When I was one year old, my family had a dog they named Happy. I donít remember Happy as he ran away when my sister brought home a cat. The cat did not last long either. The first real pet I remember was our dog, Gus. He was a Caca-poo (Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix) and he was the best dog ever; super sweet and cute. My Dad & brother brought him home one day when I was in kindergarten and it was love at first site. He truly was a member of the family.
Many years later when both my brother & sister had left home to go to college, it was just Gus & I. He was like my best pal or little brother, although I always knew he was wiser than I. When I was 15 years old, my brother came to pick me up at soccer practice one day. It was a great surprise, because I did not know he was coming home to visit. It stunned me when his girlfriend hopped in the truck bed and let me ride in the cab with my brother. I thought she was being nice since I had not seen him in awhile, but she did it so my brother could tell me some bad news. He began to cry and told me that he had accidentally ran over Gus in the driveway and killed him. I was devastated and began to wail and then I noticed the girlfriend looking at me, so I shut up. Our whole family was distraught. My Dad could not handle it, and left the house not to return until after dark. We ended up burying him in the back yard next to the peach tree, where he lays to this day. My Dad said no more pets after that.
My sister gave me a pet mouse named Simone and that was OK, since it stayed in the cage. Unfortunately, I accidentally killed Simone in a pretty torturous way. I forgot to give her water. I still feel a shock of guilty horror when I think of that; how awful.
One year later, while I was out of town with my parents and my brother was at our home with some friends of his, we returned to find a black cat occupying our house. My brother said the cat had followed him home and that she was pregnant. My Dad said that no way can she stay, but the cat somehow charmed him so he acquiesced and said she could stay until she had her litter. In the meantime, she whittled her way into my Dadís heart for good. I called her Smith, but her name inevitably became Mama Cat.
One late night, Mama Cat began to give birth under my bed. I was able to pull her out and put her on my pillow and then called to my folks. We watched each kitten be born and it was pretty amazing. Somehow I convinced my parents to not only keep Mama Cat, but also TWO of the kittens. I picked a fluffy gray male cat and named him Tolhurst and I picked a white & black female Manx cat and named her Finis (get it, The End? She had no tail, you see).
When the time was right, my parents paid to get both Mama Cat and Finis fixed, but my Dad wanted Tolhurst to be able to sew his oats (plus to save some $$), so he did not get the male cat snipped. This was a big mistake. As soon as puberty hit, Tolhurst began to spray everything in site and did not stop. He became a permanent outdoor cat and then one day I stopped seeing him around. I asked my Dad if he had seen him & he said no. Then my sister called me and was complaining about how awful it was what happened to Tolhurst. She thought I knew, but now she had to tell me. My Dad was sick of the cat leaving his mark everywhere and really stinking up the place, so he took him out to the woods near a lake and just dropped him off. This was a very pampered cat that would be no match for any woodland creature and would for sure not survive the night. This is when I first realized that my Dad was a liar and could be a pretty cruel person. I confronted him & our relationship was never quite the same.
Years later, Mama Cat became old and fell ill. She wandered off to die alone and my Dad was crushed.
In the meantime, I had left home and moved in with my boyfriend, Brian. We decided to take the next step with our relationship and got a cat. We went to the pound and picked a Tortoise shell named Murphy. As soon as we got her home, we discovered that Murphy was the most skittish cat on earth, but she attached herself to Brian and worshipped the ground he walked on.
One day, while at work, I heard a desperate mewing coming from outside. I investigated and discovered the smallest black kitten abandoned under some steam pipes. She was covered in fleas and bugs and was too young to eat dry food. I took her home, combed out her bugs and fed her beef baby food. She slept on my chest all night long and the bond was born. We named her Eggplant, but called her the Little Kitty.
Years later when my relationship with Brian was kaput, he moved out and I stayed in our old place with both cats. Murphy freaked out without Brian there. She his under a chair and made the worst howling sounds all day and all night long while emitting a hideous smell and excreting a weird oil through her coat.
I decided to move to Seattle, so I gave Murphy to Brian and I took Eggplant. My friend Aimee & I moved here on New Years day 1996, with both our cats in the U-haul. Eggplant has been with me through some major ups and downs and is my best friend. She insists on getting ready with me every morning. She wants me to comb her hair when I am brushing my own and she needs to be present in the bathroom when I am showering or brushing my teeth.
When I got my own studio, I did not want Eggplant to be alone while I was at work, so I thought it was time to get another cat. Through a friend, I was able to get a male Tuxedo kitten that was the sweetest thing on earth. I named him Jiffy. Eggplant was none too pleased. Now they both fight each other for my attention. Jiffy grew to be a very large cat of about 20 pounds. Eggplant is still the Little Kitty at only 5 pounds. They both sleep on me every night. Sometimes I do not notice Eggplant is even on me, but I think the weight of Jiffy is slowly tweaking my back. I love my little family with all my heart and know I will be beyond devastated when their time comes to leave the earth.
Finis lived with my parents for 17 years. When my Mom started Chemotherapy, she could not pet the cat for fear of infection, so Finis had to stay outside. When my Mom died at home surrounded by her family, Finis somehow got into the house and ran right up to my Mother to say goodbye. Finis died two months later leaving my Father all alone in that house. I wish he would get another pet. Maybe one day when he is ready.