This is how it all began…picture it, the Goulds, 2000. A little girl by the name of Katelyn comes to me and tells me there’s a cat on my front step. I go to check it out and sure enough there’s a young white cat with a few patches of colour sitting there; she was thin and dirty. She wasn’t a kitten but not quite fully grown either, she was a “catten”. I gave her some tuna and she devoured it in a flash. Then I started letting her come into the house to stay for little visits and eat. Not only was she hungry but she was starved for love and affection because she would follow you everywhere and always had to be touching you in some manner. I remember standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and she’d actually lie on my feet. We checked with neighbours and spoke with the convenience store owners next door to see if anyone had any information about the origins of this cat. No one seemed to know anything. This carried on for days. It was getting close to the weekend and we decided to go to Riverhead for a few days. I said to John that if the cat was still hanging around when we came back that we were keeping her. We got back Sunday afternoon but there was no sign of the cat. I was disappointed to say the least. We unpacked the car, entered the house and when I looked out the back patio door there she was! I opened the door, let her in and the rest is history.
We settled on the name Mr. Whiskers, thinking she was a male. It was the name of a cute little cat that was in a primary school reader we had growing up. I loved the story and it stuck with me. Needless to say, though, it wasn’t too long before Mr. Whiskers became a “Miss”.
I was at home one day and Whiskers started making these really weird sounds and rolling around on the floor like she was in pain. I was terrified and I called John at work and explained what was happening. He suggested taking her to the vet to see what the issue could be. I called and they could take her in right away. So, off we go to the veterinary clinic in Mount Pearl. Okay, you must understand something, it was 20 years ago, I was young, naive and probably didn’t have the sense God gave a little green apple. We didn’t have a pet carrier for Whiskers so I improvised and used a cooler. It was one of those Coleman coolers that had a little door in the lid so you could open just that instead of opening the entire lid. I put her in it and made sure to open the little plug that was on the side of the cooler to make sure she could get air. I’m driving along Old Placentia Road with the cat in the cooler on the front seat when all of a sudden she pops her head out of the little door like a Jack in the Box and tries to escape the cooler. Imagine my shock! I had to drive with one hand on the wheel, the other trying to tuck Whiskers safely back in the cooler and then secure the lid with my hand for the rest of the trip. I finally arrived at the vet after what seemed like a lifetime of driving. I decided that I couldn’t take the cat into the vet in a cooler, they might think I’m nuts. I took her out of the cooler and carried her in my arms. Now, anyone who knows Whiskers knows that she sheds like a son of a bitch. After I checked in, I sat in the waiting room, covered in cat hair, struggling to keep her in my arms and avoid having the face and arms clawed off me; probably traumatized from the journey in the cooler. Finally we were called into the examination room and I went on to explain to the vet exactly what Whiskers was doing. I gave as much detail as I possibly could right down to the sound effects and writhing around so he would know exactly what he was dealing with! He looks at the cat, gives her a quick exam then turns to me and says “Your cat’s in heat and it’s a female”. Red faced, I went to the front desk and made an appointment to return in a few days to have HER spayed and get any vaccinations needed then MISS Whiskers and I were out of there in a flash. Back in the cooler she went and back to the Goulds we drove!
Some people just don’t understand the connection people have with their pets. To pet owners, animals are a huge part of the family, especially if they’ve been with you for many years as was the case for Whiskers. We had her for 20 years which is pretty phenomenal in my opinion. A lot has changed, happened, evolved in that time period and Whiskers has been there through it all. We like to say that she was the Keith Richards of cats.
Charlotte and Whiskers had a special bond. In fact, many of the photos I have of Whiskers includes Charlotte. Wherever one was you’d find the other. Even when Charlotte walked to the bus stop Whiskers would often follow along.
Of course we often captured the silly and adventurous side of Whiskers as well! She loved outdoors and never strayed far from the yard. She was an avid hunter and often brought presents home and left them on the doorstep. One such occasion she brought a live mouse into the house. When I opened the front door she scurried in and ran downstairs with it. Birds, rabbits, squirrels, even a weasel was fair game for Whiskers.
Whiskers and Lucky had a relationship that ran hot and cold. Whiskers was the boss and ruled the roost. She had dibs on the coziest spot on the back of the couch, drank from Lucky’s water dish while he stood by and watched and he would gladly give up his spot on my lap whenever she wanted to get up for a cuddle. John always said that if they got into a fight he wasn’t paying for a glass eye for Lucky, LOL!
Sadly, just a few weeks ago on October 4th, we said good bye to our beloved pet. It was truly one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever made. The last year we had watched the rapid decline of a once young and vibrant cat. A huge thank you goes out to Compassion at Home who came to our house and helped us say goodbye to her in the comfort of our home, a place she was familiar with and felt safe. Once again, our friends at Angel Paws took the utmost care and compassion when dealing with her aftercare. We are truly grateful for all their help.
Maybe you’re wondering about the origins of this blog title. It’s simple really. Do you know the song “Power of Love”, the Jennifer Rush version? The first line of the song is The whispers in the morning… We started singing “Whiskers in the morning” and it stuck. You should hear John singing it in falsetto! Eat your heart out Jennifer and Celine.
Thanks for taking the time to let me ramble on about Whiskers. She was truly one of a kind and could never be replaced. We miss her dearly and we can say with certainty that animals do teach us about the power of love.
Until Next Time!