I’ve really been in a funk the last week about the Tucson shooting and Jared Loughner. Everyone knows the mental health system is a mess in the US, and I thought that it might feel a bit easier being over here, that it might not look as bad, but it actually looks worse. Not being in the thick of it all the time makes things seem even more dire. From here the US looks like one big giant mess–the kids at home for the weekend while the parents are away. Luckily, someone came to cheer me up and we’ve had a guest in our home for the last two weeks:

The Murphy.

This little black kitty was hanging out by our front door two weeks ago, and he was so friendly that we were able to pet him, which is a first for our neighborhood. I’ve been trying to befriend cats here for six months, completely acting the part of the crazy cat lady, calling to scrappy alley cats who’ve disappeared under a car, while people inch away on the pavement. C. usually stares into the distance with a tolerant yet mildly vexed expression, waiting for the display to be over.

Anyway, I fed the cat some tuna since he seemed a bit hungry but not starving or anything, and his coat was in pretty good shape. Someone had taken care of him, but he wasn’t wearing a collar and didn’t appear to be neutered. As there are so many outdoor cats around, though, we left for the grocery store. When we returned, black kitty was still there. As we were bringing our bags in, he just walked through the door and started scoping things out inside. He seemed to like the look of things, and we hung out with him for a while. C. looked sort of nervous though, and wanted to put the cat out for the night. He opened the door, and after a while, the kitty walked out. But two hours later, quite late, he was back, crying and scratching at the door. It was cold, windy, and raining, and I couldn’t take his cries, so I let him back in and tried to set up a bed in the downstairs bathroom. He screamed when I shut the door, so I decided he’d sleep in the spare bedroom, and I’d sleep in there, but he started coughing–really loud and raspy like a sick pterodactyl. Needing to get a few hours of sleep, I finally gave up the ghost and opened the door to see if he’d go back out in the early morning. He did, but was back in a few hours, and I let him in again.

C. and I took him to the vet’s to see if he was microchipped, and he wasn’t. No cat like him in their Lost Cat book, and nothing online on the site. Nothing in the local cat charity window either, where people put flyers of their lost cats, or on the pet store bulletin.

So. We got a litter box and decided he would stay with us for a bit, at least until his cough got better. He was small and didn’t seem like he wanted to be outside.

After a few days he was calm enough to sleep upstairs in the carpeted hallway, since C. is mildly allergic and can’t have cats on the duvet. He’s been a wonderful companion this week sitting on my lap and keeping me company. Right now he’s leaping around with an elastic hair-tie, which I’ve found are a cat’s greatest joy. They can pick them up and toss them in the air, bat them and carry them all over. He’s been playing with it now for about a half hour, which is like a month in cat time.

We had a tough time naming him, but are going with Murphy. Other names considered: Marmite, Leadbelly, Pitch, Matte, and Oskar. We realize that someone may still claim him, but for now we’re happy to have the guest and I’m thrilled to have cat company again. (Miss you so much, Toby.)

Today I got a scare when passing a house nearby when I saw a flyer they’d put up with a picture of a black cat. Fortunately, when I stopped by later to inquire they said he had a white bib, and Murphy’s completely black. Plus, the other cat’s only been gone for a week. So. They do choose their owners, don’t they, much more so than the other way around. Having been restored to the happy status of Cat Mom, and with the sun coming out this week, England feels a little more than just where some of my stuff is and more like a place that could be a nomad’s home, for now.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mariellen anderson
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 00:21:26

    It sounds like he’s passed the test and could become a permanent resident without needing a visa. I can’t wait to meet him.


  2. Sarah
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 18:34:40

    Loved talking to you yesterday! I am so glad that Mr. Murphy has adopted you and C. I love mini-kitties with gumption.


  3. Eastendmom
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 01:32:59

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and what a treat. I love your writing style and your talent for description. My daughter has started reading, too, so you have two new fans. Looking forward to reading more of your adjustment to living in the UK. PS – give Murphy a scritch on the head from a friend in New Jersey!


    • taramoyle
      Feb 08, 2011 @ 17:17:33

      Thanks, Eastendmom! Happy to hear of new readers. Apologies for the lack of posts lately–I need to get back on it! There’s plenty more about Murphy, who is now affectionately known as Inkblot.

      Should have a few new posts up in the next couple of days.

      Hope you’re doing OK out there with all the snow this winter!



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