Anyone who has ever owned a pet understands Marge Rogers' deep sentiments for her cat, Della. Rogers got Della just before her divorce 14 years ago, and her ''flabby tabby'' kept her company through stretches of loneliness...

So when Della died two weeks ago, Rogers went into grieving. The night Della was returned from the crematorium, Rogers invited several friends to her Baltimore, Md., home to lament Della's death.

''We had a very spiritual ceremony,'' said Rogers, a Christian whose brother, an ordained minister, later officiated at a formal ceremony honoring Della's life. ''We ordered pizza and sat around and talked about what a big, wonderful cat she was.''

- Carole Morello, Washington Post

"Aye, my Della was a good old cat, she was. Good as gold."

"A very good cat indeed, Marge. A cat to be proud of. Ouch, this pizza's still hot."

"I'd go as far as to call her a fine pussy, wouldn't you agree, Blanche?"

"Oh yes, Sally, a fine pussy indeed."



"Remember the time when Della got caught in the walnut tree and we couldn't get her down to save our lives?"

"Oh, heavens yes. What a day that was. Quite a scary day."

"And then the fire truck shows up and asks me where the fire was, and I told them 'There's no fire, young mister, but my cat is in the tree'."

"Hee, hee, hee..."

"And then they said..."

"And then they said 'Wots that, mum, you say your cat is in a bleedin' tree? Preposterous'."

"I could have died, I was laughing so hard I nearly peed myself."

"Yes... Five hundred dollar fine for the unlawful dispatch of emergency services... But at least I got my Della back..."

"You sure did..."

"But now she's gone... ahhboohoohoo."

"Here, Dear, have another slice of this pepperoni. I'm sure you'll feel much better


"Oh dear."


"There's a slice of green pepper and sausage left if you'd prefer..."

"Ahhh, hoo, hoo, ahuh ahuh ahuh..."

"She's not hyperventilating, is she?"


"Do something, Blanche, do something!"

"I don't know what I should... Uh... I know, I've got just the thing. Let's share some kitty jokes!"

"Bwuhuhu, bwuhu... kitty jokes?"

"You know, Marge, some funny little stories about the kitties. All the kitties of the world."

"Sniff... well... you go ahead Blanche."

"All right, then, here's a riddle. What do you get when you cross an elephant with a cat?"


"A big furry creature that purrs while it sits on your lap and squashes you to death."

"Oh... sniff... much like my Della, I suppose... big old kitty."

"A very fat cat indeed, Marge. A hefty parcel of love. I believe I'll have another slice of the green pepper."

"I'd go as far as to call her an enormous pussy, wouldn't you agree, Blanche?"

"Oh yes, Sally, an enormous pussy indeed."



"Your turn, Sally. Tell us your kitty joke."

"Okay, but I'm warning you - this joke's a bit randy! Well, there was this little old lady..."

"Della wasn't really all that old. For a cat."

"I agree, Marge, but the old lady in question is absolutely ancient. And she's puttering around the house one day, in her elderly sort of way, and she goes to polish her brass..."

"Polish her brass? Ah-ha, I bet I know where this is going."

"And when she starts cleaning her great-grandmother's lamp, a genie pops out. 'Land O'Goshen' she shouts. That's one of those really old phrases which means 'Mercy me!' And the genie tells her 'I grant you three wishes'. So she..."

"I know what I'd wish for... Sniff..."

"Hush, Marge. Let Sally finish her story."

"She doesn't have to think but a moment. 'I'd like to be a beautiful young woman' she says, and POOF, she looks just like Julie Christie in 'Doctor Zhivago'."

"Oh she was such a lovely young thing in that."

"I much prefer her in 'McCabe and Mrs. Miller', but that's just me, ever the renegade. What about her second wish?"

"She wished for world peace... Hahahaha, just kidding. She wished she could be as rich as Queen Noor..."

"Ooh, good wish, that one. There's still plenty of pizza, you all."

"The genie goes POOF, and..."

"Why do they always go poof?"

"Yes, why do they go poof? I've always wondered about the very same thing."

"It's traditional."

"Mmm, I suppose... When do we get to the part about the cat?"

"It's coming, Marge, I promise. So, getting back to the story, she wishes to be rich, and Poof, money everywhere. Ah, money, youth, beauty, what more could she ask for? Well, she looks at her cat..."

"I wish I had a cat to look at..."

"...and she looks at the genie, and she says 'I need someone to share my good fortune with. Please, mister genie, turn my little kitty into a handsome movie star. And the genie goes..."



"Poof, and there he stands, the spitting image of George Clooney."



"That's what she said! And she just about swooned. And so he walks over to her, leans down, and whispers in her ear, 'too bad you cut off my balls, bitch'."

"Sally! Oh my god..."

"My Della didn't have any balls. Ahoohoohoo... Sniff... But I did have her fixed when she was just a kitten. Sniff... And I wonder sometimes if she's sitting up there in kitty heaven, hating me because she never got to be a mommy."

"Probably, Marge. Probably."

2005, Mark Hoback