Here is a photo of my children (minus the two oldest) and Aidan & his family (minus two of their kids), taken in Spring of 2007. All of the missing children were together visiting at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Clara, California for almost a week. We stayed in the Sierra Mountains, awaiting their return. Aidan is the wee fella with the white sweatshirt. He and I are good friends.......we go WAY back. :) His little brother is in the red sweatshirt and two of his four big brothers are here, Kieron in blue stripes and Brendon, the tall one in the hat. The two girls here are mine, Sarah in back, Maddelyn in front. The lady in the light blue is Aidan's mom......and one of my favorite people on this earth. :) Our family is so glad, and privileged, to have them for friends......now, if we could just see each other more than once or twice a year.........sigh.
Okay, now......onto the history of......THE CATS of OUR HEARTS' HAVEN.....
Ever since we moved into Our Hearts' Haven over 15 year's ago, we have had cats......
A barn cat moved into our garage after a few years and began producing kittens. We fed her and her kittens..........could never catch her........and every other litter had a tragedy of some sort......and the rest of the kittens were mostly brought up to stay away from us. A few did become pets.......just cannot remember who at the moment. All of our cats (and all of our pets) are outside only.
At one point, we were down to about two cats.......maybe just Kelly. Malachy still was not here, yet. I looked in the paper and found three kittens for free. Called the number to get two........found out they live up the street from me, and brought all three home because the third one was so sweet, too, and I could not stand to separate it from its siblings. These were the first, I think, of our literary-named cats. We wanted something Irish. Having just finished The Fighting Prince of Donegal ( an EXCELLENT book, by the way), we named one male Donegal. We looked on a map of Ireland to find other "D" names. We found Dublin and Dunlaven. There were no females-sounding names, so we called the female kitten: Little Miss Dainty of Dunlaven, and called her Dainty.
Eventually Dainty, and then Dublin disappeared. Donegal stayed on for about seven years......and we loved him like we loved Kelly. They were both such magnificent specimans. And, they loved us, too. Donegal moved himself into the woods when we got our last set of Golden retrievers. Not sure why, as they did not come into the garage where he could live without being bothered by them. Our hearts were broken yet again. He eventually stopped coming around. Sad.
Marty brought home two kittens from someone at his work. One grew to be a gorgeous tiger cat, named Bingley. His sibling was named Darcy. (I know you Pride and Prejudice fans know where these names came from.....) Not sure when Darcy disappeared, but the kids decided it was mountain lion-related, and named the mountain lion Wickham. :) Darcy was kind of stand-offish (surprise) but Bingley was an easy-going, dear cat. He loved to follow us around when we were outside. After about seven years of living with us.......he just never was around again. The kids are sure that Wickham was at it again.
Here is Bingley......Anne was taking photos of Mount Shasta & the moon, and he stuck his head in....he liked to get into your business. I miss him. This photo is kind of painful........but, one of my favorites.
One year at Christmas..........I found Bingley sleeping in the stable. A stable made for me by my nephew Daniel, way back when.....
One week while I was camping, Marty went to the grocery store and found one of our friends who sometimes attends Mass at our church trying to give away some kittens. He reserved one for me. He could not resist...........she was SO beautiful. But, he did not bring it home. He gave them my number and said to call me on the day I returned home. Well, I was laying on the couch, exhausted from camping, surrounded by two other large & exhausted Catholic homeschooling families (we were all laying around, including Aidan, maybe?) when she called and said she would be right over, with TWO cats. I told her we were only having one.....and could we wait a few days. She said she was leaving for Reno in two hours and needed to give the cats to their new home. I said I would baby-sit the extra cat for her. Of course, you know that I ended up with both of them. These became Davy & Dora, named for TWO Davy & Doras in literature: from David Copperfield and from the twins in The Anne of Green Gables series. Davy was kind of a loner. He let us pet him sometimes. Dora ended up being our best female cat EVER. The admiration seemed mutual (she was a cat, you know). She gave birth to the best kittens ever. We allowed her to make kitties because she was such a great cat, as were her off-spring. We used to get our cats neutered/fixed, but after spending all of that money, they would just disappear (you may have noticed- -we live in the country near mountains and there are predators of cats around here), so, no more........as long as there are not too many cats.......and the balance of nature takes care of things around here. Dora was probably one of these Ragdoll cats. The description of temperment on the first page describes her well, and her kittens, too. The kitten page has kittens that look like our cats.
In 2004, Dora gave birth to four kittens. We named them Rum Tum Tugger, Mister Mistopholes, Jenny Anydot and Skimbleshanks, after TS Eliot's cats in his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which is where the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway Musical "Cats" comes from. When we returned home from a Disneyland trip, our neighbor informed us that Jenny had been captured by her dog. Two of the boys lasted a year or so more......and then disappeared, leaving only Rum Tum Tugger, who is our main male these days. He is a good boy........and huge. All of our main males have been manly. He is probably the sire of most of our kittens these days.....not that we have a lot........just a few a year........which makes up for the few a year that get devoured.....I mean, disappear. :)
Mama Dora, with the four kittens mentioned above. I always just called her MAMA, because she was such a good sweet mama.
A young Malachy holding a young Rum Tum Tugger, the sole survivor of the the quads above. Dora is watching from behind. Gotta love Malachy's fuzzy hair.....he was famous for that hair. :)
In 2005, Dora gave us four kittens. The two that looked like her went to live with a friend. We kept the tortise-shell kitten, given the name of Huck, and the gray and white cat, given the name of Tom. Well, turns out Huck was a female, and she is called Huckleberry now.
Tom, as a kitten. Cute?
We had to hand raise those kittens (actually the burden fell to Sarah and she did a great job) and lost one. I had named them Holly & Ivy, because my noisy friend Holly ( :) ) was visiting and one of the kittens was very noisy, too. Holly had died. Ivy was renamed Ivanhoe when we saw he was a male. You can tell that Ivanhoe is a human-raised cat. He just loves us. He follows us around wherever we go..........runs to meet us at either door when we come outside. He is SO good.
Holly and Ivy, before their eyes opened. Beautiful?
It was below freezing last winter.....and I found these critters keeping warm in their drawer. There had been another cat in there, too, but it had jumped out while I went to get the camera. Rum Tum Tugger is the dark face in the middle, Tom and Huckleberry are here, too. The black and white cat looks just like Davy.......but we are pretty sure it was not Davy, because SHE had kittens in our garage........and the little gray kitten in back was hers. He was found dead of unknown reasons when I was down in LA recently.
Viola is above, competing with Ivanhoe for love. Ever since Viola gave birth, she has been super affectionate. Ivanhoe has always been so......this photo was taken this week. We could not get them to look at the camera.......as every time we got near to them........they wanted to be pet.
Viola and one of her kittens, in Anne's lap.
The two kittens, with Viola begging love from Anne, yet again.
I am not sure if I got the cat history straight....it all sorts of begins to blend together. But, this is the gist of it. There is certainly enough of it! :) The dog history is WAYYYYY easier: we had two Golden Retrievers. They died of old age. We have two more Golden Retrievers. They are still young. :) Now that was EASY to write about!!