Dog lover meets cat: A sort of fairy tale


Once upon a DogTime, we adopted a cat.

DogTimer Simon got the idea from his wife, Michelle, who volunteers at their local animal shelter. There’s an older male who’s been there many months, Michelle told Simon. A friendly, unassuming, long-overlooked cat and wouldn’t it be nice for the crew at DogTime to provide him a permanent home?

Yes, thought Simon, it would. He presented the idea to his colleagues, asking that they seriously consider the matter of a cat in need coming to live in the newly animal-less DogTime workspace. (Our adored office rats had recently died.)

DogTimer Chelsey said, “Me, I love cats.”

DogTimer Ryan said, “I’ll be in on the weekends to keep him company!”

DogTimer Christina said, “Allergies, schmallergies. Get this office a cat!” (Then she sneezed.)

And so Murray, the skinny senior with the goopy eyes and severed ear, came to be ours. He seemed most comfortable those first days exploring the Tech team’s quarters, often spotted nestled in the tangle of wire and cable under DogTimer Sui’s desk.

Soon enough, however, Murray grew confident — and even sturdy. DogTimers Dave and Jonathan claimed to be busy with “projects” and “assignments,” but it was clear from the layer of cat hair in their office they spent the bulk of their time entertaining Murray — or at least sneaking him bits of tuna.

Simon, of course, had made sure to have plenty of cat food around, along with feather teasers and squeaky mice. But many of us brought in our own treats and toys of choice. (You know, we each had strong opinions about Murray’s preferences.)

Technically, we were an office of dog lovers, but even the most canine-centric among us were charmed. You got the feeling Murray understood he was now in a safe place.

I’m probably the one who grew to know Murray the least well; I was only in San Francisco a few days out of each month. When I was there, though, I was usually first to arrive at the office in the mornings. That became our time. When the elevator doors would open, I’d smile to see Murray fresh from his hours of nocturnal bustle. Only ever having had dogs, I was struck that a furry creature could be sitting so calmly there in the middle of the carpet. Not the least bit frantic for breakfast or to go outside to pee — just perfect posture and a placid, “I had a feeling you’d be back” look on his face.

Alas, Murray’s days as our robust and beloved office mascot were relished but short-lived. It wasn’t long before he dropped much of the weight he’d put on. He became less agile, less hungry, more like the elderly cat the shelter had advised us we were getting. A visit to the vet confirmed Murray was sick: liver cancer among the most grave of his diagnoses.

Simon decided to bring Murray to his home where he and Michelle could more easily monitor him, administer his medication, and entice with the most mouth-watering feline favorites they could think of. He ate a little bit, and then not so much. Fresh scoops of soft food, milk, and fish were served up each morning, despite little, if any, having been eaten from the day before.

Yesterday morning, Murray passed away. Simon and Michelle, the first to see the tenderness in this beautiful cat, were there holding him as he drew his last breath. There’s no telling how many months or years he was without a home. We’ll never know how his left ear was maimed or why such a gentle cat had such difficult road finding a family to love him. But I’d like to think that from sometime last spring until October 17, 2011, Murray lived happily ever after.