Goodbye Misty

Misty: 1996-2012

This is my cat Misty, who died on 16 September 2012.

She and her sister, Misha, were born on 1 August 1996. Their mother was a pedigree chocolate point British shorthair who belonged to a colleague of my husband’s. This particular cat, though being very well-bred, obviously fancied a bit of rough as she escaped one night and went out looking for some mongrel action. She must have had herself a good time, because she came back pregnant. She gave birth to a litter of five kittens. One of them was a beautiful British blue – exactly the same colour as her uncle, another pedigree (also owned by Hubby’s colleague). Two of them were black, and the other two were a random tabby colour – possibly an indication of the mongrel tom who fathered the kittens.

We’d just moved from our flat into a maisonette, and since we now had a front door of our own, that could be used for feline egress, we decided the time was right to get a cat. In fact we decided to get two – since we were both out all day, we thought two cats from the same litter would keep each other company. We went to see this new litter of kittens, and we picked two. We had the British blue, which we named Misty, and one of the black kittens, which we called Misha. When they came to us they were about nine weeks old – adorable little bundles of fluff.

Misty & Misha as kittens

Being half pedigree, these cats had been born with generations of the inclination to do nothing but sit around on cushions looking pretty bred into them. They were always rather lazy, even for cats, and both got rather fat as they got older. They were also not exactly at the top of the feline IQ chart – generations of inbreeding tends to make pedigrees rather less bright than moggies. But they both had a very gentle nature, and were very sweet cats.

Misty’s unusual colour always drew attention. Every time we had visitors, they would make a fuss of her and say, “what a beautiful cat.” She got rather big-headed about this after a while. Whenever someone came to see us, she would emerge, and pose in the middle of the room, as if to say, “well? Aren’t you going to tell me how pretty I am?”

Misty & Misha getting comfy in a guitar case

Misty had a thing for boxes. Every time something new came into the house, she was there waiting for us to unpack the box so she could squeeze into it. Even if she was too big and the box too small, she would try to squeeze into it anyway. She was particularly fond of hubby’s guitar cases, which had the added advantage of being felt lined, so more comfortable than regular cardboard boxes.

She liked to sit in the bathroom when I was taking a bath. The first few times she did this, as a kitten, she would sit on the side of the bath with her tale hanging down into the water. The fact that it would be getting wet appeared not to phase her. Once, she tried to jump on me while I was in the bath. I saw her sizing this up for a while, and then she took a flying leap off the side into the water. She hit the water, yowled, turned around in mid-air and shot back out again, before shooting out of the room. This all happened in one movement, and was rather amusing to watch. Suffice to say she never tried to jump in the bath again. She would instead come in and sit on the bath mat while I was bathing.

Misty and Misha spent all their lives together, and right to the end they would curl up and sleep together. But over the last few years I was aware that as cats they were past the expected life span, and would not be with us for much longer.

In the summer I took Misty to the vet, who confirmed that she had lost quite a lot of weight – a kilogram in the last 12 months, specifically. The vet offered tests to find out what was wrong. I declined at the time. Misty seemed quite happy – she was still jumping up and purring. She wasn’t eating as much, but she’d been a very fat cat to begin with, and she didn’t appear to be in pain, or particularly miserable.

Two days before we moved, she came down the stairs vomiting blood, and we had to take her to the emergency vet surgery (it was a Sunday – the usual surgery was closed). She died on the way there. It turned out she had a throat tumour. If we’d have had the tests, we might have found out about the tumour, but it was untreatable, so we could not have done anything about it. All we could have done was wait for her to die. In the end, she died in my arms, which is probably the way she would have wanted to go. Sometimes I feel bad that I didn’t do the tests and find out earlier what was wrong. Partly it was because I think I didn’t really want to know. But the other part is I didn’t think it was fair to subject a 16-year-old cat to tests and treatments that were going to be painful and distressing. In the end she got to spend the last few months of her life at home, in comfort, with the humans she knew and loved. The end, when it came, was sad, but it was all over quite quickly.

In retrospect, I am convinced that Misty knew she was going to die. The night before she’d been unusually active, coming down to talk to us and our guests and visiting favourite spots she hadn’t been to in a while, like the windowsill. I think she was saying goodbye.

It seems Misha knew it, too. We took her on that final journey to the vet, because we knew at that point Misty wasn’t coming back, and we wanted to make sure Misha understood that. Misha has settled into the new house well. I think she’s a bit lonesome, but she’s accepted the fact she’s now the only cat in the household. And the vet says she’s surprisingly healthy for an old fat cat, so hopefully she’ll be with us a bit longer.

I think perhaps moving to a new house immediately afterwards helped all of us. It made a stressful situation even more stressful, but we’re in a new place where there are no memories of Misty. She was with us for 16 years, and I think she had a happy – if lazy – life with us. Losing a pet is always hard, as they become part of the family, but we can remember the happiness they brought us.

Goodbye, Misty. You were a special cat, and I will always remember you.


1 comment so far

  1. RIP Misha | Imaginary Friends on

    […] had to say goodbye to our last cat Misha yesterday. We lost her sister Misty in September of last year – two days before we moved house. We wondered at the time how Misha […]

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