c a t
In loving memory of
Lillie Belle
Feb. 2,1987 - Nov. 15, 2002
A
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Hair is Where It All Began
As leaves begin to turn from green to gold and sweater-weather sets in, I am reminded of one of things I love best about my person: her hair. Susan's long, thick mane was the first thing I noticed when I met her twelve years ago. The hair and her proclamation of adoration when she gave me a name that matched my beauty, Lillie, were two big reasons I adopted her. Over the years I have also found her to be an excellent cook, completely obedient, and skilled at TLC. She also happens to be a deep sleeper, which makes her easy to maneuver. With just a nudge or two, I can guide her, and her hair, into a position that provides me optimum comfort and warmth. I created one of my best nests on a cold winter night many moons ago . . .

Susan had fallen asleep on her side, with me curled up behind her head. Pushing against her ever so gently, I managed to roll her onto her stomach so she was face down in the pillow with her hair fanned about her shoulders. Next, I deftly climbed onto the back of her head and splayed my torso over and around the back of her skull, with my haunches straddling her neck. I then rested my little chin on her forehead and hugged her temples with my front paws. Purrrfectly comfortable, I snuggled in for a long winter's nap.

Sometime later I was awakened by the sound of Susan gasping for air. She turned her head to one side and resumed breathing. I, of course, maintained my position, rolled with the motion, and purred both of us back to sleep.
Natalie "Kid" Angelique Catalina
Dec. 13 ,1999 -
June 19, 2008
The Artiste
Miraculously, I found shelter from the sleet, screaming cars, and howling dogs in a shed next to a safe house. "Safe" as in the absence of dogs or other entities intent on doing harm. The  scent of three felines was present, but I knew I could handle them. These home cats soon detected me and hissed their displeasure, but had no interest in confrontation. After a time, I spied their person, though she did not see me. I heard her speak endearments as she picked them up and carried them inside. It brought tears to my eyes. If only my person had been so kind. My thoughts were interrupted by the aroma of oven-baked chicken seeping from the house. Oh, my belly ached from countless days of emptiness. Caution gave way to hunger. I sashayed toward the door, humming "Hey, Good Lookin', Whatcha Got Cookin'."

It has been almost ten months since that cold December night. My person named me Natalie, which means "Christmas Child." In addition to being loved, I am encouraged to practice my forte: the art of fine dining. In return, I show appreciation with gifts of song and dance.

Prior to a meal, I practice my scales: "me, me, me; ow, ow, ow; meow, meow, meow" and do the paw-paw shuffle. For those not familiar, it is a pre-dinner dance done counter-clockwise around the dinner mat: step one, two, three; step one, two, three; stop; lift paw, stretch out, tap the air, bring down; repeat; sit and wait for the plate.

Dining is performance art, which varies with each meal. For instance, if served beefy bits in gravy, I may slurp a morsel, lift my head, and dreamily glance about while smacking the gravy from my lips. If the entree is dry, I may nab a tidbit, toss it in the air, and skillfully catch it in my mouth. A true connoisseur, I am always intrigued by what my companions are having. I feel that regardless that our dishes look the same, each must be sampled to be sure. The three senior members of the house do not share my philosophy. When I first tried communal dining they hissed and slapped, so now I patiently wait until they have excused themselves. Over time, I have discovered that sitting next to them and watching every bite they take speeds up the process. It quickly drives them bonkers, prompting them to leave in disgust!

Once my little tummy is bulging, I insist on conveying my gratitude to the cook. Singing with delight, I dance toward her. As I look adoringly into her face my big, round, coppery eyes fill with tears of joy. At this point, she offers a tissue. I then press my face into the hanky, drying my wet cheeks as she begins to coo to me. To me! Ah, my world has become a wonderful stage!
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