The weight of Misty, our 20-year-old cat, curled up on my lap, has never been felt more.
She loves the fact that I work from home and, other than being in front of the fireplace or sitting in one of three windows that is being gloried with the sun, my lap is her favou
But Misty had been feeling her age in ways that Daisy and I could certainly tolerate, but for her sake was something we could not allow her to suffer any longer. To let her struggle each day was selfish of us, because we did not want to lose her warmth and face-bumps.
So, the vet and his assistant came to our house, to her favourite place in front of the fire, and put her to sleep.
As I write this, the weight of Misty, curled up on my lap, has never been felt more; our loving home, emptier, with the loss of such a small, grey cat.
Yes, cats are all about place: a high perch, a warm lap or a sunbeam on the floor; they find the best place to be and they sink into it.
Misty’s existence was a miracle, as she was found in the wall of an old City of Whitehorse building when she was just a kitten … truly a “rescue cat”.
Her first home was with Daisy and her two children, in a cabin on Shallow Bay Road. With no television, she and two other cats were the entertainment. They chased mice in the winter, and gophers in the summer … and each other when least expected. Misty, being the female, made her two male companions into chumps every time.
As lives changed, Misty did not. She would happily run to the door when someone came home; she was always there to frolic with Daisy’s children. She played fetch and would cry at the door when the children played outside, just wanting to be with them.
She loved to get the upper hand in these games as she would steal the heads from Lego men and hide them under Reid’s bed. Learning quickly that this is a place that didn’t get cleaned out often, she started hiding dead birds under there, too.
She was a frighteningly good birder … even a bell around her neck didn’t dent her record.
As she got older, her favourite day seemed to be garbage day. That was when all of the ravens came calling and she would watch out the window, teeth chattering with the memory of long-ago conquests.
One day, I came into Daisy’s life and began to share Misty’s place. I loved her gentle nature; and she loved to sleep on my tummy, rising and falling with my breaths, as I lay on the couch, her gentle purr returning the gift of relaxation.
That’s the other thing we learned from Misty: the power of just being there.
When any of us were sad, she knew. She would just sit with us … gently purring … demanding nothing.
It’s funny, though, I do not profoundly miss Misty because I have these lessons to carry with me. The love and the memories are still there to be enjoyed. It is as if the “idea” of Misty is more important than the “physical being” of Misty.
And yet, this hurt we are feeling at Misty’s loss is the price we pay for the many years of having her love.
Well, there will be more time to reflect. For now, there are still some things I need to do for Misty: I need to load up a shovel and pick (the ground will be frozen, after all) and head out to Shallow Bay Road, a stone’s throw from her first home.
In the top field, there is a place for all of the Lemphers’ beloved pets who have gone before. It is a place of love and honour and gratitude.
And I will choose a spot that is under the sun all day long.