June 15, 1993 - July 7, 2004
Laura was an odd cat.
She had odd colored eyes and an odd number of legs.
Laura crossed the Rainbow Bridge in July 2004.
Laura was the daughter of a feral cat who had moved under my old home while I was a live-in caretaker for my mother in her cottage. I didn't have the heart to immediately trap the mother cat and kittens, but I did leave them food and water.
Shortly after my mother's death in mid-July, I went out to check on the cats and found Laura with a cinder block on top of her right leg. I carried her home in a towel, splinted the leg as best I could, and spent several hours holding the swaddled wild kitten with the leg elevated to reduce the swelling. Later, when I went to bed, I put the kitten in a box and resigned myself to a kitten hunt in the morning. Instead, I soon heard a determined scrabbling as the little feral kitten drug herself up my bedding and made herself a nest on the pillow next to my face. That put an end to any thought of taking her to animal control to be killed.
The initial injury was soon exacerbated when Laura and her bandages got hung up inside an upholstered chair and she pulled off a lot of flesh. Despite antibiotics, an infection developed and she had to have the leg amputated to save her life. During all the pain and misery, she remained sweet-tempered and loved to have the nape of her neck massaged. A nightly neck-rub on her special spot at the head of our bed was her favorite ritual -- though a good fight with a crocheted mouse comes in a close second.
She didn't seem to miss her leg at all, though she occasionally looked wistfully at Ralph when he jumped onto a counter or table. (Ralph is her foster brother -- a kitten found in a park who has grown into a 24-pound monster.) She developed a hopping gait and could run like the wind if she thought she was going to get a bath.
When she was a little over a year old, Laura disappeared.
One of my jobs is working for our local ambulance service and, on December 23, 1994, I responded to a two-vehicle accident and had the wretched job of deciding a friend of mine was dead and beyond help. That night, in my grief, I failed to close my front door fully and Laura vanished into the night. It was the most miserable Christmas of my life!
Two weeks later, to my immense joy, she returned home. I have been very careful about closing doors ever since, but Ralph is a master at opening them and managed to make an exit every month or so. Though she occasionally slipped out with him, Laura stuck close to home. I tried to give them an hour or two outside on pleasant Sunday afternoons to satisfy her craving to roll in the dust (there evidently wasn't enough under my bed to satisfy her).
We had many good years together. Though she didn't like to be picked up, she loved to be groomed and would raise a fuss if she wasn't. Occasionally, she hop up onto my lap and ask for a neck rub. As I massaged, she'd stick her lower jaw out -- her indication of bliss -- and purr almost inaudibly. That's a memory I will treasure as long as my memory holds.
After eleven years of health, Laura fell ill. Despite the care of a devoted veterinarian, the same one who amputated her leg many years ago, Laura died at 6:44 a.m. on Wednesday, July 7, 2004. When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she took a huge piece of my heart and a sliver of my soul with her.
Her full name was Laura Ann Mihstol: Laura for the H.H. Munro short story Laura; Ann for my mother who taught me to love cats; and Mihstol because it's the Tohono O'odham word for cat.
Through the rpcc (rec.pets.cats.community - a newsgroup) Laura met a Canadian cat, Vinnie. Vinnie crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with his Laura on August 15, 2005.
Go to my Rainbow Bridge Tribute