Sixteen years ago when my family moved to Pittsburgh, we went to the Humane Society to adopt a cat. There were two tuxedo kittens available, one docile, one feisty as hell. We chose the feisty one. I named him Moby. I wish I could tell you it’s because I was a bibliophile and loved Moby Dick. But no, I was an awkward alternakid getting into techno and Moby was all the rage in 2000. The one and only photo that I have of Moby as a kitten is of him chomping down on the handle of the desk in my room. And it’s a fitting photo. Because that little ball of spunk grew into quite the gangster cat.
He patrolled our yard and defended his territory, growling at the mailman, attacking deer, skunks, raccoons, and our terrified friends and family. When grandma would visit from Belarus, she armed herself with first a plastic devil’s pitchfork from one of our Halloween costumes, then upgraded her weaponry to a broom, and when that proved futile, grabbed a frying pan as a last resort. When Moby would spy an exposed piece of flesh, you could almost feel glee radiate from his body as he plotted his attack. Bonus points if it was a new stranger visiting his home. His position of choice was two-fold. On the stairs leading up from the basement to the kitchen, where he would swat at you as you made your way up. And on the second-floor landing blocking the guest bathroom. Overnight guests learned not to walk barefoot to the bathroom. Or at all. You prayed that your bladder would hold out until morning. And brushing your teeth was a luxury you decided you could forego for one night.
Moby was a ninja cat and a good actor. He fooled everyone who first met him into thinking he was harmless because he looked harmless. He sat quietly, calmly, assessing your weaknesses. As soon as you relaxed and let down your guard, Tuxedo Ninja would strike. When we took Moby to the vet, I warned the technicians that he should be gassed before he was examined because they would not be able to handle him. They looked at me horrified as they spied Moby looking at them through the cat carrier slats with loving green eyes. Gas this handsome, peaceful young man? Not necessary! I sighed with resignation and waited for the bloodshed to begin. Moby didn’t even wait to be let out of the carrier. As the technician grabbed the handle of his carrier, he raised one paw, squeezed his well-sharpened talon through the top slat, and with deft precision sliced the exposed wrist of the dumbfounded technician. Blood gushing, a unanimous decision was made to bust out the gas. And a muzzle to boot.
For sixteen years, Moby was the benevolent dictator of the Adamchik household. And we loved him dearly. This feline terror loved to be around us. He demanded to be petted for a certain amount of time, after which he would bite you to let you know that he was done. He would drink water only from the faucet and would shred your calves if you did not comply. He was a big fan of Christmas and couldn’t wait to open presents so he could frolic in every box and play with all the bows and ribbons. He played hide and seek and tag. Although with the latter, you never wanted to actually be tagged by him. Since I went to college a year after we adopted him, he grew very fond of my sister and chose her bedroom as his prime sleeping spot. She would lay her head down on one pillow and Moby would do the same on the pillow next to hers. I was relegated to the floor when I came home to visit.
Throughout the years, Moby aged but never lost his spunk. At his last vet visit, this geriatric gladiator got one last swipe in before departing for kitty heaven. I’m glad I was able to see him through the gates.
Rest in peace, you handsome devil. I hope you have a ball shredding angel wings up there.
Moby Adamchik – July 7, 2016