Memories of Misty - The Early Years

Misty and Me

Fortunately, twice was enough; she never ventured up onto the roof again.

However, it took me a little longer to learn some of my lessons surrounding how to interact with her. I had spent the last dozen years or so living with my parents' cat, Tiger, and so I thought I knew cat behaviour. Misty taught me how little I knew, and how different cats can be from each other. In personality she was more like a dog than a cat, and would even exhibit short periods of neediness that she never outgrew.

She liked to cling, and she liked to climb (even if it was just climbing me!) And, she was a drooler. She liked nothing more than snuggling up close to me—either in the crook of my arm, or on my chest—with her claws firmly gripping whatever carelessly exposed piece of skin she could find, drooling copious amounts of cat-spit into my hair or neck or beard. Quite often she would grip my neck, claws kneading either side of my windpipe, or probing for the jugular, and jam her head up tight under my chin. At least one of us was comfy, I suppose! And I always had to have a shirt or a towel, to stop the warm drool from trickling too far down my neck...

This was the main reason she was banned from my bedroom when I was trying to sleep. Tiger spent many nights on the foot of my bed, but Misty had to go for the choke-drool, which made sleep impossible. Of course, she'd often object to being locked out; late nights (waiting for her to go to sleep by herself) and early mornings (being woken by her meowing or scratching to be let in) became a regular occurrence.

She did love those drool-hugs, though. The whole time she was drooling, she was purring like a wood-chipper being fed a pine tree.

Sometimes, making herself comfy on my chest was not enough. As the photo at the top of this article shows, she also liked to climb higher, and occasionally I'd end up with her perched happily on my shoulders (or even attempting to balance on my head.) Whatever I was doing, she had to be close.

Then there was the flip-side of the coin. Her cosy times never lasted more than a few minutes (except for the evenings when she'd actually fall asleep on my chest, and stay there for an hour or two!) Once she jumped up, she would make it quite clear that she wanted nothing more to do with me—often going to great lengths to get as close as possible to me so I would not miss the fact that she was ignoring me! Every time I turned around she'd be right there, right behind me, with her back to me. At times like these, I never actually saw her move; she would just teleport closer every time I got more than a certain distance away!

Needless to say, she also loved to rub herself against my ankle, twining her body around my feet. If she could manage it just as I was about to take a step, all the better. The top of the stairs was ideal, although she never quite managed to tumble me down them... However, the first time she did it was late one night soon after she'd moved in. I was sitting in the dark, in front of my computer, playing AvP 2 (that's Aliens vs Predator, for those who aren't familiar with the title.) I was running around some dark base, and somewhere in the dark was the scuttling of an Alien face-hugger; it was trying to latch onto me and I was frantically trying to avoid it and get a bead on it and I was used to the house being empty and the cat rubbed against my leg! I nearly had a heart attack on the spot!

While she wasn't actively trying to murder me, she would lay other traps. She would lay on her back, legs spread in all directions as only a cat can manage, and invite me to stroke her belly. However, touching her belly—I was never entirely sure if there was a time countdown, or just a particular spot she didn't like touched (and knowing what I know now, that seems highly likely)—was like putting your hand in a wolf-trap. The legs would all spring shut, claws out, and her head would whip around to sink her fangs into my arm.

The first time that happened, it was quite alarming; I jerked my arm hastily out of her grasp, and ended up with a couple of long scratches down my forearm.

One could describe her as the biological equivalent of the gom jabbar/nerve induction box test. If you pulled back, you paid the price. Once I learned to hold my hand still when she triggered her trap, all I got was a warning-grip from the claws and a gentle knuckle-gnawing from the teeth, usually followed by her releasing me and bolting away, wide-eyed, so she could sit three feet away and fervently ignore me. Over time, she learned she didn't need to attack me, and I learned to approach her belly with caution...

Comments   

0 #2 Pete Jones 2014-06-19 19:58
Quoting Melfka:
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)


Yep! :-) Although they don't seem to support nested replies, and I'm gonna have to do some CSS tweaking to get them to match the rest of the page! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
... though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.


I always considered myself more of a dog person too -- after all, cats don't seem to be fond of anyone! -- but I figured the cat would be "low maintenance" compared to a dog. Wrong on all counts. She was a lot of work, surprisingly needy "for a cat" ... but she was very affectionate, towards me at least. Definitely my cat... :-) And yeah, maybe one day another one will come along -- there are certainly indications that I'm missing the company -- but so far it's been a year and I'm still in no great rush to get another cat. Or dog. Having no dependents has its advantages... :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speaking people use he/she as well :).


Yeah, we might use "it" if we don't know the sex of the animal (a thought which led me to wonder whether animals can be transgender; I guess that would require some level of self-awareness, though) but on the whole, if we don't know, we're quite likely to use "he" or "she" anyway. I tend to lean towards "he" for dogs and "she" for cats... The less cuddly an animal is -- the less relatable it is -- the more likely we'll fall back on "it"! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).


Yep, I can see how that would work! :-)

I'm not sure what it was, but I was just never comfortable giving her a "human" name -- and "Misty" came about because I felt bad listing her as "Cat" at the vet! Maybe I'd have felt differently if I'd gotten her as a kitten, but I always had this feeling that she didn't need me to start making up names for her. And she responded equally well to "Misty", "Cat", "Puss", or anything else -- which is to say, hardly at all. For a long time, what actually brought her running without fail was a click of my fingers... (Hmm. Maybe she was originally owned by a Kalahari bushman, and *CLICK* was her name... :-) )

Thanks for your comment. (It was my first! ;-) )
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+1 #1 Melfka 2014-06-18 13:45
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)

I don't even know why I clicked on this text, I guess something grabbed me in the first few paragraphs. And then I couldn't stop and had to read to the end. Probably because I can somewhat relate to your story, though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.

But then... I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speakin g people use he/she as well :).

I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).

And in the end, you didn't lose just "a pet". You lost a family member. Anyone who claims otherwise can be punished in the afterlife by having to read a phonebook through the eternity.
I just hope that one day another "Misty" will come around. She or he won't be the same, but maybe will become yet another family member.

PS On the unrealted note, I am not registering to check if the moderation/addi ng comments works properly ;). I hope your Joomla doesn't eat all the letters I typed. ;)
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