Mewsette, Princess of Bunny

February 04, 2008

Mewsette, Princess of Bunny, 1992 - January 28, 2008
Princess Mewsette

A tiny blur of black and white fur, darting between racing bikes at the Olomana Road Race in Hawaii, it wasn't clear where she'd come from, only that she was obviously of regal descent - and pretty fast. I was faster, however, and from that day on, she had her own staff.

Mewsette (the feminized version of "meusette," a European cyclist's lunch bag) was never shy or hesitant when she had an opinion - and she had a LOT! At her first veterinary exam, Dr. Yamagata commented, "My, she sure is vocal for such a tiny kitten!" Of course, the malodorous mixture she had to wear for treatment of sarcoptic mange might have given rise to a complaint or two. In fact, for a very short while, she was secretly known as the "Banana Princess" due to the yellowish cast to her fur. She soon returned to her lovely and elegant self, complete with her unique gold and blue eyes. She was even approached to appear in a commercial but declined, finding the enterprise too pedestrian.

Just looking at her sweet face, you knew she was a "girly girl." She didn't walk, she sashayed. She immediately captivated the heart of the defenseless Baby Nico, adopted from the Hawaiian Humane Society to keep her company. A true aristocrat, Mewsette despised Nico's doting behavior and never disguised her contempt for his common orange tabbiness. On good days, she was merely indifferent to his devotion, which only served to fuel it. Nico would do anything for her. When she screamed while having her nails trimmed, he'd appear at her side in solidarity, usually receiving a pummeling for it. He'd follow her anywhere and did, as evidenced by the time the two of them disappeared for hours in the wall space of the Serena Circle townhouse.

Even now, I'm concerned that Baby Nico will waste away in order to follow his Princess to Heaven. She, on the other hand, is likely enjoying this respite from his unwelcome attentions. The other cats, Harley and Young Master Newton, learned from Nico's missteps and mostly admired Mewsette from afar. She suffered the serial presence of three dogs in the household during her reign, but never really concerned herself with their canineness, ignoring them one and all.

Mewsette was the spoiled little sister, the diva that you complain about, but always indulge and forgive. As a result, she got away with behaviors that would have resulted in lesser cats being turned into gloves. Used to having her own room, I'll never forget her special greeting for Auntie Louise the first time she visited the Serena Circle house. Obviously miffed at sharing, Mewsette vomited on the quilt under which Louise was sleeping and then purred at her when she awoke and discovered it. Of course, she was so disarming in her lack of remorse that Louise forgave her.

Mewsette was not unaffectionate, just discriminating. Her purrs were as loud as her screams; they were just heard by fewer people. She preferred women, but did have a few select gentlemen friends. I always felt honored by her attentions. Many nights I'd wake to find her purring on my chest, nose to nose with me. Always quixotic, she would often demand to join me in the shower - when the water was running - or ease herself into the bathtub with me, as long as the water level wasn't too high. Predictably, when she was done paddling around, she'd bolt straight for the nearest litter box, transforming into the "Tempura Princess", much to my dismay. But there's that forgiveness thing again...

Even at the end, the Bunny Princess maintained a sense of grace and decorum. Crying annoyed her, so I'd carry my grief to another room. She occupied a special spot next to the kitchen window where she'd lie on a heating pad and watch the birds. She loved turkey dogs, but only the Ballpark Frank Smoked White Turkey variety. She'd glare if you attempted to substitute a cheap store brand! In the last week, though, her real pleasure was to be carried outside (only because she was still fast on her feet) in the early morning hours or late at night. Just the two of us, we'd walk around the garden, our refuge from the relentless march of her disease, the one thing she couldn't outrun. Eyes bright and nostrils twitching, she rubbed her face on the roses and plants. She turned her face to the breezes, savoring all the smells of this world. And finally, she'd stare longingly at the trees, the moon and the stars, perhaps measuring her way, knowing that soon, she'd be among them in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Princess Mewsette, the Bunny Princess, you were with me longer than any other soul and still you left too soon. My love, my grief.

Ashley Fenton

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