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1993 - 2006

My husband Jim and I found ourselves with two old cats – 18 year old CH Yorcat Yipes Stripes, a gorgeous seal lynxpoint Colorpoint Shorthair, and 16 year old Bit, a little sealpoint Siamese. It occurred to us that we should bring home a kitten so if one of the oldies left us, the other would be used to the new cat and would have company. Having fallen in love with Orientals at a show sometime previously, we went in search of an Oriental Shorthair. We found Barb Phelps of El-Dia Orientals, and soon we visited Barb to check out an available kitten. That was the first time we laid eyes on Mouse. Mouse was a tiny spiky-furred blue ticked tabby oriental – by far not the best looking kitten she had at the time. He was being sold as a pet because the last inch of his tail had a kink – rather like a music note. But little Mouse just plastered himself to us, it was obvious his little soul was speaking to ours. On the trip home he wasn’t scared, just fascinated by everything. We tried confining him until he got used to his new home but he had other plans. Very rapidly he ventured out and made himself at home.

I don’t believe Mouse ever met a stranger. He loved everyone and everything, I don’t think I ever heard him hiss. We had him neutered at about 6 months of age, and when we picked him up at the vet clinic the techs were laughing and saying “Do you know your cat says WOW?” Mouse was a talkative guy. Time passed, and Mouse grew sleek and handsome, and oddly enough, that tail kink disappeared. I kept in touch with Barb and she reported that Mouse’s brother Danny was doing very well in the show ring. Very well turned out to be CFA’s Third Best Cat nationally for 1995-1996. When GC, NW El-Dia Blue Danube’s picture was on the cover of Cat Fancy magazine, I raced to my veterinarian to show them that Mouse looked like his famous brother, since they thought Mouse was a very strange looking cat. I kept looking at that picture of Danny and finally called Barb and asked her about showing Mouse since the tail kink had disappeared. I had shown dogs and horses but had not ventured into showing cats. I entered Mouse in a nearby show and met Barb there, where she started teaching me what she knew about showing cats. Mouse did very well at that first show, taking a Best of Breed as an open in a ring over a very lovely red ticked tabby grand premier. I showed Mouse sporadically and he finished his grand premiership in due time, which took a bit longer than it should have as we let him get a teeny bit chubby. He rapidly slimmed himself down and we ended up showing him the next year in hopes of a regional win, which he missed by a small amount. We were hooked on showing and continued on with other Orientals.

Mouse was just the best cat ever. He would snuggle purring on whichever of us was not moving too fast, and he would carefully split his time between Jim and me so neither of us would feel left out. Mouse was amazingly gentle and intelligent and got himself in trouble more times than not with that intelligence. One time I found him silently hanging by a hind foot from a jagged copper wall sculpture we had, which was relegated to the garage after that episode. Thankfully Mouse didn’t get hurt but he surely could have. Mouse greeted each new cat and eventually new kittens to the household with affection and interest. He slept curled in a purring ball right next to my neck.

When Mouse was a bit over twelve years of age, he suddenly started looking off. In January of 2006 I took him to the veterinarian and they found a mass in his abdomen. They called in a veterinarian for an ultrasound, and that mass and enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes told the tale. Mouse had cancer. I raced him to the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center in Canton, MI where they diagnosed the type of lymphoma via fine needle aspirate. Mouse had the worst kind – lymphoblastic, which is a large celled very aggressive type. They started his chemotherapy that same day. I made weekly trips to ACIC with Mouse through the next several months, even one trip right after a severe ice storm. Everything was crusted with a thick layer of clear ice, and during that trip the intense blue sky and the sun shining through all of that crystal ice was incredible. Mouse loved the trips and traveled snuggled next to my chest. He disliked carriers, and despite the danger of what might happen to him if there was a wreck, we spent those hours on the road snuggling. On the way home from the clinic we’d stop at Freeway Fritz and would get Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn chicken. We’d share a piece of it right there, parked in a pretty spot under some trees, and then we would finish the drive home. I treasure those many hours spent with Mouse. He loved the staff at the clinic and tolerated the treatments extremely well. Mouse went into remission in a few weeks and remained in remission for a few months.
Unfortunately, his lymphoma became resistant to chemo and eventually nothing we tried was working. I’ll always wonder if things might have been different if we had surgically removed that single ominous mass and had then done chemo, but I will never know.

I let Mouse go on July 30, 2006. That was a moment I had dreaded since I lost my heart to Mouse when he was a tiny kitten. Mouse was just a few days shy of his 13th birthday. Losing Mouse is as close as I will ever come to losing a child, I have no human children. During Mouse’s meltdown my mother was in her own meltdown with metastatic ovarian cancer and IBD with intestinal blockages. I lost my mother a few months after Mouse in November 2006. It seemed singularly cruel to lose both Mouse and my mother in that short span of time.

Mouse will always be a huge part of my heart and soul. His loss is tempered by the nearly 13 incredibly special years we spent together. I guess the amount of pain and grief we feel at the loss of one of these special souls is a tribute to just how much they were loved during their lifetimes. And Mouse, I surely loved you every bit as much as it is possible to love.


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irginia Wheeldon.