Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 70)

Murray has been out of his mind for over a week. And by out of his mind I mean he’s acting like a kitten again. At first we were surprised by the apparent sudden burst of energy. Where had it come from and why?

You know how sometimes you live with someone for a while and they put on weight and you put on weight and neither one of you notices until one day you’re looking through some old photographs and you think, Wow! We’ve gotten fat together!

Or how about whenever you live with someone and you’re looking at a video taken a year earlier and you think to yourself, You’re growing up way too fast, little man! Slow down!

You know how that happens?

“I thought he was just growing up.” Toby had said.

It was a while ago (a long while) that I came home to find the remainder of a chewed up nipple from one of Em’s Born Free bottles. I am not sure why I didn’t immediately panic. I think it’s because this has happened a few times before. Murray eats everything, and up until two weeks ago he’s always worked it out. Nine times out of ten he doesn’t actually swallow whatever it is he’s chewed up. (Take the stethoscope, for example.)

But this last time he wasn’t able to work it out. Instead, he became increasingly sicker. He became more and more lethargic. He didn’t particularly want to play as much. He wasn’t running around as he once had. His energy level had been decreasing slowly over time, the process took long enough that we hadn’t really noticed.

For for too long, Murray felt unwell and I should have noticed. I should have assumed he had eaten the pieces. I should have taken him in for an x-ray just to make sure.

But I didn’t.

And he became sicker and whenever the change in personality failed to let us know, his body took over.

Think what you will about my denial regarding Murray’s condition. I’ve thought it and I deserve it. I think the Catholic girl in me craves the purgatory actually. But that’s not the worst part about all of this. The worst part is how we so readily and easily rationalized the change in his behavior.

“I thought he was growing up too.”

When did “growing up” become synonymous with joyless and lethargic? When did “growing up” come to mean giving up on everything that makes oneself (and others) happy? At what point during my 35 years did I agree to such nonsense?

I think I finally figured out why I’m so attached to Murray: he consistently humbles me. He chisels away at all the adult, grumpy shit. Murray’s youthful demeanor makes me feel younger as well. And while my adoration for him may be a little self-fulfilling, I certainly don’t think it will hurt anyone.

It’s mighty great having him back but I wish I’d never let it him go.


(Starring: Murray and Emory. Song by: Tom Waits – “I Don’t Want To Grow Up”)

Edited to add: Upon rereading this post (and a couple of email), I realize now that it may come off a little more serious than I had intended. It lacks the tone of my voice, without that, it reads like a real downer. My apologies!


  1. What is the name of that toy that spits the balls out??? Anthony would go NUTS for it, I can tell.


  2. Patty: It’s PlaySkool. Click here.


  3. Don’t beat yourself up too badly. The main lesson is that we really needed to be attuned to our loved ones, including cat children, and see any changes such as lethargy to indicate that something bad might be going on. As for guilt…sheesh, try being a Jewish mother to cats! g…there are quite a few things that i’ve learned over the years of being a mother to cats that have made me feel really bad (such as agreeing to have a cat put down when he was diagnosed with feline leukemia. Yes, that was 30 years ago and now we know that the diagnosis of FeLk isn’t an automatic death sentence…but i wish i hadn’t so easily decided that death was “best” for him.) But each thing i’ve learned has enabled me to be a better mother to the cats that have come along since. And for your real point, yes, absolutely, growing up does NOT have to mean becoming joyless and grumpy.


  4. Adorable video of your guys! I didn’t even see it there before (net nannies at work don’t let us view streaming videos). Very funny pics and nicely edited.


  5. Oh, that is so cute. When my little boy grows up, I want him to be just like Emory!


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