Friday, April 8, 2011

Kitties by Kate Gallison

Kate Gallison is a writer, a joker, and the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of a convicted Salem witch.  As Irene Fleming, she writes about a plucky movie director in the early days of film. The Edge of Ruin appeared last spring. The sequel, The Brink of Fame, comes out in August of this year. See more about her and her work at

by Kate Gallison

I thought I'd write about some of my kitties today. Here's a picture Harold took of me about thirty
years ago with the first cat we owned together, the lovely Persephone, our furry little child substitute before John was born. (She never completely got over him, but that's a story for another time.) 

We were visiting friends in the country. Someone said there was a catbird meowing in a tree outside. On closer inspection the bird proved to be a kitten that some heartless wretch had abandoned in the woods. Her poor little tail had been bitten off. Our household was catless at the time, and so we brought her home. I never feel that it's a real home without a cat. She lived long and prospered, surviving the birth of John, the move to Lambertville, and even the coming of Rex.

Rex was given as a kitten to our bachelor neighbor in the row house next door. The neighbor was not totally committed to him, and so Rex found his way between the joists and over the wall until he came to the top of our cellar stairs. John, then four years old, opened the door and let him in. A bowl of cat food! He was in cat heaven.

My feeling was that one cat is plenty, and so I took him back to the neighbor. Again and again. When I saw the neighbor moving out I offered him a carrier I had lying around, just to be sure he took the kitten with him.

"No, he'll be fine," the guy said. He got in the car, and, oops! the kitten slipped out of his hands. He drove away.


"What do you want to call the cat?" I said to John.

"Rex," he said. And so he became John's cat, to be immortalized in many a grade-school drawing. Persephone didn't like him much, especially as he grew big and bullied her.  One year he disappeared for a month, only to be discovered in the duct work of the house-in-progress across the street. The builder fed and watered him but couldn't catch him until he set a have-a-heart trap. We were happy to see him again; I thought sure he was dead.

In time Persephone grew old and actually did die. My grown son Charles, a passionate rescuer of kittens, came upon a litter of black ones that some motorcycle dame was giving away and
took a few to distribute to good homes.

"I don't need any more cats," I said. "One is plenty."

"Yes, you do. Here."

That was Shadow. She's still with us. She bullied Rex, who died of old age, and was in turn bullied by Butterball, a delicate little white kitten John found wandering in the park (he called him "Princess") who grew to be a big fat flame-point Siamese. He died young. I miss him. See how relaxed he looks. I do like the kitties, even though they make me cough and sneeze. But one is plenty.


LJ Roberts said...

Being owned by cats is always a wonderful thing. Because I've always had move than one and different ages, I'm now on cats six (Tigger) and seven, my fourth black cat (T.S. Elliot). My No. 4 was also a black Shadow, and No. 5 a pure white Bianca, who died too soon. They do bring a special warmth to a home.

Julia Buckley said...

What wonderful cat stories. It's interesting how cats come in and out of our lives, but really they just stay and stay.

I have three cats and a dog right now, and it's WAY too much, but it would also be Sophie's Choice to consider giving one away. :)

Mason Canyon said...

Kate, love the cat stories. You can't help but have more than one. It's funny because our sensor light just came on as I started to read this and when I looked outside I found a stray cat sitting on my front steps. So I'm off to off a meal to it.

Kaye, always enjoy meeting new authors here. BTW, I have an award for you on my blog.

Thoughts in Progress

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Such gorgeous cats and sweet stories! I can't imagine my house without a cat in it. We have so much fun with them. :)

Kate Gallison said...

Eternal vigilance is the price of keeping it down to just one cat. Any day now I expect to come upon another irresistible stray, or to have one of my sons show up with another kitten. "Here, Mom. Happy mother's day."

Victoria Hamilton said...

I love cats... the ideal writer's pets... yeah, right. It's really hard to type with a 20 pound fur baby on your lap!!! Sometimes my work ends up looking like 'whc4hgkvyw3hpdmm'. LOL!

And I've got one pawing at me right now to come up!

Vicki Lane said...

We have three dogs and two cats -- one who thinks he's a dog and one who thanks God she isn't.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Welcome, Kate!!! (I'm loving the pictures of the kitties - AND the one of you in one of your hats!!).

Hi, everyone - thank you for stopping by.

We've always had kitties around the house until recently. We both miss having them around, but Harley has made it abundantly clear that he's not a fan and promises to make their lives miserable. So, until he mellows a bit . . .