As a small child, I always dreamed of owning a cat. When I visited my Uncle's farm in Edwall, Washington, I would try to play with the farm cats...... if you've ever tried this, you know it isn't easy. Then one day my parents called me into the kitchen of our small home in Spokane, Washington, and gave me a cardboard box to open.... it was a gift from heaven and the farm.... a lovely black and white kitten that was immediately reincarnated as Felix, the Cat. This is the best picture I could find of Felix.

Several years later when my family moved from Spokane to Phoenix, Arizona, Felix had to stay with the neighbors, the Honsteads. They were a nice old couple with a big fat cocker spaniel named Spot. (Apparently my neighborhood wasn't very clever about naming animals, but thank you for not commenting.) Whenever we returned to visit family in Washington, I would visit with Felix and the Honsteads. I think he knew me, at least he pretended well.

Then of course, the dreaded visit came when Felix was no longer with the Honsteads.

He was my first. He will always be special.

 

While Felix ruled the roost, some how or other, a long haired female named Judy arrived on the scene. She got to sleep on the screened-in back porch where the wringer washing machine was. Especially when she had kittens. Tragedy struck one day when Judy and the kittens all disappeared. Honsteads told us somebody took Judy and the kittens from under our front porch, but I just don't know......

 

After we lived in Phoenix for a while, an all black cat decided ours was the best house in the area. Still suffering from the "Spokane cat naming syndrome", I proceeded to name him Blacky. He was a sturdy old Tom who went camping with us each summer when Phoenix got too hot and we'd spend two weeks at a time in Oak Creek Canyon, outside of Sedona near Flagstaff....only coming home every other week to wash and make sure the house was still there. Blacky got to be quite a rugged camper, and a fairly good traveler.

My father's favorite Blacky story was the fact that when he arrived home on weekends, driving his old Ford panel truck, Blacky would spot him and run down the center of the street behind the truck as Dad drove home.

Everybody loved to tell stories about him. Even my brothers. He was a fine cat.

 

Paderewski was a lovely cat. She came from the Phoenix pound and was named after a cat at the Hutchinson's house where my mother worked as a girl. The original Paderewski used to lie in wait for my mother and attack her from shelves as Mother came through the door. THIS Paderewski would never do anything like that. She had to be put to sleep because a dog broke her back, but she made it home to us and we took care of her, as was our responsibility. How sad.