Long before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye, my parents had a cat named Oliver. He was unremarkable in looks, just a regular brown tabby, but quite remarkable in personality. For one thing when a neighbor's cat had kittens, he took a liking to one kitten in particular and would constantly steal him away to try and nurse him in the closet. My parents would find the poor hungry kitten mewling for milk and bring him back to the neighbor's house. At some point the kitten was old enough to be weaned and when they tried to return him, the neighbors told them to just keep the kitten. So this how Oliver acquired his son, Fat Fred.
Oliver was a lover and a hunter, always wanting to sit on his humans' laps in the house and catching prey as big as jack rabbits outside the house. He naturally wanted his son to be a mighty hunter too and when my mother found Fred sitting by a dead mouse, she was very impressed with his hunting prowess. After all, it's no small feat to catch a critter when you're cross eyed. However as she started to congratulate him, Oliver trotted up with another mouse in his mouth, which he immediately dropped at Fred's feet before going off for a third.
Oliver was on a whole a very maternal cat. Along with raising Fat Fred, he also took it upon himself to raise the puppy my parents acquired. He made sure the puppy knew how to do all things feline from jumping up onto high places to using the litter box.
As I understand it my parents were not happy about this turn of events, especially as the dog grew bigger!
Oliver also would orchestrate all sorts of household mischief that he used the puppy, now grown into a large dog, to help him pull off. My parents knew he was the ring leader, because Oliver insisted on joining the dog for any punishment he incurred, usually that of being banished to the bathroom. Life was never dull in the Silverman household.
Author: Marjorie Skiba (based on stories her parents told her as a child)
Illustrator: Marjorie Skiba
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