Let me tell you a story about a cat named Molly. When I first got her, she was six months old. She was meant to be mine, but I didn’t realize it at first. I went to college for a course called Animal Care and as part of our course, we had an adoption centre where we would adopt out cats. The only problem with this situation, was that over the Christmas holidays, there would be no one at the school to care for these animals. And since all were rescues or surrenders, they didn’t belong to any shelter. As part of our responsibilities, each of us had to pick a cat to take home and care for our the break. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Molly picked me to take her home. Those plaintive mews and big golden-green eyes were irresistible and before I knew it, I was putting her in a crate and bringing her to my home off campus. My friend who was driving said that she was a sweet little angel, and so the name Malaika which means Angel in Swahili, stuck.
Malaika is the only cat I have ever owned for longer than seven years. She is also the only cat to ever receive a middle name…partially because I thought it would be cute to have a cat whose initials spelled M N M or M & M if you said it fast. And since M & M’s are made of chocolate, well, it was too sweet to resist. Malaika was also my cat for a good three years before I got married and so, she received my maiden name instead of married.
Molly was the kind of cat who would purr like crazy when you pet her or picked her up, but the whole time she was purring like a motor, she would be struggling to escape. In college I did what a lot of students do – stay up late studying and use the time during the day (my classes mostly all ended by three) to crash nap. Whenever I napped, Molly would sleep on the end of my bed and wouldn’t move until I woke up again. As she got older and I moved to my own apartment, she got into the habit of orbiting my head, meowing plaintively until I reached out and pushed her down. Then she would hang around for a bit and let me pet her.
And though she wasn’t thrilled with the new kitten when he came on the scene, she learned to tolerate him and mothered him quite a bit.
She was the queen of high perches.
She also loved hanging out in weird places. Like my husband’s bottom dresser drawer. She didn’t fit but she sure tried!
She was also the best at making you feel guilty if you went away and left her behind. Whether on vacation or because you had a job to go to.
Sometimes she was a total freak and other times, she was a zen cat. This cat could get into positions that made me feel super relaxed just looking at her.
She was curious and very good at begging. Especially if you had a bowl of ice cream. May have had something to do with the fact that I let her lick it clean when I was done with it.
And then there were moments you just wondered if her head was screwed on right. Like the time, when I lived with my sister for a couple months, where she jumped directly into a bucket of bleach water to escape my sister’s two, full grown Old English Sheepdogs who thought the best game ever was ‘Chase The Cat’. But you couldn’t tell just by looking at her how completely weird she was.
She was a sweet cat with a weird personality and I loved her. She was more than just a pet. She was my furry friend who I will miss dearly. Near the end she was doing poorly and so we decided it was time to put her out of her misery. It was mercy that she actually went downhill quickly, because she suffered for very little time in comparison to a lot of other cats in her condition. On her last day, she was rather dirty since she had given up grooming, so I gave her a bath. Afterward, I snuggled her in my arms and we sat together on the back deck, enjoying the warm July breeze. That evening she was buried in an undisclosed plot of earth and I put a rose in the grave with her. My amazingly creative, talented niece painted a headstone for her and I gave her the biggest hug.
Throughout the heartache of saying goodbye, my family has been by my side, every step of the way. I will miss Molly but there are so many good memories of her to make me smile.
Rest in peace, my sweet, furry angel. We had some really good times, you and I.