We lost Munchkin early this morning. She outlived her sister by just more than six months. At the time that Cobweb died, we already knew that Munchkin was sick, and I told her, "Now you get to be the important cat in the house for a while." And she was. I'm glad we got the time to really care for her and shower attention upon her in the last six months.
Munchkin was kind of a dopey cat. You always say that your cat is surely a smart one, but we never did with Munchkin. Instead we imagined that her plaintive meows when she was confused for some reason meant, "Where am I!? Who are you people!? What's going on!?"
She was always a yowler, especially if someone touched her without her getting to sniff them first. In the last several months, her yowls seemed to get louder and more aggressive. By that time, she had a clear routine of wet food at lunch time, and so she'd walk around the house yowling as noon approached, sure that she should have food. I always thought she was part Siamese with her high and shrill yowl, totally unlike any other of my cats.
There were several years where every morning when she heard me stirring she'd come running into the bedroom and leap into bed, so that she could get some affection before I got up. Afterward she'd love to be carried on the shoulder of my robe, a "robe ride", down to the bathroom so that she could be there when I showered. The goal was to eventually leap into the tub so that she could lick up the water there. Inevitably this was a big back and forth, as she'd leap in, get some water, accidentally get splashed from the shower (still ongoing), then leap back out. Throughout all of this, she'd often yowl to get into or out of the bathroom too, sometimes a few times over the course of a shower. In the last few weeks she was again greeting me in the morning, running to leap up on my desk for some attention first thing.
She was always very sweet. She loved to sit on laps and when she was held upside down like a baby she'd purr and purr and purr. Even when she started getting pilled — in upside-down baby pose — she'd purr then too.
She was always affectionate with her sister, Cobweb. Happy to curl up and cuddle with her. But she was a little crazy too. They'd start bathing each other, and the next thing you know, Munchkin was biting instead of licking, having gotten her signals confused. Cobweb would have to flee or chase her off. Lucy and Munchkin never got on as well, though in the last months Munchkin came to tolerate her.
She was the cat who could never control her claws. She spent years and years getting stuck in stuff and never quite knowing what was going on. We finally trimmed them a few weeks ago because they'd gotten particularly bad and ... wonder of wonders ... the problems mostly stopped.
She was our only mouser! When we had an infestation of mice several years ago, she was the one that would catch them. We'd hear a yowl from downstairs totally unlike her normal complaints and we'd run and find her with a mouthful of mice. As often as not, she'd immediately release the mouse upon seeing us, and we'd then have to catch it again. Fortunately it tended to be stunned by that point and so its "run" would be more like a drunken lurch. Over the course of a couple of months, Munchkin entirely emptied our house of mice, and we've never had the problem since. Sadly, that was before Lucy's time, and so Munchkin didn't pass on her mousing to the next generation of felines.
Perhaps more than anything else, Munchkin changed the way our household operated because she was the plastic-eating cat. She could literally hunt plastic down by smell alone. We'd sometimes find her nosing into piles of boxes toward the precise one with plastic inside. If she managed to get at the plastic she'd chew and chew at it. I was long certain that she'd expire by choking to death on a Pop Tart wrapper, but I eventually learned the plastic lessons that Kimberly already knew — pocket plastic whenever you have it — and so we saved her from that fate. We've probably traumatized and confused many a guest, though, telling them not to put plastic on the floor.
She loved shoes on the floor too, though she did this a lot less in the time that I knew her than than in her earlier years. But every once in a while she'd find someone's shoes and keep shoving her head into them and rolling about in ecstasy.
She hated change and would yowl at the other cats just for going to the vet. When we moved into our north Berkeley apartment she hissed at the walls.
She was crazy and wacky and weird and at times a little deranged. But she was also a loving, warm, bundle of fur, and for 17 years she got plenty of love in return.