My daughter, Carolyn, recently made a move from Maryland to New York,. In between, she moved back home for two months while looking for an apartment and a job. Along with the many things that came along with her move, she brought her cat, Murphy. (The cat is a female, but was named for my daughter’s beloved great-grandfather—who, I might add, was not named Murphy at all but had an affinity for calling people “Murphy.”)
In another transition last year, when Carolyn moved from Boston to Maryland, Murphy stayed with us for a few months until she could safely be transported to her new home. During that time, we learned the meaning of the phrase “cat destruction” (not in the vernacular yet, but should be). Needless to say, my husband and I were ecstatic when Murphy moved out last August.
But Murphy’s back now, because Carolyn can’t have pets in her New York apartment. Suffice it to say that both my husband and I would rather walk over hot coals than have this cat back in the house. But what do you do? Besides, Murphy’s had a conversion experience somewhere along the line. This evil cat who tried to destroy our home last summer is now a placid, purring creature who wants nothing more than to snuggle in your lap. I’d say she’s on medication, but I know she’s not.
Oftentimes, when I’m getting up at 4 am to feed Murphy and silence the plaintive meows, I hold the image of St. Clare with her cat in my mind (although who knows if Clare even had a cat). I think of St. Francis’s love for animals, and try to be compassionate. Somehow, it’s working—even when I’m cleaning up hairballs.
But jeez, I wish Carolyn would find an apartment that allows pets!
For more information about St. Clare, see the recent release St. Clare: a short bio, by Joan Mueller.
Icon of St. Clare by Robert Lentz, OFM