Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 8)

Murray was dumped at a construction site in Williamsburg. He was motherless and barely a week old. He was found by a Hasidic developer and dropped off at BARC in a box along with his brother and sister.

That’s how Murray came to be in this world.

Yesterday, Lisa Cat (of BARC shelter fame) put up this amazingly cute photograph of a very small, orphaned kitten. I was beside myself. (Click that link, I dare you.) As with many of the little guys, this baby will be bottle-fed by one of the staff members at BARC. Our Murray was bottle-fed by a gentleman named PJ for the first few weeks of his life. Later, Lisa fostered him and her job was to plump him up, play with him, and love him until he grew old enough to be neutered and adopted.

Right about the time Lisa was fostering Murray (at the time his name was Cherokee) we were saying goodbye to our most beloved cat, Schmitty. That was a really rough time for both Tobyjoe and me. A lot of tears were shed; we suffered through a lot of really sad days and a lot of sleepless nights. Saying goodbye to Schmitty was one of the harder things I’ve had to do to be perfectly honest. (It’s still hard.) One day, while looking at my computer screen through a blurry wall of tears, I saw this picture on Lisa’s photo stream. Distraught and missing my striped man, I left a comment asking if he was still available.

That’s how Murray was introduced to us.

What I didn’t know at the time of leaving that comment, was that Lisa had already emailed me suggesting we come to BARC to meet Cherokee, that he was an old soul and she thought he’d be a perfect match for us. But what I remember the most about her email was when she wrote, “You need to laugh.”

That’s how Murray came to be in our home.

I read recently that a cat’s personality is defined during the first couple of weeks of its life. I can’t say whether that’s true or not; I haven’t asked. But the more I get to know Murray and the older he gets, the more and more I’m starting to believe it. You see Murray is one of the most trusting animals I’ve ever met. He is not afraid of anyone. He is kind, playful, alarmingly snuggly, and needy as all hell. He looks to us for food, comfort, love, and companionship. It’s almost like he was raised by humans, humans named PJ and Lisa.

Like every other cat, when Murray sleeps he dreams. I watch tails flick wildly when it’s naptime. I watch their whiskers twitch, their eyes move rapidly, and their little feet move. Of course they’re dreaming about living in the wild ready to take down a large antelope or a New York City cockroach. Murray dreams like that as well, but he also does something much more peculiar and adorable. He doesn’t knead pillows and human bellies like Tucker does. He doesn’t make us biscuits like Pookum. He probably doesn’t even know what that means since he never had a mother. Instead of pushing on plump, soft things in search of milk, Murray nurses a bottle when he sleeps. And today I have video of it.

That’s how Murray makes me thankful.

To Lisa, PJ, and the rest of BARC, thank your for being so loving toward animals. You make me believe in angels.


  1. The healing power of adopted/rescued kittens is immense. Especially when they are as cute as Mr. Murray. That video is total cute-overload material.


  2. When we first got Murray, I would tell Toby, “Screw antidepressants, doctors should prescribe animals to people who are down.”

    He seriously brought me so much joy at a time I really, really needed it.


  3. OMG. I think my cuteness quota for the day is overflowing. That video.. just too much. How wonderful.


  4. Not much to say except that I’m crying here. Lots of happy tears.


  5. That is so cute. He’s a very handsome boy. Eleanor(Murray’s sister) barely slows down enough to sleep. She does do a little kneading though.


  6. Kate, I think it’s truly awesome we know who adopted Murray’s sister. I can’t believe she’s so spastic! Don’t get me wrong, he can be truly insane if he wants to – out of his mind, in fact. But his snug times are not to be missed.


  7. oh my god, he is so freakin’ cute!


  8. Wow. This is just heart-melting. Oh, little Murray, you’re beyond cute.


  9. are you sure he is not starting to talk?


  10. Funny you should say that. Last night we put this video with the fast talking part in “It’s the End of the World” by REM and it was quite the funny little montage.

    Maybe he is trying to sing to us.


  11. Murray is so cute. And he looks like he is dreaming about food in that video!

    He reminds me of our cat, Raymond Carver, a tabby with similar markings to Murray’s.

    We adopted Raymond from a shelter when he was about two. The shelter had saved him from an elderly gentleman in a trailer park in New Hampshire who had been taking care of him for about a year – after a family left him behind when they moved away. The old guy was moving into a convalescent center and couldn’t take Raymond with him.

    That part just broke my heart.

    We picked Raymond out from a 10 ft by 5 ft room with over 40 cats in it! We still call it Kitty Jail. So sad! Raymond was one of the most mellow cats there and his sweetness and friendliness just came across. He was a low key love. For example when Mark turned around after petting him to look at another cat, Raymond reached out and softly tapped on Mark’s back until he turned around again.

    We brought him home and he purred for over a week nonstop.

    The shelter had named him Roscoe. And the caption under his name read “Fat Castrated Male”. It was so funny. He was a little bit fat then but has lost weight – mostly because we got him a kitten to keep him company soon after we brought him home.

    Her name is chou-chou and she is also a shelter kitty. She was only 10 ounces when we got her. She wasn’t just skinny she just hadn’t really grown at all. They said she was the size of a 10-12 week old kitty but they said she was at least 7 months old. Someone had starved her and then abandoned her in a posh Boston neighborhood. After we brought her home she ate constantly for months, ballooning up to 14 lbs, and more than doubling her body length. In the two years since we got her she has lost all that extra weight, and now she’s only about 5 lbs. She’s finally learned that there will always be food and love here for her.

    She was a spastic kitty, and still is. She still plays constantly (while Raymond sleeps) and runs around maniacally like she’s still a kitten. She quite a few behavior problems when we brought her home. It took her about 6 months to stop biting us every time we touched her. We should have known when the shelter said they would pay for behavior therapy for her, indefinitely, that there was something special about her.

    Now she likes to be petted (by adults) and even lets us pick her up for 5 seconds or so at a time. She is a love though, she greets me at the door every day purring ferociously, insists on jumping on the back of a chair to smell my face to say hello and she sleeps on my feet or pillow at night.

    I guess I was inspired to share. Kitties are good friends, aren’t they?


  12. I LOVE kitty stories. Please don’t ever stop sharing them with me. They never get old.

    Thank you, Sheryl.


  13. Sigh, that makes me so happy. Thank you, mihow.


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