My mother had a cat that lived to be seventeen. One day, she just disappeared. She had never once run off or tried to sneak out before that time. She was just there one day and gone the next.

My mom knew the cat had taken herself off somewhere secret, to curl up and die. 

Every once in a while, I wonder where she went, exactly. If she found someplace warm and cozy, someplace soft and dry and sheltered. Or if she just dragged herself to the nearest empty cardboard box, and collapsed, defeated, cold and alone, to wait for death.