I was a senior in college. I had run out to the local pet store to pick up some food for my Albino African frogs. As I walked down the narrow aisle, I heard a noise. Bbbbripp! I looked around. I heard it again. Bbbbripp! I turned the corner and there sat a cage full of kittens. On the cage was a big sign that read "Free". There were six fluffy long hair kittens all huddled together on the left hand side of the cage. Alone, on the right side, in the litter box, stood a lanky short- hair tiger stripe kitten. She had gray stripes and areas of orange throughout her coat and on her belly. And white paws- like her own little go go boots. I now realized what that noise was. Bbbbripp! She had been calling to me, as if to say "Get me out of here!" As I stood with my fingers poked through the cage, she got more and more excited. “This cat is special," I thought.
I was nervous about introducing her to the menagerie at home. I already had a lop-eared bunny, a male cat, a hamster, four African frogs and a newt. But she did just fine. She and the bunny developed a playful relationship. They even shared a litter box. My other cat was nurturing and kind to her.
From that very first day, she had a habit of riding on my shoulders. I could do the dishes, sweep the floor, do laundry, cook dinner and when I sat down to relax she’d climb down and sit on my lap. We were quite literally inseparable when I was home which meant all of my clothes had little claw marks in them. But it was okay. It was Miss Pin ™.
Miss Pin was not aware that she was a cat. Either that or she thought that everyone else was a cat like her. In any event, it seemed as though she felt that we were all peers and she didn’t seem to distinguish girl from cat, cat from rabbit, rabbit from hamster, hamster from frog. Pin would never chase the hamster when she busted out of the habitrail. She’d only meow loudly to alert me.
In her first years, Pin was an outdoor cat. One day, I was going on a bike ride and Pin meowed to me. Bbbbripp! “I love you Pin!” I replied and went on my way. Three hours later, Pin was in the same place still meowing, only now she was a little hoarse. I walked over and there was an injured bird. I do not believe that she was the cause of this bird’s injury. It appeared to have been hit by a car and she had no interest in further hurting it. Miss Pin had sat there for hours with this bird. Her meow seemed urgent now. “Help this flying cat!” She was saying.
She seemed to miss me when I was gone, as she waited for me by the door. She slept on top of me and woke me every morning. She responded to my conversation. She comforted me when I was sad, which was often. She sat by and groomed me when I was sick, which was often too. And she always made the noise. Bbbbripp! Every time I touched her.
People often commented on the bond we shared. Prospective boyfriends feared her. Cat haters loved her. My girlfriends talked with her just like she was one of us. She was one of us. My friends thought there should be a television show about us…”A Girl and Her Cat”. Or rather, “Two Girls (One’s a Cat)”. We even looked alike.
Miss Pin saw me off on my wedding day. She even knew when I was pregnant, though my doctor told me I was not. When my water broke in the middle of the night, Miss Pin woke me up. She was frantic, like the expectant parent running around, looking for a bucket of hot water. And when the baby arrived, she was gentle, patient and with boundaries. She would circle me when the baby was crying as if to tell me she wanted to help. She sat on my shoulders as I nursed. And always, she made her noise. Bbbbripp!
One morning in the fall of 2006, my husband woke me up to tell me that Miss Pin was hiding in the basement and wouldn’t come out to eat. She came out for me. She jumped on my shoulders. Something was different. She felt different. I took her to the vet and after a week of testing and many ups and downs, we had our diagnosis. She had advanced intestinal lymphoma. The doctor told me that if they were to operate, she’d need a blood transfusion first because she was dangerously anemic. They believed that her intestines were so badly damaged, there would be no real hope with surgery- that she would probably die on the table...alone. They also told me that if I took her home for the night, she would die from her anemia. She had compensated for her illness so much, her decline was very subtle. She always remained happy and affectionate, and she always made her noise for me. Bbbbripp! She was very brave.
I was facing one of my biggest fears, losing Miss Pin. I always vowed that I would do anything to keep Pin with me, but I looked in her eyes and realized that I’d only be doing it for myself. It was Miss Pin’s time to go but I had to let her go. She made her noise. Bbbbripp! I stayed with her while she passed. It was quick, as they say, but very painful…for me.
Before Miss Pin was euthanized, my husband looked me square in the eye. “When she passes, she will jump right into your heart. I promise.” You know what? I think I felt it happen.
I still miss her terribly and expect her to run to the door when I get home and jump on my shoulders. Sometimes, it feels like she is here and I can almost hear her. Bbbbripp! And I can always feel her in my heart. I don’t like to say that our human friends are extensions of us. They are reflections. But I have this feeling that Pin was an extension of me. At least, if we were not one, we were exactly the same in spirit. I am the luckiest girl in the world that Miss Pin chose me that day in the pet store.
Losing Miss Pin was my motivation for completing my children's book about pet loss and euthanasia called It's Okay to Cry and It's Okay to Say Goodbye ©2007. I wrote the text of the book back in 1994 when I lost my cat Dennis, but the topic was too difficult for me and I let it sit for over a decade. I hope that my book can help those who face difficult decisions faced when a pet becomes ill. I completed the book exactly one year to the day of Miss Pin's passing. I had a renewed interest in my work again. I suddenly felt the need to begin creating again.
So, that's how our Etsy shop got its name, Miss Pin Productions.