I know you all know the story of Mia, but I’m going to tell it again. Because she deserves to be remembered as she was, and I think there were facets to her personality (cattitude?) that didn’t quite came across.
I first saw Mia in a carrier with her five tiny kittens. She had been living at an auto parts store (for some reason I was under the impression it was a junkyard, but it was actually an auto parts store), and when it was discovered that she was pregnant the owner didn’t want her any more. He turned her in to a nearby vet clinic, and a woman who worked at the vet’s kept Mia on her enclosed back porch until a foster home could be found.
When Mia’s kittens were three and a half weeks old, I brought her home. Like I said, she was in a carrier with five scared kittens, and on the drive from the vet’s office to my home, she did her best to comfort them. She sniffed at me and was a little frightened, but didn’t seem to consider me a threat to her or her kittens.
When I got home and opened the carrier, Mia came right out, rubbed on me, and let me pet her. She kept a watchful eye on her babies while she explored the room, and I left after a few minutes to give her time to get acclimated to her new home.
A few hours later when I went back into the room, she’d moved the kittens out of the carrier and into a box I’d lined with a towel.
She was a good mother. She was extremely protective of her babies, but she never considered humans to be a threat to them, and always greeted us at the door with a meow. She always purred like mad; she liked having us come in to visit her.
She was a good and patient mother. Even when all five of the kittens were crawling over her, demanding to be fed, she just lay there and let them nurse as long as they wanted to. If they needed nudging in the right direction, she’d do that. She cleaned them, and fed them, and kept an eye on them to make sure they didn’t get themselves in trouble.
I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but she liked Fred. I mean, she liked me, but she REALLY liked Fred. In the evening when we’d go into the room where she and her kittens lived, she’d greet me, and then look expectantly at the door. If Fred didn’t come through the door pretty quickly, she’d start howling and wouldn’t let up until he came in. Then she’d rub on him, and purr, and flop down next to him. He’d pick her up like a baby, and she’d lay there and purr and look up at him with the Eyes of Love; I can guarantee you she wouldn’t have put up with that from anyone else!
She also had a playful side.
As her babies got older, she started to do less worrying and watching and grooming of them, and more playing with them. The first time she chased one of them down and held him down to nibble on his stomach, I don’t think he had any idea what was going on.
They thought her tail was the Funnest! Toy! Ever!, and she loved to tease them with it. She’d lay on top of the box in front of the window, and twitch it back and forth until they came running over to swat at it. Then she’d twitch it so it was out of their reach, and I swear that she laughed to herself as she watched them run back and forth trying to catch her tail.
She liked to sit and look out the window at the birds as they flew by. If someone walked by on the street below, she’d growl quietly at them, so they knew she was here to protect her kittens and if given the chance I’m sure she would have protected all of us, as well.
She wasn’t crazy about strangers, but I think she would have ended up being a really good cat for someone who didn’t have any other pets. She was a loving cat, and a good mother, and even though we knew we wouldn’t keep her, that she was going to be adopted by someone who could see how special she was, we loved her like one of our own.
Some of you have suggested that she held on until she knew that her kittens would be okay. Maybe that’s anthropomorphizing, but I’d like to think it’s true nonetheless. That she waited until she knew her babies would be okay without her, that we’d take good care of them, that we’d love them as much as she did.
The room where she spent her last few days feels strangely empty now. But last night when I walked by, I swear that out of the corner of my eye I saw the slightest hint of a tiny golden-eyed spitfire, sitting in front of the window, watching the birds fly by, and purring to beat the band.
Rest in peace, sweet girl.
I’d like to collect donations to give to the shelter in her memory, partly to offset the vet costs for her care, but mostly because the shelter always needs more money, and to donate a large amount – I’d like to shoot for $1,000 – in her name would be a nice way to remember her.
We ended up collecting almost $2,200 as of July 31st. If you’d like to make a donation to the shelter in Mia’s memory, email me and I’ll tell you how to make a donation directly to them.
Thank you so much to everyone who donated.