I wasn’t looking for a grey tabby cat when we were roaming the aisles of PetSmart and wandered past the Pet Adoption Center. With two young boys, two basset hounds and an overweight orange tabby, our house was full. We had been to our local shelter on occasion, mainly in search of a calico kitten like those I’d loved in my childhood but were never seriously interested in adding more mouths to the list of those we had to feed and care for. During this particular trip, the boys were taken by a skinny cat with distinct greyish markings. She wasn’t a kitten but you could see in her face that she was still quite young. She had the awkward markings of an adolescent but seemed a lovely mix of playful and demure at the same time. She paced along the windows in tune with my son’s hand, enjoying the interaction from her side of the glass while he squealed in delight. We decided to go inside and play with her and suddenly, I was calling my husband, letting him know that we had put in an adoption application for a new family member. It had been a rough summer with our oldest son recently preparing for cleft palate repair surgery – so I rationalized it that it would help him get back some of the spunk that the surgical recovery would inevitably zap from him. Her name was Squirrel – a perfect name for both her looks and her personality and that tail – oh that tail – which we soon discovered could go from perfectly slender to larger than a real squirrel’s tail in an instant. We brought Squirrel home, renamed her Miranda and she fit seamlessly in with our busy menagerie of pets. She was a companion for Murray, our five year old orange tabby, peacefully coexisted with our basset hounds – even though she was prone to give them a few good romps around the house, and was gentle and loving in her own aloof catlike way with two very active toddlers. We loved her.
That isn’t to say, she wasn’t a cat that got into her share of mischief. She loved to drink out of water glasses (often knocking them down in the process), found my recently laundered dry leaning to be her favorite place to sleep and was a lifelong food thief- human, cat, dog – it was all fair game to Miranda, which despite her enjoyment of food, always maintained a lovely slender figure. She loved to sleep anywhere the dogs liked to sleep and we often found her, her tiny 10-pound frame curled up on a massive dog bed. Somehow, despite being the smallest in the house, she held her own in the hierarchy of pets because none of the dogs would ever dare disturb her. She would at times, get into chasing sessions with the dogs that usually resulted in the dogs barking at her while she watched and waited from a safe spot high above them, She could’ve given either of them a swift claw to their nostrils but never did – and within minutes of their pursuit of her, I would see the three of them sharing a drink from the waterbowl. She enjoyed drinking out of the fish tank and I was constantly fussing at her for dipping her paws in to swat at the fish. I am sure she could have caught one if she wanted – I think it was just how she entertained herself I nicknamed her my “moscato kitty” after I caught her sniffing and taking a few laps out of my wine glass. I chuckled that she must have enjoyed it, because she remained glued to my side, bellowing at me as I drank the rest. Miss Miranda was her own cat – often staying out of the fray of our busy household – but was a beloved member of our family just the same.
Today, we said a very tearful and very unexpected goodbye to our sweet Squirrel, aka Miranda. She hadn’t been herself for a few days and when I went to pet her today, she made a sound that i have never heard from her mouth before. I knew she was telling me she was in pain. We rushed her to our vet, who quickly determined that her situation was dire – late stage kidney failure, likely brought on by an aggressive lymphoma. The boys and my mom arrived to say goodbye to their kitty and with the arms of her family embracing her, we sent our sweet moscato fan off to be with her Maker. It is amazing how big a hole such a tiny little soul leaves when they are gone. We are so thankful for the time we had with our Miranda – six years doesn’t seem like nearly enough – but are grateful to our friends at Talbot Humane for rescuing her so she could in turn, rescue us during such a tough time in our family’s story. Thank you, Miranda, for being that spicy, water glass spilling, food driven, fish and basset hound tormenter that you were. We will miss and love you forever. Say hi to Sydney and Shelby for us – and have fun chasing those moths in heaven, perhaps while sipping your own class of kitty merlot.