Norwich Bulletin - 3/5/2006
His Name Was Mouse|
In 1996, my husband and I had been rescuing cats for about six months and we thought we could do anything. After all, we had just brought up two little ten day old kittens and acquired our spokescat, Milo. So, when we heard that Milo’s feral mother was again pregnant, we decided to trap her and bring her home.
With the help of a lot of people who worked with my husband, the beautiful and wily long haired Calico cat we came to call Cleo, was trapped and brought to our home. She was very, very pregnant, and we decided to have her caged in my daughter’s bedroom, where she would be alone and safe.
Unfortunately, she had other ideas and before we could actually get Cleo into the cage, she escaped from my grasp (I wasn’t as smart then as I am now), and got herself under the bed. Hissing, spitting and threatening us with bodily harm, we thought we would let her settle down before trying to coax her out. As I said, we were newbies at this rescue game, and did not even own a pair of feral cat gloves or a net. In fact, we didn’t even really understand what a feral cat was.
Three hours later, while Clint and I were at the grocery store, Cleo went into labor and had three kittens under the bed. She crawled out, exhausted and unable to birth the last kitten. My sixteen year old daughter was home alone, and called the vet to find out what to do. She is responsible for saving the life of the little blue and white splotchy long haired kitten we immediately named Mouse. I had never seen anything so little before and it was hard to believe this funny looking creature could actually grow up one day to be a cat.
As the other kittens grew, Mouse seemed to stay very small. At four weeks old, the others were scrambling out of the box, and Mouse was just learning to focus his eyes and crawl around. At six weeks old, the other kittens were playing, running and eating on their own. Mouse was teetering and lapping KMR.
At nine weeks old, three kittens left for their new homes, Cleo got spayed, and Mouse learned how to eat. It took our little guy so much longer to accomplish anything, that by the time he was playing and running, he was over four months old. Since it had taken so much work to teach Mouse how to be a kitten, we decided he needed to live with us.
Mouse was always different. In fact, he grew up to have obsessive/compulsive behaviors and was even the object of Dr. Nicholas Doddman’s studies at Tufts University. Mouse loved water. You could leave Roast Beef, Chicken, cream, and a glass of water on a table, and the only thing Mouse would ever want, was the water.
He spilled hundreds of full glasses of water (and broke countless glasses in the process). There were many threats made on his person that involved scientific laboratories and very large mean dogs, while I mopped up yet another water spill.
His favorite pastime was playing with the water dripping from a faucet, and we always made sure that Mouse was able to do so whenever we found ourselves at the kitchen or bathroom sinks. And Mouse loved the interactional Mouse game, which happened most mornings as I tried to make the bed.
Mouse believed that he needed to be under the sheets and would run from one end of the bed to the other, following me as I tried to tuck in the bedding, helping me in the way that cats love to help best.
But his most endearing quality was how he pawed at you and trilled his little request for pets. Mouse loved attention and we would turn our backs to him, just to feel that little paw at our back and hear him ask us to give him more attention.
Mouse went to a lot of cat shows with us and always did well in the household pet class because he was such an unusual and funny looking little cat. He was a Picasso cat – with nothing geometrically matching in his pattern. And, his big, round, gold eyes made him always look surprised. And his quirky habits made him a unique cat, loved by many.
We had many medical scares with Mouse in that he developed several tumors in his mouth that had to be removed and biopsied, thankfully always coming up benign. He was a skinny little guy, who never really got over being the runt of the litter. But Mouse was healthy and we never saw what was to come. Just last month, my husband went downstairs to put something away and found our little Mouse. He was in his favorite sleeping spot half under the rocking chair. But this time he wasn’t sleeping. Mouse was gone – with no warning and no reason.
Clint and I have lost many cats along the way in the last ten years. But losing one of our first rescues after nine years of a very special relationship, was very hard for both of us. I am still grieving, and I find that the saddest sight in my house is the full glass of water that sits untouched on my kitchen table. Dear Mouse, you are so very much missed!
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