In Memory of Mumbles

Cutest kitten in the world, right? This is my Mumbles when he was a baby. I never knew him when he was this small. Benji got him when he was about a year and a half old. He was my birthday present for the year of 2008. I still remember the very first day we brought him home. He was terrified. We would come to find out that it wasn’t personal, he just hated change.

We were living in the Cedar Crest neighborhood back then. The apartments we were in don’t even exist anymore (they were destroyed by the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa back in April). Necessary fact: our bathroom sink was circular and deep. When we let Mumbles out of the carrier, he ran away and disappeared into our apartment. We couldn’t find him for a while, but after some searching we realized he was hiding in the sink. He had wrapped his entire body around the inside of it and all you could see was his head poking out of it. I knew right away he was going to be awesome once he warmed up to us.

I was right. It took about three weeks for him to stop hiding inside the recliner, the sink or behind the dryer, but one Saturday morning at about 6AM, he started talking outside of our bedroom door. I was so excited that he wanted to socialize that I got up to play with him without a second thought. He never acted afraid of us again.

I’d say it took about a year for him to fully warm up to us and to completely be himself. I know some people who don’t have pets are probably rolling their eyes at this point, but whatevs. He definitely had a personality, and it was fairly easy to pick up on it. We began to learn his preferences, his quirks and his dislikes.

He didn’t like to be held, but loved to have his belly rubbed. He loved windows. If there was a window in sight, he was in it. He liked to chew on blinds. He freaked out if you changed his surroundings, so much so that I never bothered with vet checkups. It just wasn’t worth getting him upset. He talked. A LOT. I’m guessing that’s why he was named Mumbles in the first place. He was really smart and would eventually learn how to open doors by twisting the knobs with his paws. He liked to hide inside of our kitchen cabinets. And he would always come when I called his name. Almost like a dog.

When we were living in Memphis, we had a big sliding glass door in a our livingroom. He loved it! And so did Harper. They would often sit in front of it and look outside together. It was adorable.

It was pretty obvious that Mumbles wanted to go outside, so we decided to let him try it out. We let him venture out into our backyard one day in April and he did great. We started letting him out for a little bit each day and when we moved to Virginia, we let him stay outside full-time as we had a much bigger yard. He lovedddddd it and never went too far from the house. I could always walk outside and call his name and he’d come running to me.

When my parents visited two weeks ago, he mysteriously disappeared. I wasn’t really worried until he didn’t show up for two days in a row. I called his name several times and he never came. I knew something was wrong.  If he was able, he would’ve come running for a belly rub. I mean…those were his favorite and he never passed them up.

My parents speculated that maybe he didn’t like that we had visitors and was hiding out until they left. I didn’t really feel that this was the case, but told myself “maybe so” in order to feel better. Once they left, I continued to search for him every day. I would come home from work just knowing he’d be on my front porch, only to be disappointed when he wasn’t. I’d go into the backyard and yell his name and get nothing. I’m sure the neighbors all thought I was crazy.

By Friday, I was really down and out about it. He had been gone for six days and we were moving into a new house that day. I was really beginning to feel like I’d never see him again. I assumed that he was either dead or someone had taken him, but I had no closure. I knew that if I didn’t get closure, I’d drive over to the old house constantly to look for him. I couldn’t handle the thought of him coming back to an abandoned house and it was driving me crazy. I decided to go into our backyard and swing while praying about it. Again…I know people are probably thinking I am crazy for praying about a cat, but I just had to.

I sat in the swing and began to pray. I don’t know how long I prayed, but I kept asking that if he was alive, that we’d be able to find him that day. During the middle of my prayers, I heard his meow. It was so real that I jumped out of the swing expecting to see him running towards me. I looked and looked and there was nothing. I thought maybe I was crazy. Feeling defeated, I went inside and asked Benji if there was ANY way he could’ve gotten trapped under or near our house. I told him what had happened and that I thought I was hearing voices…or meows 😉

Benji ended up going to look around outside while I stayed in and packed. A few minutes later, I carried a box outside and saw Benji rounding the corner with Mumbles in his arms! I WASN’T HEARING THINGS AFTER ALL!! He had found him in a little shed under our house. We had previously checked there and hadn’t found Mumbles, so I’m not really sure where he was or how he got there in the end.

He sat Mumbles down on the ground and he immediately fell over. He could use his front legs, but couldn’t move his back legs. He was incredibly thin, so I scooped him up and sat him down in front of the food bowl. He ate and I decided a trip to the vet was in order. Everyone wanted me to wait 24 hrs before taking him, but I thought I had lost Mumbles once and I wasn’t willing to do so again…at least not so soon.

At the vet, we learned that his pelvis was broken. The veterinarian speculated that he may have gotten hit by a car and then crawled under the house to heal. He told me that a broken pelvis would heal itself and that I’d just need to keep Mumbles in his carrier for 7-10 days. I was so happy just to know that he was going to be okay and that I could take him home again.

I was already vowing to never let Mumbles outside again when the veterinarian asked me to come back inside the examination room. He said he had some bad news…that Mumbles had feline leukemia and that they recommended putting him down. I don’t even know what to write about that moment. It was awful. Honestly, I felt like I had been pranked by God and punched while I wasn’t looking. And I cried. A lot.

I asked if I could sit with him while they did it. Needless to say, I sobbed all the way through it. I also petted his head and nose the entire time. I couldn’t get to his belly or I would’ve petted that instead since that was his favorite. He purred the whole time. It was so sweet and peaceful…and so hard.

Now that it’s been a few days and the emotions aren’t so raw, I know that me finding him was a blessing. God allowed me to have closure. When my sister passed away in 2000 from a car wreck, I prayed and asked God to never take someone special away from me again without letting me say goodbye first. I never thought that that prayer would apply to an animal. Maybe I’m silly, but I really think God was honoring my request by allowing me to say goodbye to Mumbles. I really feel like he cared about that small small detail in my life and I’m so touched by it.

Here are some of my favorite pictures and a video of Mumbles:

And here is a link to a cute video of him:


2 thoughts on “In Memory of Mumbles

  1. Elizabeth L. says:

    The vet let me hold my cat Snickers while he put her down and she purred the whole time too. And then she just went to sleep. It was so special to be with her at the end and I am so grateful that our sweet vet let me hold her. It really helped me through the grieving process. My parents keep a picture of Snickers on their refrigerator and we talk about her all the time. It’s important not forget about our loved ones, even those that are just animals.

  2. Susanna says:

    Mumbles will be missed by everyone who knew him! I remember how vocal he was and that one time he was in the bathroom cabinet in your apt in Memphis! And he would sit and hiss and make noises at the cats outside!! Such a funny and precious cat.

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