Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mulan (aka The Muby)

This past Monday night, I had to put my cat to sleep, quite unexpectedly.  Sunday night she'd stopped eating (which is highly unusual for her) and she was having a hard time breathing.  I took her to the vet the next day and they found some abnormalities with her kidneys and potentially something showing on her lungs.  I took her home at the end of the day with the intention to bring her back to the vet the next day where they were going to keep her on fluids all day and try to rehydrate her.  That night, her breathing was worse and she'd started retching, accompanied by ghastly screeches around 3 am.  I rushed her to the emergency vet.  They put her in the oxygen tank to try and help her.  The vet took x-rays and said her lungs were full of fluid and she was in the stages of heart failure.  He said my options were to leave her there with them, they'd try to get the fluid out, however, she being so fragile in her condition, there wasn't a lot they could do - and, best case scenario, she would never be the same cat, and she'd have to be on medication the rest of her life, which at best, would only buy a little more time until we'd likely be back - she'd continue to go downhill.  That was the best case scenario.  I didn't want her to live that way.  So, I made the decision that it was time.  I visited her.  She was still in the tank, having a hard time breathing.  She was in so much pain, I hope I did the right thing.  I wish I'd been able to keep her, to at least get used to the idea of her not being here.  It was as if she became an old cat overnight.  She was 9.  The house feels very empty without her.  She was such a dear friend to me.  She's who I came home to, and often the reason I didn't want to leave the house.  She filled up my world quite a bit.  She kept me toasty at night - she had the silkiest fur, and she loved to purr.  And, she was quite the character.  I wrote up all the things I could about her - all the things I'll miss...

v     She loved everything green!!!
o       Green peppers, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
o       If I ever left a pizza out, she’d steal all the green toppings (green peppers)
§         I think she just liked stealing them, because when I tried giving her some in her dish, she wasn’t interested. She just loved the rush I think
§         Last week, before she got sick, she jumped down on the new rug with an entire half of a green pepper in her mouth, bigger than her head – as if I wouldn’t notice J
§         Also, speaking of pizza – I recently cooked one, then left it in the oven, door cracked so it could cool. I left the house, and when I came home, the pizza was folded in half, stuck in the bottom of the oven door, sides chewed off.

v     She just plain loved food!!!
o       She was so irritating and demanding I started locking both her and Kali in the bedroom as I got their food out.  Then, when it was ready, I’d open the door and they’d both shoot out in their respective opposite directions – Mulan to the bathroom and Kali to the kitchen.  Mulan was always first (unless she got her head caught in my bra hanging off the door, then Kali would run over the top of her)
o       Pretty much ANY food left out she’d get into: pizza crusts were her favorite, and of course, an empty cat food can in the trash was pure pleasure – she didn’t care if she got her whole head stuck in there and came out with it smeared all over the top of her head – I think that was just a bonus.
o       Whenever I was eating food, she was always so bold.  She’d stand inches from me mesmerized by whatever I was eating, and then, as if there was a tractor beam pulling her paw to it, she’d slowly reach a paw out just to get a taste. Mind you: I’d have to smack her paw away several times before she finally relented and would sit down, tuck her paws underneath her in a huff, sigh, and look away.
o       Whenever I bought Kali’s bag of dry food, I’d have to put it in the freezer to keep it away from Mulan.  If I didn’t, she’d rip and chew holes in it to stuff her face.  I finally got a child lock installed on the cupboard.  Before this, I’d often be woken up to the cabinet door banging open and closed as she tried to get at the food.
o       THE FRIDGE, She loved the fridge!
§         Not the insides, but what she was sure was underneath.  She’d spend hours glued to the floor, sticking her paws underneath, even yanking at the grill to get it out of the way in search of a stray dog kibble. 

v     The cat loved heat!
o       The fridge again: whenever it was hot, this is where she wanted to be, right in front of the fridge, baking in the hot air blowing out from under there.  No idea why.
o       When we lived in Tacoma, she took up a new hobby: praying to the sun god Ra – or, the light bulb in my old swan neck lamp.  She’d look up into it with her eyes closed and just bake her face.
o       When we lived on Capital Hill, our studio had an old-fashioned water heater.  She would go so far as to wedge herself underneath it, not caring that after a time, she lost a tuft of hair on her forehead because it was too hot.

v     And of course, she loved to bug the dog
o       When I first brought Kali home, Kali was a beastly beast.  She huddled on the stairs with the old cat she liked to beat up as if the presence of this new creature inspired her to make peace with the other feline instantly.
o       The perks of the dog was, Kali had her own bed.  At first they “shared” it – but I think after Mulan tried to claim it for her own by peeing in it several times, she was booted.  Mulan stopped sleeping in Kali’s bed, however, she never stopped peeing in it – especially whenever I’d take Kali away for a night, we’d almost always come home to a peed-on-Kali-bed. Just a reminder who the ‘big’ sister was.

v     She often got the dog in trouble
o       Mulan knew how to open doors AND drawers
§         Since I wasn’t aware of this at first, all I knew was, I’d come home to trash strewn everywhere, which was very obviously the work of Kali.  So of course, Kali would be in trouble
§         Little did I know, until one day, I saw Mulan opening the door to the trash with Kali drooling behind her.  That’s when I knew I had a Dynamic Duo on my hands
§         I’d also come home to open drawers – which I saw her do by standing on two feet, putting her front two up on the top of the drawer, and pulling back until the drawer wouldn’t go any further.

v     She liked to attack the dog
o       I got a rebounder not too long ago.  When I had it on the floor, she laid on top of it, and as the dog tried to come around, she’d attack her legs
o       She’d sometimes hide behind doors, and if the door was open enough, she’d shoot a leg between the door and door jamb
§         If that didn’t work, then under the door worked fine too
o       Paper bags, cloth bags – she liked to hide in them
v     And whenever possible, hide, then stick a leg out and attack the dog
o       Sometimes, just stretched lazily out on a chair or the couch, claws ready to spring out and snag Kali who’d yipe and run away, then come back for vengeance

v     She was the most talkative cat I’ve ever met
o       She’d come when I called her (pretty much)
o       And she’d answer when I asked her things

v     She was a jock
o       If you’ve ever seen the move soccer players do where they dribble, then fake out the other player by passing the ball behind their opposite foot?  She’d do this all the time, then attack the ball and dribble it full speed down the hallway

v     She had no intentions on slowing down
o       I’d throw something and it would land near a door or wall, and she’d run full speed at it, sliding on all fours, her whole body thudding into the door/wall – she didn’t care.  That’s how she’d stop.  Then she’d do it again!

v     She played fetch (not the dog). 
o       After thudding into the door or wall, then she’d pick up the ball in her mouth, and trot it back.

v     Yay, the Litter Box!
o       When she was little, she loved to stick her paws in the litter box just like kids do with sand boxes, letting the litter cover her paws up to her elbows, just to feel it.

v     One time my roommate was making something in a bowl that was on his lap – I think it was the flour and dry goods needed for making cookies.  The hand motion of sifting the flour was too irresistible apparently because she jumped up and attacked the bowl, blowing it all everywhere over his lap, then ran away really fast, tail frizzed out.

v     No expensive toys for her, she loved the simple rolled up paper ball. 
o       I couldn’t tear a piece of paper without her eyes blackening in anticipation, and doing her little butt wiggle, waiting for the rolled up ball to fly through the air.

v     I took her on walks outside
o       When we lived on Capital Hill, I bought her a little body harness.  When I first put it on her, she walked a step, then flopped on the floor.  After a few minutes, she got up, walked a couple more steps, and flopped.  This went on for awhile until she got used to it, then she went exploring the hallways, making little meowing noises as we went, letting me know what she thought of everything when I talked to her.
o       At our Ballard place, she was totally used to the harness, and just like a dog, when I put it on her, she knew that was ‘outside time’!  I’d put the leash on her, and she’d bolt out the door, down the stairs and wait at the door leading outside meowing to go out.  Then once outside, she’d just putz around the yard, eating grass. 

v     The Escapee
o       The couple times she escaped without a harness, at our Magnolia house, she’d run away at full speed off somewhere – in fact, my roommate who lived at the back of the house, whose window was two stories up said that Mulan had jumped out of the window one time? – anyway, she’d run away, thinking she was too cool, but an hour later, I’d open the door, and she’d come tearing up the back steps – one time she ran so fast she tripped up the stairs and got moss and dirt on her chin.
o       When I first got and she was just a little kitten, I lived at a house with 5 other people in Montlake near UW.  One time she escaped out the bathroom window, and when I went looking for her, all I could hear was this tiny little mew – and then I looked up at the top point of the house (3 stories up) and there was this little tiny face looking down at me.  One of my roommates climbed up on the porch and she came tearing down into his arms.

v     Mulan and Other Cats
o       Basically, other cats DON’T EXIST to her
§         When we’d go outside in Magnolia, there was a neighbor cat that was always out there, a big tom cat.  He’d be sitting on the lawn as she sauntered down the walkway, and he’d growl up a storm.  Meanwhile, Mulan would just casually walk by, not making eye contact, head and tail in the air like, “Do I hear something?”  Other cats would never attack her.  That tom cat would growl and hiss and spit, but he didn’t dare move from his exact spot. 
o       That poor poor old old cat
§         When Mulan was first brought to the house at Montlake, when she was just teeny tiny, there was an old decrepit, crotchety male cat.  He was twice as big as Mulan, and at first, he’d stand outside our room and yowl to let us know how much he disagreed with her presence.  When I first let the two of them interact, he stalked her, and Mulan would run and hide.  That was in fact the first and only time I’ve ever heard her growl (it was soooo cute!).  So, for the first few days that’s how it went.  And then, it was as if a light went on in Mulan’s head: “I’m faster and stronger than you, old man!”  Then it was on!!!  She beat on him relentlessly from that day until the day we left!
·        When he was in the litter box, she’d hide around a corner, then when he was in mid….ya know – she’d race around and attack him.
·        She also liked to just plain hide around corners and wait for him, then when he’d appear, she’d jump out like a jack-in-the-box, not to attack him, just to scare him.  She would sometimes jump out and walk on two feet, her front feet high up in the air like a person (or a gorilla) would do, then run away.
·        She’d attack him when he was sleeping
·        If he tried to run away, then she’d really let him have it.  I one time saw him trying to run away, and Mulan was holding onto him, upside down, like a saddle that had fallen to the horse’s belly – claws dug in, and biting him.
·        This was also when she got fat!  The old cat was on a special get-fat diet and his owner would leave his food out for him.  However, Mulan would gomp it all down.  This was probably her happiest time in life – I think she just wanted to be fat.

v     Stairs!
o       Mulan loved to entice the dog to chase her up and down the stairs – up n’ down up n’ down up n’ down up n’ down – They made such a racket
§         And of course Kali, with her tippy-tappy nails would almost always slip and slide and fall on her butt going down the stairs, although this didn’t deter her from following her sister’s lead
·        Those two sounded like Thunderdome

v     Birds!  Squirrels!
o       That sound that cats make when they see them: the mouth twitch, the tail twitch – like some sort of goat sound, only cuter
o       I would often bring feathers in that I’d find on the ground, and if I didn’t put them somewhere up high, she’d attack them – roll on the ground with them in her paws, biting it and/or scrubbing it on her face

v     Mmmmmmm water!
o       She started doing this at my Capital Hill apartment.  Not only would she sit on top of the toilet while I was in the shower, but when I was done, she’d jump into the bath tub to get at the water dripping out of the faucet.
§         Sometimes she’d get in there anyway and I’d turn the faucet on a little bit, she’d stick her tongue under there and lap it up.  Sometimes, she’d put her paw in, lick the water off, then scrub the paw over her head, giving herself a nice clean bath
§         She stopped jumping into the bathtub after I got out of the shower when the drain got backed up and she ended up jumping into water up to her knees.

v     Plastic bags
o       She loved to curl up inside them
o       She loved to knead them with her paws and then curl up inside them

v     Mulan had a few nicknames:
o      The Muby
o      Mubs – pronounced (Mooobs)o       
o      Bubz
o      Mubles
o      Schmubs
o      Mu-Bear
o      Viper
o      Little f*cker – she was pretty naughty, but she was,
o      Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute! (then I’d try to give her a raspberry on her belly but she was too fuzzy – she didn’t appreciate this very much)

v     The Curious One
o      This story is from our pet sitter, who told me that one day, she was leaning into the refrigerator to get the food out, and as she was leaning down, Mulan jumped up on her back, and peered down around her to look inside too.
o      She was always jumping up on people's shoulders when she was little.  I'd walk around with her up there sometimes.  If you weren't careful, she'd often jump on you when you weren't expecting it.

v     The Spazzy One
o      Sometimes one just needs to spazz.  When Mulan was wound up, if she wasn't batting a paper ball around or attacking the dog, she'd either roll around on the floor then grab her tail (sometimes chase it, then grab it), and start licking it like an ice cream cone. (In fact, when I adopted her, one of the descriptions was, "Has the longest tail I've ever seen")
o      If it wasn't that, then it was, run full blast at the door jambs and try to climb them as if they were trees - then spin around with boogly eyes and race off and hide.  

v     She didn’t use claws much - She preferred to bite the crap out of you
o      She was always so patient (maybe too lenient) with Kali – never used claws.  She always batted
o      If she wasn’t biting hard, then she really liked to give love bites
o      In the morning, she’d gnaw on my arm a little bit
o      Other people who’ve picked her up, if she really liked them, she’d gnaw on their neck