Originally written on July 3, 2009
I’m sure it does sound weird to do, it’s hardly anything I’ve really seen before, a blog about a pet but I feel like I should do this. I did this for my Grandmother and now for a cat. Maybe I am nuts, but you can ask anybody who I regularly talked to and guarantee that they will all state that I have spoken very much about Snowball and Missy. Talk to me regularly and you would get some cat stories. So, it does make sense that I would post something like this. Missy is my first pet death. I’ve known other pets who have passed on and of course my condolences but this one really hit home. I got her ashes back from the Vet on July 2, it was very bittersweet. However she’s home and I decided to just do this and get it over with. I did intend to write this tribute blog up but the procrastination was getting the best of me and getting her urn home boosted me up to do this. So here it goes…
Missy came to my life in October of 2000 when she was about 5 months old (calculated that she was born in May of that year). My Mom and I just moved into a new house and already had then 5-year old Snowball; we had been thinking of getting a new cat and even looked around but decided not to when Snowball would go ballistic when she would see another cat around her house. One day at my Mom’s work, a co-worker was telling my Mom about a neighbor who just got a new kitten for his daughter but it turns out that she’s allergic to cats and was looking for a home for her before deciding to take her back to the animal shelter where they got her. She explained to my Mom that this little kitten had been abandoned by her mother, was rescued by the animal shelter. My Mom got suckered in and agreed to give the little kitten a home. She called me up to let me know that we will be getting another cat that same night. Sure enough, Missy arrived. That kitten had the biggest fluffy tail I have ever seen! Big tail, little kitten. She was too cute. Mom and I welcomed her with arms, holding her, letting her know us and then let her explore her new home…until Snowball, who had seen Missy at the door with her previous owner and co-worker, realized that she was not going away. Thus started the three months of growl hiss growl hiss growl…I was already in love with Missy to have second thoughts of the mistake that Snowball was making it out to be (my mom did have second thoughts however but it quietly vanished as she too was already in love). Eventually in time Snowball realized that Missy was NOT going anywhere no matter how much she protested and the growling & hissing wore off. Missy held her own with Snowball, she even freaked her out by one time when she leaped over Snowball with a jump. Oh man could Missy jump! I think she could have been a frog in another life. You should have seen Snowball’s look on her face when Missy leaped over her…it was classic. Probably helped deemed Missy getting some type of respect for her. Whenever there was a lizard high up on the sliding glass door, Missy would jump a good 10 feet trying to get that lizard! I kept hearing this commotion and turned to see a little tiny kitten trying to get this lizard that was very high up there that a 5 foot 8 ½ inch me couldn’t reach! I was impressed. Snowball never did that.
Over time I think Snowball really did like having Missy around…she was the big sister. She could pretty much boss the poor little thing around! She had someone to play with, to have company whenever Mom and I went out somewhere, not to feel alone. One time while I was away in college in ....Tampa...., Snowball went missing for three days and when she returned, she was so happy to be home, she even rubbed Missy! Whoa! I remember another time in my room on my window sill both cats were on it and they started to sniff each other, Snowball reached out to Missy and then licked her head! I think my eyes were so wide that my eyeballs could have fallen out! It was a lovely moment.
The funny ongoing thing with Snowball and Missy was whenever Missy went to the bathroom (litter), you’ll see Snowball sneaking up, spying on her to scare her! Like a sister would…I’m going to miss watching that! It was funny.
Missy was the sweetest and loving cat I’ve ever encountered. She never meant to hurt you. If you were wearing a sleeveless shirt, her claws wouldn’t be out while holding her…if you were wearing a shirt then you would feel her claws but it was to hold on to you. Missy would also nudge your hand so that you would know she wanted to be petted. She would meow in a question before she jumped on the bed…both Mom and I fell into habit of meowing in response to acknowledge her, then she would jump up for a love-fest. She was more of a lap cat then Snowball is. Snowball would be close to you, next to you, be on your lap for a few minutes at a time before she had enough. Missy would be on your lap for a good quality of time. Of course my favorite moments with Missy would be when going to sleep: a few times she fell asleep with her head resting on my hand. Awww…Other then the thought of her being a frog in another life, I think she was a nurse in another life as well. Whenever Mom or I was sick, would wake up from a groggy sleep to find Missy there, looking at us as if she was watching over us, meowing in greeting. Of course she didn’t make us take our medicine or anything but it felt like she was taking care of us. She brought this comforting, nurturing aura to her. Snowball would do what she would always do but Missy would just be there.
Missy had this cutest little growl. Snowball has a real growl, very threatening, you know she means business! I know Missy felt the same way “I mean business!” but in truth, it was not threatening at all! It was so cute. In truth, my Mom or I would get her angry just to hear that growl. She never hissed or swiped as Snowball would be doing but she was a good wiggler. She can twist, turn to get her away from our grip. Plus she could also run very fast. I’ve constantly referred her as Speedy Gonzalez or Road Runner from Looney Tunes. She was also a very good hider- she had me stumped a few times! Clever little thing. She even found a hiding place under my Mom’s TV armour where she would hide from us as well as using it to play with Snowball. You would see her little paws sticking out for Snowball to bait around! But then she got bigger and could no longer fit there but no matter- cats are bound to find other hiding places.
I do regret one thing: I regret not playing with her as often as I have done with Snowball when she was a kitten. Snowball was at the point where she got more interested in laying about that playing got far and few between. Poor Missy came about at that point. Sure we did try to play with her but it was far and few between and it got into her own habit too. I did try to play with her though, but not as much as I had done with Snowball.
This year, about a week after Mother’s day and after I got a new car, I realized that I haven’t really seen Missy all that much. It wasn’t very unusual that she would hide around but I did not really see her at all, making much appearances. I found her in my Mom’s closet and realized that she lost an incredibly amount of weight, practically skin and bones. I also found that she had been limping. I made the dreaded V-E-T appointment to have it checked out. I had hoped that perhaps she injured herself. When the day came, I took her to the Vet and found not only she did lose a lot of weight but her heart was racing so fast that the Dr. couldn’t count how many beats it was going. He drew blood for tests and when they came out he was baffled: she was normal. I thought she did injure herself after all because of the limping. Well apparently not. Another visit it was concluded that she had a heart disease, an aorta embolism that released a clot that was in her hind leg causing her to limp. He prescribed a heart med as well as aspirin to help thin her blood with the clot. The heart med helped slow down her fast beating heart and the limp came and went, came and went. Both the Dr. and my mom were thinking the end was near while I, mostly likely in denial, didn’t want to give up hope on Missy. I felt that she may not recover from her heart disease but she could at least live with it with the meds. I just didn’t want to give up on her too quickly. She was only a baby, she may have been 9 years old but she was the baby of the family and she fit that word in every sense. Although I held out hope, I also felt my heart breaking. I am not a big crier but that entire time of Missy being ill, I cried. Watching, feeling, hearing her was all heart breaking. I didn’t want to lose my baby, not yet. I thought it was unfair for her especially, why a painful thing was hurting a sweet cat who did not deserve this kind of suffering. During that time, my Mom and I took turns of her sleeping with one of us until the last two days where we all slept together. After her seizure that she had on a Saturday, June 20, we thought of putting her down to sleep for good. I heard a thump behind the couch in the living room, heard Missy howled and went for her. I called up for my Mom who had planned to take her car in for a check up, Missy was shaking. We decided right there to hurry to an Animal Hospital to put her down. Our vet was closed so we went to another place that I knew about but they said something about them not being a 24-hour facility and wanting to hook her up to oxygen, an IV to see how long she would last. What??? Why? I didn’t want her to go through that! Especially her being far from home. I knew she wouldn’t have gone for that either. They suggested a hospital that was 24 hours so we decided to check it’s whereabouts. By that point Missy was back to ‘normal’, she seemed calm, herself pretty much that we decided to just go home and one of us be with her at all times. That was when we decided to sleep together as a family, feeling that she could die pretty much any time. On Sunday, June 21, my Uncle was having a birthday/Father’s day family get together. We called up asking permission to take Missy with us in her cat carrier so we can keep monitoring her. It may have been a bad idea but we were worried, we wanted to be with her. Missy was a trooper though. I made sure her carrier was comfy with newspapers, towel, and a mat thing in case she has any bathroom accidents, brought her food that we were force-feeding her with syringes. It also gave the chance for my cousins who held an affection for her (as she was never mean to them as Snowball, especially after they’ve pulled her tail kinda thing- she is NOT used to kids at all while Missy never hurt them) to say goodbye to her. My Mom and I had already decided to put her down on Monday, together.
..Monday June 22, 2009 came...it came too quick. After her seizure on Saturday Missy went for a turn for a worst. She was peeing wherever she was, she couldn’t go as far anymore, just a few steps then she’s down. We tried putting another litter box for the upstairs (the main one is downstairs) so she can have easy access to it but it turned out to be unnecessary. We tried making her final day with us special, letting her be at her favorite places, especially on her little cat bed that’s between my room and the office room upstairs. She even went outside for a few minutes to eat some grass and enjoy herself with fresh air. The morning of the dreaded day, Mom took the day off from work and I called the Vet to move up her appointment that she had originally to check her heartbeat to put her down. ..10:30 AM... When the time came close to leave, we opt not to take the cat carrier…what was the point? So while Mom drove, I held her. I think she knew, she meowed a bit. Both Mom and I were feeling very sad, but it was very clear too. Our cat was suffering, she was in pain. You can hear it with her purring, feel it with her skin and bones, it was just too painful. When we got there, Mom wanted to hold her so she can say goodbye. We went into the exam room while the Dr. was with another furry patient so we used that time to be with her, petting her, telling her how much we love her, how much we will miss her, telling her that she was a very good cat, how blessed we are to have her in our lives, telling her that this was the hardest thing to do but she’ll be in a better place. I told her to see my great-Grandmother Lucy, she was a cat lover- all cats loved her lap; I always remembered a cat being on her lap whenever I went up to Pennslyvania to see her. My Grandmother was not a cat person although I’m sure she would at least help out or something, I don’t know, for the love of her daughter and granddaughter, but I think Missy would have been better off with Grandma Lucy. Anyway, Missy got to the point where she was biting whenever we put our hands near her face and at that point, my Mom asked me if I wanted to hold her. Of course I did! When I got her into my arms, I felt her slump but didn’t think it was unusual, I thought she was trying to hide as she had done many times before at the vet. Then I felt her pee, “Eww gross she just peed on me!” I wasn’t mad at Missy for peeing on me, however- knowing what she’s going through and the situation she had been with going to the bathroom, all I could really do is let it go. My mom thought it was funny—Missy had peed on her twice before during the whole month she was ill and I thought it was funny! Okay so we laugh at toilet humor, I admit it. Mom got up for the paper towels and while I was cleaning up (luckily she mostly peed on my hand and floor, not on my clothes), that was when I realized Missy wasn’t responding. Her eyes were open but emotionless. At that moment the Dr. assistant came in and I know I asked Missy “are you dead? Missy?” I put Missy on the check up counter and the assistant went to check on her mouth to see some color and then went to get the Dr. He came in with his heart thingy (sorry, I can say it outloud but I can not spell it) and he checked for a heart beat, then he said that word: “Sorry”. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders to tell you the truth. I had spent that whole month force feeding her like a baby, trying to get her take her medicine, I no longer have to do that anymore. Snowball is healthy, especially for her age, sharp as a tack, very much independent for a 14 year old.
When Mom and I came home, I was just feeling numb. The house already felt empty without Missy’s presence. Although I do very much miss her, I know she’s at peace. I don’t have to hear that whimpering in her purr, the pain looked in her face whenever I see her. I do miss her, I fight the urge not to get up from this chair to wonder where she’s hiding or hanging out. My Mom misses her regular bed buddy (Snowball is my regular bed buddy). I believe Snowball is missing her roommate- she’s realizing her litter box isn’t being shared and that only one food bowl is going down instead of two, which means less food for her (funny cat, I have a female version of Garfield, I swear). Two times since Missy died so far, Snowball howled looking for her. It’s like taking attendance roll call with that cat- she checks to makes sure you are home. Do you have a cat like that? Just recently, after both Mom and I called out for her to let her know where we were in the house, Snowball kept meowing. Both Mom and I were downstairs and I checked to find where she was and found her half way of the stairs looking up, probably thinking Missy’s upstairs as she used to be at most of the time. So I do believe she misses her despite the rough start. She had almost 9 years living with Missy, which was more longer then she was solo for the first five years of her life. It’s nice to know that Snowball did like Missy- they hated the forced family time but they tolerated each other, played with one another. However Snowball also knew she would be a dead cat if she did any real harm to Missy so the fights were rare after the three months of first living together. But that’s what cats do- they are very territorial so you can’t really blame them.