Wednesday, July 30, 2014

House of Cats - Part Four, "Pick Two"

Well, it was fun while it lasted but, if you recall, my parents weren't all that excited about getting ONE cat, much less 17 or so. The day finally came where they said, "That's it - you can pick two cats. No more." It felt like Sophie's Choice, Cat Edition. Anya was my cat - I had to keep him. And Chelsea was mom to so many of the kittens, and she was a total sweetheart. And Dickens was so cuddly, as was Tiffany, and Sammy had always been a favorite of mine.

All-in-all, it seemed like a much better idea to place the cats we couldn't keep in loving homes rather than to take them to a shelter. So my brothers and sisters and I had a crash course in sales and marketing. Did you live in Elk Grove Village in the late 1960s? Did you get a cat during that time? If so, odds are your cat was related to ours.

We made posters, we spread the word to our friends and their families, to every family I babysat for, to everyone we went to school with. There were five of us Villars kids, and we swept through town with our cats like a furry tornado. The white cats were gorgeous so they were our first line of attack. We found homes for most of them. I'm not sure how many cats we found homes for altogether, but in the end we still had to take some to the shelter. (I can't remember for sure, but I really, really hope it was a no-kill shelter.) We kept Anya and Sammy and if I'd had a place of my own, I would have kept Chelsea, Tiffany and Dickens, too. Our only consolation was that Chelsea was so sweet and pretty, and Tiffany and Dickens were so cute and cuddly, we hoped people visiting the shelter wouldn't be able to resist them.

Odessa, from the first litter, went back to Mrs. Petersen, whose Siamese cat was Anya's mother. As I recall, Odessa lived a long life. I'd love to hear from any Elk Grove people who adopted our kittens. I hope they all had good homes and brought happiness to their owners, like Anya and Sammy brought to us.

Since then, I've had two kids, one granddaughter, one dog, two gerbils, one hamster, two rabbits, and many cats: Pudgie, Benjie, Tiffany Annie aka Baby LoLo, Tiger, Stephanie, Casper and Charlie. My brothers and sisters have had many cats and dogs, too. But none of us have ever topped the number of cats we had in 1968 to 1970. We've also provided shelter for a couple of possums and several generations of raccoons, as well as a number of deer. There have been snakes and moles, too, but not by choice.

Speaking for my brothers and sisters as well as for myself, I'm confident that dogs and cats will always be a part of our lives. The more, the merrier!


Debbie Haupt said...

Becke what a sweet, sweet story :)
thanks for sharing it

Becke Davis said...

Some of my friends had heard this story and kept telling me to write it down. Other friends were around when we had all these cats! I've been chasing after my brothers and sisters - I'm hoping they will have more pictures.

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