer fairly common for older cats). She astonished everyone with her willingness to undergo several months of chemo with three cancer drugs and prednisone. She rode happily in the back seat of the car (no carrier) and bounced back after every treatment—until, one day, she didn’t. She tapped me on the arm one September morning to tell us it was time to go, and we took her in to our vet for the final shots.

March 11, 2013—Mabel had a reaction to her prednisone, demanded four servings of cat food at breakfast, and then bit me. Antibiotics for me, and I’m calling her vet in the morning to see if we can dial back on her steroids a little.