Do You Remember Your First Cat?

Feebee cat in blue chair

I’d venture that most of us can remember the cat that started it all: the one cat that launched us on the path of loving cats. For some, it may be a childhood cat, for others, it may be a more recent, and unexpected feline who decided that it was time for the human to share her life with a cat, or two or three.

I didn’t get my first cat until I was in my twenties. I was not allowed to have pets as a child; the apartment building I grew up in would not permit them, but I would temporarily adopt cats for the duration of almost every family vacation. I grew up in Germany, and in those days, a typical vacation meant that you went to one place and stayed there for two or three weeks at a time. We stayed at small bed-and-breakfasts or rented a vacation condo, and somehow, at every place we stayed, we would either find a resident cat or two, or there would be a number of stray cats hanging around the property. The times I spent with these cats make up some of my happiest childhood memories.

Feebee was a grey tabby cat who was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to a cat named Blue, who belonged to a childhood friend of my former husband. Walt and I were living in Germany at the time, but we would be moving back to the Washington, DC area shortly, so Walt’s friend saved one of the kittens in Blue’s litter for us.

Meeting Feebee was love at first sight for me. We took him home as soon as we had moved into our new house in Northern Virginia, and for the next fifteen and a half years, Feebee was the love of my life. He saw me through my divorce as well as the death of my mother. He was my primary emotional support during those dark days. If it wasn’t for him, you might not be reading this book.

He was also instrumental in guiding me toward a new career. I was increasingly unhappy with my corporate job but had no clear sense of what I was meant to be doing with my life. Then Feebee took matters into his own paws, so to speak, and developed bladder stones. The time we then spent at veterinary hospitals for diagnosis, treatment, and surgery led me to change careers. I started volunteering and then working part time at veterinary hospitals, which eventually led to a full-time position managing an animal hospital. For the first time in my life, I was excited about going to work each day.

Thank you, Feebee, for being the one who started it all. I’ll always be grateful that you found your way into my life.

Who was the cat that started your love affair with cats?

19 Comments on Do You Remember Your First Cat?

  1. Mel
    September 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Well, I suppose it started with my Uncle’s cat, Calico. She (as her name suggests) was a very large calico cat living with a German Shepard/Husky mix, a Beagle and a 9lb Bichon Frisée. She was the reigning queen of that house until she passed away a couple of years ago.

    Following Cali were dogs for nearly a decade afterwards and a neighbor’s orange ‘n white tabby.

    Stitch was the one who started my life-long companionship with cats though. She was a year old and my Mom’s cat when I met this tabby. She’s turning eleven this year and still acts like she’s two.

    Leelu was a pleasant surprise and the best birthday gift I’d ever been given. She’s big, squishy and such a loving cat. We’ll be spending quite a lot of time together since she’s turning three this year but she’s sure gonna make it an amazing lifetime.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 5, 2014 at 6:04 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you for sharing your memories with us, Mel.

      Reply
  2. Heather
    April 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm (4 years ago)

    My first kitty I got when I was 3 years old. My Dad said I could have one pet and I’d have to choose between a beagle puppy from a littler a neighbor had or a kitten from one of my cousins kitty’s new litter of kittens. Well since he let me pick I picked a cat. His name was Kalamazoo or Kallie for short. He was a brown/black/gray tabby cat. He was just lovely and I had him until I was almost 13. We believe he had a heart attack. We moved him all the way from Missouri to Wyoming and then back again. We had to go for my Dad’s employment but Mom, myself or Kallie could not get used to WY in comparison to MO. He was the best and we were all so sad when he was gone. But another special kitty was already on it’s way to my family. We just didn’t know it yet. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Texas, a cat in New York
    April 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm (4 years ago)

    My human’s first cat was a black cat. His name was Cache-Cache (French for hide-and-seek).
    She can never forget him. But for various reasons she couldn’t have another cat before she had me. The rest is history like you humans say 😉

    Thank you for the positive energy for Milou. We hope we can bring him home tomorrow.

    Lots of purrs

    Reply
  4. Sarah
    April 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm (4 years ago)

    When I was 3 years old, my mom took my baby brother and I out for a walk through the neighborhood one day. A scrawny 6-month old kitten came out from behind a house and started meowing. She followed us all the way home, and after some begging, my mom let me keep her. I named her Star, and she was my best friend for the next 19 years. She was so sweet-natured and easy-going, which was a good thing since I liked to dress her up in doll clothes and carry her around the house like a baby. 🙂 She’s been gone for 13 years, but I still have her picture up on my dresser.

    Reply
  5. Ingrid
    April 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m really enjoying reading all your stories! Keep them coming!

    Reply
  6. elena
    April 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm (4 years ago)

    My first love was Micia: she was all grey like a Chartreux cat. It was love at first sight…I was 13 years old and one day my mummy said that the newspaper seller tells to her if she wants a little cat, only 3 months…She was my best friend, my life, also today when I think of her I am in touch…she stay with us for 18 years!!! One regret, she stayed only child.
    Now I have 5 cats but Micia is always in my heart.

    Reply
  7. Sue Brandes
    April 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Mine was my childhood kitty named Fluffy. She lived to be 21. She was fluffy long haired B&W cat. She was my best buddy. She loved to be near you and petted.

    Reply
  8. Viki Worden
    April 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm (4 years ago)

    I just read your story with Feebee being your soul kitty the other day. It warmed my heart.

    I have had cats as far back as I am remember. However, the one that had the most signifigance in my life was my Bebe. I found her mother and after hiding her for a couple weeks my dad let me kneep her. She had 2 kittens, one of which was Bebe. My dad said I could keep the mom or the babies and I chose to keep the babies and we gave the mom to a neighbor. Before the time when I started keeping my cats in the house, Bebe’s brother had got hit by a car right in front of the house. After that I kept very good track of Bebe. I had a dog at the time too and she loved to walk with us. She would stay right with us as we walked around the block. If she did go outside she stayed right around the house. She was always very healthy. The vet could not believe how old she was. She was my companion and friend. Always on my lap when I was home. She even liked my parakeet. Finally when she was 20 she was hiding and when I found her she had dribble around her mouth, which led me to believe she was having trouble swallowing. I took her to the vet. She had a mass on her tongue and the vet gave me the option to have it biopsied. I did and it turned out to be cancer. He said if they removed it she wouldn’t have much of her tongue left. It covered about 3/4 of it. He told me I could take her home and let her live out her life and give her water through a syringe. I decided to take that option. After a week she let me know that she wasn’t really living and in pain. She wanted me to cross her over the rainbow bridge. I took her to the vet. They let me stay with her for as long as I wanted before they helped her cross over. I sat with her for about an hour. A couple of times I almost thought I can’t do this, but I knew she was suffering. I was devastated. For a couple of weeks I cried myself to sleep every night. I even put a stuffed cat that I had right next to me in the same spot she used to lay when I went to bed. One night I was crying and I felt something next to me in the same spot. I put my hand there because it felt to real, but there was nothing there. I realized that she had come back to let me know everything was ok. After that I was able to sleep without crying. That was 26 years ago and I still miss her. I have had a couple cats since her that I know where my soul kitties too, and the ones I have now. However, none of them have ever replaced my Bebe. She will remain in my heart always.

    Reply
    • Victoria M
      April 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm (4 years ago)

      This is a truly beautiful story. I had to take my dog of 14 years to the Rainbow Bridge just yesterday, and my heart is broken. Your story touched me deeply. Thank you.

      Reply
  9. Mary Beth Randall
    April 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my, where to start. My very first cat was Squeakie. She came to me with that name and changing it seemed wrong since she was an older cat. Squeakie had a sad end but she started my love of cats at the age of 13.

    I have loved all my cats since but two cats stay with me in my heart and mind forever. Cassie was a calico who I adopted from a shelter when I was 16. She moved with me to my first apartment and no matter what I did she never liked men because she had been abused by one. Then in 1989 when I met my now husband Cassie was the one who helped me realize that Tom was the one man for me. He was teaching me how to use a computer and one day I came out of my bedroom and of all things Cassie was in Tom’s lap. This was the day I knew that Tom was the guy for me. We are still together after 24 years and several cats later.

    I’ll end it here because I could go on forever about our favorite cats over the years.

    Reply
    • Victoria M
      April 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm (4 years ago)

      What a wonderful story!

      I also trust the reactions of my animals (dogs and cats) when meeting new people. I have a very powerful sense of intuition myself, but sometimes my animals know better and before I do that certain people are to be avoided at all costs, and that others are very good people to befriend and get to know.

      I’m really glad that you listened to the call of Cassie about your husband, and that you two have been together for so long. So many marriages fail today–maybe we should require that people consult with intuitive creatures before they are allowed to obtain a marriage license! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Pam
    April 24, 2013 at 11:37 am (4 years ago)

    Shelley, my dear Shelley. I still miss her so much. She was my first cat, and the one who made me love cats!

    Reply
  11. Becky
    April 24, 2013 at 10:24 am (4 years ago)

    Fluffy used to sit on my crib protecting me since day one. I don’t know if I was born a cat person or he turned me into one. I believe Fluffy is still with me today sharing space with all the other cats in my life.

    Reply
  12. Alison Hemming
    April 24, 2013 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

    My Mother was a cat lady, so I inherited it from her. I vaguely remember being in my pram, and a fluffy bundle was presented to me (a long haired tabby kitten). My Mother said whatever words I came out with, he would be called that. I went “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh”, and so he was called that, lived to be 21!!! I have been a cat person ever since, but I will never forget him 60 odd years later!!!!!

    Reply
  13. Bernadette
    April 24, 2013 at 9:54 am (4 years ago)

    So glad Feebee came into your life, both for your personal reasons and because he helped lead you to make felines your life!

    One of the only meaningful things my parents gave me was a kitten for Christmas when I was 9–sounds ungenerous and it wasn’t an entirely happy story, but once I found the love of a cat I was hooked forever after.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s stories!

    Reply
  14. Caren Gittleman
    April 24, 2013 at 7:50 am (4 years ago)

    I love the story about Feebee……
    My story started with an abandoned calico that was days old that I found when I was 15. (I blogged about this) My Mom HATED cats with a passion. She allowed me to “nurse” the kitten for a month, then, she placed an ad to give it away for FREE…and made ME hand it to the people who came to take it. I took such good care of that cat for a month, thinking that if I did, she would let me keep it.
    That wasn’t the case and having to hand that kitten over, after having cared for it and having fallen in love with it, devastated me and began my obsession with cats.
    As I said I was 15 at the time, didn’t have my first cat until I was around 40 or slightly younger and that was my “soul kitty” Bobo.

    Reply
  15. Sammy
    April 24, 2013 at 6:55 am (4 years ago)

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have many cats who have stolen my heart through my considerable years…..my first ever cat was one I acquired when living in my first apartment and sadly I had to find another home for him when management changed their pet policy. But I KNEW from the moment I got him that I was a forever cat person. My first REAL cat relationship was with a big gray tabby named Moose. He was just a big love bug…..there have been many along the road though……and I’ve adored them all. Sammy is very special to me for many reasons and I love him to pieces. I grew up with dogs in the family and loved all of them but only when I was on my own and able to have a cat did I realize that I am truly a fan of the feline!

    Pam

    Reply
  16. Merry Hagenston
    April 24, 2013 at 3:20 am (4 years ago)

    A small, starving, flea-ridden kitten on the side of a busy highway that had the good sense to turn away from the road and head back to the tumble weeds. I pulled over with every intention of rescuing this kitten and turning it over to a friend that rehabilitates cats and then finds them a home. This near-death kitten was so weak that she would open her mouth to cry and just a faint rasp came out. I named her Whisper. My son and were both terribly allergic to cats so I knew we wouldn’t keep her. After a flea bath and a good meal I discovered that my friend couldn’t take any more cats. To make a very long story short, my son and I are no longer allergic, Whisper has stayed with us and will forever, and she started the chain reaction to where we have 10 much loved cats that were rescued over the last 4 years!

    Reply

Leave a comment

First time visitors: please read our Comment Guidelines.