With a little coaxing and a firm push, I had managed to put Maka Reilly, my oldest cat, into a cat carrier in order to fly him to Topside Molokai for a scheduled checkup with Dr. Jayne, the veterinarian. Maka Reilly was not happy when I closed the door of the carrier and immediately began to resist his confinement. Soon he was rocking and rolling the light plastic carrier. His howl was like that of a jungle cat. Then this gentle animal turned into the equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. He grabbed the carrier door with his powerful paws, wrenched it back and forth and broke one of the plastic latches, nailing my finger with his sharp claws in the process. 

“It was catmantic,” as we say back in the west of Ireland. When I returned after wrapping my finger in an adhesive Band-Aid, he had escaped his cell and was laying quietly on the front steps, restored to his normal gentle self. He even allowed me to stroke his back. However, suffice it to say that he did not accompany me on the plane to Topside.

In Kalaupapa we do not have many house cats but cats may outnumber resident humans and many of our residents make sure that our feline protectors are well-fed. Though Maka Reilly had lots of friends and lots of feeders as the Post Office Cat, he adopted me five years ago, perhaps because of the menu I serve. Since then, I have been adopted by four more purring kitties who like and enjoy the menu. Of course good menus must be supported by good medical care and that is very lacking for our pets in Kalaupapa. Not only are we without a resident vet, we seldom have a visiting vet come to our settlement. 

So, if there is a vet out there willing to care for our little furry friends, please come to Kalaupapa.

After touchdown at Topside airport, I was met by Father Kris Kaitapu, pastor of St. Damian Of Molokai Parish. We stopped by the Molokai Humane Society on our way to Kaunakakai and got some medicine for Maka Reilly from Dr. Jayne with the gracious help of Kathy. Later I visited Catherine the Great, editor-in-chief of the Molokai Dispatch, who suggested that I write this article. So, if you do not like this little news flash, you know who to blame. LOL! Father Kris and I later had lunch at the Molokai Burger. Then it was time to fly back down to beautiful Kalaupapa.

As I penned the draft of this “newsletter,” Baby Face Bailey, my second cat, had been trying to snatch my pen from my hand. He wanted equal time, I guess. Such are the happenings in this land of Saints Damien and Marianne where cats reign supreme and humans are their servants. By the way, this story ends well. Maka Reilly is doing well — and my finger has healed. 


Anchor columnist Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.

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