Memories of Munchkin
Little Munchkin seemed to come into the world with a lot of survival issues, in need of a home where he would be loved and cared for, almost like a pet with special needs. I wanted another cat to keep my youngest cat, Sonny, company, knowing that my elder cat, Maxwell, wouldn't be around for the long term, and that Sonny would enjoy the company of a younger cat. Plus, this would add more joy and life to our home in Albuquerque. So I adopted Munchkin from a home that had as many as 30 cats roaming around, and brought him home.
He did well to have a forever home, and we went to work on clearing up a few behavioral and insecurity issues with him, resulting in a loving, friendly, and very gregarious and funny cat. He loved people and would roll on the ground, dive bombing kind of, so they would pet his belly. Then he'd get up and dive bomb down again, asking for more. He was also a beautiful boy, with long, silky grey fur, and very expressive eyes.
And he loved his "binky". He had an endearing trait of nuzzling his nose into the folds of a blanket, and kneeding it with his paws before laying down. In fact, if there wasn't a wrinkled-up blanket on the chair or bed where he wanted to lay down, he'd look me in the eye and use mental telepathy to get a blanket, and wrinkle it just right, and then he'd enthusiastically jump up, do his nuzzle routine, and settle down happily.
Munchkin was also kind of a trickster, and made everyone laugh. He'd pounce on the other cats, and surprise them, and create periods of havoc with his behavior. I think he must have been a little trickster as soon as he was born, thus the name "Munchkin". You couldn't help but love him.
The trouble with his health all began when I decided to move back to California. Only two cats were allowed in my apartment, so I left Munchkin with friends in Albuquerque, promising to get him when I was able to buy a house. However, this upset him greatly, and he stopped eating, and turned yellow from liver failure. When my friends told me how badly he was doing, I got on an airplane, rescued him, and brought him back to California, where I snuck him into my apartment. He was in very bad shape. Skinny, fur shaved, not eating, the worst. I nursed him back to health, even cooking roast chicken just for him, and using a pet bottle to give him water, spooning food into his mouth, and giving him fresh tuna water. Finally he started to recover and made a rebound.
There were long periods of good health and no problems, interpersed by emergency visits to the vet for a long, long, list of more health problems. The most severe included a deep ear infection which took three years to clear up. Also, he had to have his teeth pulled out due to advanced gingivitis and gum infection, and he also developed crystals in his urine, requiring a special diet. He was also prone to picking fights with other cats, and twice was rushed to emergency for fight wounds. He was very territorial about his home (this was after I did buy a house and moved into a residential neighborhood).
When there was remodeling going on at my house, he got a fever and wouldn't eat, so the cats and I moved into a hotel for two weeks. Once again, I bottle fed him, and he recovered.
When we moved back into the house, everything went fine for two months, and then he got a fever and wouldn't eat again. The vet said he had an abcess from a fight wound (I thought it was going to get better), and upper respiratory as well. She gave him a shot of antibiotics and some fluids and said to see how he did now. He got worse. His ailments continued, but then he started throwing up blood and having black stool.
I couldn't handle this anymore. I had to throw up my arms and surrender, concluding that Munchkin's time to join Maxwell at the Rainbow Bridge had come. (Maxwell had passed away two years prior, and he is a proud resident of the Rainbow Bridge). It was a sad morning at 5 AM, when I took poor Munchkin into the vet emergency.
They have a "Quiet Room" that is for saying goodbye to our pets. It has a couch, soft lighting, and there is no metal examining table. I burst into tears when I walked into the room, as it all sank in. I felt there was no going back. The evidence was right there that it was Munchkin's time, yet it still felt so sudden. He was only 9 years old! The very nice vet was gentle and understanding, and the procedure was quick and painless. There was little Munchkin, so still, and gone, and I had to say goodbye to my little boy. It's like he never had a fighting chance, and I kept him well for as many years as I could.
I miss you little, Munchkin. You will always be a big part of my heart. Please join Maxwell at the Rainbow Bridge and start playing together and running in the flowers. Maxwell is now "The King" of the Rainbow Bridge and will introduce you to lots of new friends. And I'll see you both there some day, and we'll walk over the bridge together and be happy forever together.
Love, Your Mom
11/27/11 Later the same day. I just finished decorating a lovely 6' Christmas tree, Munchkin. I inserted your little framed photo in the tree, along with Max's, and I've dedicated the tree to both of you, my Rainbow Bridge babies. I missed you watching me decorate it, and going over there, as you would have, sniffing, and for sure, laying underneath it on the tree cloth. You used to like to do that when I had the little one in the window. And you know what? Ann Bishop came over with her daughter, Zoe, and they brought flowers to me, in sympathy of losing you, and Zoe made me a home-made sympathy card and drew a big tree on it, and a cat (which of course, was you). She said you were a very good cat. Love you sweetheart. I miss your little body sleeping on the bed with me at night. Love, Your Mom
Dear Munchkin, I just read this poem on Nikki Mae's residency, sent to me by her Mom, with condolances on your passing to Rainbow Heaven. It brought tears to my eyes and heart to read it. I hope you agree with its words, as I hope that I did all I could and made the right decision. It's easy to second-guess oneself, but you were so sick, in so many ways, I didn't know what else to do. My heart is heavy thinking about it and missing your energetic little self buzzing around the house, pouncing on fuzzy mice, sleeping on the fireplace threshold, nuzzling your binky, and looking out the bay window. Here is the poem:
THE LAST BATTLE
You will be sad I understand,
We have had so many happy years,
All my love to you, dear Munchkin. I'll visit you again at your Residency soon. Mom
11/22/12: My dear Munchkin. I'm sorry ti's been so long since I've signed in. My, how time flies. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of when you went to the Rainbow bridge. Robert was so kind to write on your wall, and it reminded me that I needed to check in and say I love you. Guess where we are now? At the Shadowbrook Apartments. Remember that place? You and Max used to go down the steps from my other apartment here and watch the ducks and hang out where those neighbors would delight in seeing you and rub your belly. You were a good boy. Then we lost poor Sonny, and it was just you and Max again. So I moved in here July 14th. Rented out the Alvin house. I know. You would have missed being the neighborhood greeter.
I just read the poem I had at the end of my last entry. Oh, so sorry, little one, that I had to say goodbye to you so early. You were only 9 years old. You were so, so sick. I couldn't take it any more. I brought you back from death's grip at least twice. First when you had the liver failure. Next when you wouldn't eat and had a fever when the contractors were at our house, and we went to the Ramada Inn. I still remember those days fondly. I remember getting out the tuna and begging you to eat. And finally, you ate. So many illnesses. So, so many. I know you understand. Oh, baby, now you are healthy and strong and romping through the daisies. I hope Max is keeping you company. I know he has a big job as King of the Rainbow Bridge. I'm sure he's assigned you a position on the greeting party, though. You were always a great greeter.
I have another new cat now. His name is Feathers, a.k.a. Kiki. I got him at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter. He's a good boy. One year old today. Doesn't meow unless he's outside and the front door is shut. He doesn't like going outside here. Scares him for some reason. Poppy likes it in small doses. Funny how they are. You would probably be all over the place out there. Fearless.
So my love, Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for all the joy you brought to me and others when you were on earth. I love you very much.
My dear Munchkin,
I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas. I'm just realizing that you took on the mission of comforting Maxwell at the Rainbow Bridge, so he wouldn't be all alone. God bless you. And you probably had a premonition that I would be moving into an apartment and knew I would be stressed with you there, and your freedom clipped greatly. You would have been pushing the door, wanting to roam all over, and I would have been a nervous wrech. Poppy and Feathers stay right on the steps or landing, and often don't want to go out at all. They get scared out there. So I don't get afraid they are lost or gone. It is best you are at the Bridge with Max as his assistant. I'm putting a Christmas stocking and some red roses by your grave. Remember when you used to bring me a flower almost every day, from Dahlia's plant? That was so precious and loving. I love you very much.
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