Little Bear (2006-2022)

STONEHAM – Little Bear Mullowney was laid to rest on Saturday, June 12, 2022. Sadly, after sixteen years (that’s 112 in human years) the last of her nine lives had run their course. She leaves behind her human parents, Scott and Priscilla, and her adopted sister, Bella. Little Bear was preceded in death by her step-dog, Speck.

Little Bear was a survivor from the beginning of her long life. She experienced a broken leg in the first home she lived in. Her owners wouldn’t pay for the necessary medical attention so she was removed from the home. She was rescued by the PAWS organization in Wakefield who nursed her back to health.

By chance, my wife and I stopped at the PAWS information booth at Stoneham’s Town Day that same year. Adopting a cat was something we were already thinking about. The PAWS representative mentioned they had a young female black cat who was looking for a home. A meeting was set up and I travelled to Wakefield to find out if this year-old cat cat would be a good candidate. As soon as I entered the PAWS headquarters, there was a little black cat winding around my ankles. It was love at first sight. I knew this was the cat for me.

The PAWS rehabilitation home was reluctant to let her go. Little Bear’s job at the shelter was being a positive role model for rescued feral cats who didn’t have any social skills. Little Bear’s pleasant demeanor exemplified how domesticated cats should behave around people. She was really good at her job. The home hated to part with her, but knowing she was going to a loving family put the adoption center employees minds at ease. Their sad loss was my exceptional gain.

I was warned Little Bear was extremely affectionate. This was an understatement. I believe the PAWS representative’s exact words were, “This cat will not be denied.” And they were right.

Little Bear’s ultra-calm personality was a welcomed addition to my home. She spent a lot of time on my lap, or on my feet (or my pillow) while I slept. She sat beside me while I worked, often times reaching out to touch my face with her paw or head-butt me with what I can only assume is the equivalent to a cat kiss.

Physically, she was on the small side, midnight black with green eyes and pointed features suggesting she may have been part Siamese. As she aged, a whisker on each side of her face turned pure white among all the jet black ones, earning her the nickname Fu Manchu.

It was just one year ago I wrote about Little Bear’s disappearance when she slipped out my backdoor. I was certain she was dead, but apparently that was only her eighth life. Three days later she returned to my front porch with a mangled tail and a newfound love of being an indoor cat. Unfortunately, she was never quite the same after her recovery.

This June, as her health deteriorated, she spent her last days in hiding, only to emerge sluggish and thinner each time she reappeared. Her eyes were cloudy, she stopped eating and she slept on her favorite chair all day long. My wife thought it best to make an appointment for Little Bear at the Veterinary Animal Hospital in Woburn for a consultation.

The technicians at the Woburn Hospital were incredibly empathetic. They explained that as a pet owner, it was natural to want to prolong an animal’s life as long as possible. Every pet and every owner is different and every pet’s end-of-life scenario is different as well.

I couldn’t be so selfish as to continue a life of suffering for Little Bear. Although I felt like a bad cat-parent when I agreed to have Little Bear put to sleep, I was assured it was best for my pet. After being overcome with emotion when I realized Little Bear wouldn’t be coming home, I collected myself and made her final arrangements. I couldn’t bring myself to be in the room as the doctor euthanized her. That would have been a little too much to bear. I know I did the right thing. No one wants to see a loved one suffer. I only hope someone offers me the same courtesy when it’s my time to go. I love you Little Bear. You were truly the best cat ever. Anyone who says dogs are man’s best friend never met you. Rest in peace, little one.

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