The Cats in My Life
by Marilyn Levinson
I hate to call myself a “cat person” since I love dogs, too. Ever since my Miniature Schnauzer died all those years ago, I’ve considered getting another dog. Considered, but resisted. Which probably makes me a cat person because I can’t imagine living without a furry feline at my side.Harold came to us when my older son, now forty-two, was almost five years old. David had ridden his tricycle around our block. When I chased after him, I happened upon an adorable gray kitten frolicking about on someone’s lawn. I scooped him up and brought him home. Later that day, I checked with the homeowners in the area where I’d found him, and nobody claimed him. As I’d thought, he was feral but friendly. Harold quickly adapted to our household as an outdoor-indoor cat. It amused my friends to hear me calling Harold when he was nowhere in sight, and watch him dash across the lawn to the house. He was no fool. He knew a good meal was waiting.
When Harold was fifteen and in poor health, I asked friends who fed many outdoor cats to bring me a red kitten for my birthday. Teddy arrived meowing loudly. Harold greeted him with hisses. He wasn’t the only unwelcoming Levinson. My son Michael thought I’d done a terrible thing, bringing a new cat into the house. Teddy stood up for himself from Day One. He was a beauty, with a soft red coat and big green eyes. How he loved to climb trees! Once he was hit by a car but escaped with nothing more than a bruise and a fright. He took to climbing into Michael’s window at three in the morning, though I still don’t understand how he climbed up the brick. Of course Mike grew to love Teddy, though he claimed Harold was his favorite (until he got his own cat, Eddie.) Years later after our sons were grown, my husband and I brought Teddy with us to our new home in a gated community where he died shortly after.
I got Sammy from a shelter eight years ago. He’s red, gorgeous, hyper, and very smart. He understands what I tell him. Really. Sammy was a biter as a kitten. Thank goodness he pretty much has outgrown the biting habit, though he still likes to take a nip occasionally, as you can see by my ankles. Though he’s an indoor cat, the warm weather beckons to him, and he’s managed to slip out the door several times over the years and return soon after. However, three years ago Sammy snuck out and didn’t come home. I called to him again and again to no avail. Days passed. I began to think I’d never see him again, when he appeared on our deck twelve days later. He was emaciated, which led us to believe he’d got locked in somewhere. Nowadays Sammy’s not as eager to go outside, but with the warm weather here I still have to watch him every time I open the door.
As you might expect, cats often feature in my novels. In the Twin Lakes Mystery series, Lydia Krause has a red cat named Reggie. Newly widowed, Lydia appreciates his companionship, especially when he helps her escape from a murderer. In Murder a la Christie, my sleuth Lexie Driscoll adopts her friend’s Russian Blue named Puss after her friend is murdered. (My husband and I always believed Harold had Russian Blue lineage in him.)
I always wanted a Maine Coon cat, but the closest I’ve gotten to having one is Theodore the feral half-Maine Coon cat that who appears in my new YA Getting Back to Normal. Sammy, who can be a brat, was the inspiration for my children’s book Brat Cat. Red, a street cat, is badly wounded in a cat fight. A little girl named Janie Tarrick takes him home with her so he can heal. Here, Red wreaks havoc and forges an unusual friendship. After he avenges his father’s death, Red has to decide if he’ll return to the Tarricks’ home or live in the wild.
Marilyn Levinson was born in Brooklyn, New York. She writes, "When I was fourteen, my family moved to Long Island where I’ve lived ever since, except for the four years I spent at Syracuse University studying to become a Spanish teacher. When my two sons were very young, I wrote YA and children’s books. Rufus and Magic Run Amok was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council “Children’s Choice.” Now I also write mysteries and romantic suspense. A Murderer Among Us, the first in my Twin Lakes mysteries was awarded a Best Indie of 2011 by Suspense Magazine. I’ve two new books coming out in the next few months: Murder a la Christie, a mystery, with L&L Dreamspell, and a young YA novel, Getting Back to Normal, with Untreed Reads.
"I am co-founder and past-president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.
"Please visit my website: www.marilynlevinson.com or my Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O for a list of all my titles. You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts and Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson "