May 1, 1987-March 12, 1999

The first time I saw Miya, she was a little lump of gray fur, big ears and a skinny short little tail. Her eyes wern't even open yet. She was about a week old, and I knew as soon as I saw her nursing at her mother's belly that she was mine.

I named her Miya, after my favorite RP character. When she was about three weeks old her mother--barely mor than a kitten herself--weaned her too soon. I fed her with a doll's baby bottle on infant formula.

Miya was half Russian Blue and half mongrel with a healthy dose of Siamese. She looked like a Blue except for a little white star on her chest. She had the Blue temperament and the Siamese voice (and a little kink in her skinny tail). She started to talk, eventually developing a vocabulary of about twenty words. Her first word was "Mama", referring to me.

I had to let my boyfriend's mother take care of her when I was driven out of my house by my brother at gunpoint. When I heard through the grapevine that she had been killed, I was almost hysterical, but it turned out to be untrue. Later, when I got my own place, I went to reclaim Miya. She went limp with shock when she saw me--she obviously remembered me. We were inseparable from that moment on.

Miya took to Barbara almost right away. She would sit in Barb's lap when Barb was playing the Genesis; she would perch on Barb's shoulders when she sat at the computer; she would go begging to Barb when she was hungry, or lonely, or just plain bored and wanted attention.

When she was scared, or sick, or felt threatened in any way, she came to me. I was her "Mama"; Barbara (whom she called BY NAME, believe it or not) was her playmate. When I took her to the vet for worming shots, I held her in my arms when the vet vaccinated her and she was all right. When the hurricane blew through, she huddled with me for security and comfort. She slept on my side when we were in bed, purring me to sleep with her nose close to my ear.

She was an active cat right up till the end, with few serious illnesses. She played like a kitten. My Addams Family poster still has claw marks around Lurch's feather duster where she would leap at it--almost 6 feet off the ground--because one of her favorite games was "chase the feather".

Around the first week of March 1999, Miya got sick and went off her food. She had been doing this from time to time--she was 12 years old in 1999--so while I was concerned, it didn't worry me too much. But within a week she was almost a skeleton. Thursday night, March 11, I noticed that she had a hard lump in her belly. The next morning I carried her in my arms up to the vet's office around the corner from my house.

Lymphoma. She had a tumor in her belly the size of a tennis ball that had been there for God knows how long. There was no hope for her. We could pump her up with steroids and dose her with antibiotics, but they probably wouldn't do anything but prolong her suffering.

I kissed her, and sang to her, and said goodbye. I left the office. The doctor gave her the shot and immediately called me back in. By the time I touched her, she wasn't breathing any more.

So what? Cats die all the time. I've buried more than my share. But I had Miya almost from the moment of her birth, and Barb yanked her back from the brink of death four years ago when she got a bad case of the flu. She was an intelligent, active, infuriating, affectionate, alert, annoying, demanding, thoroughly present cat and I feel like someone has cut my heart out with the blunt side of a butter knife. I might have another cat someday, but I will always love and miss my little gray kitty with a kink in her tail.

Here I said
Don't even let this go
Hey to that old man
I'm coming in the graveyard with my little tune
It's June
I said "She's gone, but I'm alive, I'm alive"
I'm coming in the graveyard
To sing you to sleep now.

~~Tori Amos