Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Story of Metisse - Part 1

Back, in 1994 I lived in a little efficiency on the Southwest side of Houston. It was actually the very first time I had my own place in my own name without any roommates. The apartment was in a scary part of town and I always worried that one night a bullet was going to pass through my bedroom window while I was sleeping.

The month was October and my father was several months into his battle against cancer. It was late one evening about 9:00 and outside, I heard a heard a kitty meowing below my window. I went outside and I found a kitten that appeared to be about 6 or 7 months old. She really, really wanted a home and from the looks of her, she appeared to have been abandonned. I thought she was cute so I brought her in to see if it would work.

I had a litter box already from a previous stray I brought in but who could not be house broken so I pulled it out again to see how she did. She used it immediately. Upon closer inspection I noticed that one of her eyes was clouded so I assumed she was blind in that eye. Eventually it cleared up. There was something in her behavior, too, that led me to believe that she was extremely grateful to me for giving her a home.

Now, since I was 16 years old, I had wanted a Himalayan. I had read about them and decided that breed was the breed for me. I knew I didn't want two cats so I decided to put the Himalayan on hold and take in the new kitty. She really needed me. After a few days, I decided it was time to name her.

The kitty's markings were such that she appeared to be a cross between a grey tabby and an orange tabby. To me, she was a "half-breed". So, I looked the word up in a french dictionary and the their word is "metisse". I liked the word and so decided that would be her name. It is not to be confused with Matisse the artist, though he could very well be "metisse".

Metisse also had very short front legs which later led me to believe she may have been part or whole munchkin. Her personality certainly seemed to fit.

I had never encountered a cat like Metisse in terms of affection. She seemed to love me as much as she loved her toys and as I moved about my tiny little place, she would follow, toys in tow. Her absolute favorite was a cosmetic brush I had decided to discard. One day, while tooling around my apartment, she followed me with her brush and dropped it. I picked it up and tossed it into the bedroom area. She immediately ran for it and brought to me to toss again. This kitty loved playing fetch.

When I took her in to be spayed, I had to leave her with the vet overnight. I bought a carrier just for her and then took her to the nearest animal hospital. When I went to pick her up after the procedure, the vet assistant told me that as soon as I left the hospital, Metisse threw a fit in her carrier. She thrashed around and over turned her food and water bowls. They told me that they think she behaved this way because she thought I had abandonned her. I felt so bad that she had reacted that way and agonized over it.

Sometime after I brought her home, she started to enjoy our nap time together. On weekends when I would take afternoon naps, she would lie on her back along my side and she would rest her head on my shoulder. When it was time to wake up, she would give me little teeth hugs on the cheeck. I had never experienced an animal with this much affection.

Metisse had one big problem, though. She didn't know how to manage her claws. In her playful ways, as I was walking to the front door, she would run up behind me and swat at the back of my legs. I think I would go through 7 or 8 pairs of panty hose a week. And she didn't know to retract them when we played. And then, she wouldn't use her scratch post. I was growing very frustrated with her, so in a fit of anger one day, I put her outside.

After a couple of hours, I called for her. She didn't show up. I kept calling and calling and she didn't return. I stayed up way into the night waiting for her and still, no Metisse. The next day, I wandered throughout the complex looking for her. I would have knocked on my neighbor's door to see if he had seen her but his van was gone, so I knew he wasn't around. I was sick thinking maybe she had been hit by a car or that she thought I didn't want her anymore. I didn't know what I was going to do of if I would ever see her again.

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