I found copies of these pictures of me an infant and toddler while looking for some paperwork in the storage room we have. I made color copies of the photos onto transparency film for a presentation years ago, that’s why they’re not the greatest quality. My ages in the pictures range from around a few days, to almost three years.
As you can tell from the pictures, I had an early fascination with animals, in particular, cats. The cats pictured were our family cats Sam and Spooky. My Mum told me that in the weeks before my birth, she set up my nursery, and cats being cats, they decided that the nice, warm, quiet place in the house was perfect for napping and being left alone. When I came home from the hospital, Sam and Spooky continued to sleep with me. Mum said they never hurt me. These early bedmates are the reason I love snuggling with my cats and holding them close to my face so I can smell them. I’m sure there are people out there who are reading this and saying “WHAT?! That’s disgusting!!!” Should I also admit that I’m guilty of ‘huffing’ the occasional kitten as well, because they have one of the best smells in the world, “New Kitten Smell”? Which I guess could also be called “Dried Cat Momma Spit Smell” as well?!
Okay, that was a little icky and gross. Back to the cats.
The picture of me as a toddler holding Sam was a picture that my father let me copy. He carried it in his wallet. He’d laminated it (which you can kind of see) and clipped the corners so it would more easily slip into his wallet. When I asked my father for pictures of me as a little kid with cats, I expected him to send me to Mum. I was 30 when I asked about the pictures. Imagine my surprise when he just pulled out his wallet and showed me the picture that he’d been carrying with him for 27 years! When I look at the photo, I half-jokingly think (I can hear Pop laughing at this!) that he had the photo not solely because I was his daughter, but because he loved Sam the cat too. Pop was a great animal lover. I know that’s where I get my love of animals.
Spooky wasn’t with us for long. She passed away long before we moved to Indiana. Sam the cat was almost 21 when he died. He was blind as a bat, with not a tooth in his head. The vet said his heart was giving-out. I still remember the last time I saw him. I was 18. Mum was dropping me off at a car wash for the marching band, and then was taking Sam to the vet. I remember him sitting in a box behind the drivers’ seat of the car. Mum knew that Sam was really old and not in good health, and made sure to tell me to pet him and talk to him a little before I left. He looked up at me when I said his name and purred when I scratched his neck and head. Pop buried him later that same day, under the apple tree in the side yard. That tree was one of Sam’s favourite spots.
The cats that I have now are getting a little long in the tooth. Indiana and Gibson are now showing their age. Sleeping more and more, feeling the cold more in their joints, not being as spry as they once were. Indian’s daughter Isobel isn’t a spring chicken either and has back problems. All three of them remain sweet and weird and bizarre, just like cats should. I do have to admit though, that Isobel smells the best of all the cats, and my husband thinks it’s a little weird when I scoop her up and shove my nose in her fur and smell her. Bella doesn’t seem to mind, just as long as I don’t tweak her back.