Posted by Leann Sweeney

I have always loved animals, but was only allowed to have one cat during my childhood, but she conveniently disappeared, just like Harvey, our rabbit. Only later did I learn that lost meant sent away. My mother was a dog person and my father liked birds because they could whistle back at him or enjoyed the mirror as much as I'm guessing he did. The first thing my husband and I did when we moved into our first place was to adopt two kittens. Fanny and Ralph. We loved those cats, but they ended up hating our first baby. Guess who had to go? The baby ... no ... just kidding. Once again, the cats were lost.

Then came a succession of dogs and I loved them very much. Heck, I even loved the turtles and the hamsters, the cockatiel and the budgie--the kids' pets that mom took care of despite the standard childhood promises to feed and clean up after those creatures. But just like I had wanted to write all of my life, I still wanted a cat. Oh, we'd had the outdoor variety--the ones that adopted us and lived in our garage, plus the wild one that lived under the porch of a rental house we lived in while our house was being built. She promptly left when she delivered four kittens in a box, leaving me to tube feed them every two hours for three weeks. Believe me, those kittens were as much work as any newborn and though they were sweet and people friendly, we couldn't keep them in the rental house. They were also lost.

So when my youngest child left for college and I found myself missing both kids terribly, I bought a kitten. She was six weeks old, a cuddly ball of fluff that fit in the palm of my hand--more love at first sight.

Photo_backup_5_21_05_146 This is my Indigo and though I had a cat in the mystery series I began writing back in the nineties, I had no day-to-day inspiration for my "cat character" until she came into my life. She has more personality than about fifty percent of the humans I've encountered.

Cats, I soon learned, can be addictive. I went to a cat show--I'd never been to a cat show in my life--but my sub-conscience knew why I was there. I left with a four month old kitten I named Agatha Christie. This one, however, liked to hide, which turns out, is rather like her namesake. She also hovers in the background like Christie lurks in my mind, reminding me of the best reading days of my life. Dame Agatha planted the mystery template in my brain and still guides my hand to this day.

Photo_backup_5_21_05_142a_2

Agatha is camera shy, but she agreed to pose for this picture.

But little did I know I wasn't done yet. I went to the supermarket one day and found the skinniest little tuxedo kitten on the planet, but I immediately realized this had to be very a smart cat. Where do you go but to the supermarket if you're starving? A smart boy like him needed a name in honor of a bright, cocky guy. His name is Archie Goodwin after Nero Wolfe's right hand man.Archie_2 Unlike Agatha, Archie has no problem being bold--again rather like the character he's named after. But I'll bet Goodwin can't eat a gecko faster than you can blink.

These are my writing friends, my quilting friends, my bedtime friends--which is nice when your kids live on opposite coasts and your husband likes to hunt and fish every chance he gets. Oh, then there's the latest addition. Her name is Rosie, after my own fictional detective Abby Rose. Turns out she's equally as intelligent as Abby Rose, so I say, what's in a name? Well, duh, everything. Rosie_2

Problem is, Rosie only thinks she's a cat.

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