Mooshisms

It’s been a week since we put Mooshie down. For 11 years, this gentle and loving kitty gave us so many precious memories, so here is my list of Mooshisms to remember her by.

I remember first seeing little Moosh cowering in the back of the cage at the Humane Society. She was a beautiful diluted calico who was scared to death of almost everything. We brought her home and she hid from Widgit. When we finally locked Widgit away, I remember sitting in the upstairs hallway with Peter and having her “moosh” all over us. All she wanted was love. Hence her name and the beginning of countless of hours of love.

For months, Moosh was very skittish. She was scared of children and loud noises, and would hide under the bed whenever kids came over. One Sunday morning she was loving me and I decided to run out to get the paper. She was on my shoulder so I just got up, held her and went outside.

That turned out to be a monumental mistake. She freaked out, flew out of my arms and ran away for 3 days! We searched for her, called her name and put up posters around the neighborhood. We sensed that she was near, and she (or someone) was eating the food we put out.

Once we found her laying on the top of the tire of our neighbor’s car and Peter tried to grab her, but came away with just her collar in his hand and a lot of scratches. She would not be grabbed. At night, we would see her sitting on top of the fence between our house and the neighbor’s, but any attempts to lure her were futile.

Finally on the evening of the third night, we decided to set a trap. We secured Widgit in the garage and left the sliding glass door open. Peter rigged a string, so he could pull the door shut if she came in. We watched TV until late, then pulled out the hide-a-bed and turned out the light, and actually fell asleep for a while.

Peter awoke to the sound of dry cat food being eaten out of the bowl in the kitchen and yanked on the string, shutting the door. It worked. She came home. That night, as she cuddled in bed between us, it seemed like a turning point. She was no longer a stray, freaked out kitten… she was ours.

This trick actually worked a second time, when the two cats had somehow gotten out onto the upstairs balcony and Moosh apparently jumped (probably onto a tree) and escaped again. I was traveling at the time, but Peter set the trap and got her in that same night.

Moosh and Widgit were buddies but never playmates. However, they would become inseparable when we would went on vacation, despite their totally different personalities.

Widgit always had to have someone play with when she was in the mood. Moosh would play all alone in the corner for hours. She would chase her tail and make up imaginary bugs. Occasionally however, Widgit would initiate something that even Moosh couldn’t resist, as shown in these photos.

Moosh always loved lap time. When we had guests over, Widgit would come running and usually proceed to greet them and then bite or scratch to establish her dominance. As I cautioned them about Widgit, I say “By the end of the night you’ll meet Moosh when she decides to take up occupancy on your lap”. Invariably, I was right.

Moosh needed lots of love and she didn’t seem to care when we had work to do. Working at home created a few Mooshie challenges. Where Widgit was content to be in the room with you (and Truffle is content on your desk), Mooshie had to be ON you. She would drape herself across your hands as they rested on the computer keyboard. Moving your mouse hand was usually a real issue and she would complain! She was happy to stay there for hours but my hands couldn’t take it.

Mooshie always thought you were talking to her when you were on the phone. Too many conference calls were interrupted by Mooshie meowing loudly in the background!

Luckily for me, Moosh loved her Dad. She loved when Peter called her “Moosh-face”. He seemed to get the majority of the loving, as you can see from these photos.

We had several episodes where Moosh would freak out over something and hide for days. There was one night that will go down in history. We woke up to a terrible coughing and yowling in our bedroom. In the darkness of the night, we see Mooshie literally attacking herself and bouncing off walls. We quickly turned on the light as she bounded into the hallway with Peter following.

After watching her for a while, we realized that she had half-swallowed the tag on her collar and was choking on it, but couldn’t get it out because the collar was now wrapped around her mouth. You’d think that would be easy to fix, but this was our Little Miss Freak-out. We cornered her in my study and Peter grabbed her and held her while I yanked the collar off over her head.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we put her down and she tore off down the hall and down the stairs, not to be seen again for hours. She was freaked out for days. We both ran after her to try to make sure she was okay, as Peter noticed a trail of blood and we assumed she must be injured… until I noticed that it was Peter who was creating the trail, not Moosh! Having jumped right out of bed at the beginning of this ordeal, he was dressed only in boxers, and was totally scratched and bitten, and dripping blood all over the carpet. We never attempted to put a collar on her again.

The trip to Maui was very traumatic for my Moosh. I put her through an orientation to get her used to traveling in her carrier with daily 20-minute drives beforehand. Widgit loved her carrier and “going with”, but she dreaded our orientation trips because Moosh would invariably poop and throw up… making the whole trip pretty horrible for all of us. We kept at it and eventually got to where Moosh was at best “not frantic”.

Peter picked the girls up at the airport in Maui. Mooshie had pooped and thrown up and was crying the whole way home. Widgit was just glad to see him. Mooshie continued her crying day and night until she got used to her new surroundings, which Peter and Widgit hid under the pillows to try to get some sleep. Unbeknown to Peter however, Mooshie was making all that noise because she had discovered the one thing that she decided she could conquer—Maui geckos.

From that night onward, Moosh took it as her mission in life to find and eat every gecko that she could. She would sit on the lanai for hours, intently watching the spot where she had the most success. Of course, Peter took on the mission of saving the geckos—even the ones that had spent time in Mooshie’s mouth. She would be sound asleep and wake up when she heard a gecko chirp. Inside and out, our Moosh loved her geckos.

Another thing Moosh really loved in Maui was stinky shoes. She would lie on them and roll and roll. Who knows but it seemed to make her happy!

Over the years, we establish little habits. Peter and I usually eat dinner while sitting on the couch watching TV. During dinner, Moosh was usually between us. She wasn’t usually a beggar but as the years went on, she seemed to enjoy our food more than hers.

She would lie between us, gently reach out and scratch our arms if we ignored her. This “light scratch” came also when she wanted us to wake up in the morning. She would not be ignored.

When Truffle came along, Moosh adapted pretty quickly for a senior cat. Truffle quickly took over as the dominant cat but Moosh maintained her territory. They did play, and probably would have more if Mooshie wasn’t in pain much of the time.

Every night, Lil’ Moosh would come and lie between us when we went to bed. She’d lay on me and make me pet her until Peter came to bed. Then she’d cuddle up to him and make him hold her back paws and purr. Usually in about 10 minutes, she’d be happy and move to the end of the bed.


My dear Mooshie, you were a faithful and loving friend… you will always be our baby.