A cat called Mouse (1)

Mouse number one arrived as one of three kittens born to a stray cat I’d taken in back in 2002. She was the smallest of the litter, and though I found good homes for the other two I just couldn’t bear to part with her so she stayed and became one of my ever-growing family of pets. Her name came about because she could never miaow properly – she squeaked, like the ‘mee’ without the ‘oww’, and because of that and her very small size it seemed logical to call her Mouse.
A dark tortoiseshell with a ginger mark down one side of her nose, Mouse very quickly became my little shadow and would follow me all round the house. As she grew she developed a beautiful coat with fur like velvet, and when I sat watching tv in the evenings she would often drape herself round my neck like a fur collar or lie in my arms with her head snuggled under my hair. And she could purr for England, usually right in my ear if she was round my neck. She had many funny and endearing little ways and was one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever had. When she wasn’t with me her constant companion within the cat family was Tiger and they could often be found curled up together.
It was one night in October 2006 that I thought Mouse had disappeared from my life completely – she’d been out during the evening but didn’t come back when I called her later on, and as I knew she never went far from the house I had the awful feeling that something bad had happened to her. Posters on lamp posts around the area and days and hours spent searching produced nothing but my own heartache and tears – even finding her little body somewhere would have been preferable to not knowing where she was or what had happened to her.
Then three weeks later I got a phone call from a vet’s practice in a town twelve miles away – Mouse had been found. A young couple had seen her wandering near where they lived and had taken her in, then went to the vet’s to see if she could be identified, and because of her microchip she was traced back to me. The relief that she was okay was overwhelming but getting her back wasn’t that simple. The couple had already had her a week before they went to the vet’s and they’d said they wanted to keep her if the owner wasn’t found. The vet’s receptionist wouldn’t give me their address for me to go and get her back, saying she would arrange a day and time for the couple to take Mouse into the practice for me to collect her from there, but the couple themselves spent so long stalling for time that I had to threaten legal action against both them and the vets before proper arrangements were made.
When the evening came to collect Mouse my partner came with me, getting to the vet’s just ahead of the arranged time, and as we got out of the car I saw the young couple carrying Mouse into the building though I didn’t speak to them. I’d only just sat down in the waiting room when the receptionist called me over to the desk and Mouse was transferred from the vet’s cat carrier to mine. I wasn’t allowed to just walk out of the building with her though – I was charged £28, and when I questioned it I was told it was a boarding fee. For what? Mouse had only been in there for five minutes, they hadn’t given her any food or treatment so why the charge?? Now under any other circumstances I would probably have argued about it but I was just so glad to have Mouse back I paid it anyway and brought her back home. I would have loved to know how she got to where she was found though – there was no way she could have walked there so I could only assume she must have jumped into a van or truck parked near the house on the day she went missing and jumped out again when the driver eventually stopped. If only she could have told me.
It was February 2007 when I lost Mouse for ever. She had a habit of sitting close to the gas fire in the living room and one night we noticed that her breathing was really heavy – thinking it was because she was close to the fire and too hot I turned the fire off but her breathing didn’t improve so the following morning I took her to the vet’s. He examined her, said he would keep her in and sedate her then do an x-ray to find out the cause of the problem and phone me later on. It was 1pm when he phoned and gave me the bad news; one of her lungs had collapsed completely and she only had a 20% capacity in the other lung – there was nothing he could do for her.
Now to have a pet put to sleep for any reason is very upsetting but to have to authorise it over the phone without getting to say goodbye was truly heartbreaking and I was in bits. The vet was a lovely man though, and when I went to collect Mouse he’d curled her round and nestled her in a soft blanket to make it look like she was just asleep. The following day I bought a small wicker basket with a lid and she was buried in a sunny spot in the back garden. It took me quite a while to get over losing Mouse; I’ve had many cats over the years and I’ve loved them all but every so often there’s been one that was just that little bit more special than most – Mouse was one of these, a very special little cat in many ways.
mouse-wassop-jan-07-003
Mouse

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9 thoughts on “A cat called Mouse (1)

  1. Both our cats went missing from time to time but never longer than a day or two. They always turned up. One of my friends lost a cat completely and put it down to the reason you thought you’d lost Mouse – they live near the A1 and assumed he’d climbed into a vehicle and been whisked off somewhere. Ours both had to be put to sleep eventually, but we were able to be with them both times. Mouse sounds and looks lovely. Now I understand the URL of your other blog, tigermouse!

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    1. When I first decided to start my other blog I couldn’t think of an unusual username but eventually came up with the idea of combining the names of my two favourite cats, although I’d lost Mouse three years previously. I lost Tiger to cancer in 2010, quite a while after I started the blog; she was buried in the garden next to Mouse and the names on their plaques do actually read Tiger Mouse. Mouse herself was a complete one-off, and Mouse no.2 is proving to be very much the same.

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  2. Ah I understand now about your name tigermouse. Mouse sounded lovely and it’s obvious that you adored her. I’m not really a cat person Eunice but we had one when the children were small, we called her Dusty but she disappeared too. It’s heartbreaking not knowing what’s happened to them.
    I’m afraid I would never be tempted to have another cat, I’d say I’m a dog person through and through.

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    1. I was never allowed pets when I was young, though in my teens I did walk a neighbours dog regularly. I always thought of myself as being a dog person until my son’s dad got me a kitten way back in the 70s, then I became a cat person. Now I love both dogs and cats equally, though I must admit cats are a lot less complicated than dogs. Saying that though, I’ve had Jack Russells since 1986 – first Skippy, then Sugar, now Sophie and Poppie, and I wouldn’t like to be without them now.

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    1. I’ve just hopped over to your blog and had a look. It’ll take me a while to think of some questions and nominees as I don’t follow that many blogs, but as long as I don’t have to do it immediately I’ll join in when I’ve got time to think of something 🙂

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  3. That Vet was a scoundrel for charging you. I don’t think kindly of the young couple either. I still miss our Cu’Pie the yellow parakeet who passed away nearly 10 years ago, too. Cheers to Mouse!

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  4. I actually had quite a battle on my hands trying to get Mouse back. The vet’s receptionist wouldn’t give me the couple’s address as they said it was ‘confidential information’ and they could only contact the couple on my behalf. The couple themselves seemed to be avoiding all phone calls over several days, probably hoping that if they waited long enough I would give up and they would be able to keep Mouse, but I’m afraid neither they nor the vet’s knew me very well.

    I contacted my local animal welfare office who said that if they kept Mouse knowing that she had an owner it would be classed as ‘theft by finding’ and I should contact the police – this was confirmed by a member of the legal firm where I cleaned at the time and also the police themselves. I rang the vet’s and told the receptionist that even if she refused to give me the couple’s details she would have to give them to the police, so unless firm arrangements were made to return Mouse within 24 hours I would be taking legal action against them and the couple. Lo and behold, less than two hours later she rang me back to say that she’d managed to contact the couple (well, surprise surprise!) and Mouse would be returned the following day.

    It showed how much the couple wanted to keep her though, when she went missing she had a plain red collar on but when I got her back she had a brand new sparkly silver one. She acted a bit weird for the first couple of days as she’d been gone for almost a month but once she settled back in she was back to her old self. It’s just a shame that I lost her for good only three months later, but she’ll never be forgotten.

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  5. Almost sounds like the receptionist and the couple were in cahoots. I’m glad yours was a happy ending with Mouse coming back home. Several years ago, every so often, the feral cats disappeared in our neighborhood. We suspected someone was catching them and releasing them far away.

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