My husband and I lost our beloved cat-friend (and inspiration for this blog) a couple of days ago. After a long cat-life, twenty-one years (about 100 in human years, maybe more), he finally gave up the good fight. He was of course the best cat that ever lived, and, needless to say, we miss him terribly.
Mookie chose my husband those twenty-one years ago. I came along much later. As my husband tells it, it had been his then-girlfriend’s idea to get a kitten, and, after much persistence on her part, they found themselves at the local humane society. There weren’t a lot of kittens there at the time and they were just about to leave when my husband thought he heard something moving amidst a pile of discarded carrier cases. He stuck his hand in one and re-emerged with a tiny kitten latched on, tenaciously and ferociously attacking his hand with its tiny teeth and claws.
He went over to the humane society worker and said, “I’ll take this one.”
Mookie had apparently been overlooked. All his brothers and sisters had been taken out of the carrier earlier that week and adopted out, and the carrier was in a pile waiting to be thrown out.
The humane society worker cautioned my husband that the kitten might not survive the week; he was so tiny, weak, and dehydrated. My husband relates at first feeding him with a dropper before graduating quickly on to a food dish.
My husband, then a university student, found him stuck behind the stove one day, and worried that the little guy would get hurt left to his own devises in the apartment. So my husband started bringing him to lectures, carrying him either in the hood or pocket of his hoodie. His professors apparently didn’t mind. He became known as the “cat-head” as his head, so large compared to his tiny body, would often be sticking out of my husband’s pocket.
My husband named Mookie after Mookie Blaylock, then a promising young NBA point guard.
Mookie saw my husband through various jobs, relationships, and moves, outlasting them all. My husband has some great stories regaling Mookie’s various adventures (including a flying fan, the mean neighbor cat, how rats and cats should not be friends, the missing baby ferrets, and the purloined barbecued steak, amongst many others). When I first started dating my husband, he tried to downplay their relationship, but he could only conceal this for a short time. They both forgave me when I almost set Mookie on fire (he jumped up on a ledge to greet me, right over where a tea candle was burning).
I had the privilege and pleasure of being part of Mookie’s life for these seven years.
Many thanks to the staff at Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital. They’ve taken such great care of our cat-friend over the years.