Scroll down for pictures, lazy picture-lookers....

Presently we have Hobbes, Jalen, and Dominique.
Before that, we had Blizzard and Wizzard and Calvin.

Blizzard was my cat since I was ten and we got him as soon as we moved to Las Vegas. A columnist named Margerite Rittendale wrote an article about my Dad winning the Castaways contest and it somehow came up that she had a one-year-old cat named Blanco (he was all white) that needed a home. A couple days later he was ours, and re-named Blanco Blizzard. He was long and skinny with yellow eyes and not too friendly or sociable, but he was certainly my cat.

After a sad incident with a kitten named Taffy (very briefly, I might add) we replaced Taffy by going to the Animal Rescue Foundation and we found a bizarre cat who we named Sir Wizzardry Confucius Culver the First, or Wizzard. Wizzard was huge and buff colored with big blue crossed eyes. He did somersaults and loved chasing little dogs. He was extremely sociable.

When Mom & I moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1984, Wizzard was given to my Mom's boyfriend (still in Las Vegas at the time), and Blizzard was given to our neighbors (also in Las Vegas). Four months later, when I returned to Las Vegas to live with my Dad, I got both of my cats back.

When Sean & I met in 1988, I still had both cats, and when we moved in together a year later, we took both cats with us. The following spring we got a tiny kitten from the pound who we named Calvin Trouble, and he was the sweetest, most cuddly cat I could ever have. He used to go on pizza deliveries with me. If I delivered a pizza anywhere around my apartment, I would return to my car to see him on top of my car meowing. So, he would make a few runs with me and then I'd drop him off when I went back to our apartments.

The following autumn of 1990, I was returning home with another delivery driver after work and I heard the "mew" of a tiny cat. It was raining outside and dark and it took a while to locate the mew. Under a car was a very small kitten, perhaps six weeks old. After a messy ten minutes or so, we got the kitten and I brought it up to my apartment. I made signs for "Found Kitten" but I was concerned that a kitten that young was outside. Where were its owners? Where was its mommy? Or.... the rest of the litter? After a week with no responses, I still had a kitten somewhere in my small apartment who I never saw. It was terrified. Very slowly, the kitten started making visits with us (I think it lived in the closet in our bedroom). I named it Dominic (I don't know why). After a while Dominic started trusting us, and the other cats (we now had FOUR cats total) would go outside to play and Dominic would follow.

One day Dominic came inside and acted very strangely, rolling around and focusing on his nether regions. Oops. Dominic became Dominique and she was promptly spayed.

Dominique and Calvin were the best of friends, and one day Calvin didn't come home. From that day, Dominique would not go outside, even with coaxing. We found out a few days later that Calvin had been hit by a car at our apartments, and Dominique had surely been with him.
That was really rough for us. He was our first kitten as a couple, and he was only a year old.

That following fall of 1991 I delivered a pizza to an apartment near mine (she was a stripper at Cheetah's), with a basket full of siamese kittens. I picked out my man before he was even a few weeks old. We visited and watched him with his siblings, and finally picked him up when he was old enough to take home. He was named Hobbes Watterson.

He was horrible. Was he deaf? Was he retarded? He wouldn't listen, he wouldn't cuddle, he was mean, he chewed on us. The baby pictures I have of Hobbes are of him attacking me. He eventually loved us, but in return became fiercely protective of us. He would growl if there was a knock on the door or if someone tried to pet him. We did not let him outside, and Dominique refused to go outside. Blizzard was slowing tapering off from his outdoor life as well (we later discovered he was deaf, so that's probably what made him choose indoor life). Wizzard was our only outdoor cat.

Until the following spring, when Wizzard got very sick. There was no way to tell really, except he pooped rust red. It was always outdoors, so it still took us a long time to figure it out. By the time we took him to the vet it was really risky - because it turns out he had Feline AIDS. They told us to go home and get our other cats to be tested because its infectious.

Miraculously, no other cats had it. But that brought another problem. Putting Wizzard to sleep was not an option. He didn't feel sick. But we couldn't keep him.

The next day Wizzard flew on Delta Airlines Cargo to Indiana to live with my Mom and her two dogs (who couldn't get infected by him). They had to put a big pink "Infectious" sticker on his crate and Sean and I just cried and cried until they loaded his crate on the airplane.

Wizzard made it just fine and continued his long and happy life under my Mom's care until he died from his illness (in very old age, I should add) in 1996.

At this point, all of my cats were indoor cats, and I was fine with that.

Spring of 1992, very soon after Wizzard moved to Mom's, I was delivering a pizza and driving on Torrey Pines and saw some cars stopped. They got out of their cars and looked at something on the ground. Some man walked up to me and said "I saw it happen" and I said "What?" Turns out a cat had been hit by a car and kept going, the cat was alive and still laying in the street. The man said "I'd take him to the vet but I'm late for a dinner appointment." and I said "Okay, I'll do it if you put it in my car" (I was afraid it would attack me from being in pain and shock). Just then another delivery driver pulled up and it was Rob, one of the first guys on earth to have a car phone. He took my deliveries and called the store, and off I went to the 24-hour vet (bless Las Vegas and their lifestyles). The whole way there he laid in the passenger chair and stared at me and I was saying "Don't die. Please don't die." I ran in and said "I have a cat who's been hit by a car - it's not my cat" and a vet came out to my car, opened the passenger door, and said "This cat is homeless. It's feral. I don't think you want to do this." And I said "Fix him."

That place told me multiple times that it wouldn't be worth it. I was a student and he could be a costly rescue. He may have every disease known to cat. He was dirty and smelly and had chronic ear mites and he wasn't neutered. He could be old. And I said "Fix him."

I would bring in a blanket and hold him (with his cute little IV in his front leg). He was terrified and just stared at me, but he was so drugged he didn't go anywhere. Each day that went by he got better, and each test result would come back negative. I would visit him and take the blanket home for the other cats to smell. A few days later, after many visits, he was neutered and cleaned up and given to me.... under the guise of me "finding him a home." Yeah, right. They waived as many fees as they could - he cost me $343. Not bad for a feral cat hit by a car.

When it was obvious, in only a few days ("Honey, he's black and white" I'd say, as proof he was meant to be ours - we had an all black and white apartment) that we were keeping him, we then needed a name. I liked Steven, Sean didn't ("It's not a cat's name. It's your uncle's name.") College basketball championships were that week and we went to watch a game at Michele Schneider's (when she was married to Sam Sadovia) and Michigan was playing Duke. We hate Duke because we're supposed to. Duke beat UNLV the year before and robbed us of our national championship. So we were rooting for Michigan. And Michigan had the player Jalen Rose. And Michigan won, thanks to him.

And so our newest cat became Jalen Trevor.

A few weeks later some guy went into Pizza Hut and inquired if I was working (I wasn't). He explained that a cat had been hit by a car, and wanted to know what ever happened, and the phone girls were happy to tell him "She kept it! He's fine!" and they told him the whole success story. The guy left me a check for $150!

In the spring of 1994, Joe and Sean moved to London, Ontario. I was staying behind for one more semester at UNLV. They loaded up the truck with all of my belongings and my cats and my life drove away. The had Blizzard, Hobbes, Dominique, and Jalen. Joe also had his kitten, Opie.

When I graduated UNLV moved to London that May, I was in a house with my stuff and my cats who had been there for months. Joe had a Canadian accent and they both knew where everything was. It was disorienting. It was also this time that Opie went into heat, and so Opie became, well, still Opie, but said much nicer and female sounding.

We decided to moved to Indiana that next year, defeated. We loved London, but Joe and I were illegal, and we just couldn't afford to live there. I drove all five cats in my Honda in a snowstorm and miraculously got across the border with five cats and a Nevada license plate. The customs official was female and she loved the cats - they all turned on their charm and purred - even Hobbes stuck his head out of the window to be pet. I still can't believe how easy I got through. The snowstorm, however, wasn't so easy. It took about nine hours to make the drive instead of six.

All five cats stayed in my Grandparent's house with Sean & I until we found an apartment in Elkhart, Indiana. Joe got an apartment in Three Rivers, Michigan and got Opie back. That autumn we moved into my Grandparents summer lakehouse. It was dead quiet there because everyone just had summer properties on that lake - very few "year-rounders". It was freezing cold and the lake froze and we had one tiny furnace on the main floor and and old and wonky fuse-box which would make all the lights dim when you turned on the hair dryer. But we played our music as loud as we wanted and both worked our restaurant jobs at night and slept all day. It worked out really well. We saved up enough to move to Seattle the spring of 1996. All of the London cousins had moved to Vancouver and we were ready to go to where the music was - Seattle fit our plans perfectly.

I drove Blizzard and Jalen in my Honda that May (I stopped at the Badlands and got the cats out of the car to see the sights), and Joe and Sean showed up a month later with the truck and the other three cats. In the meantime I slept on the floor in an empty apartment. I worked in Bellevue and we had an apartment in Kent. It was quite a commute.

Six months later, we moved even further south to Federal Way, Washington. We had a fire in the middle of the night and got four out of the five cats out (Dominique refused to leave and jumped out of the box. She ended up on the top shelf of our closet). Joe and Sean both had cats in carriers and I had Blizzard in my arms. He was eighteen. All the other cats were freaking out but Blizzard just walked up to me. I guess we had many years of trust. On the way down the stairs we passed the fire on the second floor, and I actually turned around so Blizzard could see the firemen putting out the fire. That cat had seen it all.

Blizzard was put to sleep just at nineteen. I vowed I would never put him to sleep, but his body gave up and he was still living through it. It wasn't pleasant. Any second I was home, he was on me. When I wasn't home, he was waiting for me. It broke my heart. I have his ashes in an urn in our bedroom.

Sean & I moved to Palm Desert in the summer of 1998. (Joe stayed in Seattle this time.) Don't move to Palm Desert in July. We had a fenced in back yard and put the cats out there while we unloaded the truck. The cats were not pleased - it was about 120°. Palm Desert lasted only five months for me, and I returned to Seattle to work for Applebee's Restaurants again at the corporate office. Joe flew to Palm Desert and helped Sean pack and drive everything back to Seattle a month later.

And here we are in this same house. With Hobbes, Jalen, and Dominique. Opie lives with Joe's ex-wife Jen at Green Lake. Jalen is getting grey - we'll never know how old he is, but we've sure had him for a long time already. Hobbes has arthritis in his back legs. Dominique wheezes. They have lived in two countries and many cities and have driven across the continent multiple times and survived a fire. They are the most endeared assets in my & Sean's lives.

Here they are, in no order that would make any sense....

Wizzard & Blizzard, 1989

Me & Dominique, 2001

Baby Calvin, 1990

BIG Hobbes, 2001

Josh & Dominique, 2002

Hobbes, 2003

Hobbes, 1992

Jon & I and cats, 2001

Dommi, 2001

Sean & Jon and cats

Hobbes 2001

Hobbes 2002

Hobbes, 2001

Dominique, 2001

Jalen, Hobbes, and Opie watching a squirrel
(London 1994)

Hobbes 2004

Jalen, 2002

Dommie's Killer Armpit Hair (2004)