I remember the days of my Sister loving her cat Smokey, this all gray stray, she rescued it on the orchard farm. In that first summer we were moving from our trailer park home in Meridian.
"Will he bite?" I asked my Sister Dana, "I don't think so." she replied holding the messy fur up to her face.
I was under the impression at that time Cats were mean, Our Father often threw things at the Cats, to get them out of our boxed garden, or out of the trash cans. Once there was a cat inside the big trash can. One early morning Our Father walked the trash cans out to the road, He was the only one up going to work. When he opened the lid a cat flew out to escape! When he told us the story later he shot his arm out into the air. "This cat flew out like a bomb! I was so startled! stupid cat!" we kids were giggling while listening and thinking how funny that would have been to see. When ever our Father was being funny, joking or teasing us. In unison, we kids would say "Daaaaaaaddeeeee." Like we knew he was completely silly.
And He could see, saying "NO" to Dana's new cat wasn't possible. So as long as the cat never came inside the house, and never touched him. Then We could keep it!
My ideas of cats began to change, that fear of these alley sickly looking things hissing, biting had left me. I paid attention to that soft loving animal, who could save you from the evils of mice.
When I was maybe 2 or 3 years old I was scratched on the face by a big Tabby Cat. It had ran under the wooden steps of our single wide gray trailer home. Parked on a small hillside in St.Maries, I had a babysitter telling me to leave the cat alone. But I am fascinated by it while playing in my sand box. In the bright sunny morning when I saw the animal, I cornered it under the stairs. I watched in wonder and awe getting right up in it's face of those bright yellow eyes....The 3 stinking red stripes over my eye to the center of my cheek was shown to me in the bathroom mirror. (A scare I have even to this day for when getting a facial, it was pointed out to me that my eye brow has a perfect line through it)
I remember all of this so clearly because my babysitter said "That is what you get, for disobeying."
I was 10 years old before I ever trusted a cat again.
Smokey died shortly after our new home was in place on our Grandpa's Orchard farm. Dad said she died from Leukemia,
I never forgot that word.
When Dana was given another stray cat called Merry, short for Merry Christmas. It was a snowy season when our Grandpa was feeding this cat in his big work shop, keeping her warm and she lived in there after awhile before He thought she was ready for us kids.
Grandpa Graber had a caring soul for all animals, He always saw the importance in caring for all of nature. He would leave bowls of water out on hot sunny days, or keep the wood stove going in the shop for the dogs in the winter cold.
My Dad really cared about animals also. His biggest thing was he HATED to see any animal suffer. These Men were great role models for me, I watched everything they said or did when caring for the creatures.
Dana's Merry was not the most loving cat, but she was the best hunter I have ever seen! She just had one litter of kittens, then we had her fixed. She lived for years as Queen of the land. She was our Dad's favorite cat, His type of animal. They had this mutual respect for each other, going to work everyday and never asking the other to touch.
Merry, was the first cat of my Cat family tree. The records are still in my notebook today...
for my Kitty Love had JUST begun!