Thursday, September 15, 2011

Smoke, Finnegan, and Molly's Adoption Stories

Finnegan and Molly snuggling

Pets' names: Smoke, Finnegan, and Molly
Adopted by: Mary Ellen and Jeff
From: Animal Rescue League of Boston and PAWS Wakefield in Wakefield, Mass.

Mary Ellen tells the story of a cat she recently said goodbye to and explains how she found her current kitty pair. 

In February 1997, my now ex-husband and I went to the Animal Rescue League in Boston in search of a cat. As I wandered through the room full of cats in cages, my ex called me over to look at a handsome longhaired tomcat. As I walked over, though, a paw darted out from one of the cages and snagged my sweater sleeve. I looked down, and there was a sweet little black cat, with a little white spot under her chin, rubbing against the cage door and purring like mad. She had picked me, I figured, so I took her home.

Smoke was my best buddy for the next 14 years—she was with with me through my divorce from that awful ex, through moves, through happy times and bad ones. She slept next to me every night, usually using my hand as a pillow. She was clumsy, clever, goofy, and beautiful. She was never one to sit on your lap, but she liked to curl up next to me on the couch while I knitted and watched TV. When I met the man I would later marry, she sized him up and decided he was a good catch. She adored Jeff—she'd let him pick her up, dangle her upside-down, tickle her belly—all things that, if I had tried, I'd have lost a hand!


A few months ago, in early March, I noticed a hard lump on her jaw. Jeff and I took her to the vet, who confirmed my fears: she had a squamous cell carcinoma in her jawbone, and it was fairly advanced. The vet gave us two options—do surgery, and remove almost all of Smoke's lower jaw, and then do radiation, or give her antibiotics and pain meds, keep her happy and comfortable until she wasn't able to eat anymore, and then bring her back to be put to sleep. We opted for the latter—I couldn't justify putting her through a major surgery, with all the pain and fear that would entail, when it wouldn't really prolong her life by much.

We ended up having her for a little over a month. On April 21, she let me know that she was ready to go. She wasn't interested in the chicken Jeff was roasting for dinner—and prior to her illness, she'd have been climbing his legs to get at that chicken! She was subdued, and quiet, but happy—I could tell that she was ready. We took her to the vet the next day, and I held her close and told her how much I loved her, and what a good, good cat she's been, and she went to sleep for the last time. It broke my heart, but it was the right decision to make for her.

Jeff and I knew we wanted another cat—or, even better, a pair of cats. Smoke never got along with other cats at all, so she was an only kitty. We started looking on Petfinder and found a listing for a lovely female kitty available through PAWS Wakefield, and sent an email inquiring about her. Alas, she had just been adopted, but the PAWS volunteer mentioned a pair of sibling kitties, a male and female, who needed a good home. We went to the foster home and met them, and fell in love immediately. After doing all the adoption paperwork and paying the fees, we waited for a week or so, biting our nails, until the rescue group decided we could adopt them. That afternoon, we went and picked up Finnegan, a lovely orange tabby, and Molly, a sweet calico.

Molly is a sassy little thing and is QUITE sure that she rules the house. Finnegan is sweet, and a little shy. He's more timid around Jeff—I suspect that whoever had them before the foster home was not especially kind to him. (I know they had been adopted by an older couple who returned them because they were "too rambunctious." They aren't, at all—they get their fits of kitty-crazies in the evenings, and chase each other all over the place, but what cat doesn't do that?) Finnegan sticks to me like Velcro, following me around, snuggling in my lap, sleeping next to me like a teddy bear. Molly diligently grooms Finn, washing his face and ears, and whapping him upside the head with her Paw of Doom when she thinks he needs it. They are a delight, and while they don't replace Smoke, I can't imagine life without them.

Sister and brother

Finnegan smiles

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