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A tiny black and white male kitten was found all alone in an alleyway between two buildings. When his mother didn't return to claim him, he was brought home. His head was unsteady and his eyes were just beginning to open. I estimated his age to be about of eleven-days.

Gus, as we called our new pint-sized ball of fur, was still too young to eat on his own. He would have to be fed a milk replacement formula from a bottle. We stocked up on KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) formula and pet nursing bottles. He also needed help eliminating his waste.

About the time Gus became a member of our family, so did Rajah. Since Rajah had just been weaned off nursing himself, his sucking instinct was still pretty strong, and when he saw Gus drinking from a bottle, he wanted some too. So we now had two bottle babies, Gus and Rajah. But that's not all, Minerva, our adult female was a keen observer and always wanted what the other cats had. She insisted that she not be left out. She wanted her share but was unable to suck the way the kittens did. So, she opened her mouth, the bottle was squeezed, and she enjoyed a stream of formula…just like the little guys. So, we had two bottle drinkers and one adult that got some squirts.

Gus grew quickly and before long, we showed him a litter pan. However, since he was so small, a "litter pan" would have to be scaled down to an appropriate size for such a tiny guy. His first litter pan was one that he could manage, an old cake pan.

What I remember most fondly about Gus was: the way he would "nurse" on my robe; the way he always had to be held in my left arm (just as he had been while he was drinking from his bottle)—and if he was placed in the right arm, he'd squiggle and squirm until he was in what he considered the "right" position;

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When I saw "The Cat from Outer Space," a Disney movie starring a most beautiful solid, rusty-colored cat that reminded me of an Asian golden cat or mountain lion, I fell instantly in love with the breed. I learned that the cat that had so captivated me was an Abyssinian. Eventually my dream would come true when my very first Abyssinian came to live with us as my early Christmas present.

Rajah was a perfect name for such a perfect cat. As is common with the breed, Rajah was loyal, smart and affectionate. He was also possessive—and funny! He treated me with soft paws…for instance, he’d wake me up in the morning by very gingerly touching my eyelids, as if instinctively knowing that he had to be especially careful in that area. But, as sweet as he was, Rajah was a grudge holder. If I would fail to give him attention immediately when he wanted it, he’d wait (such as behind a door) until he knew that I would see him and he’d go ask my husband for it instead. He was being spiteful and trying to make me jealous! Similarly, when he rubbed against the wheel of my daughter’s car just as she was starting up, he got scared and ran and for weeks afterward, she was “on punishment.” In order that she would know that she was on punishment, he’d wait for her to notice him and as soon as she would, he’d turn abruptly and hide somewhere. He gave her the cold shoulder and wanted to make sure that she realized what she was getting.

and Others
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Minerva was our "golf course" cat because that's where she came from. One day George returned home from golfing and told me about a friendly cat that had been hanging around there. He thought she looked hungry; he felt sorry for her and planned to take her some food. This became a daily ritual—at least for a while. The powers that be at the golf course didn't like having a cat "hanging around, begging" and then mentioned those dreadful words, "the ASPCA." The thought of such a nice cat being carted off and caged, upset George. He wanted to save her from such an unhappy outcome; he wanted to bring her home. That was fine with me. Minerva entered our lives.

She was at least two-years old when she joined our family and then lived with us for another twenty more years, for a remarkable life span of at least 22-years. She was a friendly cat, well-behaved and very clean. Actually, she was fragrant, with a perfume scent about her. The new rags-to-riches lifestyle became her and she adapted well to it. She appreciated having a family, was affectionate and got along well with our other cats.

She began to put on weight almost immediately. At first her increasing girth was attributed to good food on a regular basis and a more sedentary lifestyle than she had before (a life of luxury), but we soon realized that it was more than that—Minerva was expecting. She was an excellent and attentive mother, perfectly willing to share her beautiful babies with us. I believe she liked being a mother and although Minerva was eventually spayed, she kept that maternal quality throughout her life. She became a surrogate or foster mother to every cat that came along from that time on—whether they needed it or not. l