"What pets have you had as a child, teen and adult?"

Our first two dogs were purebred Samoyeds.  My parents were given the "runt" of the litter as a present.  Mom says she was a real sweetie and thought she was a person.  They named her Sheena.  Then the people who bought the "pick" brought him back, I don't know why, and the owners of the mama dog gave him to my parents, too.  His name was Mike and he knew he was a dog.  Unfortunately, that meant that he taught a lot of bad habits to Sheena.  As a result, we had to keep them in a fenced pen in the back yard.  Then, when I was six or so, Mike jumped the fence to chase after a cat.  Sheena was too small to jump the fence so she tried to go through the fence at the loose board where they came in and went out.  Unfortunately, she got her head stuck between the fence slats.  I was playing right next to where this was and, by the time I knew what was going on and had the presence of mind to run and tell my parents, it was already too late and she was dead.  Much later, Mike contracted some kind of cancer, and had to be put down.

After that, the oldest of my younger brothers adopted a dog from the Humane Society.  She was a German Shepherd/ Norwegian Elkhound mix.  My brother named her Sheeba, after the Queen of Sheeba in the bible.  We kept her in the same pen where Mike and Sheena use to live.

While we had Sheeba, a mother cat decided to have her litter of kittens in our garage.  She would let us look at them, but she wouldn't let us touch them at first.  They were all black with white spots, except for one, who was white with black spots.  We named him Clyde, after the extra ghost in Pac-Man.  There was also another different kitten.  She was silvery gray.  Daddy named her Silver, and wouldn't let us touch her.  We even named the stray mother cat.  She became Mama Kitty.  Then one day, and I don't know how my father managed it, Mama Kitty was bringing her kittens into the house, all in a line, when Sheeba managed, somehow, to escape from the dog pen and came over to investigate, as dogs sometimes do.  Mama Kitty gave some kind of signal and all the kittens hid.  Then she made herself bigger and started hissing and spitting.  Sheeba didn't get it, so Mama Kitty scratched her a good one right across the nose.  Sheeba ran away yelping and the kittens all came out of their hiding places.  I remember laughing about the whole thing.

After that, it seemed like all of us had cats.  Each of us had our favorite cats.  All told, we've had upwards of twelve cats in the house, even after Sheeba went the way of all the earth.  Here's a list of some of the cats we had.

  • Bibsey-  the undisputed matriarch of the bunch.  She was mom's cat

  • Dragon-  as close as we came to an alpha cat.  He was my first brother's cat. 

  • Clyde-  he was a fighter and always getting into trouble.  He died in a cat fight.  He belonged to my second brother.

  • Nightwitch-  She was a really nervous cat.  She never liked to be held for very long and was always hiding under things.  She was my cat.

  • Silver-  A true lady.  Daddy raised her by hand.  She was his cat. 

  • Smudge-  So named for the white smudge on his nose.  He was my sister's cat. 

  • Ringo-  He was one of Bibsey or Silver's get.  He had a thing for humping Dragon.  Mom said he was trying to establish dominance.  He belonged to my youngest brother.

  • Bonnie-  She didn't last long.  She died of feline lieukemia when she was still a kitten.  She was my second brother's cat after Clyde bit it.

  • Tigger-  He was a tabby that use to belong to some friends with a bunch of dogs.  The dogs mauled him when he was still a kitten and laid his right eye out on his cheek.  Our friends took him to the vet, who sewed his eye shut.  Then our friends gave him to us.  He became my second brother's cat.  He was really bouncy when he was a kitten.  Hence the name.

  • Pooger-  I found this kitten on my newspaper route.  She was all alone in the cold and the snow.  She was a grey tabby with orange marks on her back, so I named her Autumn, but the name didn't stick because I kept calling her "Baby" and she thought that was her name.  It was my father who named her Pooger.  Eventually, she became his cat.

We also had some gerbils for a while.  I don't remember all their names.  However, those who weren't eaten by the cats (I don't recommend keeping any kind of rodent in the same house as large numbers of cats) mulitplied like crazy and we ended up selling them to a pet store.

As for my adult pets, ever since I discovered an allergy to cat dander and had children, I haven't really been interested in having any pets.  I remember during the course of our adventure with pets, my mother inevitably paid more money to take care of the pets than she did to take care of us.  Given our current financial situation, I don't think pets are in the cards just yet.

Anyway, that's the full, if exhaustive, list.  Hope you enjoyed it.