Cats I Have Known

Our first family cat was Snap. Technically, I think he was my brother’s cat, but we all loved him. He was a sturdy black tabby tomcat. In those days, we didn’t think about neutering our pets or keeping them indoors. He would go out every spring and be gone for about a week, romancing all the lady cats he could find and fighting with other toms.

Black and white photo of a girl kneeling on the floor with a black and white tabby cat sitting beside her.
Snap and Me

Here I am with Snap, in a photo dated May, 1963. I would have been around 11. I have no idea how old Snap would have been. I can’t really remember when or how we got him, it just seems like he was always there.

Black and white photo of a girl sitting in an easy chair with an orange tabby cat in her lap.
Whiskers and me

Whiskers was my first cat. This picture was also taken in May, 1963. Yes, that is a poodle skirt I’m wearing.

Snap and Whiskers, a black tabby and an orange tabby cat, share a bowl of food in the kitchen.
Snap and Whiskers share a bowl of food

We thought Whiskers was probably Snap’s son, although we couldn’t know for sure. They looked a lot alike, and got along well, as you can see. Unlike many toms, Snap liked little kittens and would occasionally bring some home to us. Whiskers was one we decided to keep.
Diagonal black and white photo of Whiskers, an orange tabby, outdoors in some brush.
Whiskers outdoors
Kitty, a seal-point Siamese cat, sits on the carpet giving me the Stare of Doom.
Kitty giving me the Stare of Doom

I got Kitty somewhere around 6th to 8th grade, I don’t remember exactly. A classmate asked if anyone wanted a kitten. I said I did. Presumably there was some conversation between our parents. All I remember is my friend and her mother driving up to our house, handing me a kitten, saying, “Here’s your cat,” and driving away. She told us the kitten was purebred Siamese, but not registered. Presumably not show quality, or she wouldn’t have been free, but I never cared about that. I loved her to bits! She was a fussy little diva, typical Siamese, very opinionated and talkative. She was my best friend throughout junior high and high school and beyond.

A young woman slouched on the couch, trying to knit with a Siamese cat draped across her lap.
Kitty helps me knit

She always had to be the center of attention.

Kitty, a seal-point Siamese cat, sits on a bookshelf, looking decorative
Kitty poses decoratively on the bookshelf.
Kitty, a seal-point Siamese cat, sits regally on a carved wooden box.
Kitty sits regally on a carved wooden box.
A husky orange tabby cat stand in the grass next to a sidewalk.
O.J. the orange tabby

After I graduated from high school, I bummed around for about a year before returning home to go to community college. Somewhere along the way, someone gave me a tiny little orange ball of energy we named O.J. He grew up to be this behemoth, sixteen pounds of muscle and fur. Note how broad his chest is.

OJ, an orange tabby cat, sits outside next to the house.

O.J. was the sweetest, friendliest cat ever. He loved everything and everybody: people, other cats, rabbits, dogs, horses. He had a purr you could hear from across the room, and a tiny, squeaky little meow. When I moved back home I brought O.J. with me. Kitty was appalled and offended. He ran right up to her to try to make friends. She hissed and growled and retreated under the bed and wouldn’t come out until O.J. had been banished to the garage. He was content to be the outdoor kitty while she ruled the house.

When I moved away to go to university, I left Kitty and O.J. at home with my parents. O.J. died a year or so later, the victim of someone who was poisoning neighborhood cats. Kitty lived on to be around 16 years old, always happy to see me when I came home on breaks. My mom said Kitty would start waiting by the door a couple of days before I arrived, somehow knowing I would be home soon. She always greeted me like the old friend she was.

Living cat-free at university, I discovered that the constant runny nose and cough I’d been suffering for years was a severe allergy to cats I’d developed. I didn’t have another cat until I moved to Tehachapi over twenty years later, and found that a cat came with the house I’d bought on the mountain. My allergies had gotten better over the years, and I was very happy to be able to have cats again.

Written by Cody Nelson in: cats | Tags:

Star Wars Half Marathon 2017

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side

January 15, 2017

We arrived at Disneyland on Friday afternoon and settled into our lovely hotel room at the Paradise Pier Hotel. The best thing about the hotel was the cute beach ball pillow on each bed! I wanted to take mine home with me, but the card warned that there would be a $65 charge for any beach ball pillow that made its way into a traveler’s suitcase. Cute, but not $65 cute!

Written by Cody Nelson in: marathon |

OC Half Marathon 2016

OC Half Marathon

May 1, 2026

I drove to Costa Mesa on Saturday, arriving at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel at 3 PM, just in time to check in and catch the shuttle to the Expo. Unlike other races I’ve attended, the finish line and Expo were seven miles from the starting line, and none of the hotels listed on the race website seemed very close to either, so I just stayed at the host hotel and took shuttles everywhere! It was somewhat less convenient than just walking to and from the race, but the shuttles were pretty well organized, so it worked out well enough.

Written by Cody Nelson in: marathon |

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