by Harriet Fielding
(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the March-April 1987 issue of “The Braille Forum.” With all the dog stories in this issue, I thought the cats deserved a mention too. My two cats, Zoe (an orange tabby) and Hackensack (a black-and-tan tabby), concurred.)
After living with me, a blind person, sleek, elegant, long-legged Mehitabel Fielding has been gone for more than a year now. Known to those who loved her as Mitty, her bright blue eyes, like twin headlights on a dark night, are still a picture in my visual imagination.
Time passes, and I can talk freely about Mitty with my friends, and even smile fondly, remembering her antics when playing or hiding for hours in a kitchen cupboard, making no sound, while I searched frantically for her.
Mitty was a seal point, typical Siamese cat, with a coat of many shades of brown, ranging from a dark brown face and ears to chocolate brown and creamy beige.
Beautiful and elegant as Siamese cats are, their loud, raucous meow can become annoying to some individuals, I know. To me, totally blind, her noisiness was a definite plus. When basking in the sun on the patio, with mealtime rolling around, she would order me to let her into the house, her strident meow never failing to get my attention. However, I had some difficulty in knowing whether she had come through the door. But when I asked, “Mitty, are you in?” she would inform me she was inside with a meow indicating, “Certainly I’m in, you idiot!”
My 19 years of living with Mitty were seldom dull. We had good times and bad times together, but we readily forgave each other for the bad times. Most of the time, I believe, she had more for which to forgive me than I for her. For example, there was the time I shut her in the clothes dryer and turned it on. I had been transferring wet clothes from the washer to the dryer and had not heard her come out to the porch. I heard her agonized meow and a thump as the dryer started turning. I hastily opened the door. Mitty jumped out and scuttled back to the kitchen to hide in the broom closet for the rest of the day. This was an accident when “curiosity nearly killed the cat.”
Another incident when curiosity nearly killed the cat was the time Mitty was shut in the neighbor’s garage from Friday to Monday. She slipped into the garage when they were loading their car for a weekend trip and was still investigating her surroundings when they closed and locked the garage door and drove away. Needless to say, after she had been gone for two nights, I supposed she had been either killed in an accident or had been stolen. I was so grief-stricken I could hardly bring myself to go to work on Monday morning. I returned home on Monday afternoon, my head hanging, shambling along, hating every step I took to reach the empty house. I was almost there when I heard hoarse meows coming from Mitty, sitting forlornly on the steps, waiting for me to come home. A cat with laryngitis! It took several days for her to recover her voice. I learned later that when the neighbors opened their garage door, Mitty skinned by them so fast she was just a blur half a block away before they realized what had happened. Mitty forgave the neighbors in due time, but thereafter approached their garage as cautiously as she did the clothes dryer.
Despite her troubles and woes with her blind mistress, Mitty loved me, I know, in her Siamese cat way. I loved her, too!
I shall never forget the anguish I felt on that last day when I took her to the veterinarian for the injection which would end her suffering. I still miss her – Mehitabel – truly a cat for all seasons.