Our cat "Nuna" passed away at age 16 a few years ago. It was hard. She was a great friend. We went a year with no pets. I didn't want to replace Nuna right away but I also don't like living in a house without a pet. It feels wrong. It feels weird. A house does not seem right to me without an animal friend. Alex and I decided to go the SPCA and look at kittens. Alex was admittedly not a cat person, so I was excited at his change of heart and we made plans to meet at the SPCA after work one day. We had also read that pets were wonderful for drawing language out of children with autism.
We entered the SPCA and asked about kittens. We did not bring the girls because we were undecided about whether we would bring a kitten home. We were taken to a room full of fluffy, adorable fur balls. Each one cuter than the next. Alex, always the voice of reason, suggested we look at an older cat. The engineer in him could not help but point out these kittens might be all style and no substance. As they piled on top of one another to reach us I let Alex tear me away to the room with the older cats.
We were taken to a smaller room where three 'teenaged' cats sat. The first, was a pure white, long haired beauty. This cat lazed on her bed and regarded us as furniture. She was beautiful and I immediately wanted her. The next was a sleek black cat. He eyed us warily as we were disturbing his slumber. I was deciding between these two beauties when I noticed Alex playing with a little tabby by the door. I immediately dismissed the plain looking tabby and brought over the fluffy, white 'worthy of a Cottonelle commercial' kitty. Alex was not having it:
"That cat doesn't even care that we are here, Shanell. Look at this little guy (referring to the tabby playfully winding around his ankles). He is so social. He can't get enough of us."
I pleaded for the pretty kitty awhile longer but I was beginning to see that the little tabby already 'had' Alex. Alex, the 'dog person'. Alex, the 'cats are not even friendly' person. That tabby had claimed Alex and I knew it so I set down the pretty white cat and who didn't seem to notice our presence and walked by the sleek black cat, who gave me a swat on the way by, and headed over to our new cat; the tabby that was perched on Alex's shoulder waiting to go home.
We quickly went through the adoption process and took our cat home, excited to see the girl's faces when we came through the door. We were not disappointed.
'Monty Snowday Mouland' was named by Grace that evening and he settled in nicely. I have written about Monty here and here and those that know our family know that this little cat was amazing therapy for both of our daughters. He motivated Kate to use language and he allowed her to squish and squeeze him without protest. Our girls carried him around like a baby doll and I swear he loved it. He never purred louder than when he was in their arms.
We tease that Monty was our autism therapy cat, but that is really no joke. He was therapy for our whole family. Helping Kate with socializing and language. Teaching Grace responsibility and giving her a friend. Turning Alex into a Cat person and completing our home as pets do.
Yesterday, after a wonderful day attending a GoTeamKate event that went off without a hitch, we were sitting on our back deck with friends when we noticed Kate was cuddling Monty in the grass. We hadn't seen Monty in over a day but this wasn't odd for him. He loved being outdoors. When we looked closer we could see that Monty was hurt. He could not walk well and he didn't look right. We called the emergency vet and rushed him in. The doctor told us that Monty's pelvis was fractured in multiple places and he had nerve damage among other injuries. She suspected he had been hit by a car. He would not recover. You know what happened next. Our little tabby wasn't come home with us and we were devastated. How would we tell Grace? The unsaid part was that Kate would not understand but she would notice he was gone, in her own way.
We talked after the girls were in bed about how awesome Monty was. We figured he was probably saving a busload of autistic children from danger when we was hit by that car. Or he was saving a baby robin from the claws of an eagle when he got hurt. We know it was something heroic like that. Monty was an amazing cat and we want you all to know it.
We will miss you Monty.