by A. Richard Miller
visits since 971005; last updated 101025.

October 25th, 2010: Farewell, Morgan!

Morgan the Wonder Cat died today. She had been in some pain for about four days, with poor appetite and poor bowel movements. We brought her to the vet, hoping to find an easy cure. Instead, the first tests led to X-rays and we learned that she had been suffering from the early pains of a massive intestinal cancer. Her one rear leg also was weakened and arthritic. We chose to end her life before further pain set in. With our hugs and kisses, she was gone. What a sad drive home! What a silent house. What big voids in our hearts, for a little cat.

Cat in a box

Morgan was with us for 13 years, and probably was nearly 16 years old. She lived many happy years, despite her missing leg. She was as good as they come. We will keep her story alive here. Hopefully, it will inspire others to help a lovable cat in need.

Morgan the Wonder Cat1997: Morgan Milford Miller is the newest member of the Miller family. We adopted her from SPIN (Stray Pets In Need) at Pet World, Natick on October 4th, 1997. Morgan definitely was a pet in need, a stray who had strayed into an illegal leg-hold trap in Milford, Massachusetts a month before. Her left rear leg had to be amputated, and she was still recovering when we took her in. Kristina (who may become a veterinarian when she grows up) and Jill chose this sweet but handicapped cat from several dozen at Pet World, and after some very persuasive coaxing Dick also fell for the dainty little calico cat.

Since Morgan's early history is unknown, we can only guess that she already was two to three years old. Her rescuers named her Tripod, but the three of us found that name impersonal. After rejecting various atrocious puns such as Hopalong Cattidy, we decided that Morgan suited her well. It's a well-known name for strong men (Sir Henry Morgan ["Morgan The Pirate"], J.P. Morgan, who owned the Titanic, and Morgan Robertson who, 14 years before the Titanic disaster, predicted it) and women (Morgan le Fay and Morgan Fairchild, for two). It's also the name of an old line of sports cars, the famous Morgan Three-Wheelers, which showed that three wheels can perform as well as four. That's our Morgan!

We thought that Morgan might learn to get about on three legs. Morgan showed us that she already can do so. She uses her remaining rear leg in the middle to balance, and can get up and down flights of stairs quite quickly. She can hop up on laps, too, but quickly learned not to hop up onto chairs at the dinner table. She's polite and friendly, and learning to love and to be loved.

Cat in a BoxMorgan the Wonder Cat is a boxer. That is, she loves to curl up in a shallow cardboard box which is one size too small. The rougher, the better! If there's no box, she likes to curl up on a piece of 8-1/2"x11" paper, on the floor. (Cat Rule #2: If I fit in it, I sit in it!)

Morgan the Wonder Cat can listen. She responds (when she's in the mood) to "Come", "Up", "Down", "Sit", "Go Through" (to jump through a hoop), "Lie Down", and she is learning "Roll Over".

Morgan the Wonder Cat can talk. When she's wondering whether it's time to eat, she walks up to us and clearly asks, "Niaow?" We answer, "No, Morgan, not yet." and she waits, or we say, "Yes, now!" and she runs to the kitchen. Morgan the Wonder Cat is learning to say her name, too: "Mmmrrrrgh!"

Morgan the Wonder Cat can keep time. She expects to eat at 11AM and 11PM, and she reminds us about five minutes before. For breakfast, she lets Jill brush her teeth before eating; she sits alongside at just the right angle to help. See Morgan get her teeth brushed (2.2MB AVI video file). At Morgan's evening meal, we have a different ritual. She waits for Dick to say the magic words: "Yes, now!"  Then she races downstairs to the kitchen while Dick runs behind, stomping some and clapping his knees. Morgan points at the food bowl, steady on like a hound dog, until Dick picks her up and scratches her under the chin and belly. Morgan supervises as Dick puts food into her bowl, and when he holds it over her she comes over and faces him.  She obeys "Sit", "Shake hands" (right hand only, of course), and gathers a "Good Cat!" and a head rub for her efforts. Then she heads over to the floor mat where Dick places the food bowl with another, "Yes, now! Good Cat." See Morgan shake her stuff (3.4MB AVI video file).

November 2010, A.R.Miller: Here are some more photos of Morgan, gleaned from my files.
Morgan wants a drink (April

Morgan could drink from a cup, and liked to ask us nicely. Here's how she would do that.


Morgan tests the water
          (April 2010)

Morgan almost never spilled any water from the cup. But we'd usually help her out, just to be sure. She liked her water luke-warm. She'd check its temperature in advance, with a paw-test like this.

Morgan drinks her
          water (April 2010)

The temperature meets Morgan's approval, so she takes her drink. Good kitty! (April 2010)