Wednesday, December 01, 1999



This is a story book about some of the cats that grew up with Mommy.

Dedicated to Erik and Grant Palmer Rauterkus

with love from Mommy


Teaka was a beautiful brownish cat with black tiger stripes. She had just given birth to two cats named Toby and Gus when she was hit by a car. She crawled under the bushes by our house and meowed. Grandpa heard her and bent down to get her out of the bushes. When Grandpa reached in, the bush cut his eye. Grandpa had to go to the hospital so the doctor could make sure that his eye was OK. Teaka went to the vet but unfortunately, the vet could not save her life. Grandma and Grandpa were sad about losing Teaka, but right at the same time, Grandma needed to go the hospital to give birth to your Mommy. Grandma came home from the hospital and nursed Mommy while Grandpa sat with a patch on his eye and fed Toby and Gus from a doll's bottle. He had to use a doll's bottle because the kittens were so small.

Gus grew up in our home in Brookline, Massachusetts. Gus liked to sit by the fish tank and think about how much fun it would be to play with the fish. The fish did not think this would be fun, so they stayed in their tank. When his first Christmas came, Uncle Bob introduced Gus to Santa Claus.

Gus moved with our family to Concord, Massachusetts in the spring. Gus had a wonderful summer. He explored our yard and the neighborhood. In the beginning of the winter, Gus went out to play one day and didn't come back.

We were very sad. We called for Gus and looked everywhere. We couldn't find our wonderful pet. Finally spring came and it started to get warm. One day, Grandpa was out in the shed and out jumped Gus. "Where have you been?" we asked. Gus just meowed and purred. We had no idea where he had been. Once again, Gus had a good summer and right at the end of the fall, he disappeared. And once again, he came back in the spring. This happened three years in a row.

Each year, Gus would disappear when the cold weather started and re-appear when the warm weather returned. Then during the fourth year, Gus disappeared in the fall, but he didn't come back in the spring. We kept hoping he would come back and we asked all of our neighbors if they had seen him. One day we were talking with someone who lived around the corner when we realized what had happened. It turned out that Gus had always eaten and visited at our house as well as another lady's house. The other lady thought that Gus was her cat! So when she would go to Florida each winter, she took him with her. Then she would come back each spring. This winter, she had decided to move to Florida and not come back. So we were happy that Gus was fine and living in Florida even though we missed him.


Samantha was a beautiful siamese cat. She had been growing kittens inside her for several weeks. We didn't know how many kittens. One day when Mommy was playing in her room, she noticed that Samantha was digging in the dress-up clothes box. Mommy took her out, but Samantha just kept getting back in. Mommy called Grandma and when Grandma looked at Samantha she realized that Samantha was about to have her kittens.

Grandma made a nice box with towels in it for Samantha. Samantha had four kittens. We took a big basket and lined it with warm blankets so Samantha would have a nice place to sleep with her new babies. When we woke up the next morning, there were no cats in the basket. We called for Samantha and looked all over the house. We couldn't find her. Finally, Grandma had to get busy with the housekeeping. When Grandma went to put the wet laundry in the dryer, she found Samantha and the kittens. Samantha had moved the kittens into the dryer and was busy licking them and feeding them. We moved Samantha back to her basket so we could
do the laundry. As soon as we were not around, Samantha moved the kittens again. For several weeks, we spent our time tracking down Samantha and the kittens and moving them back to their basket!


One Christmas, Mommy came downstairs and found a brown box under the Christmas tree. The box had holes in it and had a big red ribbon. Grandma told Mommy to go ahead and open it right away. When Mommy opened the box, out popped a little gray kitten.

The kitten looked up at the family, turned around and ran down the hall. At the end of the hall, the kitten turned and ran right into the bathroom. We were chasing after the kitten when we heard a splash. The kitten had jumped right into the toilet. We got her out and dried her off with a towel. We named this kitten Smokey because of her gray color. She never jumped into the toilet again.

Tar Baby

Tar Baby was a black cat. Tar Baby and Grandpa were very good friends. At night, Grandma liked all of the cats to go outside because if they stayed in they walked around and kept everybody awake. This was OK with Tar Baby except that he liked to come back in the house before it was actually morning. Tar Baby would sit by the door or windows and meow very loudly. This woke everybody up so Grandpa decided that he would make a way for Tar Baby to get back into the house quietly.

Grandpa decided to leave his bedroom window open. Tar Baby could walk on the edge of the deck and jump to the open window. Then Grandpa thought Tar Baby could jump to the floor and settle down for a nap while everyone else slept. Grandpa was wrong. Tar Baby liked coming in the window, but he did not jump to the floor. He liked to jump from the window onto Grandpa's chest. Grandpa's bed was right near the window. This would make Grandpa wake up thinking that someone had just jumped on him. When he realized that it was the cat, he would go back to sleep.

This might not have been so bad, if Tar Baby had gone to sleep as well. But Tar Baby would wait until Grandpa was asleep and then decide he was hungry. He needed Grandpa to go to the kitchen to feed him which meant that he needed to wake Grandpa. To do this, Tar Baby would walk gently up Grandpa's chest and stand with his head bent over Grandpa's sleeping head. Then Tar Baby would bite the top part of Grandpa's nose very hard. Grandpa would yell and flail his arms and Tar Baby would go flying. Wide awake, Grandpa would go ahead and get Tar Baby's breakfast.

Tar Baby was lucky that Grandpa loved him as much as he did.


Bartholemew was a fluffy gray cat. We called him Bart. Bart was not very smart and he always looked very surprised. Bart would climb trees in search of birds that he would like to eat. Bart never caught any birds. The birds seemed to know that Bart was not very smart. They would lead Bart to the end of the tree branch and then fly away. Bart would follow them and forget that he could not fly. He would walk right off the end of the tree branch. Luckily, none of the branches were too far off of the ground so Bart would get up and try it again.


Tommy was Mommy's special cat while she was growing up. Tommy started out being called
Gretchen. Mommy had asked for a kitten and Grandma and Grandpa had agreed that she could
get one. Mommy wanted a little girl kitten that she could call Gretchen.

Grandma and Grandpa found a beautiful orange cat with tiger stripes. Mommy named the cat Gretchen and played with her all the time. After a few weeks, Grandma took a good look at Gretchen and announced "this is a Tom cat." A Tom cat means that it is a boy. Mommy loved that cat so much that she didn't care if it was a boy or girl. The cat was renamed "Tommy."

Tommy loved to spend time in Mommy's room. Mommy liked to have lots of stuffed animals in her bed and Tommy liked to get right in with them. Grandma still liked the cats to be out at night. Tommy thought sleeping in Mommy's bed would be nicer than going outdoors at night so he would snuggle in with the stuffed animals hoping that Grandma would mistake him for one of the play things. He did a very good job of staying very still and blending in with the other stuffed animals.


When Mommy went to study for her Ph.D. in Chicago, she wanted to have a little kitten live with her in her apartment. It was against the rules to have cats and dogs in the apartment and Mommy usually follows the rules, but this time she didn't.

Mommy called the animal shelter to see if there were any kittens who needed a home. The man on the telephone said that kittens were not born this time of year and that Mommy should call back in the spring. The man said it was OK if Mommy called every week, but there probably would not be any kittens until the warmer weather.

Well, Mommy called the next week and there were not any kittens. Mommy called the week after that and the man said "I'm so glad you called, we just go a whole litter of kittens in this morning." Mommy got into her car and drove all the way to South Chicago to the animal shelter. The man showed Mommy where the kittens were sleeping. When Mommy looked in the cage, one little kitten got right up and starting meowing very loudly. Mommy knew right away that this kitten wanted to go home with her. The people at the shelter gave Mommy a little cardboard box so the kitten could ride home in the car.

Mommy named the kitten Cigi. "Cigi" is how cousin Cameron said the word "kitty" when he was little. Mommy and Cigi had a wonderful time living together in the apartment until Mommy realized that the apartment owners were going to be unhappy that the kitten was there.

Mommy talked to Uncle Bob about being worried about keeping Cigi and Uncle Bob offered to have Cigi come live with him and his family. Uncle Bob got Mommy a plane ticket and Cigi slept in her little box under the airplane seat all the way back to Uncle Bob's house in Connecticut.

Mommy stayed for the weekend to make sure that Cigi was happy living at Uncle Bob's house. Cigi was very happy because he had Cameron to play with. Cigi lived with Uncle Bob for a year.

After about a year, Mommy met Daddy and they decided that Cigi should come back to Chicago. Daddy promised to take Cigi out of the apartment if the apartment managers needed to go into the apartment. This time, Uncle Bob sent Cigi in a big cage all by herself on the airplane. When animals travel by themselves, they travel in the place where the luggage is kept.

Mommy went to the Chicago airport to pick Cigi up. Mommy could hear Cigi meowing even out in the parking lot. When Mommy got into the airport, Cigi looked very angry about her trip and kept meowing all the way home.

Cigi was happy to be back with Mommy and she liked Daddy very much. After being back in Chicago for a few weeks, the apartment owners needed to come into the apartment. True to his word, Daddy put Cigi in his truck and drove around with her all day long until the apartment people were done. Mommy, Daddy, and Cigi moved to Pittsburgh once Mommy was done with school. Now Cigi loves Mommy, Daddy, Erik, and Grant in our house on the South Side.