MOLLY and HARRY (cat tales)

When I was growing up, my family had cats. Mom and Dad worked, and we didn’t want to leave a dog home alone all day. My older sister and I have many happy memories of the various cats we had to play with, and the distinctive personalities of all of them.

My senior year of high school (1978) started out with a series of accidents that, once all was said and done, we could only throw up our hands and chuckle at. First, Ebony, the cat we had at the time, was hit by a car and broke its leg. The doctor was able to fix him up, although my Dad balked at first about the hundred-dollar cost. “I could buy five new cats with that much money,” he grumbled, in long-suffering “Archie Bunker” fashion. (He was not wealthy, and was more of a dog lover.) Then several days after our cat came home, my Dad broke his arm and couldn’t do his job (driving a cab) while he recovered. So the den became a kind of infirmary, with Dad in a cast and the cat with a pin in its leg! It was oddly amusing to come home from school and see the two of them hobbling around the house together, keeping each other company. And Dad and the cat became fast friends! (I also took my brand-new driver’s license and totaled Dad’s car around the same time, but that’s another story. He was very forgiving, though.)

The years went by, and life went on. One day in 1994, Sis rescued a cat from her garage – it had sought shelter there from the horrible winter weather. Sis eventually named it Mina and took it in. It never liked ME very much, even though I visited frequently, but Mina was very, very attached to my sister. Finally, about eight months ago the cat developed kidney and other problems, and we knew the end was near. Sis was quite upset, and spent a lot of “special time” with Mina, in between Mina’s ever-more-frequent trips to the vet. We knew a hard decision was coming soon.

One Sunday last April, Mina, looking very thin but its chestnut and black fur still beautiful, came right up to me when I came to visit! This was very unusual, but welcome all the same. It turned out to be my chance to say goodbye. Later that afternoon, while a nor’easter was heading up the East Coast, Mina had some kind of a stroke and fell down the stairs it had been used to climbing for over thirteen years, breaking its back and legs. It was hissing and screaming in pain, as we all frantically looked for a vet able to help us on a night no sane person wanted to be out in the elements. Finally we were able to get help and put Mina to sleep, but it had met a terrible end. Anyone agonizing over whether to euthanize a pet when the time comes has to keep this kind of story in mind; my sister didn’t have to wonder if she acted too soon to end Mina’s suffering, because Mina’s last hour on Earth was spent in agony. But we all did our best.

Sis had Mina cremated, and keeps the ashes in a drawer in her home office where Mina used to sit and look out the window while Sis worked. Several months later, my sister brought home two abandoned kittens from a shelter, and named them Molly and Harry. I enjoy going to visit and witness their antics. Molly is the older, “dominant” one and is somewhat bossy and aloof, and Harry is very bright and mischievous but also cuddly and loving. My sister gets mad when I draw comparisons between them and the two of us!

Feral and abandoned cats and their offspring are a huge problem in our area, and there are many dedicated people working to help. Spaying and neutering are SO important! My sister continues to be involved with the shelter, and we all look forward to many years of companionship from Molly and Harry. God bless all our pets, and their owners!

Chuck from NJ