Not Just Your Everyday Cat

Maryann Miller started her writing career as a journalist and amassed credits for feature articles and short fiction in numerous national and regional publications. She went on to write a number of nonfiction books, including the award-winning, Coping With Weapons and Violence in School and on Your Streets. Play It Again, Sam, a woman’s novel and One Small Victory, a suspense novel, are electronic books. One Small Victory was originally published in hardback and is coming soon in paperback. Her mystery, Open Season, is a new release in hardback from Five Star Cengage Gale, and the central character is a cat-lover by accident.  Her novel for middle school readers, Friends Forever, is available as an e-book and paperback from BWL Publishing Partners. She has also written several screenplays and stage plays and is the Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts.

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Thank you so much Lelia for inviting me back. Last time, when I wrote about our miracle cat, Orca, I also mentioned that we have three other cats. One of those is Orca’s mother, Misty, known affectionately as Mama Cat.

Misty came to us in a rather unusual way. Our next door neighbors had cats for years, and some of them would make their way to the shed on our property, which then belonged to the neighbor’s daughter, and Misty was born in that shed. She was known then as Lynus and would make her way back and forth between the two properties at will, especially when she was going to have babies. According to my neighbor, Lynus…er, Misty…er Mama Cat, liked to birth her babies where she was born.

After we bought the property, almost ten years ago now, Misty didn’t come over as often, but I would see her now and then visiting our shed. And I would see her when I went next door to see the latest batch of kittens.

Misty aka Mama Cat

My neighbors, who are born and bred Texas farmers, don’t have the same fondness for cats that some of us do. To them, the cats were there to catch mice around the barns, and when there got to be too many cats, they would be carried off to another farm a couple of miles away where cats were more scarce. So one day Misty was transplanted to another home.

Fast forward a year, and on a cold February day I’m out in the back feeding my horse and I see a pretty calico cat hanging around the shed. The cat looks so much like Lynus, I go to my neighbor and ask if her calico cat came back. My neighbor says they haven’t seen the cat, and it would be hard to imagine she could find her way back from so far away.

“Are you sure? There is a cat hanging around our place that looks just like her. And it also looks like she’s pregnant.”

Maybe it was that last part that prompted my neighbor to back away and say it couldn’t possibly be the same cat.

There was no way I could ignore a starving, pregnant cat, so we invited her in and decided to call her Misty. It wasn’t Lynus, right?

Misty and Orca

Within a couple of weeks, she had her kittens. Not in the shed, as it was really cold outside, so we fixed her a nice box in our bedroom to use for labor and delivery. However, she decided to have the kittens one evening behind a corner table in our living room. Thankfully, I was able to get some newspapers and old towels under her before she ruined the carpeting.

Later that week, I invited my neighbor to come over and see the kittens and the first thing she said was, “That’s Lynus.”

I asked my neighbor if she wanted the cat back, and she laughed. “I think she’s your cat now.”

So we have had Misty for five years now. We figured she had done more than her share of keeping the species alive, so we had her spayed, and she has decided she likes living in the house much better than living in the wild. One of her favorite places is my office chair, so whenever I take a break from writing, I have to fight her for my seat. She really doesn’t like giving it up.