Misty Memories

I think I’ll call her Misty, my wife said as she stroked the small grey cat that I had brought home from work. At that time, several years ago I was working in a Warehouse at the side of the River Tees in North Yorkshire, where we supplied materials for the Oil Rigs out in the North Sea. There was only six of us working in the Warehouse, and the Manager and a few others in the office.
The first time I saw Misty was one warm October morning, we were taking our mid morning break in the Rest Room, and as it was warm (which is unusual for October in England) we had left the doors open to keep cool. She walked in, sat in the doorway and meowed. I only got a very brief look at her before some of the others chased her away and closed the doors,I knew that not everybody likes cats,so I didn’t think too much of it , as far as I was concerned, it was only another stray cat.
During that time I was working on my own in a cabin in the very large warehouse yard, where we kept all the small components, and I had the job of organising and listing them all. I was working away, with only the radio for company, and as it was a warm day, I had left the door open. I heard a couple of meow’s, and I turned to see her sitting in the doorway looking at me, I’ve always liked animals. Hello I said softly, as I approached her talking to her very quietly as I didn’t want to scare her off, but I needn’t have worried, she was a friendly little thing, she raised her head to my hand when I reached out to stroke her, and purred. I couldn’t help noticing how very thin, and bedraggled she was, she’s half starved I thought, as I went back to the Rest Room to get my Tuna sandwiches, which was the only food I had with me, I took a small bowl of water for her too. I took care not to let the others see what I was up to, because they had chased her earlier. There was no way I would have let them hurt her, but I thought the less they know, the better! She ate most of the sandwiches, which confirmed my suspicion that she was half starved, then she curled up in a warm corner of the cabin, and fell asleep. She kept me company all that day, and before I left for home, I made her a little shelter outside from a cardboard box. I covered it with polythene to make it water and draught proof, and I filled it with Polystyrene packing to keep her warm I also left her some water, and the remainder of my Tuna Sandwiches. I didn’t really expect to see her again as I thought she would have wandered off during the night , but on my way to work next morning, I stopped off at a shop and bought a large tin of cat food in case she was still there. The mornings are dark at that time of the year, and when I turned the corner to go down to my cabin I didn’t see her at first, but I heard her miowing, she was sitting on an old upturned log, waiting for me.I went across to stroke her, she was purring loudly and seemed really happy to see me again. I let her into the cabin, and fed and watered her , and I made her a comfortable bed from an old box filled with packing. She kept me company again all that day, and for the next few weeks we got into a little routine.
Every morning she was waiting for me on that old log, and she stayed close to me all day long till it was time for me to go home.
It didn’t take the others long to find out what I was up to, and they thought I was mad at first, but gradually one by one they started to pop into my cabin occasionally to see the cat, and Misty must have worked some magic on them, as they all became fond of her. They even started to bring food in for her too.
One day the foreman told me that the Manager had found out about the Cat, and he wasn’t very happy about it, so he was coming to tell me I had to get rid of her. When he walked into the cabin, he looked at Misty laying in her little bed, and she looked up at him and purred, he bent down to stroke her, and mumbled something about how very thin she was. Misty must have worked a little bit of magic on the manager , because instead of telling me she had to go, all he said was don’t leave her in the cabin overnight! I had told my wife about the cat, and she urged me to bring her home, but I was reluctant for some reason, and just carried on looking after her at work.

After a few weeks the weather grew very cold, and it always seemed to be colder there by the river than anywhere else. Bitterly cold winds had started blowing in from the North Sea, which wasn’t very far away. I made sure that the cat’s shelter was dry and warm, and protected from the Icy blasts, but no matter how bad the weather was, every morning she would be sitting on that frosty old log waiting for me when I got to work!
Then , after one particularly bad snowy night, I knew I couldn’t leave her there any longer, so I brought her home with me where she would be safe, warm, and well looked after.
My wife took to her immediately , and fussed around her like an old mother hen, they became very close over the next few days.
Misty seemed to be happy, and settled in well, and she loved all the new found attention that she was getting.

It was about Christmas time, and we were worried that she wasn’t gaining weight, even though she was eating well, and then suddenly one day her legs just wouldn’t work properly any more, she was staggering about and collapsing, we decided that she needed medical attention urgently, so I telephoned the local Vet practice, and was told to take her over right away.When I picked her up to put her in a box to take her to see the vet, she was purring at me.

I explained to the vet that she had been a stray, and that I had been looking after her at work for a few weeks before bringing her home.
He gave her a thorough examination, which she purred all the way through, and he commented on how friendly she was.

After the examination he turned to Sue, my wife, and I, and said with a sigh that he was very sorry, but he would have to put her to sleep. Sue was in tears, and I was a bit shocked, but asked if anything could be done to save her.
I’m afraid not, he said, she has FIV, (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and its far too advanced to treat, if we left it, it would only get worse, and Misty would suffer more.
The vet asked us if we would like to stay while he gave her the injection, Sue couldn’t , she was far too upset, but I stayed with her, talking quietly to her, and stroking her while she fell asleep for the last time, purring to the end.
Misty must have worked a little bit of magic on the vet too, because he wouldn’t accept any payment.

Sue and I didn’t talk much in the car on the way home, it had affected us both more than I could have imagined.
Even though Misty hadn’t been with us very long, the house seemed strangely empty and quiet when we got back .

Next day at work, the Lads were a bit upset when I told them what had happened.
I needed to get rid of all traces of Misty, including the old log where she greeted me every morning, as I just couldn’t face seeing it every day.

This all happened some time ago, but even now, after all these years have passed, whenever my thoughts drift back to those days and I think of Misty, she is always sitting on that frosty old log, in the cold grey light of a winters morning, waiting for me………and purring.

Misty Memories

sweeny

Thornaby on Tees, United Kingdom

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