"Pleeeeease?" she pleaded.
"No!" I remained steadfast. "For the umpteenth and fourth time, I will not take that damned kitten! You've been trying to get rid of her for weeks now and my answer is STILL "NO!" Look, I made up flyers for you, I posted ads on the Internet and I've annoyed the hell out of my co-workers about it! I have done more than my part in this, sweetness, but I am NOT taking that kitten!"
Eventually, I took the kitten.
I wrote the above 10 years ago this summer. That kitten—sadly christened “Li’l Miss Thang” at birth, rechristened “Missy” when given to my friend and later, to match her hobby, renamed Mischief—died this morning.
The first time I ever saw her, she was still so tiny that she was lost to my eyes as she slept in the crease between two large couch cushions. Friend Kim had taken her into Ohio from a litter born just about two blocks from me here in Kentucky. But she was impatient and frustrated that her two older cats couldn’t get along with her new kitten. Within a few weeks, she was looking to re-home her. I tried to help. I actually had someone interested at work at one point but for whatever reasons it didn’t work out.
Kim kept trying to get ME to just take the cat and thus solve all her problems with it. But we had two cats already—the aging Chauncey and the diva female Katherine Hepburn Thompson whom we had, in fact, previously inherited from Kim. We also had a big, goofy dog, Precious.
But in the end, as I say, I took the kitten, and over time she fit in. Katherine and Precious tended to simply ignore her. She annoyed Chauncey in a kind of Lennie and George way and we think she may have reinvigorated the old fella a bit. 13 years old when we got Miss, Chaunce lived another 5.
Mischief was always small and sickly looking, even though she seemed generally healthy. I assumed she was the runt of the litter but Kim once introduced me to another woman who had one of the cats from the same litter and she, too, was scrawny.
There were definitely something going on healthwise, though, as Miss would look fine for a while, then lose a lot of her hair and lose weight. When she stretched out, she would look like a ferret. We were told early on she might not survive long.
Along the way, an outdoor cat also adopted us. We made Calico Cohen Thompson a warm porch house and she stayed around from then on. Unfortunately, we could never catch her to get her fixed so she had kittens. Several litters. We tried bringing one group inside after we got THEM fixed. Katherine ignored them, as she did most things, and Presh put up with them as he was, by that point, on his last legs as well. Mischief did not take well to them at all, however, and began acting out, ripping down curtains, knocking down things from high shelves, hiding for days at a time, etc.
But we found them homes. Then it was Precious’s time to go. Then Katie. Soon enough, Mischief was an only cat...and she THRIVED on it! Suddenly she put on pounds and fur and looked fantastic! She became friendlier and more affectionate and stopped tearing everything up.
It stayed like that for a while—Callie outside, Mischief inside. And ne’er the twain shall meet. But this year, finally, after 4 years, we convinced the formerly feral Callie to come inside when the temps hit below zero. Mischief was not amused. Especially when Callie stayed later on.
The two cats came to a tussle several times and Miss would hiss and growl at her whenever she saw Callie. Mischief took to staying upstairs most of the time.
It became obvious to us that Miss wasn’t doing well, either. Her weight fell off drastically again, she was sleeping even more than normal and she wasn’t eating much...other than plastic, which had always seemed to be her favorite snack!
This morning Callie was outside for a while so Miss came downstairs. I looked her right in the eye and spoke to her. An hour later, she had passed.
I may not have wanted her originally, but I’m glad we had her...and for as long as we did. In the long run, you were a good girl, Mischief. I miss you so much already.
REST IN PEACE.