The little tortoise-shell cat sat on the edge of the hole into which the ashes had just been placed. She looked down, and then turned away. The priest continued to read the prayers, as the cat returned her attention to the hole, and carefully reaching down with her paw, dislodging a little patter of soil.
It was clear to the priest that the cat was sizing up the depth of the hole, deciding whether to explore this strange new phenomena in what she had come to think of as her garden. A clerical hand grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and removed her from the vicinity of the grave, while continuing to lead the psalm.
The cat sat down a few feet from the mourners, her back to the priest, and began to wash. The short service concluded, and the family moved away. They smiled at the cat and talked about how much the deceased had loved her own cats. The priest silently sighed with relief, and after a swift glare at the vicarage cat, walked home, followed by the tortoise-shell.
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