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My Two Childhood Loves (Cats and Writing) Made Me Who I Am

Photos of me and my cat-crazy family (some of them embarrassing) show a pretty clear destiny.

Angie Bailey  |  Apr 16th 2013


I recently looked through some old photos I hadn’t seen in years. I found some real gems: photos of my childhood cats. Somehow I’d forgotten just how cat-crazy my family was — honestly, I was surprised that so many of our photos included at least one of us holding a cat. So I guess it’s in the genes.

I found only one cat-related photo from when I was really young. It’s of little me sharing a bench with my grandmother’s Siamese cat, Inga. I have very few memories of this cat, except that she was mean. I maintained a good distance from her. In this photo, I look a little worried.

The photos jumped ahead 10 years or so. There’s so much 1980s goodness in the one below. I’m on the left wearing a Duran Duran concert shirt — Seven and the Ragged Tiger, if I’m not mistaken — and I’ll take this moment to mention I had a Tiger Beat photo of John Taylor inside the plastic cover of my seventh-grade Trapper Keeper with the kittens on the front. Remember that one? I found one online, and they’re calling it “vintage.” Oy. Also, we subjected our black male cat Sidney to the humiliation of wearing my adoption doll’s clothing. Poor cat. My sister and her friend were accomplices and, with me as a role model, my sibling had no chance of normalcy. None, whatsoever.

Bounce ahead a few years to Christmas of my ninth-grade year. In the next photo, my sister holds Skippy, whom we called Sheepie because he was as soft as a lambie. I hold our tiny tuxedo girl, Bobbi.

My mother found Bobbi when the kitten was just 6 weeks old. She’d been abandoned and Mom fed her with a dropper until she was old and strong enough to feed herself. Mom is still a good egg — and my cat lady role model.

Here I am with Sheepie. He was floppy, awesome, and put up with my crap like nobody else. Please note the heavily tinseled tree. That was back in the day when we loaded the silver stuff on the branches ’til they drooped and then spent a month pulling strands of it out of cat butts. We’ve come a long way since then. Tinsel = bad.

Here’s proof of Sheepie putting up with my crap. Also proof of my sweet asymmetrical haircut.

Now that I’ve properly demonstrated by love of all things cats, let’s step back a couple of years to my Christmas as
a giddy eighth-grader. It was a making-cat-ears-with-my-fingers kind of exciting day. Note to my sister: You’re welcome for cutting most of your candy-striped bottom out of the photo on the left.

That was the year Santa brought me my first typewriter, as pictured in the below photo. It was my Red Ryder BB gun of Christmas gifts. I mean, look at it! It was ridiculously cool, and I’d give anything to still have it. The color was fabulous and probably matched the eye shadow I wore at the time. And it was electric … and came with correction tape! At the time, I was the news editor of my middle-school paper, so this typewriter would go on to produce many an important article about school lunches and student council elections. Glory, glory, hallelujah! My life would never be the same.

These photos and stories explain how I turned out the way I did. It’s funny — back then, I never would have imagined that my penchant for pussycat humor and love of writing would turn into a source of income. But I also thought I’d probably marry John Taylor, so there’s that. Oh, and I’ve never, ever been afraid to express myself.

Read more posts by Angie Bailey:

ÔÇó 5 Ways My Cats Show Me Who’s Really In Charge
ÔÇó8 Fortune Cookies For Cats
ÔÇó5 Things I Do With My Cats That I’m Glad No One Sees

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