Memories of Cats

James and Taffy – 1986 Idlewild, Michigan

As far as I know my ancestors did not have cats, although many had dogs. We had some cats in Mississippi, they lived in the barn and were sort of wild. Where did they originally come from? I cannot remember.

We moved to Idlewild, Michigan in the fall of 1986 and brought our cat Taffy with us. She had been gifted to us by our neighbors in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. Taffy founded a dynasty that lasted over 20 years. We spayed and neutered the last batch. Most of the cats eventually wandered off and never returned, but one named Panther stayed for over 17 years and moved to Atlanta with us where he soon died, never adjusting to city life at all.

Taffy’s children


James: Wow. Mumia enjoyed the photo of me and the cat.
Me: Do you remember that? Or the cat on your shoulder.
James: When I saw it I was like “Aaaaaargh – Why do I have the cat all up in my face like that!!!” I remember the hat and know where I must have been standing on the deck. But I don’t remember the actual picture. I first asked Mumia if he recognized anyone in the picture, he thought it was his friend Levon. We were trying to figure out how old I was. That cat looks pretty big. I was thinking sixish?
Me: It was our first winter in Idlewild, 1986/87. You were about 4/5.

In Mississippi I remember a lady who bought our goat milk and wanted one of the wild barn cats. They were a variety of colors, but she only wanted a white cat. His name was Peter Pan and he bit my husband’s hand while he was trying to catch him. He was finally caught and handed over.

Peter Pan

Ife: I remember dropping kittens over the railing at the house in Mississippi to see if they would land on their feet.
Me: I remember telling you all to stop dropping them.
James: Did you ever try it after clipping their whiskers?
Ife: No. We didn’t strap buttered bread on their backs either.
James: I remember the results of an experiment we did involving falling cats – with and without whiskers. but I don’t remember doing the actual experiment.

Sydney with big weed.
James and his children found gigantic dandelion sculptures even bigger than the originals shown below.

Sydney: those dandelions are huge
Me: They must be dandelions big sister.
James: Or the children are tiny
Me: They weren’t that tiny

Ife: I just saw some of those and asked the person whose garden they were in because I remembered these pictures. They are wild onion/garlic (alums). They are purple before they go to seed.

Tulani: Memories of cats?! I have plenty… I remember when cutie pie climbed up your leg trying to get to what you were cooking on the table, and that the second taffy used to be able to pull open my bedroom door….I remember bottle feeding kittens…
Plenty more…I’m sure…

James: I remember the kittens being found in the pile of wood over by the rabbits. Also, I remember Cabral naming one of the kittens Cutie Pie…I have that sad memory about the cat and mailbox.

Me: I remember one mother cat who was hidden in the car and chewed Cabral’s bottle . I put her out at Head Start and she was gone forever.  Never made it home. Her kittens must be the ones Tulani remembers bottle feeding.

A variety of cats with family members.

We did this experiment as part of our home school science class. We buttered a piece of bread and tied it onto the back of a cat. When dropped from the height of a picnic table, the cat landed on it’s feet. I think to be a real test of the sayings – bread always lands buttered side down and a cat always lands on it’s feet – we would have had to have a piece of bread the same size as the cat, which we didn’t.

My sister Pearl’s memories of her cat, Scatter

That was Scatter. Here he is. A great cat. He came to our door one day when he was tiny. I tried to shoo him away but when Zeke walked up behind me, he let out a loud cat wail and leaped up on the screen like he was finding his long lost friend. Zeke gave him some water. Then some milk. Then some tuna. Then he moved in! Lol. For almost 20 years!!

We had to stop letting him out because we live on such a busy corner. He used to hunt when he could go out. He’d bring home a dead chipmunk and eat it on the porch! Yuck! He was fast. He ran from our porch across our street one day and pounced on a blue jay in a tree across the street!

Only cat we ever had. He was very cool. He’s buried in the backyard.

Click for more Sepia Saturday

12 thoughts on “Memories of Cats

  1. Great collage of family members and cats… so many different cats ….so many different kinds of interactions. And now no one has a cat ????????‍♀️

    1. That was a second hand hat from somewhere. I know my older daughter refused to wear it at some point and so it went to James.

  2. I wonder how happy those kittens & cats were about those experiments? But kids will be kids! 🙂 Funny. That collage is really rather special.

    1. I’m pretty sure those dropped from the second story porch were not at all happy about it. I never knew about the whiskers, but doesn’t sound like cat fun.
      The bread one was pretty low and I think it was low anxiety for a cat. I hope. All survived which probably proves the 9 lives tale.

      1. This was a great collective cat memory! The buttered toast vs cat story made me laugh! We could probably make a whole year of Sepia Saturday series on just pet stories.

Comments are closed.