Growing up I had never been around cats at all, and really did not know much about them. In 2009, when I was living with a partner, we wanted to adopt a pet for our small apartment and a cat seemed like a natural choice given our busy schedules and small living space. The Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, OR was the spot where I fell in love with Mo (then named Toodles).
Originally, I wanted to adopt an orange cat, like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a poor no-name slob that I could adore. There were no orange kitties at CAT that day, but I saw a tiny tiger-striped boy sleeping in his cage. I picked him up, and he instantly began kneading biscuits in the sleeve of my old North Face Denali jacket, and just like that, it was love. Once he started eating when we got home I noticed it was suddenly quiet. I discovered he had been non-stop purring since I picked him up, hence how he got the name “Motor”, or “Mo” for short.
Mo was a sweet but feisty kitten, and would hunt for feet under blankets and chase your hands around like toys. My then-partner did not have patience for Mo’s energy and he would play roughly with him. There was no way I could be with someone who, on top of other issues, also treated Mo poorly. We left that relationship and Mo became my number one guy as I ventured into living alone. I remember sitting on the floor of my new apartment with Mo in my lap that first solo night, and just feeling happy and free.
Mo has been through several moves, numerous roommates (both human and furry), and I think he is happiest in our current house with just me and my husband, Michael. Mo is now a big 10-year-old man with a huge personality, and has been set in his ways for some time now. Mo is often hissy with new people, and cautious of guests, though as he gets comfortable he will come out of hiding (typically the bathroom sink) and relax. He will let you know when he is done socializing and disappear into hiding, but every night without fail, he curls up right next to me and sleeps in our bed.
Marrying Michael meant also marrying his incredible golden retriever, CC, who Mo cohabitated with until last year when she passed away at the age of 10. Two animals meeting around 3-4 years old can be a risky operation, but it ended up going so much smoother than expected. Mostly, this was by Mo taking charge and being the boss in the house. Every now and then I would come home from work and find CC awkwardly sitting at one end of the hallway, and Mo ominously lurking at the other end as if in some silent stand-off. I later found out that Mo had been stealing CC’s dog-bed while we were at work, and CC was sneaking up onto the couch for her naps. Mo had suddenly developed some behavioral marking in the past couple of years and sometimes I wonder if he was trying to alert us that there was something wrong with his dog sister. About six months after the marking started, CC suffered from a ruptured internal mass that we could not have known was present, and she quickly passed away.
Some of Mo’s favorite spots in our home include the large bay window in our front room where he can watch birds and bunnies in the yard, sitting on top of the back of the couch on the soft blankets, or curled up in my spot in the bed after I leave for work. There is a secret spot in our basement that Mo likes to hide that neither my husband nor I can seem to locate.
Mo loves to vigorously crunch his kibble, and every morning around 5am he will walk across my chest anxious for his breakfast. Any time I walk by the dresser drawer holding his treats, he lets out excited meows and vibrates his tail awaiting a few dropped morsels. Most afternoons when I get home from work, I will find him either asleep on my side of the bed or waiting at the top of the stairs for post-work cuddles and head-butts. When I do Barre3 workouts at home, he typically joins in by taking in big stretches on my yoga mat and even bigger yawns.
Mo is the best light in my life and over the years has acquired many nicknames: Mo, Moses, Mo’s Toes, Bubba, Most Special Boy (affectionately given by a former roommate and fellow cat lady), Mo-Mo, and my husband’s favorite, Motor-boatin’ son of a B*tch. We call him these lovingly, and I even have special made-up “Mo songs” that I sing to him as he moseys around the house. I could not imagine my life without this furry buddy of mine, and his quirky personality makes me love him more every day.
Meredith Bedrick-Kranda and Mo live in Southwest Portland where she works as a speech language pathologist serving elementary age children. Mo is often featured in her therapy sessions as a character in stories. On a typical day, you can find Meredith and Mo stretched out on the couch reading or lounging together, or in most cases, Mo will be waiting under the treat drawer.