Aby-a-Day – May 23: The cats who came before – Part 1 (Friday Flashback)

I was going through some old photos the other day and realised I’ve never shared these photos of the cats who came before Jacoby, Angel, Kylie and Tessie. Of course, there were many many more than just these whose photos you see below…these are just the only ones that I have in jpeg form. I’m sure my mom has a huge box full of all the photos I took of all the cats we had when I was a kid, along with all their negatives (remember those)? I’m just not sure where they are. I’ve asked her to look for them, though. There’s another pile of photos in storage somewhere in Atlanta…and I’m sure a lot more are just gone.

But in the meantime…

babypusseaster0151c

This is me with Baby Puss, my first cat. We had her mother, too, and somewhere there is a photo of me around the age of 2 with a box full of kittens, one of which is Baby Puss. She was named after the Flinstones’ cat, of course. This was taken when I was 7, so Baby Puss must have been 5.

babypuss1968

cat1968

I drew these pictures of Baby Puss when I was 3 years old. The first word I could write was…you guessed it: Cat!

mombabypuss0156

Baby Puss photobombs a picture of my sister, my mom and me in matching dresses. These were made for my aunt’s 25th wedding anniversary party in Edmonton, so I was 6. We also had a solid black tomcat named Bagheera but I think he wasn’t neutered and he wasn’t very friendly. And yes, I’ve pretty much always had the same short haircut.

babypuss

I made a little book about Baby Puss when I was in Grade One.

crystal

Later on, when I was 8, I got my own kitten who I named Crystal. She was all black, too. This is a drawing I did of her with my parents. Interestingly, they got divorced about a year later. I wonder if I sensed it coming and was trying to ward it off with a drawing?

Then there were some cats in between…Morris (red tabby) and Sam (Crystal’s son, a solid blue), Rossi (a part Abyssinian who looked like a silver Egyptian Mau), Billie and Pezza (both black and white shorthairs) and Shane (another black shorthair who just showed up in our backyard the same day we’d started reading the book in school and he was a dark mysterious stranger who just appeared one day. We never knew how old he was, and he died of Feline Leukaemia). I know there are photos of these cats…I just don’t know where any of them are.

selldivision

Rossi was an awesome cat whose mother was half Abyssinian. He was leash trained and smart…and he died tragically when he was only 10 months old. He got out of my dad’s house and was hit by a car. I know I have photos of him somehwere, but I can’t seem to locate them. But I also used his name when I drew editorial cartoons when I was in high school, and added him in the corner as a commentator (imitating Pat Oliphant).

One side note…I thought splitting California into two states was a good idea when I was 15 and I still think it’s a good idea…

coco-billie

I did find this one, very overexposed photo of me with Billie (both Billie and Rossi were named after characters on Lou Grant). I was able to fix it up quite a bit in Photoshop…couldn’t do anything about those glasses, that hair, or those legs, though. This would have been late 1980 or early 1981. You can see why I wanted contact lenses so badly.

peppergarage0147

This is Sgt. Pepper. He followed me home in 1981 when he was a kitten and I was 16.

sgtpepper-show

Pepper was my second cat to walk on a leash (Rossi was the first).

pepperaccident0147

He would also follow me without a leash. One day he was following me (which I didn’t know) and he was hit by a car which then took off when it saw me. It was a summer afternoon and Happy Days was on. I rushed home with him and we took him to the vet – he was remarkably unhurt apart from a broken leg. My mom did not allow indoor cats then but he was allowed to stay inside while he recovered. He slept in my bed, of course. That was the best time ever.

peppertoad0147

When I went to college, Pepper came along with me and lived indoors finally – but he hated it. He was an outdoor cat at heart.

pepperdadbike0151b

Which is not to say that he didn’t like his humans.

pepperdadbike0150a

He was a very social and helpful cat.

pepperdadbike0151a

You can see Pepper helping my dad here. I don’t know why he had a hammer when he was working on his bicycle…

sgtpepper-82show

Despite being a mostly outdoor cat, Pepper was my first CFA show cat to ever get a Best Cat award (which you can see on the side of his cage in this photo). I had shown Billie and Pezza as Household Pets once or twice,but they didn’t like showing and they didn’t do well. Pepper was a natural.

pepper-paul_show0145c

My mom even made me and my sister our own show curtains! My sister showed her boy Paul (McCartney the Second), a brown mackerel tabby.

lovelyrita2

I also had Lovely Rita, a blue tabby point with white whose mother was a Himalayan that belonged to a friend of mine. She was born in 1982. She was a very pretty cat…but she was not the brightest cat I’ve ever known.

lovelyrita1

She was super sweet, though. I entered her in a couple of cat shows as a HHP, too. My sister also had a girl cat we called Berry (short for Strawberry Fields), a silver ticked tabby and white girl who looked a bit like an Aby. I can’t find any photos of them, though…but I took a lot of photos of them throughout high school. All of them lived to be 13 or 14; Berry I think was the youngest, passing away at 11.

o+h1

Next week…Harri the Siamese and his friends, seen here as a kitten in a rare photo of my dad’s Scottish Fold, Oliver Roundhead.