My mom likes to tell people that every time one of her daughters heads to college, we always bring home a cat.

When I went to school in Maine my freshman year, I came home with Leaf. When I transferred to Temple, I surprised my mother with my black cat, Guinness.

Last year, when my sister Erin started school in Kutztown, she managed to con my mother into keeping a kitten one of her friends found. She named him Gatsby.

Now, I love my cats. Sure they like to trip people, they're always hungry and they tore apart my mother's couch. There was also this one time Guinness knocked over a bottle of red wine, which exploded, and it stained dining room walls with splotches of purple.

Gatsby is not a good cat. He's mean to me, he won't let me pet him, and he lacks the grace that cats are supposed to have.

I honestly didn't think I had any feelings for this cat.

Last week, for some reason, Gatsby became very lethargic. He wasn't eating, and he wouldn't really move. Our veterinarian said he had a urinary obstruction.

Although they cleared the obstruction, he was still very sick. The vet said, as a family, we should discuss euthanasia.

I hate this cat, but I was sobbing when my mother gave me the news. I was in a funk. Even though this cat is the devil incarnate, I didn't want him to be in pain. I didn't want him to die.

Thankfully, Gatsby did get better. Actually, it was strange. One moment he was knocking on death's door, the next he was jumping around.

My mother said it was a miracle, but I know what's up.

Obviously the cat was just messing with me.

Contact Samantha Tighe: 610-371-5084 or stighe@readingeagle.com.