“Catty” Birthday Wishes (and froggy ones, too)

Happy birthday, Steve!  I know that you love cats of all sizes, so I put together some cat-related content for your birthday.

I was walking around Downtown Sioux Falls last weekend, and I saw this sculpture and thought of you:


It’s part of Downtown’s annual SculptureWalk exhibit and will be on display as part of that exhibit until April 2018 or so.  It’s one of my favorite sculptures from this year’s exhibition.

Next, I’m not much of a photographer, but these are pictures of my own cat, Minnie:



I don’t know exactly when her birthday is, but she came to live with me in October 2005 when she was about 6-8 weeks old, so I estimate that her birthday is sometime in late August or early September.  So she just turned twelve recently.  It may sound like her name is a Disney reference, but it emphatically is not.  It’s actually supposed to be a Harry Potter reference.

In fall 2005, I was still in grad school at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.  One day I got an e-mail from a former fellow teaching assistant, Holly, who had graduated and was living and working in Sioux Falls.  She had found a stray kitten yowling for help outside her windows.  Holly took the kitten in temporarily while she attempted, ultimately without success, to locate any owner(s) that the kitten might have.  However, the place where Holly lived didn’t allow her to have pets, so she had to find the kitten a new home.

Meanwhile, I had recently moved into a rented mobile home and was kind of strong into the whole nesting instinct.  I had been wanting to adopt a cat for a long time anyway, and with the recent move, it was finally possible.  So when I got this e-mail from Holly, it felt like kismet.  After responding to the e-mail and making some inquiries, I decided to adopt the kitten, sight-unseen.

Holly hadn’t included photos in her e-mail, but she had described the kitten as a brown tabby.  It was several days before Holly could bring the kitten to me in Vermillion, so in the meantime, I started thinking up names.  

Now Steve, I don’t know how familiar you are with the Harry Potter books/films, but in case you don’t know, there’s a character in the series named Minerva McGonagall who has the ability to transform herself into a brown tabby cat.  Since my new furry friend was a brown tabby as well, I got the notion of naming her after Minerva McGonagall.  And yet, at the same time, I thought that “Minerva” was sort of a clunky name with which to saddle an adorable kitten, so I decided to shorten it to “Minnie,” which I felt was a much cuter, and therefore more fitting, name.  I didn’t make the connection with the similarly-named cartoon rodent until later when somebody pointed it out to me, but by that point it was too late to change it.

There’s another meaning behind her name, though.  When Holly first brought her to me and I saw her tiny little face, with its strikingly beautiful golden eyes, looking out from Holly’s arms, I said to myself, “Ohhh…’Minnie’ is a good name for her because she’s so little!”  She’s bigger now, of course.  🙂

One of my brothers has a parrot named “Max,” so of course those jokes practically write themselves.  Max and Minnie have never met, however, and I can’t imagine that it would go over too well. 😉

Anyway…once again, I wish you a very happy birthday, Steve; as well as joy and comfort and every possible good thing in the months and years to come.


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