Friday, November 11, 2016

Lessons I have learned from my cat - Ms Meow's story,

If your not learning from the world around you, your not truly living. I'm not just talking about the amazing advice I give you here or the advice you get from other blogs or other humans who are older and wiser. I'm talking about learning from your pets, from the kiddos that have an untarnished world view, and even from the people who you can't stand. Here is something I learned from Ms Meow the other day:
No matter how badass you seem, we are all afraid of something.
This was a photo of Ms Meow during a thunderstorm. I found her hiding under my quad obviously afraid. As soon as I came into her little living space she came out and was attached to my hip until I had to leave. We cuddled and I sang to her until the worst of it was over.
Let me tell you Ms Meow's story real quick so you can get an idea how badass she really is and why her fear of thunderstorms was so amazing to me.

Ms Meow lived in a warehouse at an office I used to work at. Cars, trucks, cleaning chemicals, old grease and oil and sewage, all these things and more were stored in this warehouse. She was brought in about 10-15 years ago as a kitten to be the mouser. The owner had found her mama having a litter outside his house in the woods and decided she had good genes for that sort of thing. She was very good at her job for a lot of years. I believe they called her Tiger back then cause she was really a beast with the mice. The one great thing about her living there was that the office ran almost 24/7, so she had people around always day and night. This did not always mean all those people were nice to her, but there was usually a handful that fed her and made sure she was somewhat safe. The bad thing was she was very low to the ground and there was grease and chemicals everywhere on her level. And even the few people who took care of her in the office still had jobs to do and couldn't take proper care of a kitty cat. I started at that office in 2012. I became the one taking primary care of her at the office around 2013. When I met her she was so covered in...something....she didn't get pet often because the residue would come off on peoples hands, she got the name "gross cat" after a while. Everyone stopped 
October 2014
calling her Tiger and her name was lost to time and she was just "kitty" or "that nasty cat". Some folks had started to brush her out of pity, but I suspect that made it worse because she lost most of her hair a few times, I threw away the brush. They tried to give her a litter box, but no one cleaned it, so she would use it a few times then it got to nasty so she used the warehouse as her litter box and people hated her cause they would step in it all the time. She never had a solid poop that I saw and when I saw her try to go to the bathroom it looks painful. The nice overnight boys would feed her everything they ate and some would cuddle her even though she wasn't the cleanest or prettiest thing. I had to post a sign at one point about the dangers of some food products and cats because they fed her chocolate muffins. I was informed shortly after that, her favorite food was cheese doodles. She was very careful and always on guard for moving things high above her, but always seemed fearless in a way that you couldn't help admire. She slept anywhere she wanted and always seemed to own any space she stood in. She would yell at anyone who upset her, and would corner and hold anyone she decided was worthy of her time no matter if they wanted to or not. I was called on more then one occasion to come get her because she was terrorizing someone and obviously wanted something. To me she was everything that embodied a queen of her realm and I loved her for it. I heard stories over the years of when she got in a truck and went to a job with the overnight guys and stories of the insane amount of things folks had watched her kill. She brought me dead critters any time I went away for a few days, it always seemed she was like "here, you weren't here to feed me so I got it covered".
Then in June 2015, I think she was around 13 then but no one knows for sure, the bosses got tired of her. She was no longer "useful" to them. The company was growing, she was using the warehouse as a litter box, she was clearly sick, and they told me as I was about to leave on a vacation they would be putting her to sleep while I was gone. I calmly told them I hoped that someday when they were old, sick, and no longer considered useful someone put them to sleep. I called my Hunny, and explained the situation. He asked me to look for other outlets, because my indoor kitty Penny has FIV and we can not have another indoor cat or they may catch it. But if I couldn't find anything we would figure it out. I found some places that take in "retired" cats like her but they were very expensive and required the cat to get along with other cats, which Ms Meow did not. I couldn't leave her in a shelter, my heart wouldn't allow such a thing, and no one else at the office wanted her. So I went home to my wonderful Hunny and we figured out how we would bring her home. We had a large shed in the back yard we decided she could live and he put in a window unit air conditioner right away and a cat door and she came home with me the day before I went on vacation. Fortunately this was going to be a "stay-cation" for me, so I would be home to spend time helping her adjust. 
The day she came home was the a very long car ride. Ms Meow is very vocal when she is displeased and she was extremely displeased at being uprooted from her home, stuck in a cage, and tossed into a car. I had spent the days leading up to it doing everything I could to try and tell her what was about to happen. I talked her about it, heck I even tried sending thoughts through freaking telepathy (that's a thing, seriously, read this: Cat telepathy). I knew a big change like this could cause her stress and even kill her, but I told her it was all going to be okay and I promised I would keep her safe. For 2 days I kept her locked in the shed with the AC. I visited her at regular intervals and I gave her lots of love and treats. The third day I had to let her out in the afternoon after much cuddling, I knew I had to, she was never shut in like this before so this was near torture, but I was so nervous. She immediately went out and was gone without a trace. I waited for hours, I called for her, I lurked in peoples back yards, and I cried. I felt like I had let her down already, I had promised to keep her safe and she was already gone. Then at around 9 pm she came strolling up to me like it was no big thing! She meowed and talked like she was telling me about her day and I just scooped her up and hugged her and listened and talked back like we were best friends! After that day we started a new routine of a daily wipe down with kitty cleaning cloths and very healthy cat food and regular visits to the shed. After about 3 months we saw her clean herself for the very first time, it was a freaking miracle, I posted about it on social media and called my parents I was so excited! She started to have normal poop, used the litter box like normal, grew all her hair back plus more, and she came home every night to say good night to me. 
It has been a year and a half since she came home. She is living a dream retirement I like to think. Her shed is now a kitty penthouse, including a heater for winter time, insulated walls (better insulated then my damn house to be honest with you), a safe cat door that only allows her to come in and out, and several soft beds for her to lay in. She enjoys summertime backyard yoga with me and has several favorite spots throughout the yard. She doesn't go very far any more, and she has days you can tell her age and all that she has been though. My friends all love her and she gets pet by everyone and told she is beautiful all the time. She loves when people sing to her and I have dedicated Nirvana - Where did you sleep last night to her. She drools more then I have ever seen any cat drool and "makes biscuits" a little more rough then is comfortable, but we work through that by only letting her sit in my lap when I have a very thick towel. 
I have learned so much from her and she teaches me more all the time. 
  • Practical Fearlessness in the face of danger and the unknown while keeping your head about your own realistic weaknesses. 
  • Humble pride when you still want someone to hold you when your afraid, but still stay proud of everything you have been through. 
  • Forgiveness and beauty in the face of ugliness when others throw you away, but you come back strong with no anger or hate and only kindness and love. 
  • Patience, knowing you  don't need to be the youngest, strongest or fastest to catch the chipmunk. 

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