All about Munchkin

Munchkin was born in a house in The Paddocks in Stevenage in March 1986. One of the cleaners at work told me about the litter, especially about a very playful ginger tom kitten. Our previous cat Baggins had died in 1983 and it was time to get another one. When we went to see the kittens there was only one left, a tortoiseshell with a white front and four white paws, one side of her body being more gingery and the other side more black. She wasn't very pretty but in spite of that we had her and she grew prettier as she got older. As we were both working full-time I asked the family to keep her until the Spring Bank holiday so that we would be at home to settle her in. We went to fetch her with our new car and luckily she behaved herself on the way home. She settled in well and went back to the house where she was born when we went on holiday because she was too young to go into a cattery. There she made friends with a Devon Rex kitten called Lemon although she has never had any cat friends since. She tolerates some cats but she hates tabbies and they get chased out of her territory. Munchkin in bed

We took a while to find a name for her but, when she chewed the cable between the computer and the disk drive, she had to be called Munchkin. Even since the first day she arrived, until recently, she has loved to play; the first evening we had her she kept us up until after midnight throwing bits of paper etc. up and down the stairs for her to chase. She made her own toys, acquiring plastic rings from fruit juice bottles, corks and nuts to add to her collection. She loves to knock a wooden pear off a cabinet and one of the loose knobs on my workbasket often has to be retrieved from under the chairs. Mostly these were in the kitchen but they would find their way all over the house, even being hidden under the spare bed.

Since my parents have got too old to look after her she has been to a cattery when we go on holiday. Because she once disappeared in the garden and we ended up taking her at ten o'clock at night, we take her as early as we can in the morning of the day before our holiday. She is not allowed to go out even when she sits at the front door and cries. Then once she is safely at the cattery I can start the packing which I dare not do before because she gets suspicious.

She also has the habit of standing upright on her hind legs like a marmot when she is out in the garden and she wants to get a better view of any possible danger. She has caught some birds, killing some including one of the robins that was raising a family in the ivy, and bringing the occasional one in alive. She also brought home baby mice from the allotments opposite the front of our house, most of which were returned alive after they had recovered from the fright. She had quite a lot of teeth out when she was seven but that hasn't seemed to have stopped her eating well.

When she was almost twelve years old she had a stroke which made her blind as well as affecting the way she walked. For several days she walked round in circles, always turning to the right, when ever she came to an obstacle like a wall or a piece of furniture. Other symptoms included an inability to curl up as well as disco-ordination. With the help of steroids and aspirin prescribed by the vet she gradually recovered, making daily improvements, and got her sight back after a few weeks. She remains on aspirin for the rest of her life. She is an old lady now, moving slowly, and she loves to sleep in the sun. She likes to sit in the bath and be stroked until you get too bored. Recently she had a recurrence of the circling behaviour but another steroid injection has helped to reduce it. We are just giving her lots of love and every day that she is with us is a bonus.

After another series of strokes that left her unable to walk, Munchkin was put to sleep Saturday 19th September 1998. She is buried, curled up in a shoe box with one of her toys, in the front garden. We will plant something nice over her.