Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Harley!

Sir Harlequin the Magnificent is nine today. We brought him home on July 2, 1999, when he was exactly eight weeks old. I'd been going to the local shelter every day to look for our cat Grendel, who'd gone outside and never came back. We never found Grendie -- we think he must have become a meal for coyotes -- but I did find Harley, who was one of a large litter of black-and-white fuzzballs. Someone's cat had had kittens at home: the person kept the kittens until they were eight weeks old, and then dumped the whole lot off at the shelter. (Don't ask me who could voluntarily part with such adorable animals after living with them for eight weeks!)

All of the kittens had been put in one large cage. Most of them were huddled together on a towel, but one of the fuzzballs had climbed the horizontal bars of the cage and was hanging halfway up by his toes, ears flattened, meeping indignantly. "Take me home! Take me home!"

So I did. I've never regretted it.

My mother was visiting when we got Harley. She'd come with me to the shelter, but refused to come inside, because it made her too sad. She didn't think I should get a kitten so soon after losing Grendel, and had been very disapproving of the entire project, but when I went back outside, held the carrying case up to the passenger-side window, and said, "Mom, meet Harlequin," her face immediately softened into adoration.

"Oooooh! The sweet little thing!" She took him out of the case and held him the whole way home, and has been his biggest fan ever since.

Well, one of his biggest fans, after me and Gary.

A few years ago, Mom gave me a coffee mug that reads, "Harley Mama." Naturally, this has nothing whatsoever to do with motorcycles.


  1. Happy Birthday to Harley the TRULY magnificent !

  2. He is indeed magnificent. Thanks for sharing him with us on the internets.

  3. Belated Happy Birthday, Harley! My boys want to know what your people got you for your present.


  4. Happy Birthday, Harley, I’d like to tell you that I’ve written a scathingly funny book, The World Is Your Litter Box, which is in bookstores now. It would make a great b'day present -- the book is cleverly disguised as a cute cat book so humans will buy it, but is, in fact, a how-to manual FOR cats. Check it out on my website,


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