Mittens, one of our cats, died last night. I know I always say I don't like cats. But Mittens was different. I actually did like her - sort of. She was pretty pitiful and I felt sorry for her at first but then I got to like her.
Mom found Mittens stuck in a tree on our property. She was up there for 3 whole days! Every day Mom and Dad would go out and try to coax her to come down but she wouldn't. Then on 4th day it was storming bad here. Mom could hear Mittens crying from the tree. She was very upset and she looked at me and said "Bob, we are going to get that cat out of that tree before she dies up there!" The next thing I new she was dragging Dad's big ladder down over the hill to the tree. Now Mom hates ladders almost more than anything so this was a pretty big deal! I went out the pet door and over to the fence in my yard so I could watch. Mom set the ladder up against the tree and started up. I could hear her talking to Mittens but I couldn't hear what she was saying. Then there was a loud thunderclap and I heard Mom holler at Mittens that it was now or never and if she wanted to be safe and warm she needed to come down. Mom reached up and Mittens jumped! I thought she would get hurt but she didn't. I guess everything they say about cats landing on their feet is true. Mom came back down the ladder. By now it was raining pretty hard. She called Mittens and this time the cat actually came to her. Mom brought her to the house, dried her off, and gave her some food.
Mom and Dad spent the next few days trying to find Mittens mom and dad. But no one claimed her. Since we live at the end of a dirt road in the country with lots of woods, animals get left out here all the time. Mom said someone probably left Mittens on the road. Mom said since she was clever enough to find her way to our house, she could stay. She was black except for white booties on her front feet. Mom said since we already had a Boots, we would call her Mittens.
Mittens had some problems. She never meowed again after her days in the tree. And she couldn't purr. She tried. Sometimes you would hear a small sputtering sound. But she never actually purred like Puck or Peasebottom. But she loved it when someone showed her some attention. She was afraid of most of the others and would only eat if Mom put her in the pantry with a bowl of food. But she would curl up on the chair with me to sleep. At first I didn't like it, but later it was nice to have someone to snuggle with - even if it was a cat. Mom loved her too. I think Mom loved her almost as much as she loves me.
Mittens would always get up with Mom for breakfast. But a few days ago she didn't come to eat. Mom looked for her but wasn't worried. She thought maybe Mittens was just off playing or sleeping. But that night Mittens was in the bedroom and was just laying still. Mom thought maybe she didn't feel good. She told Dad to help keep an eye on her and see if maybe she needed to go to the vet. The next day, Mittens was up and around and Mom thought everything was good again so she stopped worrying.
Last night, Dad came home from work. Mom had gone grocery shopping and so I was waiting for him. He came in and I barked to let him know he needed to come to the garage. Mittens was laying in the garage and wasn't moving. I knew she was in bad shape. Dad took one look and called Mom and told her to come home right away because Mittens had to get to the vet.
When they came home later that night, Dad was carrying the empty cat carrier. I knew Mittens was gone. Mom said she had something called Bobcat fever. Mom said she had never heard of it but the vet said you get it from ticks. I was worried that I might get it but Mom said only cats get it. She said the vet told her that it's very hard to diagnose and most cats die once they get it. Mom said she had the vet help Mittens go to sleep because she was suffering and Mom did not want her to suffer anymore.
In memory of Mittens and to keep other cats from getting the same thing, Mom and I are doing some research on bobcat fever. We will be sharing what we learn here on this blog.
I miss my friend Mittens. I hope she knew how much we loved her.