Moe was a funny cat. Our family always joked that she wasn’t very good at “catting.” She never caught much of anything that she chased because she was pretty slow. Thankfully.
She couldn’t jump very high, and when she did jump, she sort of landed with a look of surprise that she’d actually made it.
Oddly enough, Moe got her name because we thought “she” was a “he.”
She was left with her littermates in a cardboard box by a bus stop in Vancouver. Fortunately, someone noticed the box move and looked inside. Seeing a squirmy batch of tiny Calico kittens, he took the box home and contacted a rescue society.
They had been taken from their mother far too soon so they weren’t properly weaned, and their genders weren’t known. When they were old enough, the woman who eventually fostered them here in Victoria posted some pictures in an attempt to find them homes. My daughter sent me a link, knowing that I was looking for a new cat. It had been almost a year since our last one died.
I saw Moe and instantly fell in love.
My other daughter came up with a list of names, and because we assumed the cat was male, we were thinking Larry, Curly or Moe. Moe seemed the right fit. When we found out that Moe was actually female, we decided the name still worked and kept it.
The first vet who examined Moe said she had a bit of a heart murmur, but when we brought her to our own vet a couple of months later, the murmur seemed to have disappeared.
So we started life with our sweet and silly kitten.
I had only ever had male cats in past, so I found Moe to be quite different.
She never was much for the outdoors unless it was just lounging on the deck or the driveway. She didn’t like the feeling of grass on her paws, so she would kind of hop precariously over the lawn to get to the patio where we were.
She could be clumsy and goofy, but she was also extremely affectionate. Towards me, that is. Other cats, no.
We didn’t know her actual date of birth, so we made a guess and decided to celebrate it on St. Patrick’s Day each year. She lead a happy, contented and spoiled life, as cats should do.
A couple of months before her birthday this year, I found out that Moe had congestive heart failure. Maybe her heart always had problems after all.
She was in the vet hospital overnight while they drained fluid that had built up in her chest. Then she was sent home with lots of pills and instructions. Eventually she had a scan to confirm the diagnosis, and her pills were adjusted again. And, of course, I worried about her every day.
I spoiled her even more during this time. If she wanted a treat, I gave it (don’t tell the vet). If she wanted attention at 3 o’clock in the morning, I got up and gave her lots of cuddles. Whatever Moe wanted, Moe got.
Our last cat, Picard, had lived to almost 18, and I was hoping for the same from this one. But when I finally had to say goodbye to little Miss Moe a couple of weeks ago, she was only 10.
As many of you know, losing a pet is a heartbreak like no other. One of my friends said that “grief is just love with nowhere to go.” That spoke to me.
I miss her terribly, but I’m so very grateful to the people who made it possible for me to adopt Moe.
During COVID, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, pet adoptions went sky high. Our pets gave us comfort, made us smile, and showed up in our Zoom videos while we worked from home.
With Christmas coming, some people will once again be tempted to give a cute kitten or puppy to someone as a gift. But I hope they will think about it long and hard first.
These are creatures who deserve all of the love and attention we can give them for as long as they need it. We can’t just put them away like toys when we get bored, or return them like car rentals.
Sometimes they get sick or hurt, or if we’re lucky, they get old, and that’s when they need us most. If you decide to adopt a pet, as I know I will again some day, remember that it is a commitment like no other.
It’s for life.
Irene Jackson is a guitar teacher, musician and general writer “wanna-be” living in the beautiful city of Victoria, B.C. Her website is at irenejackson.com.