The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Student Strives to Keep Cats Alive

3 min read


When I turned 13, my parents gave me a kitten for my birthday.  I had always wanted a gray-haired, blue-eyed male cat…so that’s what I got.  I named it Lucky, after a popular Britney Spears song at the time.

Too bad Lucky didn’t live up to his name.

Actually, Lucky didn’t live period.

The cat was in our house for a week before he died of feline leukemia.  I returned from school one day, only to be informed by my mother that she had found him dead that morning.

While I was sad, at least I was spared seeing him die.  My parents felt bad for me and offered to get me another cat if I still wanted one.
…I did.

My mom took me to the local animal shelter the next day.  I still had my heart set on having a male blue-eyed gray kitten.  They had one cat fitting that description.  He would be ready to leave his mother and go home with me in one week.  Lucky, right?
I thought so.  I named him Lucky II.

Big mistake.

He never left the shelter.  Two days after I met him, Lucky II died of, you guessed it, feline leukemia.  Lucky was not proving to be an appropriate name.

Again, I was sad about the passing of a pet, but this one was easier to get over, since I never actually lived with him.

After a week, my parent’s decided to see one last time to if I wanted a kitten.

This is not the part where I heartbrokenly refuse their offer.  I took them up on it.  My only stipulation?

It had to be a gray-haired, blue-eyed male.  I know what you’re thinking…I never learn.

A neighbor told us of a friend whose cat had just given birth to a litter, one of which was a gray-haired male.  We made the drive to pick him up.

The kitten was adorable.  He reminded me of a dog; spending the afternoon chasing his tail around in circles.  I knew I wanted him after he dug his little claws into my jeans and climbed up my legs.

After we paid the owner, we put the kitten into a cage for the car ride back.

We had been driving for 15 minutes before my mother asked me the big question.

“So, what are you going to name this one?”

“Lucky,” I replied without hesitation.

“Rest in peace, kitty,” my mom sighed, as she shook her head in bewilderment.

“Meow!” was the little guy’s contribution.

“He likes it!” I cried. I was convinced.  His name was Lucky.

And guess what?  He’s still alive.  Seven years and counting.

Looking back, I can’t believe I kept insisting on getting a new cat.  But I guess I was resilient.  Or maybe just selfish.

Either way, going through those first two deaths have prepared me for number three’s eventual passing.

There are many other lessons that can be learned from my experience with the three Luckys.

You can get over the death of a pet (or pets), for one.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  And of course, the third time’s a charm.

…or don’t name your pet after a Britney Spears song.