I lost my best friend last weekend and this is my gift to him on my birthday.
Mooty came into my life on a very sad day, when news of the impending unravelling of our team at work came to us. It is not often that you find yourself part of a close-knit and high performing team, and the knowledge that this was coming to an end, with my colleague Ori’s departure, weighed heavily on my heart.
In my sadness, I decided to walk most of my way home from work, instead of getting transport. And just as I entered the long road to my estate, I heard the urgent, high-pitched meows of a kitten. I’d been thinking of getting another cat, so I squatted next to the drain where the meows were coming from, and waited till out crawled a tiny black kitten, who fitted the palm of my hand. I brought him home, meowing all the way, and didn’t dare ask my mum if I could keep him. But a few days later, she said to me, “alright, you can keep him. He’s my favourite colour.” And that was that!
Unfortunately, Mooty was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure 9 years ago when he was only 3. Back then, his vet told me he only had a few months left. But Mooty proved everyone wrong and surprised us as he continued to live, year after year, with a great zest for life.
Mooty had lots of personality - he was spirited, clever, funny, and with a curiosity and zest for life. He was a vocal cat, initiating and responding to conversations we would have. Even a complete stranger remembered him from the vet where he was hospitalised. She said, “I remember him cos I would talk to him and he would reply :)”. The staff at the vet all recognised him by his lusty meows; we knew Mooty was there before we saw him. And I often reminded Mooty that his loud meows were how I found him.
Mooty was my little Houdini. He could open all sorts of doors, cupboards and drawers. If the door knob was round, he would jump up and twist them. If they were handles, he would jump and pull them down. I returned home one afternoon, shocked to find my front door wide open and both cats nonchalantly enjoying the lobby outside. He slid open drawers and pulled open cupboards. Even when he was hospitalised for his IV (intravenous) drips, he managed to unlatch his cage with his teeth and jumped out. The nurses found him on the ground with his drip line trailing up to his cage - they were amazed because no animal had ever done that before. And they had to take a video of him trying to unlatch his cage to prove to the vet that they were not negligent in leaving his cage door ajar.
Mooty was not afraid of people but neither did he care much for them. If he knew he could bully them, he would. Burly vet techs could not hold him down; there were only 2 nurses in his life that could handle him, Pei En and Jayne. Mooty loved only me. There could be a group of us in my living room and after checking the rest out, Mooty would always seek me out to sit with. He was my constant companion, following me wherever I went, curious about everything I did. He slept next to me every night, and lounged with me every morning when he knew I had awakened. If I had a nightmare in the middle of the night, he would come immediately to me when I whispered his name. He caught all the lizards and cockroaches in my house. And buried his head in my shoulders to soothe me when I coughed.
Mooty deteriorated significantly in the last 2 weeks of his life. But even at the end, when his creatinine (14) and BUN (186) levels were off the charts, he was still jumping to open doors, and jumping out of his pen where he was receiving IV. The vets were all amazed; they said that with those levels, most cats would be lethargic or in a coma, and having fits and seizures. Dr Ly his vet said that Mooty was an amazing cat with a strong will to live. I also know God has been answering all the prayers to sustain him all these years.
I was called down to the vet at 3am last Thurs 13 Sep. They said his breathing had quickened and I should hurry down. So we started our vigil by his side. But hour after hour passed, and Mooty would not go. He hadn’t eaten in 3 days and hadn’t slept in 2. Yet every time he closed his eyes, he would jerk them open again. My friend told me she thought he didn’t want to sleep as he was afraid he would die if he did. He kept fighting and refused to go, holding my hand to make sure I knew he loved me. He really didn’t want to leave me. Dr Ly said we had a very strong bond that was keeping Mooty here.
So by Thurs evening, I discharged him and brought him home. He managed to say goodbye to all his vets and nurses before we left the vet, something we didn’t arrange for but they all happened to be outside his room when we left, which was rare. It was emotional because deep in our hearts, we knew that was the last time they would be seeing him. On the way home, he mustered enough strength to look out at the streets, something he loves to do.
On his last day at home, he asked to be let out for awhile to breathe the fresh air, and looked contented to be returning to familiar spots around the house. He even jumped on my bed as usual and he never let his gaze leave me. Even in his discomfort, he was dignified and spunky all the way till the end and never made a fuss. Dr Ly who has treated thousands of animals said that Mooty was one in a million and taught him many things about feline resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Mooty died peacefully at 4:22am on Saturday 15 Sep. He died on his own terms - at home, and with me by his side all the way. He never got fits and seizures, and he died with soft, smooth, shiny fur. On the night before he died, Pei En visited him and reminisced about all his naughtiness. After he died, Jayne came over to remove his IV catheter and morphine patch, her last act of service for him before he was cremated.
I’ve always thought that Mooty was the one I love most in this world. But what I realised in his passing was that maybe he loved me more, and that really breaks my heart. I believe that was Mooty’s parting gift to me. He truly lived a spectacular life with God’s hand upon it and I really believe God had specially created him for me. I’m so privileged to have been his mama! After I sent him off to be cremated, a butterfly appeared in front of me as I walked home - symbolic as I always associate his leaving with him going to play with butterflies. It was as if the Lord was assuring me that he was now playing with butterflies.
Mooty won’t be with me for the rest of my birthdays, but I’m glad I was there for all of his. I ❤️ you Mooty, thank you for loving me. I look forward to meeting you in Heaven darling.
(Mooty 28 June 2006 ~ 15 Sep 2018. Romans 8:18-21.)
From Owner: Li Shing