Can Man Monday: Man’s Best Friend

Today’s Cat Man Monday was submitted by Dan who shares the story of his first cat Mooch and how she helped him actualize a life dream. 

Have you ever seen the picture of the Israeli soldier on patrol that’s stopped to pet the kitten? That’s not me, but it might as well have been.  During my stint in the Army, I was the guy who fed the strays that are so common around army bases — if I wasn’t going to eat field rations, someone should, right?

Mooch and Me

In college, I found my way home for a weekend every month, and would spend time with my mom’s cats. But I never really thought of myself as a “cat person” until much later.

When I finally graduated and moved out east, I got a little place in the north ‘burbs of Philadelphia. It was a small apartment, wildly under-furnished save a ratty couch and an IKEA bed. I like to joke that the first piece of furniture I got was a cat.

Shoelaces Scourge

I met her at the Montgomery County SPCA (Perkiomenville location). She was this tiny, sleepy little tuxedo girl who barely acknowledged me when I pulled her away from her nap with her sister. But there was just something intangible about her, so I said “yes.”

A week later, when she came home, she was a force of nature right out of the gate, romping around the mostly-empty apartment. Sleeping on my neck at night. Another week later, she had her name — “Mooch” after the character in the Mutts comic strip. Another week later, she had her first nicknames “racetrack” and “bonks”…she wasn’t particularly graceful, but she was fast.

Mooch and Ed

And over the next few years, she’d become my best friend and the one point of absolute stability in a chaotic life. She was with me through my move back to Minneapolis, my first marriage and subsequent divorce, job losses, and two new cats. Always there and always my friend.

And she was there for the happier times, too — when my girlfriend (now wife), Kate, and I moved in together, the joining of our two herds of cats, our engagement.  She never made it to our wedding, and won’t be around to see the birth of our first child.

iPurr

During the summer of 2009, Kate was on a 5-month long business trip, and I was holding down the fort at home. While I was getting ready for work, Mooch came running up to me one morning, breathing heavily and dragging her front leg behind her. A high-speed drive to the emergency vet, panic, tears, and thousands of dollars later, the verdict was in. Cancer.

A tumor was pushing on her spine, and it had metastasized. Bones. Liver. Everywhere. My baby girl was going to die. I completely fell apart. Kate rushed home from North Carolina as soon as she could, and on a rainy Saturday morning, we drove to the vet and had her put down. That was the day I realized that I was completely, without question, a “cat person.”

Mooch & Scout, Caught Cuddling

When I pulled myself together and started to screw my head on straight, I started building bicycle frames — I was thinking of it as a distraction, despite always having dreamed of doing it. My first one was a tribute to her. If her passing hadn’t shown me how short and tenuous life could be, I might never have chased my dreams. That was her last gift to me.

Me and Scout

Today, we still have four. Mooch’s adopted brothers Calvin and Scout are still around, and Kate’s two boys, Happy and Vinnie, are still doing well.

There’s still a little hole in our family, though — and that hole will always be there. No other cat or person will be able to fill it, but they can grow around it, maybe cover it in a layer of scar tissue, and that’ll do.

 

IHC Housekeeping:

  • CALL FOR CAT MAN MONDAY ENTRIES: Are you a cat man or do you have one in your life? You or your cat-loving friend could be the next CAT MAN MONDAY! Just send a 400-800 word post to ihavecat(at)gmail(dot)com with photos and tell us about the cats in your (your cat man’s life) life now or growing up. How they affected you, why you love them, how you became a cat man etc.
  • DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR LATEST GIVEAWAY! For a chance to have kitty immortalized in a custom Tiny Confession!

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  • lilia

    Beautiful! His entry when he says good bye to his baby was beautiful and made me cry!

    • Me to!Thanks for reading and commenting! 

  • Juani

    This was the most beautiful “Cat Man” post I’ve read thus far.I hope his wife knows that she is really lucky to have a man that loves cats so much.Because like I always say,you can tell a lot about a man by how he treats animals.

    • Awww I agree it’s so lovely! Thanks for reading and taking the time to post. I agree about his wife! Lucky duck!

  • Anonymous

    This is a wonderful story of a terrific “Cat Man”.  Thank you for sharing and for starting Cat Man Monday.  xoxo

    • Thank you for reading it and leaving a comment! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • This was a great post! Made me cry…

    • I know right?! What a lovely  bond those two shared!

  • Keith Phillips

    Great story and a great man!

  • Kat Wolfdancer

    WEll, I sure am glad I’m not the ONLY one who had to run to the kleenex box ! *sniffle* Good man. Lucky woman. LUCKY KITTIES! May they both have *head bonks* and *whisker kisses* to spare over a long and beautiful and loving life.
    >^,,^<

    • You are not alone for real! I agree all around witn you rcomments! 🙂

  • ElspethCoons

    Most touching and emotional story. It made me cry but at the same time, it’s good to know that Mooch was special in your life. I thank you for sharing with us.

    • Thanks for commenting, Dan is certainly a special guy! Lucky wife and kitties!

  • Anonymous

    I really think there’s one “true love” for us in our animal relationships, just as there is with people. And he was a cat guy all along–Mooch new it! He just had to figure it out. Thanks for the wonderful story.

  • Sachie+Goma

    This is so awesome…cats do have a power to change our lives, my cats did change my life as well. Even someday we will lose them but I will never regret it!!!

    • Awwwwww so true Sachie! Mwah! When do you return from Japan?!

  • Hooray for Mooch!

  • What a heartfelt post – I read every word as if I was living the situation myself and it brought back a similar memory of my own. Our cats do teach us, they inspire us, and they fill our hearts with love and joy. Mooch will forever be a part of Dan. For me, my muse was Kit and she was the reason I followed a dream of mine – to write a book. Great post.

    • Hey sweetie. Thanks so much for your readership and taking the time to post. Each Cat Man post is more lovely and touching then the prior one it seems! 

  • Susan

    Such a sweet story and such a precious kitty:)!

    • Susan, thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a note for us 🙂

  • Tdelecia

    BEAUTIMOUSE!!  I’m SO FURRY sorry your lost your Mooch to Cancer, I too lost my love of 18 years – Precious, to this most dreadful diease!! With having become disabled soon after losing her, I was not sure I could have/care for another baby, but, after a year I realized I could NOT live fully without a furlove in my life. Men, yes, I can live without – cats, NOT!! She was the second cat I lost to Cancer, now I do all I CAN to help others going thru this and TRY to help ease THEIR pain!! THANK heavens for MS & FB, or IDK if I could have made it thru losing her without ALL my wonderful friends there. Her loss more than ANY made me realize there IS a hereafter, AND we WILL be together AGAIN at the Rainbow Bridge, when it is MY time to leave THIS life! GOD BLESS you and your LOVELY family! May they be with you as LONG as possible, and even WHEN they have to leave you, I HOPE that they will leave you KNOWING you are MEANT to rescue MORE!! Sincerely, Toni D

    • Thank you so much for leaving your comment Toni. I’m so sorry for the loss of your furbabies to cancer….I can’t imagine…..Animals are truly amazing and enrich our lives the utmost. Animal people are the best. And it’s so true about social media, it’s allowed us to meet other like minded folks we would not have any other way. And they can be a support in ways those physically and genetically close to us cannot always be. 
      XO
      T

  • Dawn White

    I just read this, and of course I cried.

    • awwwwww i know, it’s so touching….

  • Leslie Abrahams Gosling

    Heartwarming and sad, bless you for being such a good dad to Mooch

    • Thanks for reading Leslie. I know, this post is so very touching. we LOVE cat men! 

  • Mimi_telles

     What a wonderful story and great pictures. Mooch was a great ambassador for the feline of the world.

    • Agreed 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. =^^=

  • Manasie

    read this at work.. finding it difficult to hold back those tears… very well written and a beautiful story! 🙂 makes me miss my baby even more…