Anyone who has known me more than a few minutes knows that I LOVE my cats! We currently have five: Data, Phantom, Dilbert, Spock and Zathras.

I have always had cats in my life, except for the few years that I was in college, and I hope they will always be a part of my life. Before I was married to Scott, I had Merlin, who lived to the ripe old age of 17! I inherited Sunny from my roommate Jeanne and gladly adopted Scott's cat Data when we got married.

All of our cats have been rescues, most of which came from the Stark County Humane Society (now, fortunately, a no-kill facility). They have provided us with wonderful pets. Data was a stray who attached himself to my dad. He won Scott's heart by crawling into his lap and nuzzling his face. He still does this at 15!

The others were adopted in twos: Phantom and Dilbert came to us after the death of Merlin, and Spock and Zathras when we felt that there was room for one more. (We took two!) Spock, we found out later, was a "flood orphan" who had been swept away by floods in Canton and was turned over to the Humane Society. He probably would have died had we not been able to give him the medical care he needed! Zathras head-butted his way into our hearts as a scrappy, little guy, and is still doing it at a very round 13 pounds. Phantom, the world's most beautiful kitten, doesn't like to be touched, but loves to be talked to. He's a monster-sized Norwegian Forest Cat at 17 pounds! And then there's Dilbert... a cross between Bast and the Taco Bell chihuahua. He's definitely my boy!

While my intent is not to become a "crazy, old cat woman," I do enjoy having a family of cats around and try to give them each as much attention as I can. Scott and I are fortunate enough to be financially able to take care of this many felines at a time, but I would never advocate taking on more than a person can handle financially.

I'm absolutely in favor of spaying and neutering and would encourage anyone looking for a loving pet to adopt from a certified rescue organization, and to consider taking an older pet. Bring one into your family only if you are willing to make the commitment for the life of the animal!

Data, Phantom, Dilbert, Spock and Zathras send their love!

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