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Remembering ‘Mimi’

01:31 AM July 14, 2015

MIMI, OUR beloved cat, passed away almost two years ago (2013) at the UP Veterinary Clinic. She died of complications after giving birth to four lovely kittens. Unfortunately, four days after her death all four kittens died one by one in spite of our valiant efforts to save them.

Mimi was barely two weeks old when my eldest son, Wynn, rescued her from driving rain near the gate of our subdivision. She and her sister were both dripping wet in a grassy portion, abandoned by their mother and left to “fend for themselves,” so to speak. My son tried to save both of them but Mimi’s sister scampered away as fast as she could.

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Since I was not much of a cat lover (at the time of Mimi’s rescue), I was at first reluctant to allow her into our family. In fact, I would rather have a dog than a cat. But my sons appealed the case of Mimi and so I relented.

At first, I feared how Taj, our Doberman, would treat Mimi. I was afraid he would gobble up the poor cat whole or tear her tiny body into pieces until she was history.

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But I was pleasantly surprised that nothing of the doomsday scenario I dreaded happened. Instead of a gory murder, the gentle giant Taj instantly liked the tiny cat. Aside from grooming her every day, he also became her faithful protector from the bigger cats around. In addition, Taj allowed Mimi to sleep on his huge belly especially when the night was wet and cold.

One evening, it rained hard. Our two sons Wynn and Rex complained about Mimi’s inadequate shelter outside our front door. So they suggested that we bring her in. At first, my wife balked at the idea. But when the pouring rains and lashing winds began toppling down trees in the subdivision, Mimi found a permanent abode inside our house.

In the beginning, we worried about the possible ugly repercussions if Mimi stayed inside the house. We imagined there would be a lot of mess around and the smell of pooh-pooh would be unbearable! Once again, however, the ugly scenario I dreaded did not materialize. Mimi knew how to use the washroom! Whoever taught that tiny creature “good manners and right conduct” we never found out.

From that time on, “Mimi” became the “little princess” of our family under the protection of the gentle giant, Taj.

In 2009, I retired from work as an international consultant. Three months into retirement, I suffered from serious depression brought about by the loss of income and meaningful activities. There were many lonely days when I was alone in the house with Mimi as my only companion.

As I sank every morning into one of the sofas in the living room battling loneliness, Mimi seemed to feel exactly what was going on within me. She would jump on my lap; sit there in perfect stillness as if she was absorbing my depression and sharing my sorrows until she would fall asleep. I must admit that with her on my lap, I felt a little relief after.

Mimi gave birth more than 10 times. Her kittens had a very high mortality rate in spite of the medical care her veterinarian gave her. To us who knew her intimately, she was an ulirang ina,   a perfect mother. As a matter of fact, she could put to shame some human mothers who habitually neglect their young ones in order to play mahjong, tong-its, video karera and engage in tsismis with neighbors. Mimi willingly missed her meals many times just to attend to her young ones. There were many a night when she would stay awake, suckling and cooing over her little ones (and I think) humming to them a cat’s version of “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan.”

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Certainly, Mimi was a battered cat for having given birth so many times. And we certainly feel guilty for not having her spayed early on. During her last and final pregnancy, we noticed that she had become very weak. Nevertheless, with the assistance of my wife Lota, a professional nurse, she was able to deliver four healthy kittens.

But it was clear that her last delivery had taken a serious toll on her fragile body. Unable to nurse her kittens properly and hardly able to walk around, we rushed her to the UP Veterinary Clinic. The doctors gave us a grim prognosis of her situation. They also suggested that we had her confined for at least one night so they could administer her IV fluids. Our morale went up seeing Mimi in confinement. We lingered for sometime around Mimi’s cage, calling her softly and expressing our love for her. Before we left her in that condition, my wife said, “Goodbye, Mimi!” In spite of her pains, she budged a little and wiggled one of her ears as if to say, “Goodbye, Mom!”

Around noontime of the next day, which happened to be a Sunday, we all dressed up in our Sunday’s best to fetch Mimi from the UP Veterinary Clinic. We had expected that after a night of treatment, Mimi would be her old cheerful self again. But as we were getting into our car, the UP Vet sent me a terse text message: “Sir, sorry to inform you that in spite of our determined efforts to save Mimi she passed away around midnight last night.” We shed copious tears! Wynn’s crying could be heard as far as the next block!

It is now two years since our dear Mimi passed away. Our sadness over her passing still runs deep.

Mimi the human-cat, is now buried in our small garden canopied by thousands of red bougainvillea in full bloom.

Since Mimi’s death, I always miss her rapping on my door every four o’clock in the morning, requesting breakfast. I still imagine her sitting on the keyboard of my computer as I work, following closely every movement of the cursor. I could still feel her presence as she watched from my lap the beautiful concerts of André Rieu. Goodbye, Mimi! We still always miss you!

Carlos D. Isles ([email protected]), writer, poet and a professional harmonica player with a degree in philosophy from San Jose Seminary (Ateneo de Manila), was a consultant of World Bank- and ADB-funded community development projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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