Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Catholic Defender: Kelly

This article is not like any you have seen from the Catholic Defender. This article is about Kelly, my wife's cat.

If you had the chance to meet Kelly, it could be disputed that we belonged to Kelly.

He was a rather large cat with long fur, his head having the shape similar with a lion, the fur surrounding his neck gave that appearance.

He was primarily gray with some black details in his mane and legs. When he first learned he could go outside, he preferred to be outside.

He would hear that call of the wild and there he went. No matter where we had been, if we stayed with friends, or if we had people over, Kelly was the star attraction. You could wake up one morning to find him asleep in the bathroom sink like he owned the place.

When I was stationed in New Orleans we lived on the Naval Base. I worked with a multi-force where the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Coast Guard worked together. Late at night, Kelly would go down the street where our Senior Chief (Navy First Sergeant) lived to leave gifts for them in the night in the back yard.

The Senior Chief would try everything to keep Kelly out of their back yard. They would leave Orange peels thinking that would keep Kelly away.

But Kelly was undeterred by the Senior Chiefs attempts. Kelly was the great equalizer as the Senior Chief was not the best "First Sergeant" and we found the whole thing amusing.

One night on a hot August evening, the news of Hurricane Katrina was getting close to New Orleans and the Naval Base we were living on were ordering everyone to leave the area.

That night I told family members to make sure Kelly did not get out because we were having to evacuate and we wanted to make sure Kelly was with us.

Unfortunately, Kelly was able to get outside, and as a result, when our curfew came up that we had to leave, we could not find Kelly.

We drove off the Naval Base with tears knowing that Kelly was being left behind.

We traveled as far a way as Houston before we could find a place to stay. Every hotel had been filled up all along the way leading out of the New Orleans area.

It was not long before we knew Kelly was gone. The Hurricane hit the area with full force.

It would be 4 months before we were allowed to come home. We had left Houston when Hurricane Rita advanced threatening Texas so my Command told us to head for higher ground and take care of the family.

That's when we went to Missouri where I had my Mother, Brother and other family members.

From time to time we would remember Kelly, wishing that we had been able to save him, but he was left behind to weather the storm.

It was a humid, hot November day when routes were made passable to come back to our homes near New Orleans.

The damage was devastating. The bridges knocked out, the debre everywhere, the Dome where the Saints play, all of it was totally knocked out.

We finally arrived at our location finding neighbors had already been back a couple of days.

There were no air conditioning so it was hot and humid. We had to get rid of all the damaged items, and save what we could.

My Wife went through the house calling for Kelly, going out the back door hoping he might be back there.

Kelly was no where to be found.

As we were talking to a neighbor, a delightful sight came from around the quarters, it was Kelly, much skinnier, but he was in good shape and was so thankful to have his family back after four months.

We learned from the neighbors that he lived on mice, out flanked and our foxed alligators, snakes, animal control, and starvation.

He survived the terrible hurricanes. Things resumed back to normal as I received orders to Fort Hood Texas and moving there, Kelly found him a new home.

He was especially happy with another female cat living next door.

As time would have it, we would move from this place to another house down the road, about 3/4 of a mile on the same street.

Kelly would not stay at the new home, he would always go back to the old house.

Some neighbors kind of took him in where he felt happy because of the cat next door.

I was in Iraq during the second deployment with the 1st CAV Division when I looked at the local news paper finding a picture of Kelly asking if anyone had seen him. He had become a community cat by this time as he would never stay at home.

He had made his home from where the cat next door lived. It has been several months since anyone had seen Kelly, the neighbors who lived next door still sets out food for him, but even they have not seen him for a long time.

Late at night sometimes when the cool wind blows you can hear Kelly ring out a meow as if to say he is happy.

Every now and again, I will drive past our old place just to see if I can catch a glimpse of Kelly where I prefer to think that he out foxes the hawks flying above or other animals that might come out at night.

Kelly truly is a cat with 9 lives. This is for anyone who grew up loving their pets:

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