Penelopes story begins with a tale that is so bizarre that
it would take a few pages to tell it, and nobody would believe it
anyway. She was born in my house in 1983, one of five kittens, to
a solid blue cat who took on the identity of my long-lost spayed
Korat, Lingh. There were two black females and three tabby males
in the litter.
She was the first born, and she needed my dads help to come
into the world. Lingh just dropped her, didnt clean her or
anything, so my dad had to rub her and start her breathing. It wasnt
until the next kitten was born that Lingh got a clue and began to
clean Penny. Once she figured it out, Lingh was a good mom. We had
a lot of fun watching the kittens grow up, we gave them each a bunch
of silly names, and eventually we found homes for all but one of
the girls. We kept a girl because my parents didnt want any
male cats. One of the tabby boys had a thick band of black color
around his eyes so he was nicknamed, Bandit. Naturally,
it followed that one of the other kittens should be Smokey.
Smokey seemed to
like my brother-in-law a lot, so he and my sister adopted him. They
kept the name and several years later they got a dog, which they
named, what else? Bandit!
Linghs kitten Bandit was the only one that I
personally did not find a home for. My college roommate took a tabby
that I had named Rocky, for reasons entirely too silly to explain
here, but she renamed Rascal. The black girl that I didnt
keep, whose kitten name was Chandar, again for silly reasons, went
to my neighbor down the street. I kept Artemis, named for the Greek
goddess of the moon. Yes, I did get flak about that, from people
who thought Artemis was a boys name. Maybe so but not to the
ancient Greeks, and I was in a mythological mood. My vet found a
nice family for Bandit to adopt.
Three weeks after taking her home, my neighbor brought Chandar
back. She said she couldnt keep her, but if I wanted, she
would pay to have the cat spayed and declawed, and her daughter
would give her a home after she was married. This was November;
the wedding wasnt until the next fall! My mom thought we should
try to find her a home.
We didnt try very hard, and before long she had bonded with
her mother and sister. Artemis died suddenly about a year later,
and Penny stayed here. She kept her name, too, because I decided
it was mythological enough and it seemed to suit her.
Penny was a real in-your-face cat, to the point of being annoying!
She liked to rub and lick and park herself right in front of whatever
we were doing. She wasnt a very playful cat most of the time,
and not very smart either, according to my dad. I used to let her
mother and her outside, and Penny had this habit of finding herself
on the roof, and then yowling for someone to get her down because
she couldnt figure out how to do it herself. She also used
to throw herself at the front door when she was ready to come in.
She was also very pretty, with a plush shiny black coat, so while
I was showing Ab and Bo, noticing how much fun the people showing
household pets were having, I considered showing Penny.
I finally entered her in a show, an ACFA household pet-only show,
a few months before her tenth birthday. I had no idea how shed
like it or what the judges would do with her. She finaled once at
that show and didnt seem to really hate it so we tried it
again. She got all the way to QGM in TICA and then I quit showing
her because I felt that she was uncomfortable with being handled
and lifted and stretched by the judges.
Penny was always very close to her mother. I have so many pictures
of the two of them lying together in one blue and black furry ball.
When Lingh crossed Rainbow
Bridge in 1996, I knew that Penny would join her soon. Penny
was diagnosed with throat cancer in the fall of 1997, and a month
later, she quietly left me to be with her mom. She was 14.