A big part of our life for the past 10 years has been our awesome cat Manah. We got her as a kitten while studying in Victoria, she came to Norway when I was doing PhD work there, and she has been all over North American when we committed to our lives as nomadic RV dwellers. She was an awesome outdoor adventurer – always smart enough not to stray too far and make her way back to the RV wherever it was parked. She’d follow me for strolls if it was quiet, but mostly she came and went as she pleased through her cat door. She was playful and loving; a purr machine who was always up for a tummy rub, complete with super cute curled back toes.
For the past while she was being a bit more lethargic than usual but we sort of just thought, well, she’s 10…
When I took her to the vet to get her shots updated for boarding before Kona, right away, they were like “your cat is really sick.” She had a fever and yellowing around her gums and in her ears and so they did blood tests and took x-rays. Massive liver failure. Fluid around her organs. White blood cell count off the charts. Decline of no return.
I was in total shock. The crazy thing was that she was still pretty normal, meowing insanely if we motioned to the butter shelf in the fridge, jumping on the bed for cuddles, hanging out outside with us… Animals are so tough, and good at hiding discomfort.
We took her home for the weekend but she yowled in pain while peeing, and we had to put her down before flying to Kona. It was a very rough time.
The other day Trevor bumped the cat door and I looked up expectantly. Sigh. I really miss my cat cuddles. You could be having a super stressful day, but she’d make you stop, pause, giver her some pets, and things would always get that little bit better.
I wanted to share some of the zillion photos I’ve taken over the years and celebrate the wonderful life that we had together.
We love you and miss you Manah aka: Banana head, schmoo, shitten, Manakin skywalker, Mani-packi-meow, kitty-witty, cutie patootie, barfy… (known by our parents as the grand-kitten :)
The early years. Wow all of us look a lot younger!!
As an adolescent she didn’t yet have her giant mane. She did, however, have the “you don’t actually want to read that giant stack of papers, or work on the computer, you want to give me a tummy rub” trick down perfectly! Note the curled back toes. That always slayed me with its adorableness.
Manah was always super cuddly and she’d lull us to sleep with purrs on a regular basis. The 5 am wake-up-paw-to-the-face wasn’t quite so delightful, but if we got up and touched her food bowl (it wouldn’t matter if she had food or not, you had to physically get up and touch the bowl) she’d leave us alone for a few more hours.
Manah was a great traveler. She took to the RV really well, and would happily sit on our laps, or the dashboard, or above the cab, while driving. We often got the double take from people. Was that a cat?!
Manah loved being outside. Especially with us. Hanging out in the grass, or the dirt, or on a picnic table getting a tummy rub was pretty much the best thing in life.
Anyone who has a cat – or any animal for that matter – knows that they all have quirks. Manah was an absolute fiend for butter. If you got anywhere near the compartment in the fridge she’d know, and if you had it on the table you couldn’t get her to shut up. She also preferred to poop outside, but not in nice, quiet, hidden spots as you’d expect. She’d pick the most exposed, embarrassing places and we’d have to run outside and pick it up. Once she was taking a dump in the middle of the concrete driveway of an RV park, and a big burly dude on a Harley drove up. She didn’t budge and he had to drive around her, with a very bewildered look on his face. She’d also only drink out of a tall water glass, perched on the bathroom sink. Now that she’s gone we can’t get used to closing the bathroom door.
Manah had some good hunting skills and when we were home in the Okanagan there would be rodent surprise waiting for us almost every morning. Yum. After cleaning up entrails, though, it would be the usual morning lap time over coffee. Going to all that trouble to wake us up was exhausting, so she’d need a nap. Looking at her on Trev’s lap while he read, and drank coffee was my every morning domestic scene.
Manah got a little bit of press in her time too. She featured in a Rolf Prima Ad with us, as part of an article in Triathlon Magazine Canada, and Triathlete. Mostly though, she was just famous in our eyes for being lovable, adorable, smart, and occasionally annoying as hell. She was an awesome cat and she will be missed.