The movers were coming at 7 am. We worked through the night to have everything ready for them. Mitzi kept us company while we were packing into the wee hours of the morning. It was encouraging to have her there – she has been such a faithful furry friend. Yet there was also deep sadness because she couldn’t come with us. At four o’clock she wanted to go out. I opened the door and she walked out with her tail held high. “Good-bye Mitzi!” In her little cat brain, she had no idea that we would probably never see each other again. That was five years ago.
Mitzi has been a special cat. She was with us for seven years while we lived in a tiny village in the Czech Republic. Cat lover friends gave her to us together with a male kitten that we named Mushi. Mitzi was an afterthought – at first we were going to just take Mushi, but then Mitzi ended up coming along as well.
Initially Mushi stole our hearts. He was cute, cuddly and affectionate. He loved to be held and was like a soft teddy bear – only better because he was alive. At that time Mitzi took a second place. But we enjoyed both of them playing with each other in boxes, jumping in and out and on top of each other. After two years, Mushi disappeared. We waited for several weeks, hoping for his return, and then got another male kitten that we also named Mushi.
Growing up into a beautiful tabby with some seemingly Siamese mannerisms, Mitzi was intelligent and affectionate. She loved to be carried with her paws on my shoulders, and enjoyed curling up on my lap when I sat or on my stomach when I took a nap. In the wee hours of the morning she would jump on our bedroom window ledge and meow to be let in. If we wanted to sleep the extra hour in peace, we had to open the window to let her jump on the bed and curl up between us.
Our move from Europe to Australia had been thought through, prayed about, and planned for a long time. One of the questions always associated with it was, what about the cats? We weren’t as attached to Mushi, but Mitzi became a real family member. Australia has almost-impossible-to-fulfill quarantine regulations for pets from overseas. We considered the possibility of bringing Mitzi with us, but in the end decided that both cats had to stay, ideally at the house.
We tried to sell our home several times but potential buyers kept falling through. The husband and wife that eventually bought the home were animal lovers, but had a mother cat with five kittens themselves plus a big dog. They were willing to keep our cats as well but would it work?
In the end, there was no choice but to leave Mitzi with the new homeowners, pray, and hope for the best. We worried less about Mushi – he stole the heart of our 90-year-old neighbour, Mr. Hulka, who was feeding him and Mushi slept on the hay in his attic.
Getting busy with our new jobs in the new environment to some degree kept our minds off Mitzi. One day, however, on the way to work, the picture of her leaving the house at 4 am after keeping us company all night came to mind. Tears came to my eyes and I felt sad all day.
Then Mr. Hulka, who had two cats of his own and fed others that came to him including our Mushi, wrote: “I must really tell you off for leaving Mitzi behind. That poor cat … I think she died of sadness.” Information like that didn’t help matters.
Luckily, in another letter not too much later, the new homeowners wrote: “I have some good news you wouldn’t believe. Yesterday Frank was fixing something in the back room and your Mitzi jumped on the window ledge. He opened the window and to his surprise she jumped in. She was obviously hungry as well as starved for affection. She let Frank pick her up and he was carrying her on his shoulders.” “Good,” we thought with relief. “Maybe she is getting used to the situation.” Every time before we left, Mitzi ran away when Frank was anywhere nearby.
We kept hearing about Mitzi from time to time either from the new homeowners or from Mr. Hulka. Sometimes she hadn’t been seen for a while, then she would show up again. She seemed basically OK. We felt like God had answered our prayers.
Then we got the news that Mr. Hulka died, but for a few months before that Mitzi had learned to go to his place and kept him company. She got used to sleeping on his bed with him and was there when he died. After his death, the house was rebuilt by the new owners and our cats lost their home and peace. For a long time, we didn’t know what became of them. The couple who had bought our home hadn’t seen them. I continued to pray that they find another kind soul willing to give them a bit of food and affection.
Last summer God unexpectedly granted me a chance to visit the little village and our old house. As we arrived at the gate, Frank’s wife said: “Mrs. Peck, I have a lovely surprise for you. We know where your Mitzi is, and you can go and see her right now!” I learned that both our cats found a new home with a couple across the road from Mr. Hulka’s place. They are greatly loved and considerably spoiled. How wonderful our heavenly Father is in caring not just for us but even for our beloved pets! Again, God’s loving care was manifested in living colours.
Story © 2005 Eva Peck
Photo © 2004 Miroslava Langrova