Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

REMEMBERING MISS MOLLY

Posted by samatwitch on December 8, 2011

I wrote this a couple of months after the death of my youngest cat, Miss Molly.  I can’t believe it’s been that long, but then Tija is 16 1/2 now and I acquired her a few months after this.  Miss Molly brought much joy into my life even though she was with us a short time.

REMEMBERING MISS MOLLY

On September 16, 1994,  I came home to my apartment after a wonderful warm, sunny day out of town, to discover two messages on my answering machine.  The voice was that of an unfamiliar woman.  In a sympathetic tone, she identified herself and told me she had my cat, it had been hit by a car and she was sorry, but it was dead.  The second message was from the same woman who told me not to worry about how late I got home, but to phone them whatever time it was.  Since my two older cats had greeted me on my arrival, I knew that it was my youngest, two and a half year old Miss Molly – my “wee little Miss Molly” as I often called her – and the tears began to flow.

She wasn’t really that small, she just appeared so.  She was actually taller than her mother Matilda, although slimmer, and bigger than my oldest cat, Samantha.  But there was something about Miss Molly that always made me think of her as “wee”.  Perhaps it was her large green eyes, which made her pointed face appear smaller, or just the fact that she was still very kittenish.  Or maybe it was because she was a gift I had never expected and I still have vivid memories of her as a newborn kitten, especially when she was ten days old and I had to feed her with an eye dropper when Matilda took off for the day.

That was the day Samantha officially met the yet-to-be named kitten.  After 16 years of being the centre of attention in our household, Samantha had not taken kindly to Matilda’s unexpected intrusion into our lives and her subsequent adoption of us.  Consequently, Samantha was noticeably wary of this small black and white wriggling object, no bigger than the length of my hand, yet one whose scent designated her “cat”.

I had had Samantha spayed at six months as I did with Miss Molly, but Matilda was already pregnant when she decided to stay with us.   Miss Molly was the only one of the four kittens to survive and I had decided to keep her.

I called Gayle, the woman who had left the message, and her husband Michael came over immediately, carrying Miss Molly, wrapped in a towel in a square rubber basin.  I stood on the top step of my apartment building, in front of a neighbour I had never met, weeping over the lifeless body of my youngest cat.  It was ten o’clock at night and I didn’t know what to do next.  Michael said my neighbours who lived in the house across the street had offered to help me in the morning with whatever arrangements I wished to make.  He pushed back the towel from Miss Molly’s face, but advised me not to turn her over as the other side of her head and her eye were damaged quite badly.  I thanked him and took her inside.

When I entered the apartment, the other two cats immediately sensed something was wrong.  I put the basin on the floor and let them look at her.  Matilda, who had seen one of her kittens die and the other two disappear (they had to be put to sleep), took one look and sniff and jumped back from the container.  But Samantha kept bending closer, finally reaching out a paw as if to move the too-still body of her young companion.  After all, Miss Molly was hardly ever totally still.  She had a seemingly endless supply of energy, always on the go.  My most often-used expression with regards to her was, “Where did Miss Molly go now?”  Although very affectionate, she did not really liked to be picked up and cuddled, usually squirming free in 30 seconds or less.  However, twice in what turned out to be the last week of her life she had actually jumped up on my legs, while I was reclining on the sofa with Samantha on my shoulder, and stretched out for a long nap.

I phoned long distance to one of my closest friends .  As soon as she heard my voice, she asked what was wrong and was it Samantha?  With Samantha being 19, her death would not have been unexpected.  I explained that it was Miss Molly and my friend sympathized with me over the phone, letting me talk and cry.

After a long night, in which I spent a lot of time just stroking Miss Molly’s face and paw, I realized that her body was now stiff and the essence that had made her my “wee little Miss Molly” had really left.  I held her on my lap in the basin and called the other two to come near.  Samantha sat on the arm of the chair beside me, Matilda on the floor – close, but with her back to us.  I sang – or tried to – a couple of my favourite hymns and said a prayer of thankfulness for the unexpected joy and love Miss Molly had brought to all of us during her young life.  Just as I finished, Theresa phoned from across the street to ask me if I was ready to make a decision about what to do with the body.  She and Maureen drove me to the SPCA where, for $15, they cremated the body.

The next day Theresa and Maureen came over with flowers and a beautiful card to make sure I was okay.  They explained how Michael had found Miss Molly in the middle of the road in front of their house, while walking his dog and, ignoring the blood, picked her up and took her home.  He and his wife, Gayle, had called Theresa and Maureen (who are nurses) to see if they could help, but Maureen assured me that Miss Molly must have died instantly and, thanks to Michael, she was not run over afterwards.  Gayle had stroked Miss Molly into a more natural position and wrapped her in the towel.   I shall always be grateful for having such caring neighbours who made such a difficult and painful situation a little bit easier.

I had three days to grieve before I returned to work, but even there it was made more bearable because of the caring and support shown and expressed by almost every one I work with.  Most have cats of their own or had at one time, and most of them have gone through similar experiences.  And most of them had heard of Miss Molly, while quite a few had seen pictures of her.  Nobody laughed at me for caring so much about a cat or belittled the grief and loss I felt.  I truly feel blessed to have been so fortunate as to have friends, family (my sister and her family in the Kootenays sent me hugs over the phone), neighbours, and co-workers who empathized with me and, for those who knew her, grieved with me.

The pain is not so constant now and I look at the many pictures I have of her.  (She was not only photogenic but seemed to love having her picture taken.)  I think about her high-pitched, and sometimes quite demanding, meow – which sounded much like the woman’s cry in the opening sequence of “Mystery”.  I think about how she tried to effect a fierce growl when she didn’t want anyone near her when she had brought home a mouse, or worse, a bird, but the noise she made was so un-fierce that I was always hard-pressed not to laugh even when I was scolding her.  I think of how I tried to stop her crossing the road but, short of locking her in the apartment all the time, which I was not willing to do, I had to live with the knowledge that she liked to cross not just one, but two busy streets to find a quiet yard where she could relax and run around without fear of being chased herself.  I think of how she would follow me as far as the alley, across the street and half a block from home, when I was on my way to work, and cry so piteously (or so it sounded) that I could hear her over a block away.

I remember how she liked to snuggle under the covers with me, or lie on my arm at night.  I remember the time I woke up and found a small pink nose pressed against mine and two big green eyes staring at me, while a small paw gently batted my face to wake me up.  I remember how she would jump up onto the bathroom counter as soon as I started to brush my teeth and try to get her head between my arm and my face.  There are still tears when I think of Miss Molly and her shortened life, but there are smiles when I remember the joy with which she lived, and I do not, for one moment, regret loving her.

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2 Responses to “REMEMBERING MISS MOLLY”

  1. saalon said

    This really broke me up, Sams.

  2. samatwitch said

    Thanks, Eric. I was going to post some of my happy memories of her before I left the office on Friday but was too tired. However, today’s post should make you laugh – I hope. 😉

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