I didn’t get my first cat until I was 22 and moved away from home, because I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up, so where did the “cat thing” come from? Why am I so obsessed with cats? Even though I didn’t live with any, I spent summers surround with outdoor cats.

My grandparents had a colony of outdoor cats.

My mom took me to my grandparents every weekday in the summer. Since as early as I can remember, I would spend most of my time either dressing up in Mom Mom’s sparkly clothes or playing and taming the cats.

Little girl surrounded by a colony of outdoor cats
Loved them all.

The cats kept the rodents under control, but you know what else they did?

They had kittens.

Lots and lots of kittens.

I named and tamed every single kitten – never repeating a name.

Most didn’t make it to adulthood, and the grown males were always rotating, but there were 4 solid, longstanding females.

Snooper – The Godmother

Snooper 'n' Crew
Snooper is in the middle.

She was the oldest cat, a lovely tuxedo, and super chill. No one messed with Snooper. Her two daughters were always around too:

Pickles – The Aloof Girl

Pickles
Pickles didn’t always want attention, but she was always around and in the mix.

She was grey and white and not the friendliest girl. Sometimes I could pet her and sometimes she just wanted to do her own thing. She was closest to her sister, Cameo.

Cameo – Mother of the Year

A shorthaired calico, who was super sweet. She had 4-5 kittens each time – never less – and always put them in the same spot. Obviously, not the smartest for an outdoor cat, but I was happy that I always knew where the kittens were. She LOVED her babies.

Her cousin, on the other hand, was a different story:

Paris – The Heartbreaker

This longhair calico was Cameo and Pickles’ cousin (Snopper’s sister was Paris’ mother). She was beautiful and she knew it, procreating with every male and would often abandon her babies for one of her cousins to raise so that she could get her jollies off again and have more kittens she didn’t want. Maybe she had a catnip addiction we didn’t know about.

I naturally had a way with all of the cats, and I couldn’t explain it.

Many cats wouldn’t let anyone touch them but me. I was never scared, always patient, observed their behavior, and tried different angles to win them over. Little did I know all of this would come in handy in my 30s …

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