Wednesday, July 30, 2014

House of Cats - Part One, Anya

Over the years, I've had a lot of cats. Right now I have two - Casper, age 17, and Charlie, age 4. When I was growing up, I always wanted a cat but my mom wasn't crazy about the idea. Finally, when I was about 16, I got my chance. My mom's best friend, Isabell Petersen, had a Siamese cat. A black-and-white tom who lived on the street behind us got involved and suddenly Isabell had a very pregnant cat. My mom said - hurray! - I could have one of the kittens. I bought a red plastic food dish and with sparkly nail polish, I wrote the name of my kitten-to-be: Anastasia Shana Elisabeth. I loved that name!

Before long, the kittens were born. I chose a black-and-white one (who proved our guess as to the father). When I took her to the vet, though, I discovered I'd made a mistake - my kitten was a boy! I shortened Anastasia to Anya and decided that name would work for a male cat.

Right from the start, Anya was unique. He had a funny cry - part bark, part Siamese yowl - and he was very sociable. I regularly babysat for neighbors who acted in Masque and Staff, a local theater group. When Anya was a few months old, they started casting a play called "Everybody Loves Opal." It featured a cat - Mr. Tanner - and Anya won the part.

Anya posed for an 8x10 glossy photograph that was displayed along with all the other cast members photos. (I still have that photo and once I remember where I put it, I'll share it here.) Anya even had a write-up in the program:

Anya lived for more than 20 years, staying with my parents when I got married and moved to England. But Anya's story doesn't end here, not by any means. Check back for Part 2 of the House of Cats!


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