Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mugsie 1968 - 1989

Eric's recent Old Cat haiga got me thinking about some of my past feline friends.

Mugsie was 15 years old when she adopted me. She had a weird inoperable growth over her right eye where fur refused to grow. She had an amputated left ear that had to go after losing a battle with frostbite. The shelter said they found her in a blizzard wandering around outside Mugsie’s Farm Stand. She lived to the grand old age of 21 years old. This is her “glamour shot” :-) that I took in the shelter right after she apparently made the decision she was going to live out her golden years with me.

In the early '80s I did volunteer work for a humane society. I shot the adoptable “Cat Of The Month” photos that were featured on the front cover of their newsletter. I made it very clear to the organization that I lived in a teeny-tiny NO PETS studio apartment and could not own a cat, let alone 10 cats like the rest of the volunteers seemed to have. I’d go to the shelter, photograph the cats, provide the photos and that was that.

The shelter’s policy was to never put an animal to sleep, so Mugsie had been there for 2 YEARS. Featuring her as Cat Of The Month was a bit of a joke they played on me because she attacked everyone who came into her cage. Over the years she had many interested little old ladies who felt pity on her and wanted to take her home. Mugsie was having no part of it. She’d claw and hiss at any potential new owners. Not a great presentation on adoption day.

Then I showed up in her cage with my camera. She jumped down off her perch and rubbed my leg. She purred- she posed for photos. The volunteers proclaimed this a “Kitty Miracle” of some sort and insisted that I take her home. I refused and reminded them that we were on a 5 month roll where the “Cat Of The Month” always got adopted. I was sure that the right family would come along once she was on the cover of the newsletter.

I was wrong.

I bought a carrier and all the necessary cat-owning paraphernalia and headed to the shelter. Shortly after that I got busted by my land-lord but Mugsie actually won him over- (I think it was the missing ear/pity vote thing) and he simply said “You can keep her, just don’t replace her when she goes.” We had 6 great years together and she was always at my side during a very change-filled period of my life.

I still keep this photo of her on a shelf in my living room.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful tale, wonderful photo.

Fraser said...

What a wild cat story. The ones with personality are always the best.

whitney said...

I can certainly see the personality in her picture.

And let me tell you...working at a no-kill dog shelter had me all worked up. There is still at least one dog that I WILL go back and get when I have my own place...and I already have two from there. It's hard loving those dogs and not being able to give them everything you want to give them.

Dave MacIntyre said...

Great to catch up on your cool shots!! I missed some great ones!

polona said...

wow, she sure looks like one cat-lady with a personality, and what a story behind that photo!

Eric said...

awesome story.

MMM said...

Aurora, Polona & Eric- Thanks!

Fraser & Dave- Welcome back guys- hope your vacations were great!

Whitney- Major props to you for having worked in a shelter. I'm the Massachusetts Shelter Rep for our Australian Cattle Dog rescue group. i.e I'm the "Cattle Dog Lady" the shelters call when an out of control ACD arrives. It is always such a happy feeling all around when we can pull a cattle dog from a shelter and get them into one of our foster homes.