Cheryl II was my last cat. She was a piebald tortie (calico) with a very loud voice and a very loud purr. She was very affectionate and wanted to sit right next to me at every opportunity. She liked to sleep under the bedcovers. Cheryl II passed away on September 28, 1996 from complications following surgery to extract her left eye which had become infected with a malignant melanoma. She bravely tried to recover from this difficult surgery, but her condition steadily declined. She was a fighter to the end. You can also see more photos of Cheryl II.
After the death of Grosse Mère (see below), I visited several pet shelters looking for a new cat. I chose Cheryl II because she had been declawed. This meant she would have a hard time defending herself against the other cats in the shelter the longer she stayed. I thought this boded ill for her long-term prospects should someone not adopt her quickly. Cheryl II also reminded me of Phoebe, my mother's cat (see photo below).
Grosse Mère was my cat from 1970 until her death in 1985. She was a stray who adopted me after being abandoned by her previous owners. I guessed her age at about five when she showed up on my family's doorstep.
Grosse Mère was very fond of dogs. I assume she had been raised with dogs. Sometimes family members who owned dogs visited with their pets. Grosse Mère enjoyed playing with the dogs. She exhibited no fear of them whatever.
This trait proved its worth one time when a vicious dog owned by a neighbor down the street attacked one of our other cats who was sitting on our front porch. The dog pursued our cat through the open front door of our home, right up the stairs to the second floor. Grosse Mère, who was napping at the time, immediately awoke at the sound of the dog's barking. She cut off and attacked the dog before he could inflict any further damage to our other cat. Grosse Mère knocked the dog down the stairs, chasing him outside and down the block, completely routing the dog -- even though the dog was at least eight times her size.
Grosse Mère received no wounds other than lost fur. On the other hand, the dog was a bloody mess: Grosse Mère seriously mangled his face. When the neighbor who owned the dog had the gall to complain about Grosse Mère's treatment of her pet, we laughed at her. Needless to say, that dog never came near our house again.
Grosse Mère would not tolerate any fights between our other cats. She always broke them up. Grosse Mère never started any fights herself.
We named her Grosse Mère because she acted as a kind of den mother for all our other cats, and because she was quite pudgy. She didn't like people food at all with one exception: she was very fond of licking and rubbing green olives which acted much like catnip for Grosse Mère.
Pictured here are three other cats from my teenage and early adult years while I still lived with my parents. From left to right, they are Rougie (my father's cat), Immenso (who liked everyone), and Phoebe (my mother's cat).
Rougie was a long-haired cat who liked to chase other cats, rabbits, squirrels, and birds, but he never harmed any of them even when he caught them. He just liked to play. Rougie lived a long time, dying of old age at twenty-five. His favorite people food was Twinkies.
Immenso was a stray who adopted us after being abandoned by his owners. He was large -- weighing over twenty-five pounds most of his time with us -- hence his name. We also called him Blackie. Immenso was the most gentle of cats, never getting into fights, running away if even a tiny kitten threatened him. Immenso died after a protacted incurable illness which left him a shadow of his former self. He never lost his good humor or friendliness even at the end of his life when he must have been in constant pain. When his debilitated condition reached a point where he was unable to move, we had Immenso put to sleep. He accepted his end with a grace and dignity I wish more human beings could emulate.
Phoebe was a faded pie-bald tortie. Originally one of my sisters retrieved Phoebe from a shelter to be her own cat. Later Phoebe became my mother's cat when my sister moved away from home. Phoebe was a gentle companion who kept my mother company through the years my mother was bedridden with cancer. Phoebe died of old age a couple of years before my mother passed away. My mother missed Phoebe greatly.
Ming did not belong to my family, but he seemed to spend more time at our house than at his own. He was a beautiful long-haired Siamese whose favorite pastime was beating up dogs. This put him on the bad side of Grosse Mère who didn't want any cats beating up dogs while she was around, unless she was the one doing the beating up. However, Ming got along well with all our other cats.
Pepée (a calico) and Pepère (a white cat) belonged to my parents when they lived in Paris, France in the late 1940s. Pepère and Pepée loved the homemade fish soup my grandmother prepared for them. These pictures of Pepée and Pepère were taken on August 26, 1947.
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Last modified by pib on February 12, 2006.