I’ve received a bounty of cat yarns from my dear friend Techno.
She writes, “So I have two big projects to be working on, but instead of [doing them] I’m eating M&Ms and just got off the phone chatting with my mom about what great cat stories are the greatest to tell you because I figured it best to edit the stories because there were so many cats and so many trivial stories that it would be very long and a waste of time.”
Waste of time?? Never.
She goes on. “Unfortunately I don’t have lots and lots of pictures to photodocument, but I will do my best at visually representing our cat-life. So, here goes”……
Here Techno has shared with us a small snippet of her family’s great wealth of cat information….this cat log might spread over a few cat blogs, because it is worth a true investigation. These stories are valuable on many levels, including hilarity, cat-i-ness, and towards the preservation of family memory. In proposing this set of stories, she wrote, “My G-pop really likes cats. So I told him about your blog (this also involved explaining to him what a “blog” is, that took a long time), and once he understood what it was, he told me lots of funny stories about all the cats he’s ever known.”
Techno, I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you. Here is the first of her set of stories.
“(For reference, my G is my grandmother.)” she notes.
My mother was lucky to not have brothers and a father allergic to most every fun pet (like mine) and from my understanding growing up she had lots and lots of animals. The only one that I actually know that I met was a big orange cat called Barney who, as most cats seem to, had a strange sort of affection for my dad and older brothers who were all allergic to him. One Christmas, my brother Patrick was sleeping on my G’s couch and Barney curled up right on top of his chest so that with Patrick awoke, he was covered in the fur that made him sneezy. There is an old picture of this somewhere in my house. It used to be on our refrigerator I think, but we cleaned the fridge off a few years ago. It was my favorite kind of picture… the kind where you know it was loved because it’s kind of off-colored from sun-exposure and the corners are bent.
But Barney was the last inside cat that my grandparents intentionally had. They live on this really awesome old, non-working farm in Zionsville, PA and throughout my childhood, CONSTANTLY had a clan of barn/outdoors cats that they would feed and therefore adopted. In the beginning, they named the cats after their grandchildren, though my mom argued that point with me, I’m pretty sure I’m right. Because the mother to most of the cats we called Michelle because originally she was named Mike after my cousin Mike, but then we found out she was a girl. (They later named another cat Mike just to find out it was a girl too, and I think that they tried to change her name to Mickey but we all still called her Mike)
Mike and Michelle were really beautiful tabby cats. Michelle was not so friendly — like most of my grandparents cats who just used us humans for food and not much else, but Mike was. She would come up and let us pet her and play with her and that’s why we liked her the best. The other cats I remember were Anna and Sarah who were pretty pretty all-white cats, though I’m sure there were a slew of other cats with people names. My cat was called Collie. She was special because she was born in a litter of all runts. (So I guess that makes them not runts anymore, if they are all small?) But because they were so small, G and Gpop were worried that they wouldn’t survive at first outside in the cat-eat-cat world. So Collie and her brothers Milton and Chester got to live inside for a little while (this NEVER happened.. G didn’t like having the cats inside.. they were dirty.) Chester unfortunately met an early end, but Milton, who was white, and Collie, who was a tabby, lived to eventually be put outside.
But because they had been inside, they were very friendly cats. We could pick them up and play with them and everything. Though I did this once and never again because the one day I held Collie in my lap, she pooped all over my shorts and legs and it was epically gross and I smelled for the rest of the day and my cousins made fun of me. Disgusting.
This is the girl. See vintage photo below. Think about cats pooping on her. She’s wonderful, filled with wit and charm, comforting, doesn’t think I’m weird, or at least does but doesn’t think of it in the bad way, and has one of the best laughs I can think of.
And she turned out to be a wealth of cat information, a veritable feline treasure trove.
More next time!