Monday, December 26, 2011


WARNING: Animal, and in particular cat, lovers may find this post difficult to read. I love animals, but my sense of humor has always been triggered at really odd times. Consider yourself warned.

A few years ago, when we lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, we had a menagerie of cats. Three to be exact. Delia, our first kitty, was a black long-haired Persian of persnickety persuasion. Cassidy, Lee's acquirement from the humane society, was a large amber-colored beauty who was VERY territorial. Phoebe, a tiny black cat,  was pretty perfect. All of our cats seemed to possess the proverbial nine lives.

Just after Christmas one year I finished up choir practice and headed home. Lee kept the kids at church to play with friends. We only had three kids then, and our seven year old was just a baby.  The house was dark when I entered, but the tree was up. So I turned on a kitchen light at went to plug in the tree lights because it would make the room pretty but not bright enough to see the mess. Delia was laying just under the tree, one of her favorite spots at Christmas,  and didn't even lift her head to greet me.  I nudged her gently with my foot saying, "Hey, lazy girl, wake up."

Delia didn't move though. In fact, she seemed to not be moving at all. I turned on the brighter light and was horrified to see that my kitty was dead. As a doornail.

Now, Lee didn't know this when we got married, but he unknowingly and under mild coercion, signed a contract delegating all duties pertaining to animal discharge (either end) and the removal of any (animal) bodies to him, the husband, the man of the house.

So, I did what any self-respecting wife would do. I called my husband. The conversation went like this:

Me:  Hello. I need you to come home. Delia is dead.

Lee: How do you know?

Me: She's not breathing or moving and her eyes are open.

Lee: Are you sure she's not just sleeping?

Me: Yes. I am sure she's not sleeping. Are you kidding me? Her eyes are open and SHE'S NOT BREATHING!

Lee:  Crap. Crap. Crap. What are you going to do?

Me: Wait for you to come home and take care of it.

Long pause.

Lee:  Crap. Crap. Crap. Fine. I'll be there in a minute.

I waited for that man of mine to come home and deal with the current situation. I wasn't as sad as I thought I should be, but Delia had a good life and now she was in kitty cat heaven where she could groom herself for eternity.  I saw the headlights of the minivan pull into our drive. Car door shut. Lee entered the room.  Cool hand Luke, let me tell you. 


"Wow. She really is dead," Lee noted.

"I know, right?"  I agreed.  We stood there for a few minutes just looking at our little kitty trying to figure out the next course of action. It was late, it was dark, and it was cold. I will not even share with you the discussion that we had over what to do with said kitty cat body.

Suddenly, the door burst open and our daughters came in carrying their younger brother.

"Well, what is it, Mom?"  Kiley asked.

"What is what?" I asked. They were still in the kitchen and I just wasn't sure of what was going on.

"Dad said you had a surprise for us," little Laurel filled me in.

Apparently,  in an attempt to get the kids into the car quickly Lee told our children that I had a surprise for them at home. So, as they sat in the car they had cooked up some amazing theories about what the surprise might be. Little did they know that a dead kitty was the surprise.

I looked to Lee for further explanation.  "What?  I thought maybe you were wrong," was all he could come up with. 

Now, I am good under pressure, let me tell you. But not that good. I was tired, and now extremely irritated with my husband. I now not only had a dead cat to deal with but three children who needed explanation about why their surprise was hidden under the Christmas tree but didn't seem to be a joyful surprise. So I said, "Surprise! Delia went to kitty cat heaven and you all get to tell her goodbye!"

Then I spread my arms Vanna White style to show them exhibit D.

Two shocked girls dropped their jaws. 

"This is the worst surprise ever,"  Laurel lamented.

Agreed, girl, agreed.


  1. Nice. I'm picturing the charred cat that chewed the Christmas lights on Christmas Vacation. Was it much like that? And what did finally become of the cat corpse?

  2. Heather - the cat morgue was a trash bag and our small Rubbermaid tool shed until the next day when we had a proper burial. I hate to say that I got up a couple of times in the night to make sure she was really dead.

  3. I remember you sharing that story at the time it happened. As for your Cassidy cat he turned into a kitten again as he played with his catnip filled sock and then fell alseep for the rest of the day. He's still going strong and very much the boss of all.

  4. I still think she was just sleeping . . . now might be a bad time to tell you she actually woke up when I went to bury her but I felt like you and the kids had already been through too much so at that particular moment continuing to fill in the hole seemed like the easiest thing to do, sorry ):

  5. Lee, you are seriously disturbed.


    That boy ain't right.

  7. I know, Kate, right??? By the way "That Boy Ain't Right" is the title of the book I'm writing. ;)