My mom sent email today saying that Misty died. That's the cat we got when I was eleven; we were in Illinois seeing a Lippizan horse show and a girl was giving away kittens. We took Misty, who was the smallest and scrawniest of the bunch. She looked like a rat. She turned out to be dumb, but sweet, and spent a great deal of time licking my nose. Now all three cats I had growing up have died. They were old -- 16, 17 and 18 -- and each died relatively suddenly at home. No protracted goodbyes, no last vet visits. If I had to choose, this is what I'd want, but I can't say that makes it a whole lot better. My mom still has Harry (who is, I think, ten by now), and Abby, who's about two and was taken in as a stray from the backyard last summer. I have Moly, who came from Wisconsin with me; she's almost seven, and it's frightening how fast that time went. And then there's Toeffe, who must be nearly four now. Plenty of time left with these cats, surely, I hope. The thought of no more than ten years left with Moly is frightening. I am going to go home and pet her a lot in Misty's memory.