Me: “The caT?”
Carlton: /sheepish grin…”the catS.”
We’d been feeding a little stray cat for a few weeks. He was painfully scrawny and had nearly identical markings to Mr. Kitty. I had said, no WAY, no more animals.
Carlton’s big heart saw room for one more. Thus Mini came into our lives.
We took him to the vet and discovered he had FIV, a death sentence. Also, if he bit our other cat, they would both be infected. So they had to be separated.
We named him Mini because he looked so similar to Mr. Kitty. Mr. Kitty’s real name is Baja, so this guy was named mini-Baja, the name of Carlton’s annual college project. Mini was a little version of Mr. Kitty in looks but not demeanor. Mini was spunky. I don’t know if it was genetics or his need to fight for survival but it was alwas part of him. In fact, one of Carlton’s first memories of Mini-Baja was of rescuing him from the bushes and being bitten.
Mini bit me enough to draw blood, with no provocation. He was confused and never knew how to give love. I was pregnant and fearful that his bite would transfer some infection to the baby. He lived in our bathroom-bedroom-closet suite for a long time.
We moved him downstairs to the windowless backroom after he’d bitten me too many times. We would cuddle him twice a day. We’d let him out on weekends, unless we had a houseguest who was afraid of being bitten. I tried to let him be on the back porch but he was so emotionally riled by the end of the day, wanting to attack birds, that he couldn’t handle the stress.
I don’t want to say it…I love animals…but I wished he were gone more than once. When he was happy, he’d trip me; when he didn’t want me to leave, he’d bite me. I didn’t know how to love him and make him feel loved.
Mr. Kitty’s health is bad and he’s 10 years older than Mini. I had this sad but happy vision of the day that Mr. Kitty dies, when Mini gets to have his run of the whole house, no worries of infecting another cat with FIV. He would run free and happy in my vision, and never bite anyone out of confusion or frustration again.
Monday he was scampering around the family room, chasing a little fake mouse and batting it around. Tuesday he was moving slowly. Wednesday he was very slow. Carlton and I held him in our arms and petted him- he never wanted to be held so we knew he needed love. I scratched his ears. Tonight he was dead.
Was Mini ever happy? Some cruel person(s) left him outside with no care if he lived or died, and we took him in. He had to be locked away from Mr. Kitty so he never had freedom. He was even named Mini, the smaller name of the “main” cat. I felt like he spent his whole life waiting to be fully loved.
We loved him and we did the best we could.
I love you, Minimus Maximus.