Moby Might Have Been a Dick, But I Loved Him

Moby, up to no good. (Photo: Margit Detweiler/

Moby loved curling up in cardboard boxes and cold ceramic sinks.

He had a habit of biting shoes and biting people, especially an ex-boyfriend or two. He had a protruding chin like a little man, and a marking on his side that looked like a broken heart. He’d snuggle and spoon with me at night. When I met my husband-to-be, Moby gave me his own personal nod of acceptance by not biting him.

Moby would regularly knock things off shelves to wake us up, so often that we installed new cabinet doors to deter him.

A big white whale of a cat, Moby was alternately named for Moby Dick or ’60s psychedelic band Moby Grape but not the electronica musician, as many suspected. His nicknames included Little Man, Mister Man, Mobius Strip, Mobus Operandi, Moby the Dick.

Funny thing is, I grew up with dogs and never thought about getting a cat until a fateful day in 1995, when a crazy-seeming old lady on a street in South Philly offered up an adorable white kitten.

“I can’t keep him, my grandmother won’t let me, you want him? Come onnnn….”

I questioned the fact that she had a living grandmother but no matter. I told her I’d take him to a shelter, but instead, after watching him lap up milk in my kitchen and inspect my three-floor Philly “trinity” up and down the stairs, I decided to let him stay.

After a few years, and just before a move to NYC, I got another alley cat, Alice, to keep Moby company. Alice Cooper, I might add. Moby turned Alice into his feisty deputy — she colluded with him to knock things down and scrapped with him just about every day of the week. Alice lived in mortal fear of Moby. She developed a meow like Marge Simpson’s sisters; a complain-y, smoky scrawl that implied, “Oh how you irritate me.” But despite their battles, I’m sure she misses him — a little.

Moby was with me through part of my 20s, 30s and now 40s, and saw me through major milestones, heartbreaks and joys. I never thought of myself as a crazy cat lady, but I suppose Moby turned me into one.


Alice (left) and Moby (right). Shelf cats, (Photo: Margit Detweiler/

It’s been four years since Moby passed away and I still think about him often. As for Alice, she’s become a different cat. She snuggles, doesn’t hide under the bed all day but she still meows like a Bouvier, and we love her all the more.

When I posted the memory on Facebook, about 1/3 of the comments were people’s memories of Moby attacking them. “I remember when Moby bit me…”

It just made me smile. I miss my little terror.

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9 Responses

  1. Shelly "Splinters" Rabuse

    I must admit – Moby did scare me. When you first got him he randomly attacked my leg and ripped my tights. Then in NY, when I would stay over, he would come and lay near me and was pretty nice but I was always a little nervous…

  2. Lauren

    Moby NEVER bit me, probably because I also have an abnormal love of cats. Or maybe just because I’m special.

  3. Nancy

    Moby was a total dick to me. 🙂

  4. Diane Carpentier

    After staying with Moby ONE night my cat, Ivy, projectile vomited all over my couch and was shaking like a leaf. Cat-flu or harassment?

    During a presentation in my former career people commented on my scratched and clawed forearms….. yes folks it was Moby! I had tried to hold and pet him when he went into one of his seizure-like attacks. Cat-seizure or compulsive aggression.

    Ladies and gentlemen I am not a professional cat behaviorist but……

  5. Jenna Briand
    Jenna Briand

    Moby actually hospitalized someone, no? But he was nice to me. RIP Moby!

  6. Erica Hornung

    I remember, the first time we met at a dinner while I was visiting, you were talking about Moby and how he wasn’t doing well. It was so sad, and I was just thinking about it the other day… RIP Moby, you were so loved!

  7. Erica Hornung

    I wish I could have met him!

  8. Anna

    We are truly Moby-sisters. Our Moby is massive, but has a tiny mew and the squeakiest, loudest purr. He terrorizes our ‘Little Man’ – Quint. Kitties become family. They paw their way into your lives and stay forever – like the scars from the bites. 🙂

  9. Woman’s Best Friend | Tue Night

    […] So when she fell suddenly ill this year, it was immediately noticeable. She’d sit facing the wall, wouldn’t eat, smelled terrible and went limp anytime you tried to pick her up. All signs I’d seen before when Moby got sick. […]


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