By Leslee Kahler

I have had cats in my life since I was born, I can’t say I owned any of them as any cat owner knows the cat owns you , you don’t own the cat. Over the years I have learned much from my cats, but the greatest lessons I learned were patience, tolerance and unconditional love. I learned these as a young girl from my cat Molly.

Molly was a lovely long haired calico that followed me home one day and had her three kittens in a box of towels on our back deck the week my family moved into our new apartment. My father’s work had just transferred him to Scotland so it was just my mother, older brother and I in the apartment. Shortly after we moved in my mother came down with a bad case of bronchitis and was sick and bed, so my brother and I were pretty much on our own at nine and eleven.

The day I found Molly it was pouring down rain and the plaintiff cries of a small animal in distress drew me to our back deck and led me to an unpacked moving box, where in a pile of towels I found three very young kittens. Being young and not knowing any better I brought the box with the kittens inside out of the rain and left the back door open a crack so the mommy cat could come in. An hour or so latter Molly came through looking for her kittens and I closed the door trapping her inside. I gave her a bowl of milk and after several minutes of talking to her began petting her and was rewarded with a purr. I then went and asked my sick mother if we could keep the cat and her kittens.  My mother to get rid of me said yes and gave me money to buy dinner for myself, my brother and the cat, who I named Molly, from the local Seven Eleven. A week later my mother was feeling better, and having spent the time in bed with Molly and her kittens she agreed that we could keep Molly and one of her kittens.

Three months later we moved to Scotland to join my father and brought Molly and her one daughter, Kit Kat.  Molly was my constant companion and best friend during this time. I was very upset about the move, being in not only a new school but a new country. Molly was always there for me, when I came home from a day of being bullied at school she would comfort me and listen to my day without judging. When I needed a playmate she was there again, letting me dress her in doll dresses or sitting quietly and playing a board game with me.

Molly was also a good mother taking care of not only her daughter but the small black kitten, Spooky, my father rescued from his job at the ship yard. No matter how rough Spooky got or how many demands I made on Molly she never grew angry or annoyed. She was always kind, patient and loving to both Spooky and I.

When we moved again and rescued a mother cat and her two kittens off the street Molly was there to befriend the new cat, Nefertiti and her kittens. Whenever Nefertiti would go outside Molly would fill in as surrogate mother and take care of the two kittens, giving them love and attention as if they were her own.

My family moved several times before eventually returning to America, where my parents separated and my mother, brother and I moved in with my grandmother. Through ever move and life upheaval Molly was there for me, a patient and loving friend who tolerated all the rough love and demands for attention I gave her. Molly taught me to have patience and tolerance for all and to love unconditionally, lessons that I still try to practice today and that I’m trying to teach my children.

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