AJ Long

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Miss Molly

The street that I live on has a number of “neighborhood cats,” but there was one house that produced a good amount of them – our neighbor’s home. In fact, the first cat I’d ever had in my life came from them, the same black cat we have today, Clydder. Clydder is very much his own cat, like a prince. He was part of a litter of four kittens, and one of the others was a girl named Molly. The neighbors already had enough animals in their house, and once the kittens were old enough, we took in Clydder. Molly, however, stayed with them for a good while. That all changed in late 2017 when something a bit personal happened to the neighbors, forcing them to move out of their home, and in the process, the cats at their home became abandoned. The worst part about it was that some of them went with the neighbors, while the others were left behind. Molly was one of those cats.

Of course, we knew about Molly. She lived next door, after all. She is a mackerel tabby with tan and black colors. She also loves attention, among other things. With nowhere else to go, she began to hang around in our front yard and porch. With time, she started sleeping out there. The question on our mind was “Is she our cat or not?” The answer eventually became “Yes.” We started feeding her because if we didn’t, who else would? At first, we were hesitant, but posting a Facebook ad about her, hoping someone was interested, helped quell that uneasiness about taking her in. In the end, though, we never found anyone that we were comfortable with. Molly became our outside cat, and truth be told, she was the moment the neighbors moved out.

What really threw a wrench into the works was what happened in March 2018. We had been noticing signs that Molly might be pregnant, and she ended up giving birth on our side porch. I still remember getting home from school that day; my mom hadn’t told me about it yet, and she had to be very upfront about it. There’s not a lot of ways to skirt around your outside cat giving birth to three kittens right beside your fence. More specifically, she gave birth inside of an empty green box that had been lying outside. Of course, having Molly as an outside cat was enough – we couldn’t deal with three more kittens. The thing is, though, kittens can’t be separated from their mother for adoption until weeks after they’re born. So, we had to take care of them until they were old enough to find a new home. We took that same green box, laid some blankets inside of it, and cut a little square hole in it to act as a home for the family of cats. 

We found that each of the kittens had personalities. We also gave them names just to distinguish them, but of course, that comes with the danger of becoming too attached. Nonetheless, the black kitten became “Night” – for obvious reasons. She was adventurous, being the first to go out of their corner and start walking, and more than a little crazy. She often play-fought with “Tiger,” named for his tiger-like coat. Then there was “Tobey,” a shy, gray kitten that was the closest thing to a runt. It was fascinating to watch them grow in those few weeks and how our side porch, connected to the backyard, was essentially their entire world.

In the end, though, it came time for them to find new homes. Tobey actually ended up going to the Goodson’s home during Bradey’s senior year. His mother was really drawn to Tobey, but they could only deal with getting one kitten. The other two, Night and Tiger, went to a friend of my cousin. Unfortunately, they apparently already had lots of pets and ended up giving them to one of their friends, whom we didn’t know.

It’s definitely a bittersweet situation – the mix of uncertainty but also thankfulness that they’re gone, even if that’s not the feeling that’s usually admitted. We knew from day one they had to go, but Molly has stayed, usually lounging on the porch or “keeping watch” on the stone stairs. All of our reluctance about her has vanished, and she’s a part of the family like any pet would be. What I learned from it all was that something good can always come out of an uneasy situation. After her abandonment, was Molly our cat or was she not? In the end, she was, and even though there’s been ups and downs, my family is very glad to have rescued her.

Please click on the arrow below to hear AJ’s Senior Reading.