Ms. Motley (1984-1999) — A Most Unusual Cat by Dr. Rick Rickards
"It was with great regret that I parted company with my old friend and constant female companion, Ms. Motley. She was a beautiful calico feline with more than the usual share of wisdom and poise. She had a presence, which was palpable. She handled her role on television and radio with equal ease. Ms. Motley made her annual appearance perched on my arm for the WVIZ auction. When I worked on three different radio stations, she used to sit by me for two hours or more. Her job to take the "cat calls" and she would almost always purr on command. At the end of each show, we would sign off together.
I would say, "Talk to the animals" and her line was "Purr to the people." Our last show was in the summer of 1998. I remember once when we made a series of TV commercials together in 1988 for Bil-Jac Foods. It required more than 30 takes under hot lights before we were through, but she never panicked. She was the cool one.
When Ms. Motley was a mere kitten, she was found half starved, trying to get into the garbage. I took her in to fatten her up before sending her to the humane shelter for adoption. She had different ideas. Mot-Mot clung to me so closely that I had no choice but to make her my "familiar spirit." We went everywhere together; she rode in the car with me, sitting on my lap with her two little front feet covering my left elbow. That was her favorite place.
Not all her activities were human-oriented. She was a regular tomboy in her youth and would climb trees and perch for hours in the highest branches. Ms. Motley was a great mouser, too. Her skills were unmatched in this department. She took pride in her work. I remember one night when she caught a mouse at 3 a.m. and placed it, live and unharmed, on the face of my significant other! It was meant as a surprise gift and it succeeded.
We would like our pets to live forever, but they are mortal, just like the rest of us. Ms. Motley lived 15 years, and I was saddened to find that she had developed breast cancer last year. As I am veterinary surgeon, I removed the tumor and she made a rapid recovery, even though the pathologist gave us a very bad prognosis. Early this year, she developed a lot more of the same tumors and, once again, I performed her surgery. This time, she did well for a month, but soon I had to admit that in spite of all my efforts, she was slowly slipping away. She went blind in one eye, she lost a lot of weight, but she kept on eating and purring. Right to the very end, she always loved to ride on my lap in the car with her two front feet over my left elbow.
I guess there's such a thing as loving an animal too much. As a result, we try to ignore the fact that they are dying. I came to that conclusion just recently. It took me a long time, but I finally realized that it was not fair to keep her alive with daily doses of fluids and powerful medications just because I did not want to lose her. So, I resolved to do the only decent and honorable thing for my old friend. My colleague kindly offered to do it for me but I would not agree. If someone was to put down Ms. Motley, it had to be me. How I hated to do it. Not only was I losing my old sweetheart, but I was forced to admit a medical and surgical defeat. It was not easy! When the deed was to be done, Ms. Mot sat quietly and actually gave me her paw (not a usual gesture) and purred loudly. It was all over quickly and she was gone.
I miss her very much. I will never forget the way she always had to watch me each day when I took a shower, the way she would purr so hard that she would drool. Every night, she would find some way to snuggle up and perch on me when I was asleep. Everybody should be as lucky as me."