Featured image: Wild roses at Spicer Lake Nature Reserve.
MEANDER #8 Saturday 1 July 2017 Half a year behind, half a year ahead.
Actually, my thoughts go back more than two decades to the time when our long-lived cat, Miss Kitty, first came to live with us, the happy and occasionally head-scratchingly mystifying times we had, and the day she left us.
Declining health, no good prognosis from the vet, led us to the decision to have Miss Kitty euthanized on July 15, 2014. I’m sharing what we wrote that day.
If there were obituaries for cats this is what we’d share. July 15, 2014
Today we said goodbye to Miss Kitty. She was 18 years old and in failing health and it seemed best to ease her transition via the vet. It is not a happy thing to do but we remember with great fondness her life with us.
Miss Kitty was a kitten when we got her in December 1997. We gave her a July 1 birthdate. She died on July 15, 2014. A friend of mine was cat sitting Miss Kitty for her daughter who had just moved into an apartment where pets were not allowed. Kathy could not keep Miss Kitty long term because her son was allergic to cats (although he kept a boa constrictor in his bedroom, but that’s another story).
Miss Kitty received her names from her parents and their grand nieces, Jessica and Jennifer Lauver. Kathy had called her Miss Kitty and that seemed to fit, for she exhibited a certain reserve and standoffishness. Besides we didn’t want to cause her undue stress by giving her totally new names, so we kept Miss Kitty. The day we brought Miss Kitty home, we were walking in Island Park with Jessie and Jenny (12 and 9 years old) discussing what other names to give her. We passed by a building that was supposed to be a restaurant called Sassy’s and the girls decided that Sassafras would be a good name for Miss Kitty. John then chose Mopsa after a shepherdess in one of Shakespeare’s plays and we chose December so we would remember the month that she came to live with us.
Miss Kitty Sassafras Mopsa December Bender was a loving cat of many skills and some misbehavior. In her younger years she could jump with little effort to the top of the back of the lazy-boys and was able to shred wallpaper with a few strokes of her paws. She enjoyed picking a piece of dry food from her bowl and batting it across the floor, chasing after it to try to catch it before it stopped running. In her later years she daintily dipped her paw into the water bowl, gently licking the water from her paw.
Miss Kitty spent hours grooming, sleeping and eating. For years her favorite napping place was John’s lap. She would nap there as long as he sat still. Often he napped with her. John was, by all accounts, her favorite human. When I came home from work (generally before John) she’d happily greet me, rubbing around my legs while asking (demanding) a snack. Then, after downing her snack, she’d head to the front window to sit on Grandma Dintaman’s plant stand to watch for John.
Another of Miss Kitty’s favorite humans was Jean Bender, her sitter. Jean loved Miss Kitty and Miss Kitty loved Jean. Although she did not enjoy the journey to Jean’s house, and scolded us loudly the entire trip, as soon as she arrived and was released from the carrier she scurried here and there, happily sniffing the familiar environment.
From my journal, January 12, 1998: “Took Miss Kitty to her first visit to the vet this morning—Minerva Algate, DVM. Reassuring experience. First time for both of us. Meowed nervously en route, but was relaxed on the ride home. Both of us.”
Early on I thought I’d like to write an article about homeschooling Miss Kitty. “Perish the thought,” pushed back Miss Kitty. “Let me teach you a thing or two. Like, stretch, relax, play, eat well, nap, tear off restrictive collars, a leash? forget it, ha, ha, ha!, speak up, of course I’ll yelp when you step on my foot—all’s forgiven/forgotten with a purr moments later. That’s for starters, Meow 101.”
This morning Miss Kitty only softly protested the ride. The sky was both dark and bright blue. I needed the windshield wipers for a time. At Animal Aid Clinic South, I took care of details at reception and then waited with Miss Kitty in an examining room. She was fully relaxed on a blanket, welcoming a scratch behind ears and chin. She had lost weight since a visit just three weeks ago–today she weighed 5 pounds. I stayed in the room for the injection. One of the doctors carried her out wrapped in the blanket. I picked up the empty carrier and drove home, choked-up, teared-up, looking out on a still heavily gray, blue-patched, sun-streaked sky.
Goodbye Miss Kitty. –John and Marty
Week in photos
Spicer Lake Nature Reserve
On Wednesday we walked in Spicer Lake Nature Reserve. It is located north of New Carlisle in the farthest north west corner of neighboring St Joseph County. The bugs were not too bad, the bird sounds varied, the Water snakes a sudden surprise. We retraced our steps after finding them lounging on one of the board walks.
Past, present, future. Live it now.