Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Farewell, Miss Cat

Today is a very sad day for my family. We unexpectedly had to say goodbye to the sweet little girl that has brightened our lives for almost 7 years. Our consolation is that we still have her brother, but we will never forget our Missy. It was a pleasant September day when we first met her. My husband, our 9 year old daughter and I were out picking the last of the blackberries. In the midst of picking we heard a small but insistent meowing. We saw a pair of the tiniest kittens in the midst of a pile of bramble. Concerned that their mother wouldn't like it if we handled them, we left the area to give her a chance to come and retrieve her babies. After half an hour we came back and the moment they heard us, out they came again.

My husband and I looked at each other, knowing that even though we weren't sure that we wanted the responsiblity of these two little lives, we also couldn't bear the thought of what would likely happen to these two helpless little ones if we just left them.

So we brought them home with us.

We soon realized that the little pale colored female with the crooked short tail had some type of urinary tract infection as she was passing puss with her urine. She also had a lump on her lower belly. I called our veterinarian and she was sweet enough to see our babies, just charging us for medications and not her normal office visit charge.

She advised me that the little ones were only three weeks old and would need a great deal of care if we wanted them to survive. They were both treated for massive flea infestations, and the one we simply called sister was given a course of antibiotics. We fed them cat formula with a dropper until they were old enough to take kitten food. We had to toilet them, then train them to a litter box when they were bigger. Soon brother and sister became Buster and Missy. Missy was a pretty scraggly and sorry looking kitten for quite some time. She had a short tail, about half the length it should have been and it was bent like a lightening bolt. We don't know if she was born this way, or if it was injured before we found her.

Her beautiful blue eyes stayed blue while her brother's turned green. They grew and became playful and sociable - we had to keep a close eye on them because of their curiosity - we rescued them from various spots like desk drawers and under the refrigerator! As babies they would curl up together, looking like yin and yang. Missy (or Miss Priss) would groom her brother with authority, whether he wanted it or not! She probably would have been a terrific mother, but we decided to have her spayed as soon as she came into her first heat at four months. I think that was the worst thing she went through in her whole life, but she recovered from her surgery and became the sweet, though slightly wild, little cat that we shall always remember. She had a thing for shoes for a while and would delight in sniffing and rolling on them.

She loved to chase the laser mouse, and would often toss and chase the little catnip mice we would buy for her. She loved to chatter at the birds out of the second story window, and even caught a few in her days. She brought one into the house this last Christmas and let it go, prompting a wild chase through the house and the fear that we would end up with a bird in our (artificial) Christmas Tree! (We did catch it and released it, no harm done)

She was always a very nervous cat, jumping at any strange noise. She hated the sound of plastic bags rustling - and just about jumped out of her skin at any loud noise. She wasn't fearful of people, though the only dog she ever tolerated was our Tipper dog. Missy would flop on the floor near the dog and roll on her back, stretching and flirting! It was the funniest sight to see both of them rolling on the floor side by side!

She had a funny thing about sitting on paper. If there was any newspaper or magazine on the floor she could not help but sit on it - we figured it must have felt good on her paws or something! She was a bit of a clutz, there are scars on the upstair stair railing because of her near misses. She walked with a heavy tread, a bit like a bulldog, and always had an attitude. She couldn't stand to be picked up and cuddled, you should have seen the "Dr Evil" face she would make when subjected to this humiliation! We jokingly called her Miss Touch-Me-Not because of her attitude, but when she wanted to be loved on she let us know in no uncertain terms!

I took her some time before she would sit on a person's lap. She was always affectionate, but on her terms. We called her "Stalker" for her habit of walking around you while you tried to pet her. Eventually she came to love sitting on my lap, but always on her terms and when she wanted to. She loved to knead on the soft blankets around the house, and would purr so loudly.
We always felt like she missed her mother because she would knead and purr so intently.

She was a nosy little cat, always checking out anything new that came into the house, and she loved boxes. If she spotted an empty box she would be in it before you knew it! She would even squeeze into the teeniest boxes! We recently discovered her love of cardboard to scratch on. For the last year I kept a box upstairs for her to destroy and she really liked that. She loved to hang out with me in my sewing room, but never messed with my stuff. She would just sit on the ironing board and try to distract me with her cuteness - and it always worked! Sometimes she would insist that I quit what I was doing and just pay attention to her for a while, and it was always a pleasure. She would roll on her back and give me a look with those gorgeous eyes - how could I ever resist!

She was a quiet cat, rarely vocal except when outdoors. When she wanted in she would meow her little head off! Occasionally she would let me know her water dish was empty, but other than that, her purr was the loudest thing about her. We always said she talked with her eyes. I have never seen a cat with more beautiful eyes. And her sweet little pink nose was so adorable. Even the pads of her paws were mostly pink. She was definitely a girly cat, hence the name Miss Priss.
She was quite the socialite. Last year I discovered that she made a habit of visiting the church school across the street, even strolling into the classrooms when the doors were open. Our entire neighborhood will feel the loss as she loved greeting people as they walked by - she didn't let anyone pick her up, but she loved to get a little pet on the head and a hello.
We were stunned this morning when we found her cold and silent. It doesn't seem right that such a sweet cat should live such a short life. We don't know the reason for her death, but we take consolation in the fact that she didn't look like she suffered . We buried her in the side yard, where she liked to sit under the hydrangea bush and watch us work in the yard.

I can't put into words all the things I will miss about my little Miss Cat. My sewing room will be a lonely place now. She was a one of a kind cat and her short stay with us enriched our lives and gave us so much pleasure. She will live forever in our thoughts and memories, though, and she will not be forgotten.


FabricFascination said...

What a sweet story, and such a good idea to memorialize your kitty right away so you can remember all the reasons you loved her.

Kris ~ Fabric ala Carte (aka The Scrappy Quilter) said...

I love her story, and how she enriched your lives. Our little pet beings are love angels on earth.

Terry Aske Art Quilts said...

Pam, what a lovely tribute to a wonderful pet.

Unknown said...

Hi Pam

That is a wonderful, heartfelt story. I'm sure she didn't want to leave you either, but the love and care you gave her made life worthwhile. You will meet again...


Unknown said...

Wow what a tribute to her life and the love you had given her. She sure was a beautiful ray of sunshine! I loved the entire story it was as if I knew her by reading it. I am so sorry for your loss.

Kathleen said...

Sorry you lost your kitty unexpectedly. It's so hard to lose our pets. Your tale of her life was a pleasure to read.