About four years ago, a grey-striped tabby showed up on the doorstep of our house. He was wounded, which caused him to have an odd hop as he walked, so Pony named him Tigger. We took to feeding him, so he wouldn’t have to wander far on his wounded leg, and he repaid us in his manner, but chasing off the pigeons that liked to congregate underneath our carport. As summer began to turn to Autumn, Tigger made it increasingly clear that he would dearly love to join our household. We considered this possibility (we already had two cats – Zebie and Sam – by this time). Pony insisted that before we could do so, we had to take him to a vet to be checked, if only to be sure he would not have something nasty that he might pass on to the other cats. As it turned out, Tigger had Feline HIV (for those who never knew: yes there is such a thing). So we could not take him in, lest he infect our other cats. He also could not just be released back into the wild, either. Although it did not feel at all like a merciful option at the time, we ended up paying to have Tigger put down. All this happened out of sight of me, while I was teaching, which was still bad enough at the time.
So we talked about the possibility of adopting another cat to honor Tigger’s memory. Then, one Tuesday, all through the day as I was teaching, Pony was texting me the names of kittens available at the Denver Dumb Friends League. Taking the cue, I went there after work and called her, asking which kitten she wanted me to look at first.
“I was joking with you,”she said.
“The hell you were,”I replied
I started looking at some of the kittens that Pony had named; all cute little things about two months old, each. And they were cute enough and all, but they all struck me as rather shy. And Sam, our orange tabby, was a very assertive kitty (dominating might be a better word for it). One of the staff women at the Dumb Friends League asked how I was doing, and I allowed that they were all very cute kittens, but I was concerned they weren’t outgoing enough to stand up to our Sam-cat.
“We have a three-month old that may be what you’re looking for,” said the staff lady. She brought in a grey and white puffball they had named Mahoney. He was much more what I thought I was looking for: immediately curious about me and everything else around him. I called Pony to tell her about him.
“They call him Mahoney,” I told her.
“I know the one you’re talking about,” she said. Apparently, when looking at pictures on the website, this particular kitten had stuck his face right into the camera lens, almost as if to eat it.
“I don’t care for the name Mahoney,” I told her, “I’m going to name him Murphy.”
And I have got all sorts of grief ever since, because I chose him and I named him.