The death of Pia, a rationalist cat

April 2, 2012 • 8:05 am

I am immensely saddened to report the death of Pia, the pet and helpmeet of Malgorzata Koraszewska and Andrzej Koraszewski, who run the well-known Polish rationalist website Racjonalista.  Pia was 14, and died from kidney failure.  She was a lovely tabby:

I first became acquainted with Pia when Malgorzata asked to translate some of my website pieces into Polish for their website.  Of course I assented, but, learning that they had a cat, I asked for two pictures of Pia as payment for each use, with one sent me as payment for allowing the translation and the other upon publication.  Malgorzata obliged, and I wound up with hundreds of pictures of Pia (they’ve translated over 100 of my pieces).  I also learned a lot about her: she liked to sit on the computer, obstructing the progress of secularism, and was fond of quail livers and beef tartare, but only when scraped from the beef rather than chopped.

After a while Andrzej began to publish “Pia Dialogues” on his Facebook page, each accompanied by a photo of Pia.  She came off as a haughty but loveable diva, and her lucubrations about life often ended with a plea for nomz. Here’s one dialogue:

A: Life is but a short break in an endless oblivion.
Pia: One has to fill this break sensibly. Give me something scrumptious.

Pia died suddenly, and I hoped up to the end that she could be saved. I wanted to meet her, and had visions of visiting Poland with a packet of quail livers as a gift.  But they put her to sleep to end her suffering.  As Malgorzata said,

Here are facts. Pia, a feral kitten, was rescued by our friend and given to us 1998. She was the queen of the house, and of our two big dogs one adored her and the other avoided her in respect. For some time lately she was having a daily dialogue with Andrzej about, life, food, philosophy and human folly.

Here is the final and incomplete dialogue, really a monologue by Andrzej after Pia’s death:

A: I do not have to push my pen under the screen, Pia will not throw it on the floor nor will she lie on it; I do not have to check the kitchen window, Pia will not return from the orchard; I do not have to look where I step nor do I have to move carefully in my sleep. How empty can a house be without one tiny, grey creature? And how empty our life would be if we felt differently.

21 thoughts on “The death of Pia, a rationalist cat

  1. Thanks for passing along Andrzej’s eloquent words. I immediately sought out Gus and gave him some extra pets — every day with our dear companions is precious!

  2. So sad,

    The Last Battle
    If it should be that I grow frail and weak,

    And pain should keep me from my sleep,

    Then will you do what must be done,

    For this, the last battle, can’t be won.

    You will be sad I understand,

    But don’t let grief then stay your hand,

    For on this day, more than the rest,

    Your love and friendship must stand the test.

    We have had so many happy years,

    You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.

    When the time comes, please, let me go.

    Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,

    Only, stay with me till the end

    And hold me firm and speak to me,

    Until my eyes no longer see.

    I know in time you will agree,

    It is a kindness you do to me.

    Although my tail its last has waved,

    From pain and suffering I have been saved.

    Don’t grieve that it must be you,

    Who has to decide this thing to do;

    We’ve been so close,we two, these years,

    Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

  3. I wanted to meet her, and had visions of visiting Poland with a packet of quail livers as a gift.

    I can only imagine what TSA would make of that.

  4. I knew Pia personally from kittenhood to maturity and beyond, and she was a fine cat. She knew what she liked. Always fond of a good snooze on something soft, she possessed several pieces of furniture and knew how to claim a lap. In her prime she was very bad news for any mouse within range. Later as a mouser emerita she continued to enjoy life with her two faithful retainers, who supplied her with choice delicacies, laps, and computer keyboards to lie on. All that snoozing–some of it only a facade for contemplation–produced profound thoughts that Andrzej fortunately captured for posterity. Pia will be sorely missed by her international following, but her legacy lives on.

  5. I lost a cat, he was 12, to sudden onset kidney and liver failure a couple of years ago. You think you get over this stuff…

    Then you see how someone else has the same feelings and shares them… It all comes rushing back….

    1. I lost my last cat to cancer in 1990 (there haven’t been any others because my wife and son developed cat allergies), and I still miss her.

  6. Thank you for the moving memory.

    I lost my cat Puma in May 2004 and I still miss her, although there are two other adorable cats living with me nowadays. It is true that one always misses somebody he really loved.

  7. What a beautiful girl. I lost my darling Lily 2 weeks ago from kidney failure and am absolutely heartbroken. It’s the things like having to move your pen that are the saddest thing ……

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