Fern the Cat

by Paul Scovil from Bridgewater, NS
Jul 2, 16

My story is one of personal sorrow – though not altogether shared by friends and family.

It begins when I had just begun practicing law in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. 

As well as my new career and new home, I had also acquired - a cat.

I had named my cat “Millie”. 

However, I had expressed concerns to my new friends in Yarmouth that my landlord might not allow pets. And I had joked that I should actually call Millie “Fern”. That way if asked by the landlord I could simply say: yeah, I have a fern in the apartment. The name “Fern” stuck in Yarmouth. My friends back in Halifax, however, knew my cat as “Millie”.

About that same time my brother, who lived in New Brunswick, became engaged to a girl named “Fern”.


My best friend John was coming to Yarmouth on business. And we arranged to have lunch.

Sadly, just days before John was to be in Yarmouth, my cat had been struck and killed by a car. I was devastated. So devastated that my wife wondered aloud whether I would be as grief-stricken if she had been hit by a car. My admin staff at work tried to console me by telling me that it happens all the time - to cats.

John, who also knew my brother and his fiancé, called on the morning of our lunch to say his trip had been postponed and our lunch was off. 

When he asked how I was doing I said “not very well actually”.

I told him that Fern had died on the weekend after being struck by a car. 

“Oh No!” he exclaimed. 

Like the best friend he is, John’s voice carried great sympathy for my loss. 

“Yes,” I said, “she was hit by a car crossing the road in front of our house on Saturday night”. 

“Oh my goodness NO!” said John, “how did it happen?” 

“Well”, I said, “we’re not sure. She was out during the night and was hit. Our neighbour said he had found her in the morning frozen in the ditch”. 

At that John made such an anguished cry that even I thought it was a little bit too much.

I then went on to tell him that the neighbour didn’t know who she belonged to so he wrapped her up in a blanket and brought her into his back yard where he buried her. 

“BURIED HER!” said John. ”Whatever did your brother say?” 

“My brother? I asked, “What would my brother care about my cat?”