Sadly, I had to euthanize my cat, Tuffy and after a week of unbearable loneliness I knew there was only one solution- I had to adopt another rescue cat.

I went to the Humane Society and the lady told me there was an abused, eight month old, female kitten available. This struck me as odd since kittens are usually the first to be adopted. The reason, I was informed, was because she was jet black and black animals are always the last to be taken, if at all, since people are still too stupid to believe in superstition.

I went into the room and found the tiny ball of fur wearing what they call a `onesie’ which is a kind of diaper after the animal has been fixed. The kitten immediately began to purr and reached for me through the cage. That was it. She had chosen me.

First, I needed a name. She is black as coal with emerald eyes. Words flashed through my mind; black, mystery, mystic, magic, midnight, panther etc. I decided upon Missy Panthera.

After a visit to my vet I was told the onesie could come off but had to be replaced with a cone for a few days. Now, as a professional comedian it is hard for something or someone to make me laugh but what happened next had me in tears.

It was bedtime and I attached the cone to Missy’s head. I watched as she banged into things not knowing distance thanks to her whiskers being rendered useless. I kept an eye on her as she played with some toys. Suddenly, like only cats can do, she bolted under the bed for no apparent reason but must have forgotten about the cone. In a moment I shall never forget, I watched as the cone squeezed along the length of her body, pushing her front legs through with such force that the cone wrapped itself around her butt.

I could barely see from laughing as I struggled to untangle Missy from the plastic. Perhaps Missy did this on purpose, for it was the first time I smiled after that horrible day with Tuffy.

Days went by and Missy became more comfortable, so acclimatized in fact that she likes to wake me up at 6 a.m. every morning by playing the xylophone with the verticals in my bedroom.

Another source of her entertainment is in the middle of the night. I hear shredding. Bleary-eyed, I look under the bed to discover two eyes blinking at me behind a fog. Half-asleep, I turn the light on and flip the mattress to find Missy tearing more of the box spring covering away and exploring inside.

Sleep deprived after many days, the worst happened early on a Sunday morning. Under the covers, she decided to take a swipe at what she must have thought was a reptile. Frankly, parts of men move, especially in the morning, and Missy grabbed hold with those razor-sharp claws and sunk her fangs into my best

friend so to speak. Instantly awake, I found myself sitting bolt upright upon hearing a bloodcurdling scream, (which turned out to be me) with Missy staring at me full of contempt.

This animal is testing my patience for she literally hangs off my leg at feeding time, plays with the ice cubes and licks the rim of my water glass at night even though she has her own, uses my body as a human scratching post, drops her toys in the toilet so that I panic thinking I’ve lost part of my colon, claws the paint to send shivers up my spine, cuts me off underfoot, digs in her box during the wee hours as if she’s headed for China, bats the shower curtain while I’m showering, ate a pie I left on the kitchen counter… and on and on. And I wouldn’t trade her in for all the money in the world.

Human contact is a must but contact with an animal reminds us there is more to life than `us’. We need to be needed by souls other than human for it makes us better humans. Do yourself a favour, rescue a cat or dog. It will be the best investment you can

ever make for yourself, and in yourself. And as the old maxim states, `Animals love you unconditionally’, and that my friends is the best love of all.

I love you, Tuffy and I miss you terribly. I’m not replacing you for you are irreplaceable. Thank you for loving me. You will never be forgotten and you will always have a special place in my heart.

Written by: Ben Guyatt

Ben Guyatt is a stand-up comedian and a published author. Visit his website at www.benguyatt.com and follow him on Facebook. He also hosts The Ben Guyatt Show every Sunday at 9 pm on AM 900 CHML.

Providing a fresh perspective for Hamilton and Burlington

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