Twist remembered by animal hospital and community

Beloved cat lost battle with intestinal lymphoma at 19

BRIAN BAKER/STREETER FILE PHOTO
BELOVED CAT: Mt. Pleasant-Davisville Animal Hospital lost one of its dearest friends, Twist, in early April.

Twist had an uncanny ability to hit paper balls that would put José Bautista to shame.

Jennifer McMullen, former veterinarian at Mt. Pleasant-Davisville Animal Hospital, shared that analogy in an interview highlighting the quirks of the clinic’s feline friend.

“He would sit on top of the credenza and there was a bit of a gap behind it, and I threw so many paper balls behind him,” she recalled in mid-May. “He was very good at hitting paper balls. I would throw them at him and he would hit them. We did that for five years.”

It’s been a month since the slugger took his swat at a paper ball, as the 19-year-old clinic cat and neighbourhood celebrity lost its battle with intestinal lymphoma April 10.

McMullen first joined the staff in 2010 and the two soon became inseparable.

“When I started working at Mount Pleasant, Twist actually adopted me as his little friend,” she said “He would hang out with me while I was working.

In 2014, McMullen moved to Secord Animal Clinic in Teddington Park, but after Twist’s cancer diagnosis in late 2016 she came back at the behest of Alison McGowen, Mt. Pleasant-Davisville’s practice administrator.

“Because the chemotherapy suppressed Twist’s immune system, and we’re a veterinarian hospital with animals around here that are sick, we made the heartbreaking decision in order for him to remain healthy,” McGowen said. “We asked Jen if she would take him in.”

Although he was a clinic cat, he quickly adapted to life at McMullen’s house. He had never seen a TV or a green tree before.

“It took him a couple of days and he finally figured it out. It became his home,” McMullen said. “I think I was incredibly lucky to have an incredible cat just for two years.”

Twist lived the high life, having fresh salmon cooked for him daily, as well as the occasional sushi dinner and even crab, which McMullen says she is “deathly allergic” to.

There’s also the little detail that she was also allergic to him.

“There’s no cat that I’m more allergic to than Twist. I break out in hives,” she admitted. “Taking on a cat with a limited lifespan was a little difficult, but he’s such a great cat that he deserved it.”

For 18 years he greeted visitors to the Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton clinic. His name comes from the condition he first came to the clinic in. His one leg had been broken, and in the process of healing, the bone set in a contorted fashion.

The clinic performed the surgery, and he remained there. Every day he made friends, including Kevin Smith, a resident of the Briton House. Whenever he would stop by, Twist would stop everything, even cosying up to another guest, and go to Smith.

“It has left a really big hole in the clinic and the community,” McGowen said. “One of the nice things that happened was when we made a post on Facebook and people made comments.

The comments came from people who had spread around the country connected — former clients, employees — and the clinic realized how many lives he touched.

He also touched those at the clinic, as they made a pact to make him a part of their family, so many years ago.

“We made this promise to him that we would take care of him until he needed to go,” McMullen said.

 

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Toronto-based journalist, fighting the power one deadline at a time.

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