Morticia the kitten’s days as a grief therapy caregiver at the Lexington County coroner’s office might be on a short leash.
Coroner Margaret Fisher is seeking to continue keeping the stray kitten in her office as therapy for grieving families instead of giving it up as some county leaders demand.
“It’s been good for everyone, including us,” Fisher said. “She changes the outlook of people.”
Fisher is under pressure from some county leaders to find a new home for the cat, which is rubbing some the wrong way because of concern about allergic reaction to its hair and injuries from bites and scratches that might happen.
“I’ve asked her to find a nice home for the cat,” County Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said. “Our liability for that is huge.”
But Morticia is the cat’s meow with Fisher’s staff, becoming their unofficial source of stress relief.
Her name, popularized by the old “Adams Family” TV show, is apt for an office that investigates violent and unexpected death, the coroner said.
Precautions put in place minimize the chance of problems for the public, Fisher said.
Morticia is gentle and spayed with up-to-date immunizations and is handled only upon request and kept in a back room separate from the public, Fisher said.
The kitten needs to socialize with people and be handled in order to qualify as a therapy animal, she said.
If things don’t work out as she hopes, Fisher has offers of new homes for the kitten but is hoping to keep her.
She is appealing the kitten’s eviction to the nine council members, seeking an exception to the rule that pets can’t be kept in county buildings. No discussion is expected on her request for a few weeks.
“If they vote it down, then she goes,” Fisher said. “She’ll go on to another life.”
Fisher brought in the kitten, estimated to be 6 months of age, after it was found roaming on a wooded site near Pine Ridge last spring by her husband, Clifford.
“She’s a true Lexington County wildcat,” Fisher said, referring to the mascot of nearby Lexington High School.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483