A cat’s story

Larry’s journey from loss to life


This past summer, as my family and I walked into my grandfather’s house in Rome, a bright orange cat cautiously stepped down the stairs and greeted us. This was Larry. My grandfather got Larry about a year ago, but earlier this summer my grandfather unfortunately passed away. Now that no one is at the house, no one is able to take care of Larry. As soon as we found out my grandfather passed away, my dad went to Rome by himself to attend the funeral. While he was there, he talked about how Larry was such a friendly and playful cat over the phone. My dad took care of Larry for about a week. My dad returned to Springdale for a few days, but then he returned to Rome with me and my two brothers and, of course, Larry was still at the house. We stayed at my grandfather’s house for about two weeks, and we took care of Larry. We bought cat food at the store and changed the litter box. During our stay in Rome, we continued to wonder: what would happen to Larry after we left?

Larry had the freedom to go outside and wander around, and he acted like he owned the place most of the time. In fact sometimes when we returned to the house he wasn’t there, but he still expected to be fed every day and enjoyed our company at the house. My cousin Paolo lives in the basement of the house. Unfortunately the basement is not connected to the rest of the house, and Paolo doesn’t feel responsible for Larry because Larry isn’t his cat. My dad asked my aunt what would happen to Larry, and she gave an unassuring response that someone would take care of him.

My dad repeatedly said we should take Larry home, but we weren’t really sure how we would do that. How do you transport a cat from Rome to Springdale? Plus we already have a chihuahua at home that probably wouldn’t be very happy about a cat. So on the last day we were in Rome, our dad’s cousin picked us up to take us to the airport, and we said our last goodbyes to Larry. Now it’s been four months since we left Rome, and I have been constantly wondering about Larry. What happened to him? Is he still alive? What would he do? I asked my dad if he knew anything about Larry’s whereabouts, but he wasn’t sure.

My best guess is that Larry would just live as a stray cat. Italy, and specifically Rome, has an astronomical number of feral cats, due to a high rate of abandoned animals and a low rate of neutering. According to Rome File, estimates believe there are several hundred thousands of feral cats living in Rome and the suburbs, and if Larry left the house and became a stray cat, I think he would be able to survive. If these thousands of other cats can live on the street, I think Larry can too. But thinking about Larry is tough. To sum it up, Larry was abandoned due to an unfortunate event, and there’s nothing I can do to help him. And as I sit here in Springdale, over 5,000 miles away from Rome, I wonder what Larry is up to.