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Out of My Head

Thank you, Maddy, for your devotion and the ridiculous dialogue

November 28th, 2011 9:26 am by Jan Hearne

The next time you hear some really bad dialogue in a movie or TV show, think of Madeleine. If you don’t know her, Madeleine is my 16-year-old cat, who for a very long time wrote screenplays with the late Rayleen, also a cat.
Of course this is all fantasy — as far as we know — but it was the only way to explain films like “Meet Joe Black.” Though Rayleen passed away two years ago, it has since been discovered she and Madeleine had stockpiled a number of scripts that will be filmed for decades to come, or until Christine, Rayleen’s owner, or I pass away. For we are the ones who judge the films to see if the two cats had a paw in them.
Their most recent endeavor is “Person of Interest,” a CBS television show starring Michael Emerson, late of “Lost,” and Jim Caviezel, who is handsome.
In this series, which I tried to like but couldn’t, the characters say things like, “What do you assume he knows?” Pregnant pause: “Assume he knows everything.”
Maddy and Rayleen’s human English dialogue sounds like something a cat would say if it could speak human English with a French accent.
In Rayleen’s obit, which appeared in this column, I mentioned the feline duo were responsible for this memorable line from “Notting Hill”: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” They also came up with, “Pink is my signature color,” for the character Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.”
Knowing our cats wrote the screenplay has gotten us through some really awful movies, starting with “Meet Joe Black”: William Parrish: Do you know about money? Joe Black: It can’t buy happiness.
How these particular cats came by their talent is a mystery, but it’s been a long-running joke among select friends.
I’m writing about it now because I haven’t given Madeleine the attention she deserves; she’s been overshadowed by terriers and their antics.
Now Maddy is old, and her heart is not so strong, and I will lose her too soon.
In reality, Madeleine is a beautiful cat, with the sweetest upturned nose. My vet thinks she is part Maine Coon because of her gentle nature, lavish coat and huge paws.
Years ago, when I told my mom that Maddy was part Maine Coon, she famously said, “Part raccoon?!?” And to tell the truth, there have been times I have mistaken a raccoon eating cat food on my back porch for Madeleine.
Maddy was a shelter rescue. In 1997, she was the Press animal of the week. I called a couple of days later to see if she was still there, and when I heard she was, I said I would be by to get her in the morning. When I stopped in, the people at the shelter said Maddy was very sick, and if I hadn’t called, she would have been euthanized first thing.
I took her straight from the shelter to the vet, where she spent several days recovering from a high fever and infection. She has rewarded me with ardent devotion bordering on obsession for almost 15 years.
She deserves a column or 10 for the wonderful cat that she is, and the laughter I’ve shared at her expense. Thank you, Maddy.
Jan Hearne is Tempo editor for the Johnson City Press. Reach her at

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