Playing in the garden, eating mud. . .
Matilda would eventually lead us to cat #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and so on. . . and I used to be a one-cat kind of girl, ha! Because of Jerry, who couldn't separate cage-mates, I once had two cats. Annie and Sal. I would see Matilda, usually pregnant, time to time in the neighborhood (back when I lived in one) and was always struck by her beauty and friendliness. She was homeless. During her last pregnancy, I plucked her off the streets and told her she was mine. A couple of weeks later she bore 6 kittens, five males and one sole female (Little Girl who is still with us). We still have Sonny, Rudolph, and I mentioned Little Girl. Leonard is no longer with us but stayed for many years. Together with Annie (may Sal rest in Peace), Marty, Cat-Cat, and sometimes Gretal (she'll eat our food but won't let us touch her), that makes the cat population currently at 8 (I may be forgetting somebody). The rest of the cats just showed up on their own and claimed us. There's also two dogs, Clementine the red coon hound and Louie the hound mutt (Louie was never invited). (Beloved Clay went permanently missing during our time in Ethiopia.) The kids love all the animals, but only Marty, Cat-Cat, Matilda, and now Annie will let them screech and paw at them. The rest run. The dogs prefer to sleep without children when they're not out terrorizing the countryside. One big happy family.