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Having adapted to apartment life, I thought Fungus and I would live happily ever after. Such was not to be. It came to pass that my sister had a litter of kittens supplied to her by an irresponsible neighbour. Despite heroic efforts homes could not be found for them, so I volunteered to adopt two of them. And besides, we missed Beanie. This is the story of how SnowB and Binky came to live with us, and their adventures in Berkeley.

I went over to my sister's to pick out two kittens. I wanted the calico but was unsure about the others. We had been hoping some of them would be purple, as the mother was a lilac point Siamese and the father was a Russian blue. Instead, they were all grey or orange, with one calico. (We suspect mom may not have been completely faithful to her husband.) I put down my cat carrier and the calico promptly ran into it and fell asleep. And then one of her orange brothers ran in and fell asleep next to her. Self selection, that was easy. Next...introducing them to Fungus...

Now some people would have just dropped them in the apartment and let nature take its' course. This is a terrible way to introduce cats into a new home. I kept them in a separate room for several days, during which I regularly petted Fungus at great length with a cotton cloth. Soon this cloth positively reeked of Fungus, at least to a cat's sense of smell. Then I vigorously and thoroughly rubbed down the kittens with the cloth. At that point Fungus was allowed to approach them for the first time. He crept up growling and hissing, and then sniffed. You could practically see the light bulb go on in his head as he thought: "Oh My, they smell just like me...Why, I must be a dad!" The growling stopped and within hours they were playing together. I recommend this method to anyone who is introducing new cats into an established cat's territory.

It was of course necessary to name the two new arrivals. The calico was originally named Pikachu after a character in a Japanese cartoon I admired. Unfortunately the cartoon eventually gained great popularity, and Pikachu despaired of having such a "common" name. So she was renamed Binky, a name which instantly suited her and she retains to this day. The Orange Kitty on the other hand had a much harder time of it. Despite a popular web site contest to name him, and numerous failed attempts, he remained "Hey You" or "Orange Boy." Orange Boy eventually was shortened to OB, and until his Oregon adventure, OB he remained.

The kittens proceeded to grow up. Binky in particular. She decided she wanted to become the world's largest Calico and rapidly outpaced OB. In fact she is still sometimes called Calicozilla due to her very respectable size. OB on the other hand was always too active to eat much. In fact his eyes we're dilated almost constantly during his first year, he just found life so fascinating I suppose. He never got very big and to this day is one of the smaller boy kittys I have ever known.

OB took enthusiastically to hunting, and him and Fungus would make long forays into the back yard and denude it of bugs, rodents, and other small living things. And like Fungus, he remained a nice cat who never wanted to fight with other kitties. The boys got along just fine with the huge Holstein cat who lived next door, and would retreat rapidly to the apartment if they encountered an intruding cat in their yard. Especially the huge evil black kitty, Fung's nemesis since he first ventured into the yard.

Binky on the other hand preferred to lay on her pillows and contemplate life from the window. She was in fact the "good" cat, and prided herself on her breeding and good manners. One morning I woke up and she was in a terrible state and eager to tell me something. "The boys, the boys, they were BAD during the night!" And she was correct, the boys had tired of awaiting for me to arise and open the cat door. The cat door was laying on the floor in several pieces, while the boys were no where in evidence. I could only commend their ingenuity and perseverance, but after that I got a stronger cat door.

Shortly before our move to the wilds of Oregon, Binky did show she was made of sterner stuff than I had imagined. I was at my desk when I heard a commotion in the yard. Moments later both boys ran into the apartment like the hounds of Hell were after them, but Binky was not in evidence. Worried, and castigating the boys for not protecting their sister, I ran out onto the balcony. Just in time to see Binky and the Evil Black Kitty explode into a cloud of dust. It was just like a cartoon, a rapidly expanding cloud of dust with occasional glimpses of flying cat, accompanied by horrific sounds. Moments later Evil Black Kitty fled ignominiously from the yard, apparently enraged calicos were something outside his experience. And Binky, well, she looks pleased with herself to this day.

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