Saturday, March 2, 2013

Writing about my cats through the years, part 1

Mom and the kittens she got
for my brother and me for Easter
Cats, Part 1: numbers 1 - 5

I've lost count recently how many cats I've had, but I think it’s around 15. I'm sure I could name them all from my first black kitten Inky (#1) when I was four or five. His sibling, black and white was for my brother. Unfortunately, both got sick after only a couple of weeks and my mother had the heartbreaking job of taking them to the animal hospital to be put down. 

My brother and Inky #2.
 There was another black cat, also called Inky (#2), who liked to sit on a kitchen chair near the stove when something was cooking. He disappeared when he was about four years old. My parents went on a trip and my mother's mother stayed with my brother, me and my father's father, who needed watching or he'd try to eat my mother's plastic bananas. But that's fodder for another blog. I think Inky got spooked by the change in the household. Inky was notorious for leaving his calling card in the litters of our neighbor's Siamese cats that they were breeding. Yes, among those adorable white kittens there was at least one black one in each litter. Those were the days before spaying and neutering and keeping breeding cats indoors all the time. 

Me and Marmalade, she's trying to
 get away, which she did. 
The next cat was Calico (#3). She was a true calico, white with black and orange spots, I remember her laying on her back in the open window of my bedroom soaking up the sun. She was hit by a car before she was two. I buried her under the pussy willow bush and chiseled her name on a cement stepping stone. I was ten and I still have that stepping stone. 

When I was twelve I found a half-grown, long haired ginger cat, which I named Marmalade (#4). She stayed around long enough to have her picture taken a few times, then took off for the unknown. 

Tippy and her first litter of one
Then came Tippy (#5). She was a tabby with black tips on her tail and ears. She wasn't very affectionate and we never really bonded. She had one kitten when I was thirteen and I watched it being born (It wasn’t my first time seeing kittens born, but the first time for one of my own cats). My parents and I went on a trip soon after, leaving my seventeen-year-old brother at home to watch the fort and the cats. He spent all his time working on his hand-me-down car and, except for feeding, he neglected Tippy and her kitten. When I got home the kitten was feral. I don't remember what happened to it.  A year later my brother went off to college and my parents sold the house and we moved to a new city. Tippy disappeared soon after and I walked all over the new neighborhood looking for her. My mom took me in the car and we circled the block. I was sure she had been hit by a car like my dear Calico. And even though we weren't close, I missed her and worried about her. Three hours later—yes, time drags when you're fourteen, you've been moved from the only home and friends you've known, and now your cat is missing—we found her walking the block wall around the back yard pacing off her new territory. Not long after she had kittens and we put them in the side yard. Unfortunately, one kitten fell behind a box, couldn't get out and died. I was so mad at Tippy for not being a better mother and making a fuss so that I would investigate and find the kitten before it died. A neighbor boy spotted it when he looked over the fence. I wouldn't believe him and sent my dad out to check. He buried the kitten in a corner of the yard under a bush. 

That’s the end of part 1, part 2 will be posted on Monday. Return to read about my cats numbers 6 - 10 and at least one really cute photo.


  1. I love cats. From the time I was a child there have only been 5 in my lifetime, three of them my own as an adult, all very special. It's amazing the ways they touch our hearts. Thanks for sharing about yours.