Memories of Misty - Vale Misty

Misty and Me

It was a Sunday night, the week before Easter, 2013. Misty was lying just outside the back door, sleeping; I was on the couch watching a movie (which one? No idea; that memory is totally blank.) About half an hour into the movie, the rain hit; a sudden torrential blast that sounded more like a firehose than anything else. I jumped up to go and let her in, but she was already gone, bolted down somewhere to take refuge. I went to the front door to see if she'd gone there—she seemed entirely convinced that the front and back doors led to two different worlds—but there was no sign of her. I called to her, but since she was possibly deaf, who knows if she heard? I closed the front door (having left the back door open; only the screen was closed) and went back to my movie.

When it finished—and the rain had stopped—I went and opened both doors, called her a few times, and waited. A couple of minutes later she appeared, totally drenched, miserable and bedraggled. I wrapped her in a towel, dried her off as well as I could—as well as she would allow—and tried to warm her up and interest her in a rather soggy snuggle. After a minute or two she jumped up and lay on the floor.

A couple of hours later when I went to bed, she had barely moved. I figured she was sulking from getting soaked, so I picked her up and put her on the bed. She stayed on the end of the bed all night; she didn't wake me up even once, and she was still there when I went to work. This was rather unusual behaviour for her, and it left me feeling a little concerned. I thought she might have come down with something. I got home that evening to find that she'd thrown up on the bed and moved to the floor, but apart from that she didn't seem to have moved much at all. She just lay on her side, her breathing more laboured than seemed normal. I moved her into the kitchen, put her food and water beside her, and spent the rest of the evening up in the lounge room, watching movies and keeping an eye on her. The one time I picked her up to make a fuss of her she struggled free and staggered (alarmingly) back to the kitchen.

Tuesday morning she had barely moved, and didn't seem to have eaten anything. I went to work, called the vet, and arranged to take her in that afternoon. When I got home she had, again, barely moved, and by now I was quite worried. Not wanting to cram her into her carry case, I decided that I could put her in the laundry basket, that she would be more comfortable there. She may have been as weak as a newborn kitten, but she had enough strength to jump straight back out of that, thank you very much! It was heart-wrenching to watch her dragging herself away across the floor, her back legs almost useless. Finally I put her straight in the back of the car. She barely complained at all on the drive out to the vet, just a few weak moans to express her unhappiness. I waited out by the back of the car with her until they were ready for her, and then I carried her in.

The vet's preliminary examination revealed puzzling results, but nothing worth mentioning. She decided it would be best to keep Misty in overnight, on a drip to get fluids into her, and they would look at her first thing in the morning to do what they could. Expect a call at 8am.

The call came at 7:30. She had died during the night. Kidney failure, it turned out—and it seems to me that it must have been triggered by the shock of that sudden drenching, but what would I know? As it turned out, she had congenitally deformed kidneys; one huge, one tiny. Thinking about it now, I can't help but wonder if that huge, vulnerable kidney was behind her belly-protecting trap-attacks all those years ago... From somewhere inside my numb brain I arranged to have her cremated, and her ashes now rest in a kitten-shaped urn on a shelf in my living room.

I was a mess then, and I'm a mess now as I write these last few paragraphs. But in the weeks since her passing, I've adjusted to her absence. Adjusted to being able to sleep without interruption, to not having to rush home to feed her. To not seeing her waiting for me when I get home. Adjusted. Mostly...

On the morning I heard the news, I had an overwhelming urge to reboot my life, to get rid of every last item in my house and start again from scratch. The urge passed, but it did get me working on my newest effort to clean the place up a bit. That is now progressing nicely (albeit slowly, because hey, it's me!) I've bought new furniture, rearranged (and even replaced) existing furniture, and reduced a load of clutter.

Life goes on.

You might think, from reading this, that the cat—Misty—was nothing but an irritation, and wonder why I put up with her? Some days I wondered that myself. But ultimately, I took responsibility for her the first day I fed her. She entrusted herself to my care; how else could I repay that trust? And, sure, I'm a big softy (some have said doormat, but I don't talk to them any more) and I'm a sucker for ladies and small animals in distress.

Misty could be infuriating at times, and there were numerous occasions where she drove me to yell at her in frustration—usually some variant of "What do you want??!?!" But she was also my loyal companion, and yes, even my buddy. She was a huge part of my life.

Take care, Misty!

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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