I’ve adopted a lot of cats- on one trip to the shelter, I saw a tag that looked like it read, “Mange.” It really said, “Marge” but my cartoonist brain grabbed that moment and filed it away for later use. . . fast forward about 12 years. . .

The Green’s cat’s name is Mange. When we started to create the cast of the Green House, we thought this young couple would have gone to a shelter and rescued a cat for their first pet. It’s what I did when I got my first apartment. To be exact, a friend brought a kitten that she’d rescued, and I took her in and named her Mandy. I love dogs and cats, but cats are an easier “starter” pet when you’re first learning how to live on your own.

As we begin our comic, we’re introducing you to the characters and their personalities. We’re also providing a setting: a home, their surroundings, their likes and dislikes, their jobs, their neighbors, family- all the things that create their world. Todd is a cartoonist and works from home, which, as we begin, is a modest apartment. Pam is a special ed teacher and part-time yoga instructor. When deciding on the first pet for them, I drew inspiration from another cat I helped rescue back around 2006 named Maggie.

My sister owned an apartment that she was subletting, and when a tenant moved out, the tenant left behind a cat in a crate. . . a sad looking old cat that appeared to be malnourished, sick and neglected. My sister had two cats of her own and 2 dogs and couldn’t manage another pet at the time.  I had two cats and a dog, but I also had a studio where I could keep this cat until another home could be found for her. She was long-haired calico and her voice sounded more like a “croak” than a meow. When I got her to trust me and let me hold her, I started petting her and rubbing her neck, where I  found that a tiny collar was embedded in the fur deep under the mats on her neck. After carefully cutting away the hair and removing a collar that must have been her kitty collar, I found that her croaking was caused by choking. A trip to the vet was next in order and this brought the discovery of diabetes and parasites. With the help of my wonderful veterinarian, we got Maggie back to reasonable help and began insulin injections. Long story short, she only lived about 5-6 months with me before passing on. Her diabetes was in very advanced stages and other parts of her digestive health were failing, but she waited by the door for me to come in and out of the studio- sat on my lap and then on my shoulder while I worked, and when I laid down to write, she’d lay on me and purr more deeply than any cat I’d ever known.  She was a true blessing to me and I suppose, I to her. She was a special cat. Well, every pet I’ve ever had was special, but she was here so short a time, it was just different.

So, in thinking of a pet for the Greens, she seemed like the perfect choice- a studio cat, with a little bit of attitude and a lot of love. . .  but love isn’t always funny- so we gave her an attitude drawn from another cat of mine, Snickers. . . a Garfield clone.

It’s Monday, the coffee’s kicking in and my brain’s starting to thaw. I should start doing some stretches, and perhaps I will after I finish typing this. . . but I’d just like to suggest that you all join me and take a minute or two to remember your past pets and perhaps think about your current ones and what they mean to you. I can’t think about Maggie without feeling a deep calm and re-connection to her. Her spirit seems to stay with me and bring me comfort. Seeing her in the comic makes me happy. I hope she makes you smile a little too.

Do you have a story about a special pet or pet rescue?  A deep connection you made with an animal in a short period of time?  Comment here or on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear your stories.



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