Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 81)

I learned Friday that Murray isn’t only a little Internet famous. He’s also famous at a certain emergency veterinary clinic here in Brooklyn. He’s famous because of how much he enjoys chewing plastic and rubber.

When I walked into the ER on Friday, the head doctor—like, the guy with his name on the plaque everywhere, the cute one swamped with surgeries—stopped by to say hello personally. He told me that when he heard the name of the patient in exam room 3, he said, “Murray? WAIT! I know Murray! That’s the cat who likes pacifiers!” (Remember this?)

I wanted to be proud of the fact that the vet knew us by name, and at first I was. But then it occurred to me that my cat is famous for trying to bankrupt us or kill himself, and so I stifled that feeling of pride.

In November we had to make an emergency trip to that same vet because he started projectile vomiting. That ordeal cost us a paw and a leg because the nipple top (which is what the ended up digging out of there among other things) was lodged just inside his small intestines. They were able to scope it, but it was very difficult and took a lot longer than it would have had it just been in his stomach.

This time, it was in stomach, so they were able to get in there and out in no time at all.

The good news is—since we’re famous there and all—the doctor squeezed us in right away so that Murray might return home within a few hours. This helped us out a bit financially. (The longer the stay the more expensive.) It also meant that Murray didn’t have to spend the night. (He doesn’t do well with strangers and even worse if he’s surrounded by barking dogs.)

This operation, while still very pricey, was half what we paid the last time. That’s the good news.

There’s a lot of bad news, though.

I wish I could tell you that this was a new scenario, but it was eerily close to what happened to us the last time. In fact, the x-rays were so similar I joked with the vet who referred us that they didn’t even snap a new x-ray and instead used the one from November. They were so similar, the staff at the ER laughed out loud together when comparing them.

Who could be proud of that?

Murray ate a piece of rubber from a toy earlier last week and successfully passed that item. But then Thursday rolled around and I discovered the remains of a chewed up bottle nipple on our bed. That’s when I knew we were in trouble.

That’s right, Internet, the exact same item landed us in the hospital.

I think it may be time to ween Emory off his last couple of daily bottles. But this is what happens whenever you try and give him milk in his big-boy cup, he’ll drink water and juice out of the big-boy cup, but NOT milk.



I have to figure out how to get two of my boys off the plastic.

Anyway, I’d like to suggest that this recent trip to the ER was due entirely to our carelessness, but I don’t think that’s the case. Murray is insane. Last night, while scanning the house looking for more items he might consume, we made the following discovery:

Surely he’ll be able to pass that, right? I have upped his fiber intake just incase.

We now tip-toe around the apartment, wondering what half-mangled piece of rubber we’ll discover next. And I’m a little curious about what other items have made their way through his little body in the two years he’s been with us.

I fear that Murray is a ticking time bomb.

P.S. I am WAY behind on email. I owe quite a bit of responses to your questions. I hate that I’m using this page to say as much, but I will get back to you as soon as I find a little time and health. (Still sick.) Vaccine questions, cat questions, and medical questions will be answered soon. I am so sorry I have been so out of it lately.


  1. murray needs an intervention!

    quit the rubber, murray!


  2. I’m so sorry about Murray, but am glad to hear that he’s doing better.

    I just wanted to comment on Em’s problem giving up the bottle. We just went through the same issue, and finally have weaned to a straw cup. My daughter (15 months) did not want to drink milk out of any cup, and we tried many different kinds. We finally just got tough and only gave her milk through her straw cup (which seemed to be the one she prefered best, but she still didn’t like it much) and after about two weeks, she’s finally drinking enough milk with no problem. For a while there, I felt like she’d never get there, and I don’t think she was getting enough milk during that transition time (so I made she she got enough calcium etc from food). But magically one day she just started drinking. It was hard, but we did it, and, once you’re ready, I know you’ll be able to do it too.


  3. Our cat also likes plasticy type things, but so far, he seems to restrain himself—he only licks the plastic. Except for our new shower liner, which he enjoys ripping to shreds with his teeth. At least he doesn’t actually seem to be ingesting any of it. Yet. Our cat does, however, like to PLAY with bottle nipples. We had to start storing them in the cupboard so that he couldn’t get to them.

    And my son is right there with Emory on the “sippy cups do not work for milk” situation. Even at daycare, where the teachers are miracle workers with all sorts of other things, Matthew refuses to nap without having his bottle first. Sippy cups are great for those fun drinks like water and juice, but if we’re getting serious here and talking about milk, well, you’d best be bringing out the bottle.


  4. Oh, for sure. At daycare, he NEEDS his bottle before bedtime. I wasn’t giving him a bottle there at first until I realized he was an absolute crazy person from lack of sleep whenever I picked him up. I then said, screw it! Kid is going to have his bottle.

    We give him bottles before naptime and at night before bed. He really loves them—like, loves them so much. Oh well.

    The hard part is making sure Murray doesn’t steal them from him. What a freak this cat is.


  5. I got my 15mth old son off bottles a couple of months ago by gradually changing to only bottles in the morning and at night and then a Born Free sippy cup and a Think Baby training cup during the day which he was fine with. Now he get the Born Free & Think Baby cups morning and night and the straw cups during the day. I love it – less bottles to wash! I even add a little bit of caffeine free Red Bush tea to the ones during the day for a little bit of flavor, which he loves (he even asks for tea now) and drinks it up in one gulp.

    The Born Free Sippy might be safer for Murray as well since is it quite a hard plastic and should be hard for him to chew. It comes with a lid so maybe keep that on as well.


  6. You know how babies are! Finicky!

    Em can’t stand the born free sippy cups. I have been trying them for a while now and he just won’t use it. If it doesn’t have a nipple or a straw, no chance. :[

    You know what he loves, though? My blue water bottle I take to the gym. I wonder if he’ll drink milk out of it. heh

    probably not.


  7. My 1 year old, Henry, will NOT drink milk out of his sippy cup either? If you try and replace his beloved water w milk, he spits it out as if he’s being poisoned. But, give him his bottle and he’s like, WHERE HAS MY MILK BEEN THIS WHOLE TIME?! It’s insane and I feel your pain. Let me know if you find a way around it. Your video is my life.


  8. Have you tried changing the temp of the milk in the sippy cup? I remember I couldn’t get my daughter to take formula or milk from a sippy, so I stopped warming it and she took it just fine when it was served cold. Also, back in the day (my kids are 10 and 14), you could get little sippy tops that would fit under the bottle collars. That way the container is familiar, but you’re getting him off the nipple.

    I dont’t know what to say about Murray, other than cats are weird. Poor baby, and poor bank account!


  9. Michele, in reference to you saying that Emory hates the Born free sippy cups: did you use the hard spout, or the soft spout? When Adeline was transitioning from bottle to sippy cup, she hated the hard spout, and was also wary of the color difference (bottles are clear, cups are colored). I put the soft spout on her clear bottle, and she took it right away. After using it like that for awhile, we started putting the soft spout on the sippy cup, but without the handles so it was still like a bottle.

    I know every kid is different, and maybe you have already tried this with Emory, but I thought I’d share what worked for us. It seems to be a comfort thing for Emory, and Adeline definitely has her share of “comfort behaviors,” or whatever you want to call them. :)


  10. We all dream of having famous children (or cat children) but this isn’t the way to do it, Murray! I hope you’ll be super vigilant about what’s lying around, Michele…and good luck transitioning Emory from the bottle.


  11. I am such a seat of the pants Mom that I feel so, so silly giving any advice, but here goes. We made the switch from bottle to cup not too badly. When he hit the toddler room at daycare, we asked if he still needed a bottle for naps and they said no. We started doing bottles only at night, then just decided to “forget” one night and just rock him with a pacifier. We did that for two nights and then threw out all the bottles. Out of sight, out of mind. He hasn’t even asked for one in about 3 months.

    Something tells me that because this was easy I will get the full karmic payback when it comes time to potty training!


  12. Y’all don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind getting advice from your personal experiences! Thank you!


  13. After losing a cat to, of all things, a large amount of thread, my wife and I have been super vigilant in patrolling the house for possible dangerous items on the floor, counters, etc. I can only recommend vigilance; trying to persuade a cat from doing something seems impossible. Murray, like my cats, seems to like to test everything with his mouth. I can’t imagine all of the difficulties in trying to keep a “mouthy” kitten safe in a house with a small child. It does seem that Murray is focused on soft, chewable rubber, so it does give you something to focus on. Good luck!


  14. I feel your pain, with a twist. I already mentioned that my cat, while not having a fondness for plastic, is addicted to tin foil. Today I discovered she also likes to eat string – after she spread liquid poo all over my floor during the night and then proceeded to pass three feet of pink string. I had been wondering where I’d put the string. It’s a good thing these animals have nine lives.

    Good luck weening yours off of the plastic.


  15. Goodness girl!! I feel for you!

    Ok, my best advice on cats & kids… Weaning Emory off the bottle—only put water in the bottle and put milk in the cup. Offer him both. Don’t push, just set them both out there for him and let him figure it out. Seriously. I know it’s hard to step back as a parent sometimes, but there are some things that the child has to feel he has control over and this is a big one. By letting him make the choice, you are giving him control.

    On Murray—while the fiber capsules may help a little, you will probably get much better results from giving him a teaspoon of flax oil or fish oil on his food. This will help him pass the weird things he’s ingesting, and it’ll also keep his coat and his skin nice and healthy. Flax (and fish) oil is rich in the Omega-3 nutrients that humans and animals need. It can also help with shedding, if he sheds too much. It’s just an all around terrific supplement. I think I submitted a comment to you earlier about giving it to Emory for his bowel problems too…

    Best of luck to you!


  16. I’ve always had cats growing up and never had issues like this until owning cats as a adult. Because I had so many outdoor/indoor cats killed by cars and I live in the middle of a town, I chose to have my cats be indoor cats only.

    They each have some kind of issue. Brody eats plants. Do Baby scratches doorways to shreds. Babette comfort grooms because of her anxiety till she is nearly bald in patches. Mao is more like Murry-she likes to eat ribbon. The ribbon that hangs from balloons and goes on gifts-that ribbon.

    When we discovered this, she had just gone poop and was running around the apartment flipping out….because she had about four inches of red ribbon hanging out her bum! I held her down and my husband (with aid of a plastic bag for a glove) had to PULL it out. It turned out to be over a foot long. I’m so thankful she got that through her intestines!

    The only thing to do is not have this ribbon where she can get it. It stinks that Murray’s fetish is much more common.

    I believe cats do things like this because they are inside and don’t have grass to eat and chew on. The grass helps their digestive system somehow. I know when we were debating taking Brody (a stray we found) out on a leash, he loved to eat grass.

    Maybe you should grow some cat grass in a pot so Murray can get his munch on?

    Also, with the bottle and Emory. When my son turned a year we took his pacifier away during the day except for naps and long car rides. It was a hellish two weeks, but we got through it. Maybe you can get a sippy with a rubber straw as a stand in for a bottle. My son has one of these. Or maybe just refuse to give him the bottle at all.

    I understand how hard it is. My son does the same exact thing when I try to give him the leak proof sippy cup instead of the kind that allows him to get water all over the place. He kicked it across the room today in rage.


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