The Importance of Being Murphy

Murphy the cat’s been with us now for three months and he’s become a bona fide member of the family.  I miss him on days when I travel into London, he’s such a bright and spirited young kitty.  Although I still miss Toby (my beloved cat back in the States who has now has a wonderful new auntie/second mommy Joanne), I know he’s in the best hands ever and recently I heard he’s traveling to Joanne’s mom’s farmhouse where he’s made friends with a new kitty and even a dachshund.  Toby loves dogs, so I’m thrilled with this news.

The Toby.


"Are these working for me?"

Meanwhile, in British cat news, Murph is now officially Murphy Moyle-McCarthy as he just got microchipped, fixed, and dosed with the first round of feline leukemia vaccination.  Whew.  For a cat who wasn’t “allowed to stay,” (original dictate from the man of the house) he’s now got us paying till the cows come home.   We even got pet insurance today from Tesco (supermarket) for about seven pounds a month.

The tricky part of having a Murph (also known as Smurf, or Smurphus) in the house is the window situation.  Europe isn’t into screens, which looks nice, but when your cat decides it would be fun to duck out the second story, slippery ledge with his newly-trimmed claws, this is not good.  As he came to us as a stray, having spent who knows how much time living outside, it would be impossible to keep him in.  I’m a very cautious outdoor-kitty person, and my cats have usually stayed in, but here things are different.  Almost all the cats go outside and around here, where things are quite dense, so their territory is vertical instead of horizontal.  They hang out on the rooftops of the sheds and tops of garages and additions, sunbathing and stalking their way across fence tops.

Murphy as Jason Bourne

They don’t really roam as much, I don’t think, although you do see Lost Cat flyers up just as much as you do in the States.   Murphy’s lightning-fast too, and when he wants out, he’s slipping out.

So.  The other day I was looking outside for him and he wasn’t coming when I called like he usually does.  Finally I went back inside, and happened to see him, from the spare bedroom window, sliding around on the nearby office window ledge.  Narrow ledge.  Very high ledge over nothing but stone.  Of course I thought about C.’s sister’s cat, who just had to have knee surgery to the tune of 800 pounds.  (That’s almost $1,500.00 boys and girls.)   For some reason, I’d never even thought of cats having knees, let alone knee problems that required surgery.    The vet said it could have been dislocated during a drop from a rooftop.

Anyway, back to the cat on the ledge tale–I decided to open the window, if I could, as some swivel in.  But by the time I got to the window, I heard a loud THUMP.  I was terrified to look.  That did not sound alright.   I looked out the window and didn’t even see Murphy on the stone.  When I went outside, there he was, like “Hey, what’s up?”  all swirly-tailed and perky, as if he hadn’t just crashed to the ground.


So far there haven’t been any battles with any of the ten million other cats in the neighborhood, but Murphy did enforce his new territorial reign on another cat who’s been perched on the back shed since I got here, known as black and white kitty.  (As opposed to Fat Head, whose story is also here.)

This roof ain't big enough for the both of us.

Murphy manages to shove black and white kitty off despite being one-third the size.

And STAY off! Note black and white kitty's ears to bottom left of Murph.

Fortunately, when we went away in February for a weekend, our neighbor Rafael came by and hung out with the Murph so he didn’t get too lonely.   Rafael, who’s Polish with a wry sense of humor, said, on returning the key, “Yes, everything went fine but I was very disappointed in Murphy.”   Rafael looked grave.  Oh no, I thought, Murphy scratched Rafael or made a mess.

“He didn’t play fetch with me.”

Rafael did seem genuinely disappointed.  I think we’d hyped Murphy’s skills a bit too much.  We were the parents with the “My kid’s on the honor roll” bumper stickers except ours said “Our cat plays fetch with a brown glove!”

Murphy is awesome, but he’s not a lap kitty and doesn’t always come sit on the couch when you’re watching a movie.  He absolutely hates being picked up and will cry like you’re about to pull out his whiskers.  One of his favorite things is to ambush our legs as we walk up the stairs, poking his head out from in between the white slats.  He naps on a yellow, circle IKEA bath mat that I placed at the top of the stairs.  From his perch, he can keep an eye on the place, and make sure no one shady gets in.  Scrappy police officer Murphy.   I wouldn’t mess with him.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mariellen anderson
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 03:15:17

    Sounds like the Murph already rules the roost…and he’s only used 1 of his 9 lives! Remember the stories of Uncle Mark & Uncle Jim dropping cats from the hay mow window with bandana as a “homemade parachute”?! An experiment to see if cats really do land on their feet….and never lost a feline because I was the big sister and I would have ratted on them for sure.


  2. Erren
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 20:24:35

    Hi Tara,
    You commented on my blog a while back ( and I only just got it. Shoot me an email if you still would like to chat or compare notes 🙂


  3. Paul
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 14:08:27

    We have been considering getting a pet here in Florida. Though it might be a dog, as most of the household are allergic to cats!

    It’s perilous down here for pets though. According to my Floridian wife, they lost two dogs to gators and one to a snake when she was kid.

    Cats a little more cautious than dogs, however, I guess. 🙂



    • taramoyle
      Apr 24, 2011 @ 15:17:12

      Sorry about the late reply here Paul. Yes, I’d opt for a larger dog in Florida, something that might not look like a gator snack!


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