Friday, February 7, 2014


Once upon a time (2007) I got pretty darn sick and had to relocate to New Hampshire to live with my family for four months. They live in a very rural area. An area that has a kind of small town feel where members of the town all grow up together than marry each other. They are uncomfortable when new people infringe on their territory. 

The first month/month and a half I was laid up after some surgery. Once I was mostly healed I purchased a gym membership, and I was able to sequester a job at a local restaurant. I thought I made a friend at the gym, and attended a party with him only to be called a “whore” by the girls there because I was wearing “slutty clothes” (consisted of Hollister jeans and a long sleeved shirt… I must have missed the memo that I was supposed to wear a red checkered flannel, cargo pants, snow boots and possibly grow a beard or be an outcast). 

The point I am trying to make here is that I was pretty lonely. I now am very fortunate to have an old friend that lives about 45 minutes away from my parents, but back then I was confined to the walls of my parents’ extremely large, curiously lonely house.  

One day when I arrived home from work I noticed a cat sitting on the pathway up leading to the front door. I glanced around the vacant yard wondering who she belonged to. I knelt down and she walked right up to me. She let me pet her for several minutes. I got up to go set my work things in the house. I came back outside a few minutes later and she was still there looking entirely content. Once more I knelt and she approached quickly eager for more petting. 

Every day when I left for work or the gym she would see me off. Every day when I got home she was there to greet me. She was my friend. She was a polydactyl kitty, meaning that she had an extra toe on each of her front paws, owing to that I called her Mittens. Soon my family members noticed her too and she made quite the impression. I begged and begged to have Mittens be an inside cat with our family but I lost my argument until she became pregnant and finally she was allowed inside. 

When the time came for me to return to Idaho I called my landlord to see if I could have a cat. He quickly refused despite the fact that Mittens had no teeth and couldn’t meow. Alas, I had to leave her behind but at least I knew she was indoors and in the care of my family. 

Over the years when I would visit for holidays Mittens was there to greet me when I arrived. Always looking at me with the same content face I had met her with all that time ago. I wondered what her past was, why she couldn’t meow, where all her teeth had gone… It was like she was just happy to be alive. She wasn’t a regular skittish cat, she was unafraid. 

Sadly it was discovered a few years back (after a series of seizures) that Mittens had an enlarged heart. I guess I should have known because why else would she be so loving. It was managed with medication but the vet had warned us that there would come a time when the medicine would stop working. That time finally came this past Tuesday. 

When Mittens stopped eating, and got down to 4.8lbs my mom took her to the vet where she discovered that not only was her heart so large it was pressing against her spinal column but also her liver was enlarged and hard as a rock. The vet advised that we put her down. So that is what my mom had done. My mom said Mittens looked entirely content the whole time. I am glad that we could give Mittens a good life and a family to love her for the past seven years. I can only guess at where she came from but I just know it can’t have been the best of circumstances. 

When I go for a visit this spring to bid my uncle farewell at his memorial service I know that my parent’s house won’t quite feel the same. But I also know that when my time comes to leave this earth, Mitten’s will be there on the path to greet me, and welcome me home.

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