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Suite 1 – JOAN
Joan – There would be no crazy cat lady if not for my late mother. She would have faced a long uphill battle to convince my “cat hating” father (see Georgina) that she wanted a cat. Thankfully, she succeeded. As a child, I told a teacher that cats like to be mauled. With muted horror she replied, “NO! Cats do not like to be mauled!” This left me confused. My mother would always say to us kids that she “could maul George to death!” Maul for her meant hugs, cuddles and kisses.
Suite 2 – GEORGE
George – My very first memory was when I was 4 years old. The family went to pick up a kitten on St Georges day. When I turned 8, I ran into the kitchen with unbridled excitement and much pride to reveal to my mother that I had married George. I proudly displayed a whisker that I had taped to my ring finger to represent a wedding ring. He was my first love. He instilled in me a love of cats that has no borders and will last a lifetime.
Suite 3 – GEORGINA
Georgina – She was a stray kitten I found at the age of 14 and she looked exactly like George! When I brought her home I tried to hide her from my father without success. He spent a lifetime trying to convince the family that he didn’t like cats. He had me bring her back to the place where I had found her. My brothers went back to get her. Looking back, I think that my father couldn’t deal with my flood of tears and let me keep her after all. My neighbour said he “bawled like a baby” when she died 15 years later while I was away.
Room 4 – RASKOLNIKOV
Raskolnikov – This is the name of the main character in Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment. This was the first novel I chose to read as an adult. A neighbour found him on a highway overpass several blocks from my home. She came knocking on my door asking if it was my cat. Really? They knew I loved cats and wouldn’t turn him away which saved them a trip to the local SPCA. He was so loyal. I simply had to point to my bedroom, and he’d go running to meet me there.
Suite 5 – CARMEN
Carmen – I found Carmen in Rome late one night in September of 1992. I had earlier been listening to Bizet’s opera, Carmen. She was so weak and obviously ill. I tried to smuggle her back to London in hopes of getting her to a vet as I was leaving Rome by bus the next morning. Custom agents nabbed me with the cat in Dover and charge me with the illegal importation of a live animal. My choice before the magistrate the next day, having spent the night in the local police station, was a $1,000.00 fine or a month in jail. I chose jail. That same evening, I was bedded down in Holloway prison where I spent 2 weeks amongst the murderers and the ghosts of the suffragettes movement and Oscar Wilde. I was treated with kid gloves. I was the “Canadian on holiday who was in jail for trying to save a cat!” Even one of the prison guards was quick to quip, “It’s something I would’ve done!”
Suite 6 – MAO
Mao – He was my first Siamese cat. He was an alpha male. My favourite memory of him was when a German Shepard started running towards the 3 cats and 2 dogs I had with me in a park. Two of the cats ran for their lives in the opposite direction. Mao on the other hand, charged towards the dog! The dog stopped dead in his tracks. When he did, Mao quickly looked back to see that the other 2 cats were safe before making his own escape. He taught me more about cats than anything or anyone. I miss him every day.
Room 7 – SVENGALALILY
Svengalalily – I knew my first Sphynx cat would hold a spell over me. She was named after a fictional character, Svengali, in a du Mauriers novel. She never had a litter of her own but she had me thinking that maybe motherhood is innate. She tended to Willard when he was a kitten as if he were her own.
Room 8 – WILLARD
Willard – Willie is the name used most often. Sometimes it’s Will-Dill-Nil-The Pill. So many say a Sphynx’s tail looks like a rats tail. Remember the 1970 movie Willard? He’s my favourite cat but please don’t tell the others! He knows what I’m going to do before I do.
Room 9 – BART
Bart – Known as Bart the Fart. He is definitely doe-eyed and such a cutie. He is a solid black Scottish Fold. It’s just too adorable when he yawns as he is missing a big tooth on the top which causes his lip to curl.
Room 10 – KITTYKITTY
KittyKitty – His full name is Kitty Kitty God Damn It! Yes, with an exclamation mark. He wandered into my yard looking for a meal some 12 years ago. I called him over, “Here Kitty Kitty” so that I could feed him. I fed him once and he never left. That’s when I added God Damn It! to his name. I already had several cats and did not need another one at the time. He chose to live outside for 10 years but wised up last year and is now more in the house than outside of it. He sleeps on my bed by my head. He’s come a long way…
Room 11 – MARIE
Marie – Such a find on the internet! For $100.00 I got the most beautiful 2 year old Lynx Point Siamese. She came with the name Marie, or was it Maria? I was too excited to hear her name properly. She has the largest blue eyes I have ever seen on a cat. She thinks she’s a dog. She always finds a way to join me when I take my aunt’s elderly dog for a walk.