I’ve been writing about pets from the past and pets from the present, but never quite got around to writing about our cat Mikka.
After my father’s death in 1998, my mother lived alone (by choice). Her last cat had died a few years before and she told me she felt too old to get another cat. She was concerned that at her age it was likely that the cat would outlive her. I could tell that she wasn’t happy with that decision; she had lived with cats almost all her life, and missed having them around. And so, after the Xmas holidays of 1999, we asked at the local shelter about their cats.
We were surprised to hear that they only had one three months old kitten. They told us he was special, an exceptionally sweet kitty, and so we went to take a look.
There was this tiny little guy, all alone in the large cat room, purring and slinking his way around a scratch post. There was no shyness, no hesitation. He came investigating at once and cuddled and purred himself right into our hearts. Of course we took him home.
I promised my mum that I would take the cat myself if something should happen to her, that he would not be abandoned. As if we would ever abandon a pet…
Anyway, mum cried, the cat purred, and the house wasn’t so empty any longer. She named him Nosy. He has this little brown spot on his nose, and that reminded her of a cat she had when she was young, and so Nosy it was.
The friendly, cuddly kitty grew up into a friendly, cuddly cat. He had the run of the garden, but since there was a busy road close to the house, Mum kept him on a leash. When she was working in the garden, he was allowed outside and dragged a long cord around which was attached to a small stick that worked like an anchor. It prevented the cat from leaving the garden but left him enough freedom to run around and hunt the occasional mouse. All was well for a few years.
And then my mother died.
We adopted Nosy and renamed him Mikka, after a commercial with Mikka Häkinnen. Years ago I had read the advice to rename an adopted pet on some pet forum. People were claiming that this made it easier for the animal to forget its past life. I don’t know if this is true, but Mikka took to this name immediately. He always comes when called, better than any of my dogs ever have.
He got along well with Spot, our dog. But he had to travel a lot with us, because we had to look after the SO’s parents, his father was very ill. Mikka enjoyed the garden, but all that travelling stressed him out. We didn’t realize that. Only when he developed bladder problems did we understand. He had bladder stones (calcium oxalate crystals, the vet told us) and had to get to the vet for a few days. Luckily he didn’t need surgery.
The vet gave us several cans of diet food. Mikka didn’t eat it. What to do? Let him starve until he couldn’t stand it any longer as the vet suggested? Mikka may be a cuddly, friendly boy, but he can be holy terror when he is hungry, and his insistant cries penetrate the thickest walls. Besides, I was sorry for the little guy. All that stress and then nothing decent to eat. What had the world come to? We had to find a different solution. I’ll write more about this next week.