By the Rescue Manager, 20th September 2011
Mungo is a 15 year old Persian, one of the first I ever rescued.
Mungo was so traumatised when I rescued him about a decade ago, that he lived in a kitchen cupboard for over a year too afraid to emerge. He also had a lot of pain from earlier cruelty in a former home, and the vet felt he should be put to sleep as he did not enjoy life at all.
Over the years, however, he blossomed from a cowering creature that shied away from everyone and everything, to a teddy-bear of a cat that loves to be cuddled upside down and to sleep under the duvet stretched out alongside me. He sings to his water bowl and likes to say 'naff'. He is very gentle. He's pain free now.
I have a sister who went into hospital for surgery in February 2011, for a brain tumour. She came out of the surgery really well. However, post-operative care let her down and a disastrous 'minor' procedure left her in a coma.
Now, in September, she is still only minimally aware; she seems to be 'trapped' in that strange twilight world where she can see me and know who I am, but is afraid of everything and cannot move or speak. Her eyes do not focus and she cannot take anything by mouth.
My sister lived for her own Persians. I had to rehome them when it became apparent she would never go back home. She will never recover. She went into a nursing home a couple of weeks ago, and will stay there.
I was given permission to take my Mungo in to visit my sister, and looked forward to it! I know that if anything can help my sister communicate, it will be Mungo.
So, just yesterday I took Mungo to see my sister for the first time.
I was amazed to see that he went straight to her, lay on the bed up close, without even bothering to explore the room.
He had no anxiety at all, and snuggled up to the unresponsive body beside him, as if he knew her. Yet he didn't know her. Despite this, he still didn't move away from her for the three hours we remained there.
Severely brain injured, at some points my sister was making noises most Persians would find frightening, but he seemed oblivious. He stayed calm and peaceful, but alert.
I truly believe he knew that she needed him, and that his purpose was therapeutic. He ignored his inclination to wander and explore.
The only time he moved from her side was when nurses came to check her.
Then, Mungo moved from the bed and positioned himself out of the way, on the bed side chair; he sat observing like an inspector. My sister, who rarely manages to see anything, opened her eyes wide and gazed right at him. He gazed back.
It was amazing -- their eyes met and it seemed they understood each other, sharing a silent language, both knowing the other was appreciative. I took a photo of that moment too, and will add it later.
From the chair my Mungo gazed transfixed, remaining like this after the nurses left the room....as if casting a watchful eye, making sure nothing else went wrong.
Then he climbed back onto the bed as if he lived there, and my sister closed her eyes and slept....that's the photo you see above.