Sixteen years ago, someone brought an adorable six-week-old calico kitten to a very nice cage-free no-kill animal shelter. A year after that, I adopted her. Soon after I brought Holly home, she taught me her favorite game. It’s called Throw. Here’s how it works:

  1. Holly brings me a cat toy.
  2. Holly gives me the verbal command to Throw.
  3. I throw the toy.
  4. Holly chases the toy, picks it up, brings it to me, and gives me positive reinforcement.
  5. Steps 2-4 are repeated more times than I can count.

We’ve been playing this game pretty regularly for the last 15 years or so. The only problem is that after a year or two, Holly changed the rules. Now it goes like this:

  1. Holly brings me a cat toy.
  2. Holly gives me the verbal command to Throw.
  3. I throw the toy.
  4. Holly chases the toy, picks it up, drops it, and runs back to me.
  5. Holly repeats step 2, while I try to explain that I can’t throw the toy because I don’t have it.

No matter how many times I try to explain that I can’t throw a toy that I don’t have, Holly remains optimistic that I will throw it anyway. Holly’s optimism is part of her generally sunny disposition. She’s also equipped with Insta-Purr™: she’ll start purring the moment I begin to pet her; she’ll also purr if I talk to her, or even if I pet my other cat.

Speaking of which, here’s a picture I took of Holly and my other cat, Thunder, last year.

Holly’s the calico on the left; Thunder’s the tabby on the right.

Recently, though, things have changed. About a week and a half ago, Holly started acting like she was feeling a little unwell. Last weekend, she stopped eating. On Tuesday, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Holly last Sunday

There’s not really much that can be done to treat her cancer (other than surgery, which would be pretty brutal), so her vet and I agreed to just give her palliative care to keep her as comfortable and happy as possible. She’s actually feeling much better now than she was a week ago — the vet gave her fluids and prescribed an appetite stimulant, and she’s eating (a little) now and seems to have perked up quite a bit.

Holly yesterday afternoon.

So for now we’re just taking it a day at a time.


25 thoughts on “Introductions

  1. denise:)

    I’m so sorry. She seems like a very sweet cat with all the games & purring. I miss my kitty still & totally sympathize with what you’re going through. Here’s to a happy life she has had with you and a pain free finale. And for you the strength you’ll need to know when it’s time. :(

  2. Reggie

    Aw, Holly is a beautiful cat – clearly with a sense of humour too. I am so sorry to hear she is ill. Sending happy and loving healing thoughts your way…

  3. Hippie Cahier

    She may be a calico cat, and a lovely one at that, but she also appears to have been part labrador retriever who morphed into Doberman pinscher. I have been through this sad time with a few of those and I know how your heart is aching. I am sorry.

    1. Laura Post author

      Thanks. The way you can tell she’s a cat is that Throw is a very different game from Fetch. In Fetch, the dog asks you to throw the toy; in Throw, the cat instructs you to throw it.

    2. Laura Post author

      Thank you, also, for the genuine heartfelt message of support. (Shaking off my virtual persona is harder than I thought it would be).

  4. speaker7

    Holly sounds like an awesome cat. I lost my nearly 18 year old cat Reina a year and a half ago. I had her since she was 6 weeks old. She was an awesome cat too. It sucks. That’s all I can say…it just sucks.

  5. carolofthebells

    I’m so sorry. Keeping you both in prayer. The last time I had to put down a buddy cat, oh, such a lovebug of my girls, too, I made the giant vet and his poor assistant cry as well. I vowed there’d never be another cat here (nor in my heart) after Larry, uh, so then came a dog! I can’t take all this love and goodbye anymore, but I must say that I had a sure feeling as I left the building on that last-cat-day, that Lare was now running free for the first time in his life — with no fear of cars or dogs, no worries, no illness — just utterly bounding in joy out back of the place. Still, it sucked. Hence, I will be praying also that genuine sleep simply takes a deep hold of Holly one day, and you won’t have to decide.

  6. spilledinkguy

    That’s just awful, Laura…
    I am so very sorry to hear Holly is so sick. It’s obvious you are doing everything you can for her, though. And I’m sure she can sense that… and it must be a great comfort to her.
    Sending my very best thoughts your way.

    1. Laura Post author

      Holly was her name at the shelter. When I first brought her home, I spent a few days trying to think of a name for her, and then I realized that the name she already had really suited her.

  7. Queen Gen

    That’s terrible news. I’m so sorry for you. My cat Shiny just died from FIV – we battled infection after infection for 6 months and lost. It’s so devastating to lose a pet, especially when you’re helpless to save them. They’re family.

  8. Ro

    Im so sorry about Holly. She sounded like a very smart cat. I’m currently going through the same situation with my 2nd cat. I would like your advice or opinion on what to do. If we can please communicate through email. I just found your blog and I hope you will get this in time. Thank you.


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