Jen got Mo from the Pittsburgh Humane Society back in 2001, not long after we started dating. For some reason she went in wanting a white cat. But, I think it was really how affectionate Mo was that won Jen over. She went right up to the front of her cage and positioned her head just so so that Jen could scratch her all around her ears. Their initial meeting was at lunch time... Jen was so worried that she would find another home if she didn't go back and get her right away that she returned after work that same day to adopt her.
We didn't really realize what a kitten she still was then. She was very playful, but also very well behaved. She wouldn't jump up on any of the furniture until Jen encouraged her to do so. LOL. She was a people-cat from the get go. She liked being around, preferably on, whoever was nearby.
Jen sometimes left Mo in PA when she came up to visit me, but quite often she brought her along. We both still get a kick out of the time Jen had a baffled border guard ask her, "Do you always bring your cat on vacation with you?" In more recent years, we've taken her on trips back to PA with us, or asked my cousin to come hang out with her if it's a shorter trip. She never liked being alone.
Two years ago, the summer after I had been laid off, while I was pregnant with Sprout and we were on a family vacation, we got a call from our vet. We had borded her, which we never did, because she hadn't been eating and we thought it was better for her to be with the vet than home with my very attentive cousin visiting, just in case something were seriously wrong. It was good kitty-parent intuition, I guess, because our vet said that she thought we needed to take her to the emergency vet to get checked out. We left The Bean with the grandparents (who were vacationing with us) and came back into the city to figure out what was going on with the cat.
After multiple test and ultrasounds we were advised that she needed surgery, or would likely die. I would love to say that it was an easy decision to make, but it wasn't totally easy. We ended up spending the majority of my severance package on Mo's surgery. A surgery we weren't sure would work. Fortunately it did work, and though she never quite returned to her pre-sick condition, she survived.
Though not having a job has been really hard on us, we've often reflected that Mo probably liked me being home. When the kids went down for naps and I sat down, it never took her long to hop up beside me for some ear scratches. I'll admit that I often scooted her down to my feet so that I could have my hands free. I did that as recently as yesterday. Of course, now I feel endlessly guilty for not giving her the attention she wanted. But I also am thinking of looking up from playing on the front lawn and seeing her sitting on my desk (a no-no) looking out the window, and smiling even though she really shouldn't have been there. And of brushing the knots out of her fur in the evening. And of encouraging The Bean and Sprout to pet her gently.
Today, like many days, Mo had thrown up. We cleaned it up and went along with our usual routine. She was a little more "around" than usual as the kids ate their lunch. Jumping up and stealing my chair when I went to get The Bean more chocolate milk. I'm glad I got a new chair, rather than shooing her down. I took the kids in for stories and then nursed Sprout. When I came out of the bedroom there were a few more little puddles of spitty throw up around. I got some paper towel and Lysol and cleaned them up. Then I came across Mo in the kitchen. She was lying on her side panting. She didn't look well. I went over to give her a pat and talk to her. Her head was in a puddle of spit. I grabbed a towel and carefully picked her up and brought her over to the couch. I called Jen. Jen called the vet. I called my cousin to come over and watch the kids. I called Jen back and told her I thought she should meet me at the vet. I lifted Mo carefully into a basket, because she doesn't much like her cat carrier and she already seemed pretty freaked out. I pet her and reassured her until my cousin arrived. I drover her to the vet. Jen was there waiting and walked up the block with us. Our lovely, loving vet came down from her lunch break to see us right away. They took Mo to the back room and got her set up with some IV fluids and oxygen. The vet came back and filled us in on what was happening. They took some x-rays and blood. No clear answers. The vet suggested the emergency clinic. Jen and I talked privately. We had agreed on no more surgeries after the last one. We debated the pros and cons of the chest ultrasound and the abdominal ultrasounds they were suggesting. We thought about how things might play out if she ended up on heart medication. We hadn't made a final decision, but I don't think either of us were quite ready to give up on Mo completely. Then the vet came back in and told us the decision might not be ours. Despite the oxygen, Mo was showing signs of distress again. We went back into the room and she was panting again. We both pet her and kissed her and talked to her, and then we gave the vet the go-ahead to give her the medication to put her to sleep. It was heartbreaking.
We stayed a few minutes longer. We said goodbye. And then we went home. Sprout was awake, but too young to understand. We told The Bean that Mo was sick, so we took her to the vet but she died. Only seems to half-understand. He asked a few times how our days were and then if we were sad. I was lying down outside when he was bike riding and he came over and said, "Oh, I thought you were dead." He said he wants a new cat. He asked when Mo was coming back.
I keep looking around wondering where she is. She'd typically be lying on the couch beside me right now. I have a feeling it's going to be a little while before I stop looking.
I miss her.
Moses Washington Jones
March, 2001- July 30, 2014
May she rest in peace.