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Our next long live-in pet was a cat. Okinawa. She was pitch black with yellow eyes. A typically ancient Egyptian cat, and was uncannily intelligent. She had very strong views about a great many subjects and quite a few pet hates. She could never stand anything being soaked in water, I think to her, it was drowning and she had to rescue it. The first such incident was with some meat that was left soaking. At the time we thought she was just trying yo pull the meat out so she could eat it, but when the same thing happened with sheets that were soaking in a bathtub, when she incidentally nearly drowned trying to pull them out, we realized that it is really a phobia with her.
She used to love playing tricks on us and scaring us. I remember that she had this bad habit of hiding in the dark and suddenly pouncing on your legs out to nowhere. When she added nipping at our heels, this became a bit uncomfortable.
One cold but sunny winter morning, a weekend, I was sitting in the living room doing some handwork, cannot remember what. It was a beautiful day indoors and I was warm and enjoying what I was doing. Sitting in the sun at the other end of the room was Okinawa, cleaning herself then taking a nap. The armchair I sat in was right next to the door. I got so carried away with what I was doing, I started to hum under my breath. Then when things got really good I burst into song.
Okinawa lifted her head and looked at me for two blinks, then slowly got up, stretched, then very deliberately walked up to me, gracefully in one motion jumped into my lap, and with the lightest touch of her paw, slapped my face. Looked at me unblinkingly, then turned round, jumped down, and with more dignity than I had seen in many a monarch, walked out of the room. Everybody’s a critic!!
After a couple of years she suddenly became pregnant, we did not even know that she had been mixing with other cats! But pregnant she was. 70 days later she gave birth to three pitch black babies, and one a total hodgepodge of colors.
The three little devils were a real menace, very aggressive and had to be forcibly restrained, especially when food was on the table. The only way to have a meal in peace, we used to lock them out on the balcony during the meal. There was netting at the doors of the balcony glass windows, so they used to climb up these nets and meow to attract our attention. They looked really funny and made our meals very interesting. The odd brother, the hodgepodge one was called Spooky, although he was the farthest thing than being that. He was so laid back, I think he might still be sleeping in one of the closets to this day. The funniest cat, the only one I’ve seen who did not have a sense of balance! He used to jump up the mantelpiece then not know how to get down so someone had to go lift him down.
One day my Father came home with a baby dog. Joy! We missed having a dog! The very next day Okinawa and all four kittens disappeared. She just could not take the insult. We looked for her all over, and to this day we don’t know how she did it, how she got away with all her kittens.

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