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Why We Didn’t Want Pets — Dave Morgan Says Goodbye to Two Family Members

Curly Jo and Munchkin
Curly Jo and Munchkin (Dave Morgan)

The story begins one morning in 1996 when I was mowing the yard. I came upon this small ball of fur sleeping in the grass, and I thought that the closer I got with the mower, it would eventually wake up and get out of the way. No such luck. So, when I got close enough, I stopped the mower and reached down to move it. The little ball of fur came up hissing and spitting, much to my amusement.

"He was such a little dude we named him Munchkin. Little did we know he would run the house for the next 18 years."A few days later, he showed up on our patio, and the contest began. I would take him back home next door, and he would race me back to our place. Sometimes he actually got back before I did. We found out that his mother had abandoned him since he was the runt of the litter. When we took him to the vet for the first time he weighed all of 20 ounces and could sit comfortably in the palm of my hand. The vet told us to feed him canned food and his growth began. The next time we took him back he weighed 3 pounds, but he was not well. We were given some medicine to give him including stuff to clear up his eyes. He was such a little dude we named him Munchkin.

Little did we know he would run the house for the next 18 years.

I remember that before we brought him in, we found an old shoe box and put an old towels in it for him to sleep in. He loved it. I used to refer to him as our intrepid explorer. He would get into the purses of visitors, and we had to be careful when we went into our clothes closet. If he was in the room, he’d run into the closet and hide in a corner. I recall passing by our room one day and saw the top of the clothes hamper up with Chubber, our other cat at the time, sitting next to it. Closer investigation revealed that Munchkin had found his way into the hamper, but couldn’t get out. He was Ginger’s cat, or she was his human. He literally slept on her.

Enter Curly Jo and her kittens in 1999. Yes, she was named after one of the three stooges as were her brothers Moe and Larry. Didn’t weigh much more than 6 or 7 pounds yet had a litter of 6 kittens! We were able to adopt out three and kept Hokey, Pokey, and Lady Jane Grey. When the kittens tried to join us in bed, Munchkin would sit on the edge of bed and swat at them to keep them off the bed. He was the boss. He also got me up a couple of times each night to be fed. And it had to be me who fed him. Munch managed to last 18 years with us and passed away in August of this year.

"Curly Jo was always rather stand-offish. Difficult to catch. She was the stereotypical aloof feline. ‘You may feed me, but don’t touch me.’"Two years ago, Curly Jo was diagnosed as diabetic, and we learned how to give insulin shots. Actually, Ginger got to give the shots, I was the holder. Her blood glucose was pretty much all over the place. Finally, last year, our vet recommended we take her to the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for an ultrasound. It showed stuff floating around her kidneys, so she spent a few nights there and was treated with antibiotics successfully. She went back for another stay in December of last year for some endoscopic procedures. She was prescribed some oral steroids and her blood glucose levels became more stable. I began referring to her as my ten-thousand dollar cat.

Curly Jo was always rather stand-offish. Difficult to catch. She was the stereotypical aloof feline. “You may feed me, but don’t touch me.” When it was time to try to catch her for a trip to the vet she would often run and hide in the spare bedroom. The fabric on the box spring there was off, so she would hide in the box spring, knowing full well that I wasn’t going to get her there.

I remember when it was time to return from evacuation from Hurricane Rita, she hid herself in the motel room between the refrigerator and the wall of the room. I bravely reached in and grabbed her and got her back into her carrier. When she wanted food, she would find me on the couch and sit down in front of me and stare at until I got up. We noticed on Christmas Eve she wasn’t eating much, and didn’t eat anything on Christmas Day. Took her to the vet on Friday to discover that her kidneys were failing. She was put down that evening. I decided to stay out of curiosity, I guess. Curly Jo was the fourth cat we’ve lost but the first I stayed for. The vet said I could leave if I wanted because “she won’t know who you are anyway”. She was sedated and administered the fatal dose of whatever it is they use.

That’s why we didn’t want pets. We have 6 more.

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