We brought Mollie home when I was in 7th grade. I didn’t want a cat. I wanted a dog. I begged my parents for a dog. But we compromised on a cat.
We went to an animal shelter. Just to look. We met a lot of cats, but none of them stood out to me. I didn’t think I wanted one. But then a volunteer told me she had just the kitten for me. A runt so young and so small, she said, that they had to keep her in the back room. She brought her out and placed her on my chest and we bonded. I looked up at my dad, and he knew that we were bringing her home.
I named her. I named her Mollie.
Mollie was like any other cat. She would cuddle with you only when she wanted to. She knew her name, but only answered when she wanted to. Sometimes you would pet her, and she would bite you. Mollie liked to hiss to get what she wanted. Usually she wanted to be left alone.
But Mollie was not like any other cat. She loved to play with my brother and me. When people came over, she didn’t run away – she would sit right on the couch and see what was going on. If you were sick she would stay with you. She loved to go outside and would lay next to me while I was reading or writing papers.
Still, she didn’t like many people. She was curious about people, but didn’t like many of them. She’s hissed at everyone in my family and probably every single person who ever came over my house.
After Nick took me out on our first date, we came back to my parents’ house to talk. The two of us were sitting on the couch when Mollie jumped up and sat right on his lap. I told Nick that Mollie didn’t like many people – she hardly ever sat on anyone’s lap besides my mom, dad, brother, or me. I was so impressed that she sat on his lap and let him pet her. I still joke that her approval was the reason we went out for a second date.
High school can be rough. But your pets are alway there for you. Mollie sat with me as I stayed up late studying. She was there for me when I cried over bullies and had boyfriend woes and stayed up late studying. As I packed up to go away to college, she sat in my suitcase.
Every time I came home from college, Mollie came right up to me as if I had never left.
After college, I moved back home. Again, she stayed up late with me as I got my Masters online. She cuddled with me when Nick was deployed on his submarine.
When I moved to Hawaii, it was clear that my parents would be keeping her. They had been taking care of her all of this time. She had become theirs.
Still, every time I cam home, Mollie was there for me. She would cuddle with me on the couch like I had never left.
But her favorite person in the entire world was my dad.
She brought out a side to my dad that I had never seen before Every single night, she would sit on his lap and they would watch TV together and eat snacks. As soon as my dad sat down in his chair, Mollie knew. No matter where she was in the house she would run and sit on his lap. She wouldn’t move unless he did. She followed him around the house and wouldn’t even consider sitting on anyone else’s lap is he was around. She was obsessed with him.
Somehow, we became a cat-obsessed family. My mom would send me cards with pictures of cats on them. Every single year, my brother and I would get my dad a cat calendar and any other ridiculous cat related things we could find. One year I think we got him a cat puzzle.
As she got older, Mollie started moving slower. She didn’t want to play as much. She slept more. But she always sat on my dad’s lap. And she always wanted to go outside to lay in the sun.
Every time I would go home, I would be sure to pay extra attention to her. I would give her an extra hug and make sure I told her I loved her. I was always afraid I would never see her again.
But she was strong. She was 18 years old. She loved my dad and I think at the end she was holding on for him. All she wanted was to be near him.
I wanted to believe that she would always be there, as she had almost all of my life. I have lived more years with Mollie in my life than without her. I’m 29, and she was 18.
Then last week, I got a call from my mom. Mollie had a stroke. She had to be put down. My parents stayed with her until the end. I’m sure she was looking at my dad before she closed her eyes.
Cats get a bad rap, but they are pretty bad-ass animals. If anyone asks, I always tell them that I’m a dog person. But Mollie made me a secret cat person.
Cats are so many things that I want to be – strong, independent, and brave. They can fall from any height, but they always land on their feet.
How could anyone not love cats?
Thank you, Mollie, for your fierceness, your independence, your fearlessness, and your strong will.
Thank you, Mollie. Thank you for the cuddles. Thank you for being someone I could confide all my secrets to. Thank you for taking such good care of my parents after my brother and I left the house.
Thank you, Mollie.