Mystic Lundell (a.k.a, Poppy)
Mystic's story is probably the most heartwrenching (even more than Ty's or Rootbeer's). Mystic was originally the cat of the Lundell family in Woodbridge. He and his brother, Socrates, belonged to Rose, her husband, and their two children. Mystic was always known for being surly, however, he was also very loving. Although Rose's son was the only one that could get him into his cat carrier, Mystic was not adverse to showering Rose with love. He would lay on her chest when she was sick and always rub himself against her. However, sad times came when as Rose grew older, she developed an allergy to Mystic and Socrates. She made an agonizing decision to give the boys to her friend and co-worker, Albert.
Mystic's and Socrates' stay at Albert's was short, but worth telling for a big reason. First of all, Mystic never left from underneath Albert's bed while he was there. The only time he would was to join Socrates out on the balcony of Albert's apartment. However, tragedy struck one day when Socrates went missing from the balcony. Mystic never saw his litter mate again. Put into even more despair, Mystic took to hissing frequently at Albert and absolutely refused to leave his post under the bed. Distraught, Albert couldn't see how he could keep a cat with such emotional issues. So back to the Lundell's Mystic was happily returned. However, his stay there was short. Rose knew she couldn't keep Mystic, so she turned to another co-worker. One that also already had a cat. Her co-worker Helen (my mom).
When Mystic was nine years old was when I first met him. I was visiting my mom and she was showing me this cat she got to keep her cat company. He really wasn't much company. He spent three weeks under her bed apparently. Then he hissed constantly. For the first three years I knew Mystic, all i knew was a hissing, spitting, very nasty cat. He didn't seem to like me at all. Once he let me pic him up and pet him, but when my sweater got caught on his nail, all hell broke loose and we were back at square one.
Mystic however, knew where his bread was buttered, also my mother's soft voice brought him around to her. He did just what he used to with Rose and was her fur stole when she was sick and stayed close to her when she was sad. He was horrible at the vet's office, but my mom found ways to get him into the carrier. Sterling, my mom's other cat, provided Mystic with a sort of replacement for Socrates...although Sterling was one at the time and did not quite get the rules of engagement with Mystic. He would try to paw or bat at Mystic, and Mystic would (without claws bared) just knock him across the room. However, the two became the only other cats the one could tolerate...so fast friends they became...more like companions.
One time, I went with my mom on one of her famous vet visits. We tricked Mystic into his cage (fun, very fun), and packed up Sterling and were off to the Woodbridge vet. At the vet, we had to take apart the carrier just to get Mystic out. However, the check up went just fine. This was about five years ago, and I mentioned something to the vet about Mystic. I noticed he was peeing alot for a cat. The vet mentioned it could be diabetes and said to bring a pee sample to the office. My mom and I wondered how we could possibly get a pee sample out of Mystic, but I mentioned to my mom it was worth trying. She had also noticed the peeing, but was afraid with his age, it was kidney disease and quickly just tried to put it in the back of her mind...where it stayed.
Time passed, and Mystic got meeker. To the point where he would let me pick him up sometimes. My mom just figured he was an old cat and his time was coming. Also she was distracted by things in her life and was afraid to think that one of her cats was sick. A notice came to my mom that she had to vacate her premises in Fords, NJ by the end of June. She had no where to go, much less anywhere that would take cats. Luckily friends stepped forward and offered my mom a place, but the cats couldn't come. My mom had no plan for them, nothing. Knowing Mystic's past, and that Sterling was supposed to be my cat, I came up to my mom's to take the cats to my home (temporarily). Mystic was mad as soon as he saw me. My mom held back tears and said "He knows something is wrong." Not to mention at this point Mystic had dropped from 15 to 10 lbs. (alot of weight for a cat to drop). He seemed the most miserable I've ever seen him. Now comes into mind, the funniest memory of Mystic, although it wasn't funny at the time. We already established that Mystic hated the cat carrier. We've also established he had to be tricked into being put into it (via treast or putting him in vertically). Well, when I went to round up Mystic to take him home with me, he hissed, spitting, batted at me. He wouldn't have it...he'd eat the treats, but not go inside. Oh and forget trying to pick him up. He literally kicked my ass if I tried. I had scratches all up and down my arms and legs. Finally, I grabbed a towel and managed to get that around him and literally threw him in the carrier (technique came in handy when trying to get my friend Heather's two cats into a carrier).
So off to Maryland went Mystic and Sterling. That was two years ago. Mystic, was NOT a happy camper. he did his hiding thing and hid under the stairs in Karen's basement. He hissed, spitted, but ate the food I left out for him. Eventually, Mystic started coming upstairs to survey the house. One night, he was upstairs-- Mind you he was 15, very sick, and very pissy--Lori and Signal were in the kitchen. When they saw Mystic, they started to do their typical "Let's chase the cat routine." However, the girls picked the wrong cat to chase. Mystic wasn't a run away type of cat. He started to fight them with everything he had. He was under Lori, then on top of Lori, biting, scratching, spitting. I ran into the kitchen and at first was stunned. Actually I was impressed at how a 15 year old cat was kicking the snot out of a 100lb. husky. Finally, my senses kicked in (took a minute) and I grabbed a broom to knock Mystic off. Then I grabbed the almighty spray bottle and squirted at him. Mystic ran into the dining room and perched himself on the windowsill. He was growling and was very wet. I got a towel and approached him gingerly. I could tell he didn't want me near him and to be honest I was afraid of him. So then, I just slumped onto the floor in front of the window sill. I wasn't facing Mystic...however, I started talking to him...
"I know you want to be with her, but you can't. It was either this or you were gonna die."
I was referring to a woman I called in the Takoma Park area. She was the woman that did our 'house check' when we adopted Signal. I heard she took in cats and had 25 of her own. when I called her about Sterling and Mystic, I told her about Mystic possilbly having kidney disease. The woman said to me "I can find a home for the 6 year old...but do the 15 year old a favor...put him down." Shocked, I couldn't think of anything else. After three previous owners, losing his brother, and moving to another state, someone expected me to just put him down? No way...i couldn't do it, I cried at the thought...he needed a chance to be happy again.
At that windowsill, I don't know what happened, but something clicked for the both of us. I got up and approached Mystic slowly with the towel. He grudgingly let me pick him up and swaddle him in the towel. Then I carried him downstairs to my bedroom and sat in my lazy boy with him. I rocked him for some time...and after that...things changed. I became Mystic's girl. He loved me, became very attached and loving to me and I gave him love in return.
I took Mystic to the vet and had tests run. He was negative for kidney disease which was a huge relief. However, I knew something was up, so I asked the doctor's to check for diabetes, remembering his other vet's suggestion. When the tests came back, the vet tried to say nothing was wrong. I said "Doctor this cat is peeing and drinking way too much for a cat...something is wrong." She went back to the tests results and found that yes, Mystic's glucose was very high...he was diabetic. After that came rounds and rounds of tests, insulin injections (which continue today). However, all during this time, Mystic was changing. He was more affectionate to people and he was gaining weight. however, some things did not change. Mystic remained super alpha cat. Sterling was still his bitch, and he still to this day, doesn't play the chase the kitty game with the dogs...he has no qualms about kicking another animals ass just to keep them away from me. Also, I introduced Mystic to something he still cherishes today...being outside. I let both Mystic and Sterling romp around the yard and get some exercise. Although no feral cat in the neighborhood is safe from Mystic, he enjoys being outside immensely. He sharpens his claws on the deck, and he lounges under the shed. He always comes back and never leaves the perimeter of the house. He may visit a neighbor, but he needs to be with me more than anything. My Takoma Park vet noted that I should never give Mystic away again. "He's too attached, he'll die without you." So with me he stays. Oh another thing, about Mystic is that he still is not a vet cat.
Funny story #2: Mystic needed major dental work upon our move to Virginia. I brought Mystic in for his surgery early one morning. I offered to help them get Mystic out of his crate. You see...at Takoma Park, Mystic had to stay at the vet all day long for tests...and he was a bear to get out of the crate and a bear at the vet. It was how the vet noticed he was way attached to me. For example, when I went to pick him up one day, i went into the back and looked for his cage. The lab tech said he was under a towel (protesting I guess). Wouldn't you know it, he was under the towel...I whipped it off, and he hissed thinking it was a tech coming for blood, but when he saw it was me, he perked up. Well, at the VA vet, I offered knowing Mystic was known to attempt to kill vet techs. The techs brushed me off saying they were professionals. Well...I came back later in the day to "You have a very interesting cat!" It took three vet techs to get Mystic out of his crate. And apparently Mystic isn't a great patient...I just had to chuckle and laugh...to this day the vet center avoids keeping Mystic overnight. They apparently can suddenly now don't require him to stay all day to do his blood work. Also when I inquired about pet sitters in the area they tried to sell me on their boarding services, but when i said "Oh you'll board Mystic" They said "Hey you know this lady does pet sitting in your area." HAHAHA, they avoid him like the plague. I even got a bumper sticker that says "My cat is an honor patient at _____ Animal Hospital." Except I took out 'honor and put pain in the neck'. Much more true.
Anyway, Mystic today is pushing 18 years old. He's only got three teeth in his heat...but he still kicks ass. Also he not only gained back his five pounds, but I think is about 16 lbs now. He runs to the door whenever he's outside and is very vibrant. Some people when they adopt animals insist on adopting a puppy or a kitten. I'm here to say that never, ever will I regret adopting Mystic at 15. Even if he dies tomorrow (which i highly doubt), I will be happy in knowing I made his last years the healthiest and happiest in his life. Mystic adores me and I adore him. He may not like Signal or Sable very much, but I know it's because he wants me all to himself. Again, don't be afraid to adopt that older pet, they may turn out to not only live longer than you expect, but they may also be your biggest fan.
*Side note., Mystic today is on .3 IUs of insulin twice a day. He's been stable for nearly a year.