LIAN TANNER

A funeral oration for Miss Mouse

May 26th, 2013

What a dreadfully sad and heart-sore day. Miss Mouse, my beloved cat for the last twelve years, died yesterday.

She was sick a few weeks ago, then got better, then suddenly got sick again. Stopped eating, stopped drinking, stopped doing all the things she has always loved, and instead got more and more distressed. The vet wasn’t at all sure what was wrong with her, but thought it was probably feline leukaemia virus, for which there is no treatment.

So yesterday, after agonising over what to do for several days, I phoned the vet and asked him to come down and put her to sleep.

What an incredibly hard decision that was! I wished desperately that she could talk, could tell me if she wanted to keep going or give up, but of course she couldn’t, not in words. So I had to watch her closely, watch the way she lashed her tail nearly all the time, and licked her lips a lot, which is what cats do when they are distressed. She had stopped purring, wouldn’t let me pick her up, walked to her food bowl as if she was hungry (which she must have been) and then walked away, no matter what I offered her. It all added up to pain and unhappiness, and after twelve years I owed her more than a slow painful death.

I couldn’t bear to take her into the vet surgery – she has always hated going in the car, and I didn’t want that to be the last thing she did. So the vet came here, a gentle, quiet man who understood how hard it was.

When I got Mousie from the RSPCA back in 2001, she was 16 weeks old. Her mother had taught her excellent manners, and if I was lying on the sofa reading, she would always ask permission before she jumped up. But then she would stand on my chest and gaze fiercely into my eyes and say, ‘You are mine.’ And so I was, right from the start.

During the day, she would often sit on my lap while I wrote, sometimes with her paws wrapped around my neck and sometimes with one paw darting out and tapping the keyboard, to add a little bit of feline excitement to the story. In that manner, she helped me write five novels.

At night, after she was fed, she’d tear around the house with her tail high, leaping over the furniture and dashing from room to room. In winter we used to play hide and seek, which she was very good at. After a while I always had to stop because I was laughing too hard.

Every few months I used to say to her, ‘You’re the best cat in the world, Mousie, and I’m glad you came to live with me.’ I’m glad I appreciated her so much while she was alive.

Some people say, ‘Losing a beloved pet is like losing a child.’ But it’s not. Parents grieve for a lost child for the rest of their lives, but we get over the loss of a cat. We know that their lives are short compared with ours and that they will die before us. And we know that the grief is part of the love.

Today I’ll bury Miss Mouse in the back garden and plant a tree next to her. I’ve got several cats buried out there by now, and I remember all of them with love. But Mousie was the best of them all.

So, those of you who have dogs or cats or other animal friends, go and hug them right now, and tell them how much you love them. And then play with them for a while, or take them for a walk if they’re a dog, or do whatever else is their favourite thing, to show that love.

A big hug to you all. xxxx

P.S. I haven’t forgotten the competition. I’ve received the first entry and was going to put it up this weekend but will now wait till next weekend.

18 thoughts on “A funeral oration for Miss Mouse

  1. Romi says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Miss Mouse- she sounds, both from what you’ve written here now and what you’ve written over the time I’ve been coming here, like she was an incredible creature. As I was reading our cat- I told you one of them recently died- came in and sat down next to me. Sometimes it’s hard to realise how much solidarity and comfort they offer, especially when they don’t act on their best behaviour, though I don’t doubt they feel much the same about us.
    Romi.x

    1. Lian says:

      I agree totally, Romi, cats do offer so much solidarity and comfort. A good way of putting it! Just being in their presence is a calming thing, I think.

  2. Isabel says:

    I am so sorry about Miss Mouse, I know how it feels to lose a pet. My pet cat disappeared new years eve this year. He was very sick, but one day he was just gone… We didn’t see him for three whole months, so we had just assumed he had died but, we were blessed with a miracle, two days before his 2nd bithday Darcy (my cat) returned, unharmed and completely healed. We knew someone had taken care of him so we did everything we could to make sure he was happy, in fact at the moment he is sleeping peacefully at the end of my bed. May Miss Mouse rest in peace.
    XOXO Isabel

    1. Lian says:

      Isabel, how amazing to have gotten Darcy back after such a long absence. You must have been overjoyed to see him again. Thanks for your kind thoughts about Miss Mouse.

  3. Lilli says:

    I send my condolences to you Lian ,I hope that you are ok and I cannot believe that Miss Mouse ,the beloved pussy-cat that lives with an amazing author has passed away…
    Miss mouse will be in heaven watching over you and she will always be there for you .
    I cannot imagine a world without Gigi and Pierre ,and I know that you are missing Miss Mouse ,I hope that you are OK.

    If there is anything that I can do for you ( like an online hug ) *hug* I will have the pleasure to do so …

    Once again I hope that you are OK and that if you need a little laughter , I will be on your door step ( not literally but theoretically !)

    From Lilli

    1. Lian says:

      Thanks Lilli. I am okay, though missing Miss Mouse dreadfully. I still find myself saying good night to her every night – and suspect I will for some time! Laughter is always good at such times, you are right. And so is being with friends and taking care of oneself. I keep thinking about my little cat and smiling at the memory of how beautiful and funny she was. And every now and then I cry, then go back to smiling. What an odd thing grief is!

  4. Chelsie says:

    Oh My! I am sooooo sorry to hear about Miss Mouse, I must say I felt rather sad too after reading all your posts about her. I know how hard it is to lose a friend:(

    1. Lian says:

      Thanks Chelsie. Miss Mouse would be terribly pleased to know that so many people are saddened by her death. And yes, it is hard to lose a friend. Harry, of course, my other cat, is now thrilled that he is allowed inside, which he wasn’t while Mousie was sick. He’s strutting round looking very pleased with himself, though every now and again he peers around the edge of the couch a bit nervously, in case Mouse is about to leap at him. πŸ™‚ I don’t love him the way I loved Mouse – I’ve only had him for a little while – but I must say it’s a comfort to have someone warm and furry to cuddle.

  5. Io says:

    I am very sorry about Miss Mouse, Lian. She was a VERY smart and pretty cat. And really hate that after only 2 years of knowing her she has went on and she has still made a hole in my heart. πŸ™
    And you, Harry, are very lucky to have someone like Lian who has kindly taken you in. I think Lian and Miss Mouse deserves our deepest thank yous for being the best authors in the world!
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    1. Lian says:

      Thanks Io. Mousie was indeed both smart and pretty, and you’re not the only one with a hole in your heart. Harry however is doing his best to keep me company, as well as keeping me warm when he lies on me. (He’s VERY plump and VERY furry.)

  6. Athena says:

    Even though i hate cats (no offence to cat-lovers) because I’m allergic. This is areally sad story!
    I cried more than when I watch Dobby die (and thats saying something)
    Hope Miss Mouse will always be there in your heart.
    Attie

    1. Lian says:

      She will indeed, Attie. Thanks for your kind words!

  7. Jordyn says:

    i’m so sorry Lian, she was such an adorable and loyal cat but she will still be with you forever. My cat is about 14 years old and i’m worried that she may go soon as well so i should male the most of it πŸ™ it is a tragedy that she passed and i hope you’re ok now R.I.P Miss mouse (this story almost made me almost cry and its very hard to make a person like me cry emotionally)

    1. Lian says:

      It’s so very hard when our animal friends get old, isn’t it, Jordyn? As you say, all you can do is make the most of it and love them to bits in the meantime. It’s MUCH better to love (and grieve when they go), than not to love at all.

      Thanks heaps for your kind thoughts about Miss Mouse. She was lovely, and I am indeed okay now, and able to remember her with a smile on my face. Mind you, I keep calling Harry ‘Miss Mouse’. But he doesn’t mind, as long as he gets to lie in front of the fire on cold nights. He has been a great comfort, and I’m extremely glad that I didn’t manage to find another home for him, back when I was trying to give him away.

      I do hope your cat lives for many years yet. It’s certainly possible. Some good friends of mine had a cat (called Kitty) who lived to the astonishing age of 26. Mind you, she was an astonishing cat altogether – she used to go out hunting and bring home full-grown rabbits that she had killed. I think she was part idle-cat. πŸ˜‰

  8. Jordyn says:

    *make oopsy πŸ˜›

  9. Jordyn says:

    Yeah, my family is big on animals and it is very sad to see them pass away, especially after a bad day. We don’t have a fire so my cat just sits on my bed until I want to sleep which is very adorable, sound like Harry is a care-free cat (and cute), my cat has pretty much been alive ever since i was a baby so we do have a connection, also my cat is an inside cat so she doesn’t like being outside for longer than five minutes (and she’s very lazy) that’s amazing how that cat lived for 26 years! Animals are extraordinary in every way

    1. Lian says:

      I agree totally, Jordyn. It would be a dreary horrible world without animals. Your cat sounds lovely. And Harry is sitting on my lap right now, trying to stop me typing.

  10. Jordyn says:

    Haha, my cat always sits on my homework and headbutts me when I’m trying to focus but Harry sound adorable, wish I could meet him πŸ™‚

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