Adopted Cat Gives Pet Dad a Dose of Love and Reassurance

When it comes to trusting in a positive outcome, Murry knows best.

T.P. + Murry

An adopted cat named Murry brings his calm, trusting assurance that “everything’s gonna be alright” to his pet dad as he undergoes cancer treatment.

"As the cage door opened, out walked the Shaquille O’Neill of cats with the black and white markings of a Holstein cow. He nuzzled my leg. I was immediately in love."

A piece of advice for anyone who wants to adopt a nice cat: tell the animal shelter staff! “You want the nicest cat here? Easy. Follow me,” the attendant said. So my wife, my son, and I followed the shelter attendant into a room filled with 67 beautiful cats. Then we headed out the door and into another room.

“The cat I want to show you is so big he doesn’t fit here, so we had to put him in a dog cage. But he is a cat. Although he kind of looks like a cow.” We were very intrigued … and apprehensive. We asked for a nice cat, but they seemed to be preparing us to meet a dog, or a cow. “We couldn’t let him roam with the other cats because he’d eat everyone’s food. And he already weighs 26 pounds,” she said. Whoa — 26 pounds?! A cat? As the cage door opened, out walked the Shaquille O’Neill of cats with the black and white markings of a Holstein cow. He nuzzled my leg. I was immediately in love. But then, I’m the Will Rogers of cats: I’ve never met one I didn’t like.’

We all picked him up and passed him around to test his patience. He passed the handling test. Murry was ours. But it still seemed as if he felt the need to convince me. He gave me a look that said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s gonna be alright.” I’ve been sensitive to cats’ expressions since I was 5 years old, when my cat Dingle gave me his, “I’m done playing. You better leave me alone now,” look. I learned that one the hard way, so I’m an expert now.

Murry has the most expressive face. But the look I know the best is the one he has used the most on me: the “everything’s gonna be alright” look. Here’s why. Ten months after adopting Murry, I was told I had Stage 4 throat cancer. In the following months of radiation and chemotherapy, I lost 55 of my 178 pounds and looked really bad, ghostly gray and emaciated. The worse I looked, the more affection Murry gave me, and the more he gave me his “gonna be alright” expression. Even after my treatment was over and my oncologist told me the cancer had spread and there was no hope, Murry told me “everything’s gonna be alright.” After a few agonizing months, it turned out the doctor was wrong. He misread the test. Murry was right. 

Now, five years later, the cancer is gone. Murry and I exercise daily. I devised a game he loves: he jumps high to touch a magnet at the top of the refrigerator door to get a dental treat reward. He has lost 6 pounds, and I’ve regained 48 pounds. He continues to tell me “everything’s gonna be alright.” Murry is the best — and knows best!

Each year, Petco Love Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by T.P. won Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin, Illinois a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.