January 10, 1984 - August 5, 1997
I have always had a cat in my life. However when my father , who was in the Army, was assigned to duty at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, West Germany we decided to leave our two indoor outdoor cats in the States because we would be living in an apartment. After a while I started to miss having a cat around and started to beg my parents for one. They finally gave in and two days after my tenth birthday Miss Artiee an adult friend of mine from the church we attended came over to give me my present from her. She handed me a small, cylindrical shaped object. I thought that it was a decorative candle, instead it was four cans of cat food. Perplexed I looked up at her and smiling she said "Go look in the stairwell."
I ran to the door and there, sitting on the landing below, in a wicker basket , was the cat that would become Muffin. I brought him in and let him out, he was a beautiful orange and white cat. I hugged Miss Artiee and my Mom and then promptly named him Muffin, because I had always wanted a cat with that name. He was rescued from a German shelter and was about a year old. His "date of birth" is the day I got him plus his estimated birth year. I got him on January 10, 1985.
Muffin quickly learned that I was his person and a strong bond developed between us. When ever I was upset he would try to comfort me by rubbing up against me. And he liked to stay in my room. He would trade off sleeping in my bed with my parents bed and the living room. This pattern continued on to everywhere we moved to, which was , in order: from Germany to Fort Bragg, NC, to Walnut Ridge, AR, to Seoul, Korea, back to Walnut Ridge, then to Powhatan, AR a brief stay in Searcy, AR , and finally to Winston-Salem, NC.
Throughout all this Muffin lived a kind of blessed life. While in Germany he fell out of one our windows. We lived on the third floor and he was sitting in a cement flower pot at the time. He was totally unharmed. We didn't even know what had happened until we opened the front door and he ran in. We found out about the flower pot while trying to find out how he got out. It was smashed up under the one window that didn't have a screen. While in North Carolina for the first time he got trapped under a neighbors house for a week, and except for being hungry he was fine.
His most harrowing adventure happened in Korea. On the night of March 16, 1991, he got out. I remember the date because that was also the night of the base school's spring ball and my date was my future exhusband. Muffin had gotten out before so I didn't worry much, he normally came back the next morning. This time he didn't. He was missing for about six weeks. For some reason I maintained the belief that he would come back. That faith paid off. On April 29, my first day back at school after attending an honor choir in Okinawa, Japan for the previous week our neighbors came over and said that they thought they had our cat in their house.
Now our house and our neighbors houses weren't next to each other they shared an inner wall and both had fire places that shared the same flew. They had been away on temporary duty for most of the time that Muffin was missing. They had come home that weekend and on monday morning there house boy had opened up the fire place and a live animal fell out of it. This happened before I had left for school. I went over and the animal came straight to me. It was Muffin! He was filthy and hungry. While I went to school happier than I had been in the past few weeks, my Mom took him to the base vet. The verdict was not good. He had been eating creosote; that black stuff in that builds up in chimneys and had poisoned his liver.
He stayed at the vets for a week or so. I visited him every chance I could. He always perked up when he saw me. The vet said that there was a chance that he would make it if he was given the right care. He also said that being home would be best for him. So we brought him home. He was skinny, lost a lot of his fur and suffered from seizures. He over came all of it so well that when we brought him back for the pre leaving check up the vets could hardly believe that it was the same cat!
After my father retired we moved to Arkansas so that my father could care for his ailing parents. I graduated from the same High School that they had and then went on to attend Harding University in Searcy Ar as a drama major. Muffin stayed with my parents. After a bit at Harding (didn't graduate yet) I moved out to Winston-Salem, NC with my then husband Toby. Manly because the job market in Searcy was next to none. So me, Toby, Bunnicula (who we had gotten while still at Harding so I could have a pet but they wouldn't allow non cadged animals in the apartments) and Muffin all moved once again.
We got settled in and after a few brief spats with the cat who "came with the house " Henry, all seemed to be going well. Then a week after I returned to Arkansas for my sister's wedding in July, I noticed that Muffin was not acting right. He wasn't eating and his stomach wa swelled up. A friend took him to the vet while I suffered through work. then Toby came by and spoke to my boss. Then he came to me. Muffin had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). FIP is an incurable, deadly illness that only recently has had a vaccine for it. The only humane thing to do was to put him down because he was in great pain that would only get worse. Toby called his sister Beth to come take me to the vet. He stayed and finished my shift and then started his own (we worked at the same place). I spent a few minuets alone with Muffin telling him how much I loved him and what was going to happen to him. Then I called the vet in to deliver the shot. I stayed with him till he left me for good. It took a little longer than normal. I like to think that he was fighting the shot to stay with me. I don't think he wanted to leave me.
As we lived in the country the vet prepared him for a home burial. I made him a small and very crude casket painted it white and lined it with an old but pretty curtain. Toby dug a hole in the back yard under a dogwood tree. After saying good bye one last time I placed him in his casket along with a few favorite toys. We then buried him. During all this I played the Jellical Ball, Memory , Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and Pie Jesu. After he was buried I placed a white cross to mark his grave and hung on it what had been my matron of honor's bouquet on it. and then just stood there and cried.
After having a pet for as many years as I had Muffin (14), I didn't just lose a pet, I lost a part of me. Muffin was not just a mere pet , he was a best friend/sibling/child all rolled in to one small furry creature. There were time when it felt like he was my only friend. He was always there for me, not caring about anything but me. I loved him so much. I still love him. And I thank God very much for blessing my life with him.
"I know a bank where the wild
Shakespeare "A Midsummer's night dream"
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The music on this page is "Memory" from his play CATS.