Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Mute Molly


In time for Mother’s Day, I wanted to re-blog this post I did about three years ago, but with a newly found very old photo of my mother and the family cat, Molly. This would have been taken about forty years ago, so I don’t need to say any more about the quality of the photo. It’s what’s in the photo that counts. My mother loved animals and was kind to them all. I still shudder to think how she swept spiders up carefully on a dustpan and put them outside to continue their lives out there where they belonged. It only makes sense that she would have her picture taken holding her cat, standing under her favourite pear tree, beside the tulips, daffodils, and primroses she planted.img678She loved her pets, her flowers, her garden, her children. She was a great cook and baker and a loving mother. Molly was the family cat but she really was my mother’s cat. Rescued when she was little, Molly paid back our family with loyalty and love. My mother died in 1982 and Molly left this world before her, but neither will ever be forgotten.  If my mother were alive she would love to hear me retell stories of her beloved cat.

Let me tell you a bit about Molly.

We know that most animals communicate with each other and with people. Domesticated animals such as cats and dogs are especially good at making their wishes known. They’ve had thousands of years of practice. Dogs bark; cats meow. But what of those animals whose voices are weak or even  gone? How do they manage to communicate?

Molly had a lot of character, but she was almost voiceless. Her meow was barely a cat whisper. She may have been mute, but she was certainly not deaf, and she demonstrated a love of music. When we made music in our house, Molly always appeared on the scene. She liked to put her paws on the piano and add her “voice” to the harmony, and when my sister played the recorder, Molly rubbed her neck on the instrument.

“Look at her,” I said, laughing. “She’s writhing around like a cobra coming out of a snake charmer’s basket.” When we played tuneless scales for her benefit, it seemed to drive the cat crazy. “You’d better stop,” I told my sister. “You don’t know what you might be saying in cat-speak…although she does seem to like it.”

If Molly needed to go outside, she ran to the front door and waited. Usually someone noticed her.  If not, she ran across the piano keyboard, making plenty of noise, and then jumped down to wait by the door.

“Allegro and forte. Sounds like she’s in a hurry this time,” I said.

My parents’ bedroom was off limits to Molly and she knew it. My father didn’t like animals and barely tolerated the cat. Even when the bedroom door was open, Molly never ventured inside.  But one night, after the family went to bed, Molly pounced on my parents’ bed and immediately jumped down again. Jolted from her sleep, my mother shooed her out. When no one got out of bed, Molly repeated her pounce. The moment my mother got up, Molly ran into the living room. A thick cloud of smoke had filled the room.

“Fire!” my mother yelled. Hearing the shout, my father scrambled out of bed. They stared at the smoke billowing out of the fireplace.

“No. There’s no fire, but the damper’s closed!” my father said, his voice in panic mode. He flipped the lever to open the damper while my mother flung open doors and windows.

This time it was an easy fix, but my parents were shaken up to think that the whole family might have died of smoke inhalation.

“Thank God for  Molly,” my mother said. “She can’t talk, but she sure can communicate.”

My mother gave Molly a bit of left over chicken as a special thank you and we all took turns cuddling our resourceful hero.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

38 thoughts on “Mute Molly

  1. What a great story! Molly crossed a line, but saved everyone! That was one cool cat and a nice memory of your mother. 🙂


  2. A lovely story. A beautiful post in remembrance of your mother – and Molly. 🙂


  3. What a daredevil , little Miss Molly. Having ventured into a forbidden domain of your father’s to save her loving family.
    Our animals are so tuned in to possibilities that we can’t even imagine.
    Love the photo of your Mom and Molly. She carries her purse like the Queen.


    • That purse is a little bit embarrassing – that shiny cheap stuff – but my mother would rather spend the money on her children than on a good purse for herself. That’s just how she was.


  4. You’ve brought tears to my eyes. What a nice picture of your mother.


  5. What a lovely story about your Mum, Anneli! And such a nice photo of
    her. Funny…I don’t remember Molly at all. How wonderful she was
    to warn you about the smoke!


  6. You are fortunate, Anneli! Those memories are priceless!


  7. Wonderful memories. More please!


  8. Wonderful story Anneli


  9. What a special story. Molly’s love of music reminds me of our daughter’s cat. One summer I stayed at her place in Victoria while taking a university music education course. I would practice playing my instruments in the afternoon when no one was home. Our daughter had a cat with a bad attitude called Gatsby. When I played the ukulele, Gatsby would sit on my feet as I tapped them in time to the music. He loved it. When I played recorder he would quickly leave the room and ask to be let out. Don’t really blame him; recorders can be harsh to sensitive ears.
    Thanks for reminding me of this incident.


  10. Your mother was so lovely and Mulle was a hero.


  11. Animals can communicate in so many different ways, if only people would take the time they’d soon find out the communication skills of animals… we tend to give little notice to these nuances of animals till such an incident happens… I love this story, just goes to show they know when there is trouble and will somehow communicate that to you…
    I have a terrier that has come so many times to tell me when one of the other animals is in trouble… he neither barks or makes a sound, just stands and stares at me till I stand, then he will lead to the problem…


  12. Great story and tribute to your mutter and Mulle! 🙂 I used to love watching Lassie. I cried my eyes out and It tore me apart when sie hurt her paws and had to suffer because she was heroine…


    • Yes, Mutter and Mulle. Thank you for your kind words. And isn’t is amazing how people watched Lassie all over the world. One funny thing that happened to us when we were in Greece and bought a bottle of scotch – the brand of the scotch was “Bonnie Lassie” (meaning a “pretty girl,” in Scotland) but the label on the bottle was of Lassie the dog. It showed how they had no idea about what bonnie lassie really meant, but they certainly knew Lassie the dog.


      • 🙂 Well, too me Lassie was really a Boonie Lassie, but I have never heard of the Whiskey. 🙂 I have googled it and I found “Bonnie Lass” with a nice woman on the laben and also Lassie! 🙂

        That reminds me of my first trip to Ireland. I was on the west coast searching for the Heinrich Böll’s cottage. It was grey day, the rain was pouring down and I was lost so I asked a shepherd for the way. He just shook his head looking me at said “what is a bonny’ Lass like you doing out here on a day like this”. I immediately thought of the poor dog, totally drenched in the rain, although the expression was not new to me. 🙂


        • Amazing!!!! Thank you for finding that site. That is the bottle. It was in 1977. My husband remembers that the scotch was just terrible. It was so bad that we tried drinking it in our tea and coffee and it was still bad. But the mistaken idea on the label made it memorable. Thank you, Dina!


  13. Anneli, you should start to prepare a new book, now with your short stories.


  14. That is an amazing story – she must have been such a special cat!


  15. What an amazing cat! She saved all of you!!!!!!!!!
    I adore this photo of your Mother and Molly….the white picket fence, the flowers…just lovely.


    • Yes, Molly was pretty amazing. And the picture…well, it seems to be of the “Leave it to Beaver” era. Very vintage, and not great quality even then, but I find the content interesting. The details tell a story. Thanks for visiting, Suzanne. Pet Oliver for me. He comes from a fine line of cats.


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