I figure that anyone who has had as many cats as I have should make a cat quilt. So, when I am finished with the teacup appliques I am going to start doing cats. Black cats, tiger cats, calico cats, gray cats, siamese cats, any kind of cat that has been in my life will be immortalized in fabric. Let's see, starting with the strays when I was a kid, that would be:
Black, black, gray, orange tiger (Punkin), siamese (Lady Day), gray tiger (Uma), orange tiger (Zack), black, gray and white, black (Uncle), gray (Charlie), tuxedo (Peep), orange tiger (George), white (Spike), black (Sasha), calico (Molly). Whew!
Actually, the first three were a stray mother cat and her two kittens which didn't stay long - Dad found a home for them. Punkin was an adult stray who adopted our neighbor and us, and lived for years around our houses. In the winter he slept in the garage, but in the summer he lived outside and roamed where he wished. He liked us, but he liked his freedom, too. We fed him, and he wasn't averse to a little extra treat from the fridge. Bologna was a favorite. Punkin would go to the front door and meow. After Mom let him in, he would follow her to the refrigerator, where he got his bologna treat, and then carry it daintily to the back door to be let out again. He never ate indoors. He wore a collar and tag and was vaccinated, but in the end he was his own cat. One of his rear feet had been broken sometime in his life before he came to us, and had healed crookedly. When he wanted to cover ground quickly, he picked it up and ran three-legged. Sadly, he was hit by a car when I was in college.
After I got an apartment in college, I kept two cats for a while that weren't mine. The siamese (I called her Lady Day for her attitude, I've even forgotten what her real name was) was a cat I fostered for my sister-in-law's brother, while he was was relocating and in an apartment that didn't allow pets. Uma was a kitten of my brother's cat, but didn't like living in an apartment and went back to my brother's house, where she was renamed Fluffy!
I moved next door to my brother and adopted Zack about the time I started dating my now-husband. Zack didn't like him at all. This cat was so dutiful about his litter box habits that he didn't know he could "go" outside. He would meow at the door to be let in to use the litterbox! He was only with me for about six months, and then accidentally hitched a ride in the loaded bed of a pickup truck when my brother moved, and was forcible relocated! He was adopted by the lady who found him in my brother's new town.
The black and the gray and white kittens weren't even with us long enough to get properly named. The black, who came from the shelter, ran off and took up with some people down the street. Such cheek! At least, they kept him. Sadly, the gray and white kitten, a stray my husband found in the rain, was killed by a dog after only a few days.
Uncle was adopted from a college student and stayed with us through the last part of our college years. He was an independent sort too but loved us both. His former owner had left a window open so he could come and go as he pleased, so when I kept him in for the first few days to get acclimated to his new home, he took a claw and can-opener'ed my window screen! He disappeared one day just before my husband graduated. I think he must have gotten sick and gone off to die. It saddened me that I never knew what happened. I looked and looked, but no luck.
After I bought a house I got Charlie from a shelter. She had seizures and probably was epileptic. She only lived a year. Then, we got Peep, a tuxedo cat named for his tiny meow. He was with us for years. He disappeared one day and we found his body the next, beneath the bushes next door. I never knew what happened. He may have been accidentally poisoned or became ill from something he caught.
George was my first indoor only cat, and a rousing failure. He disliked my husband and me from the day we brought him home from the shelter, and it never changed. Fortunately, he did like a friend of mine, so George went to live with Cliff. I got Spike to be George's companion, but Spike, who came from the shelter full-grown, was nothing but an old tough tom, and had no patience with George, who didn't know how to behave around another cat and constantly picked fights. To keep the peace, Spike went outside more, which he loved. Spike's tail was injured during one of his jaunts in the woods behind my house (cat fight? animal bite? I never knew), and infection spread to his spine. He died in surgery.
After that, my luck in cats turned. Sasha came from the shelter. She actually chose us. We went to the adoption center run by the county Humane Society and entered the kitten room. Kittens were everywhere, running amok. They started climbing my husband like a ladder. I was picking kittens off his jacket and pants legs as we tried to dodge stepping on the little furballs. Over at the side of the room was a stack of cages about four feet tall. On the top stood a small black kitten. As we walked past, she reached out and grabbed his jacket, as if to say "Come here! You're my people!" We were charmed and took her home. Sasha kept me company when my husband worked out of town, staked out a nap spot on my husband's stereo receiver, and brought me mice during her hunting days. She was my big buddy and companion for sixteen years. I still miss her.
And that brings us to the resident Queen of All She Surveys, Molly, my calico. What can I say? She rules our life, but she's a benevolent despot!