In Memoriam: Missy - From Rescue Cat to In-Clinic Living

Manhattan Cat Specialists has some sad news to share. On Wednesday evening, May 13, our sweet, sassy hospital cat, Missy passed away. Since 2008, Missy had graced our clinic with her fiery tortoiseshell attitude, (“torti-tude”), greeting clients at the front desk with a teasing grin and a swipe of a paw after one pat on the head. As our staff biographies explained so well on our website, Missy’s bio stated “give her a pat and she’ll appreciate it; give her two and she’ll swat your hand away.” Even with her feistiness, though, Missy was a part of our clinic, and she learned to love us and trust us, and it never crossed our minds to give it a second thought to care for her as our own when she became our responsibility.

Poor Missy came to us with her share of issues. She was rescued by a group in 2006 that labeled her about 6 months old and only 4 pounds. At that time of rescue, the group also found that she had a serious problem with her gastrointestinal tract; blunt force trauma caused a separation of the colon from her anus and she needed reconstructive surgery. The shelter paid for the surgery, and Missy was adopted in 2008 by a woman who brought her to Manhattan Cat Specialists for an exam. Upon our examination, we found Missy’s mouth to be very inflamed and painful to the touch. Missy had a condition called stomatitis; inflammation of the mouth and gums for an unknown reason that usually only resolves with the teeth being removed completely. In 2009 we removed about half of Missy’s teeth and maintained her on a low dose of steroids that helped control the inflammation. We knew, though, that at some point Missy would need the rest of her teeth removed.
In that same year, however, Missy was being the typical calico/tortoiseshell at home that she was at the hospital. Her adopter did not want to continue having a cat in her house that had behavioral issues, as well as expensive medical treatments that would most certainly be required down the road. Having no place else to go, Missy came to us. Her sassiness continued; many of you probably remember her swatting your hand away if your scratches went beyond her ears. A few years later, though, in 2014, we noticed Missy was chronically losing weight.

We let Missy live out her last days in pure joy; setting up enormously comfortable beds, offering her whatever food she desired, letting her lick water straight from the tap, and scratched her ears while she gave us a soft purr. When she no longer wanted to eat and we could tell she was uncomfortable, we decided to put her to sleep.

We’ll all hold Missy tremendously close to our hearts and her memories will live with us forever. While we’re all extremely sad to see her go, we are happy that she lived a healthy and fulfilling and interesting life with us here at the hospital. Losing something so familiar to us and something that has been a part of our lives for so many years produces anxiety, but we know we must continue seeing the rest of our patients that mean so much to us. We know we must treat them the same way we’d treat our own, particularly our own Missy.