Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Remember When Mom Shot My Cat

My mom shot my cat the summer I was eight.

My cat was actually a kitten, a ball of gray fluff that could fit in your hand.  One bullet from a .45 and all that was left was a tail tip and four paws.  Before you judge her harshly, know that she actually ran over the poor thing first.  On accident of course, and then had to finish him off with what was available.  If you know anything about guns, you know that a .45 is overkill for a cat…no pun intended.

Fast forward nine years to when my barn cat goes missing.  He’s a gigantic black tom with bright green eyes, Halloween style.  My mom’s assessment: “The devil worshippers probably got him and tacked him to a tree in the cemetery.”  It was kind of a trend at the time.  She had a point. (Someday we’ll also discuss the lack of verbal filters in my family.)

Every day I wonder if I’m a good mom — most moms do.  There are lots of ways to be a bad mom, and the above stories are not examples.  My mom is a great mom and always has been.  Sure, she mistook my cat for my brother’s cat and comforted the wrong kid until I found his cat and realized mine was blown to smithereens.  But then she held us both, and we all cried.

Sure, she could have said that my black tom died a peaceful death in a field, but that would have been far too predictable.  Instead I got to turn my head sideways and look at the world in a different way than most middle class girls in an Indiana cornfield would get to see (or imagine.)  Obviously, she’s also the kind of mom who goes shopping and says that dress doesn’t do much for you (but also says when it does.)  I guess what a good mom does is provide honesty, love, and laughter, which my mom provides in spades.

One bad thing about this good mom:  We can’t get the kids a cat.  Right now I claim that Daddy has allergies.  Someday we’ll talk about guns and devil worshippers.  All in good time.

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Comments (9)

  1. Pingback: Thankful Year in Pictures « « Utah Mama Utah Mama

  2. Melissa 09/07/2012 at 10:54 pm

    I laughed so hard! I’m sorry. That’s so sad but the way you tell the story is funny. Your mom sounds like a character. How fun!

  3. Allison Randall 08/27/2012 at 8:37 pm

    Okay, I may be sick, but I laughed through the whole thing. We have verbal filters in our house, but don’t hesitate to laugh when so moved. I’ll have trouble explaining that to my 4 year old.

  4. Jenivere 08/27/2012 at 6:55 pm

    As soon as I saw the title I knew you would be the author. Love it. Who needs a filter anyway, that doesn’t prepare you for the real world!

  5. Naomi 08/27/2012 at 1:25 pm

    I think honesty is important. You don’t need to scare them but if your kids are smart and have the comprehension to handle it, the truth is the way to go. We’ve buried too many kitties in our yard but the kids seem to have a better understanding of the life cycle because of it.

  6. Amy Allen Johnson 08/22/2012 at 7:21 am

    We probably needed a gun in my house. This summer, as my siblings gathered, we learned some true events regarding the kitten we once had. The part about the car rings true, just not sure about the rest. Love your mom – the compassion and practicality both!

  7. Erin Oltmanns 08/21/2012 at 8:36 pm

    “Someday we’ll talk about guns and devil worshippers.” LOL. Oh, man…to be a fly on the wall for that chat. 🙂

  8. Connie 08/21/2012 at 6:03 pm

    I think the cat story will be around our family for a LONG time. I am glad you knew I did what I had to do to put an animal out of its misery and suffering. I love you!!!!

  9. Vivian 08/21/2012 at 11:21 am

    This is just so awesome on so many levels. The honesty, the humbleness and just everything about it is so real and so needed. Thank you for sharing your “real mom” with us and not some distorted media representation of a mom.