7 years and 9 lives.

It’s called “midwest nice.”

I have it. I have the midwest nice.

The midwest is a part of the country that is known to be friendly. I’ll hold doors open for you. I will not honk the car horn even if you have a big, bad truck and think you own the road. I tip well because maybe your terrible service just means you are having a bad day. I say please and thank you. I apologize when I’m wrong and I shut up when I’m right.

I also avoid the word no.

Maybe. I’ll think about it. We’ll see. Possibly. I’m busy. I’m not sure. Let me ask around first.

Those all mean no.

Kate has been asking for a cat ever since our dog, Bailey, died a year and a half ago. Bailey’s loss was devastating. Walking into our empty home felt unbearable to all of us – all of us, except for Kate. Kate asked for a cat minutes after Bailey’s final heartbeat.

Read how Kate grieved like a mini serial killer without emotions here.

Over the past 18 months, Kate adjusted her high-pressure sales pitch for a cat.

Kate: Can I get a cat?

Scott: No.

Me: We’ll think about it.


Kate: Can I get a cat?

Me: What did your dad say?

Kate: No. But you’re the mom so that means you’re the boss.


Kate: Hey, let’s go get a cat and leave it on the doorstep and pretend it just showed up.

Me: A stray?

Kate: A stray. Yes. Then daddy will say yes.

Me: You are evil.

Kate: Can we watch cat videos then?

Me: Fine.


Kate: What’s cat nip?

Me: It’s a plant. Cats are attracted to it. They love the smell.

Kate: Oh. We should plant that and not tell daddy.


Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday?

Me: Would you want a kitten or a cat?

Kate: Kitten.

Me: What about a cat? Older cats need rescuing because no one wants them.

Kate: Ok, then get me a cat.


Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday? One of those older cats?

Me: Well, there’s a place called Wayside Waifs that does animal adoptions. Let’s check out their website. Just to see. Aw, they have videos!

Kate: Let’s watch.


Kate: Can I get a cat for my birthday?

Me: Daddy says no. I don’t care but your dad says no.

Kate: Work on that. Remember you’re the mom and you are the right one.


Kate: Let’s watch the cat videos at, you know, that Way place.

Me: Ok.


Kate: It’s my golden birthday this year. I turn 7 on the 7th. That means I should get a cat.

Me: Do you know that cats poop and pee in a box and you have to clean the litter box? And cat pee smells worse than dog pee.

Kate: We can put the litter box in Emma’s room.


Me: Kate, Nina and Nana want to know what you want for your birthday.

Kate: A cat. Nothing else.

Me: You can’t tell the family you want a cat.

Kate: Yes, I can. I already texted them.


Me: Bye Kate, have a good day at school!

Kate: Go get a cat while daddy is at work. Surprise me after school!

Me: No.

Kate: We can hide it!


Kate: Are you going to get me a cat for my golden birthday?

Me: We don’t know how a cat will tolerate having two dogs in the house.

Kate: Just get rid of the dogs. Please, mommy! I will love you forever. And not daddy.


Kate: I’m going to get 20 cats when I get out of here and move to Florida.

Me: Please don’t.


Kate: Can I get a cat?

Me: You need to work on your dad, not me.

It’s May 7th. Today is Kate’s birthday. We got her a cat.


Scott grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – the part of the country where no means no. Kate targeted me because she knows I’m weak. She whittled me down.

I sent a message to Wayside Waifs, asking which cats would tolerate dogs because I was just curious.

I drove to Wayside Waifs while the kids were in school just to look.

I looked at a cat in a caged window. I read her notes. She was brought to Wayside Waifs three years ago, as a stray kitten. It said she did well with dogs and would love a home with playful kids. She was already spayed and up-to-date on shots.

Her name was Bailey.

It was a sign.

I texted Scott. Kate whittled him down too. He said yes.

A few hours later, Scott walked in the house holding Kate’s cat. Kate had no idea. Her eyes stared in awe at her new friend.

Are you my mother?
Kate changed Bailey’s name. After all, there’s only one Bailey. Kate named her cat Penny. She told both of us thank you. She gave Scott a hug and told him, “you’re the best daddy ever.”


Why did she name her cat Penny? “Because I really like money.”

Or she’s good at sales and won’t take no for an answer.

Happy Birthday, Kate! After the loss of Bailey, all you wanted was to rescue a cat for your birthday. You can’t get anymore midwest nice than that.


Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. I’ll post pictures of Penny’s adventures.

8 thoughts on “7 years and 9 lives.

  1. Happy tears for sweet Kate and your fam! And midwest nice guilt for refusing to give in to my daughter’s request for a cat. And relief that said daughter was born on the 22nd!


  2. Happy Birthday, Kate. Way to go! That is awesome! We rescued a kitten 4 years ago. He’s a big ‘ol black tom now with lots of “cat-itude” and I don’t know what we ever did without him. Enjoy your new addition to the family.


  3. My cat was Penny! (Penelope) Love this! Happy Birthday to Kate and Happy Fur-ever home to Penny! I’m in VA but I might have that “midwest nice” as I am about to rescue a cat for my 4 year old son. June 12 when he turns 12 should be interesting! NO BODY ever tell him about this Golden Birthday PLEASE!!!

    – Love your post! I look forward to them!


    1. Thank you so much for reading!! I’ve never heard Kate use the name Penny so we were a little shocked she pulled it out of nowhere (and later said it’s because she likes money. Lol). Penny is so sweet. We’re very happy with her. It’s so nice to give a cat a real home. And good luck with the golden birthday!! I don’t know where Kate heard that either…those kids. They talk.
      Let me know how your rescue cat does!! 🙂 how fun!


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