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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Cat person

A cheerful story with a political angle—and a Jane Austen twist! On the eve of Election Day here in the stressed-out, locked-down, anxiety-ridden United States, it seems like an impossibility. But I’m happy to report that last month, the family of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, adopted a stray kitten and named him Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy – Darcy, for short. “His name was inspired by the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice,” the Coopers helpfully explain on the First Pets of North Carolina Facebook page.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of North Carolina

Adorable little Darcy was found “crying under a nearby church” on the very day the Coopers lost their beloved ten-year-old rescue dog Ben to a debilitating autoimmune disease. “Of course, he will never be ‘in want of a wife’ because here at First Pets, we believe in responsible pet ownership, which includes spaying and neutering,” the Coopers note. Appended to the post are more than 250 comments from people touting their own Austen-themed pets, pasting in snippets of Colin Firth, quibbling over Darcy’s breed (Siamese? Seal point Ragdoll?), and suggesting that the Coopers name their next cat Mr. Bingley. As you may already have guessed, based on the existence of a First Pets of North Carolina Facebook page, the Coopers (governor, wife, three grown daughters) are an animal-loving clan. Over the years, they have shared relatable anecdotes about their now-deceased dogs Ben and Chloe; their late cat Alexei; a couple of praying mantises who came and went, as insects do; and their apparently-still-alive pets, including a dog named Charlie and a cat named Adelaide. Darcy isn’t even the first lost kitten the Coopers have adopted and christened with a literary name: Exactly two years ago, they took in a stray found in the garage of the governor’s mansion and named her Jennyanydots – Jenny for short – after a character in T.S. Eliot’s cat poems and the musical based on them. Jaded, mistrustful types may choose to find it suspicious that the Coopers keep happening upon adorable orphaned kitties just days before hotly contested elections. But I’m suspending my cynicism. With Election Day right around the corner, I choose to believe.


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