We have five cats, all rescued from various shelters.

The oldest, Melody, was named by my wife, Mona, who wanted something musical. Mona plays the guitar, drums, keyboard, and xylophone, and carries a tambourine in her car to play along with the radio.

Melody is a beautiful tortoise cat, and if she were human she would probably be placed somewhere on the autism scale. She demands that life proceed in a certain order, and if something is done out of sequence she panics and freaks out. We accommodate her as best we can. I think it is hard, being her.

The next oldest is a tuxedo cat named Lucy. I named her that so that when I came home I could say, in my best Ricky Ricardo voice, “Lucy! I’m home!”

When we were looking at cats at the shelter, Mona told me that if I set down the cat carrier and Lucy went into it, we could take her home. I sat the carrier down, opened the door, and she marched right in and laid down to take a nap. Unknowingly, she had just changed her entire life for the better.

Next in line is Joey, named after my favorite singer, Joe Cocker. He looks like a Russian Blue at first, but he isn’t. His eyes aren’t the right color.  He was a discount cat, marked down because he was no longer a kitten.

He is extremely friendly and affectionate. At the shelter he immediately wanted hugs and crushed into us. He was irresistibly charming.  Still is.

Then come the babies, Lori and Links.

Lori is a tabby, probably. Her pattern is more pronounced than a typical tabby. The pattern on the side of her face looks like Mike Tyson’s tattoo.

She was named after a close childhood friend. When I was five, our family moved into a suburb in Ohio. The little girl next door, Lori, ran up to me and asked, “Do you want to be friends?” I said yes, and that sealed the contract. It was that simple at that age.

Lori’s best friend, Links, looks like a black long-hair, but she isn’t really black. If you see her in the sunlight, you’ll see she’s actually a beautiful calico blend of black, dark brown, and rust.

She’s the most playful and active of the quintet. Everything amazes and delights her. She doesn’t sit still long enough for much affection, but she’s still little. I think she’ll be more loving when she gets a little older.

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