We heard it before we saw it.

A cat, a kitten really, calling out to us from the shrubbery. We were coming back to our rented room from the surrounding grounds, where I had had the muted trumpet out, practicing. The session did not go well, and I was tired and cross. I do not like to make a noise, jetlag and the lateness of the hour notwithstanding, and said so, in less than polite terms. And as if in answer – mew.

A few seconds later, it showed itself, a gray tabby with white feet. A tiny thing, hardly as much as a handful, though probably older than it looked; cats in Hawai’i run small. We had seen some of its siblings earlier in the day, but they had been shy, greeting us with their cries but refusing to come within reach, or staying if they did.

This one was different. We called to him and he came, picked him up and he snuggled into our arms, content. For the next hour, we played “pass the kitty”. He purred against my chest, nestled in my left hand, and each vibration caught the tension and irritation there and buzzed it away into the quiet tropical night.

The grounds crew knew of these cats, and were actively seeking homes for them. We know better; this kitty’s visit was a temporary comfort. Still, we couldn’t resist the temptation to name it.

I wanted to present him with “Mergatroyd”. For some reason, I have always remembered the catchphrase from the Snagglepuss cartoons (“Heavens to Mergatroyd!”), and, though to date I haven’t yet given that name to a being with whom I expected to share living quarters, someday …

Quilly demurred. She suggested “Grifter”. She sensed, as I didn’t, a certain mercenary quality to this feline …

Just then, the ice machine down the hall rattled. For the first time, Grifter stirred, then made clear intention movements. “I’ve done all I can here, time to move on.” I set him gently down on the patio deck, and he scampered away towards the sounds coming from the vicinity of the icemaker.

Soon, a big male voice was saying “Come in, kitty, and make yourself comfortable …”

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2007 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. I am in heaven. I wish—WISH—I could hang with the master of the weeds of the sea.

    Very beautiful. Wonderful pictures.

    More! More!

  2. Funny, I just used the phrase “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Snagglepuss was definitely the funniest of that crew, even if I identified personally more with Deppity Dawg.

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