by Lynn Conway

Copyright @ 2000-2005, Lynn Conway

All Rights Reserved


Photo of our kitties Tommy, Suzie, Kit and Amy, Christmas, 2003.



For many years I've greatly enjoyed having cats as pets. My first cat was Samantha (aka "Sams"), a somewhat shy siamese female born in '71. When she had a litter the next year ('72), I kept one of the kittens too, Rapunzel (aka "Punz").

These two siamese cats were wonderful little companions for many, many years, including through the difficult, frenzied period of my work on the VLSI design methods and textbook. Many cats, if treated sweetly and gently from when they are kittens, will bond closely with you and give you unconditional love, and these cats were especially close that way. Punz always liked to sleep under the covers right in my arms; Sams slept on top the covers by my feet. Sams lived to be 21, and Punz made it all the way to age 22 (she lived till '94).

Punz and Sams came along with me on several moves; first to Belmont, CA, then to Palo Alto, CA. They lived for a while with Dick Lyon and Peggy Asprey in Los Altos, CA while I was at DARPA in Arlington, VA. Then they flew to Ann Arbor, MI, to live with me again when I joined the University of Michigan. In 1987 when Charlie and I got together, Sams and Punz took to him quickly.



 Samantha and Lynn
in 1974


on the front deck
Belmont, CA
 Punz on the front deck
Belmont, CA
 Punz in a flowerbox
Palo Alto, CA


 Punz at age 22
in her favoritespot:
by the heat-vent
AnnArbor, MI



When Sams passed on and as Punz got older, Charlie and I decided to get some more cats. The first, in '91 we named Bunny; sadly she got sick and passed away too. Then in 1992 we got Trixie, an energetic Tiger cat. Trixie's main misadventure that year was trying to take on a skunk; she ran right up to my face in bed one 4:00 am, all covered with skunk spray! What a mess. I used a couple of cans of tomato soup and some ketchup to kill the odor a bit (that worked surprisingly well). Trixie had kittens the next year; we kept one, named Skipper.

All of Trixie's other kittens got good homes. Our friend Martha Sweigert took a sweet little female, which she named Sugar. But somewhere along the way, Trixie wandered off, never to be seen again. We frantically looked for her, but to no avail. Then, in late 1994, Punz finally passed on. Punz had been my beloved pet for over two decades, so her passing was a sad time. However, Punz had lived a long and very full life, and her passing was quiet and easy.

Skipper enjoyed hunting in the outdoors around the Ann Arbor house, and constantly brought remains of critters into the house. By the time we moved to the country in late 1994, there was only skipper left to come along with us. All went well for a year. Skipper was in cat heaven in the country. He loved being outdoors hunting for critters, but always came in every night to come to bed with us and snuggle with us. His antics were a source of constant joy, and we increasingly got totally attached to him.

Sadly, in the spring of 1995 Skipper got hit by a car and was killed. Although the main road is far out front of our house here, cars go faster on rural roads than in the suburbs, so he got caught unawares. We were tremendously attached to Skipper by this time, and his untimely passing was a sad period for us.

[ When Skipper died, Charlie wrote an Ode to Skipper in memory of our wonderful little playmate.]

But then we got more cats to fill the void; we keep them inside now. The first was Suzie, a soft, fluffy Calico. Then we got Tommy, a really wonderful, loveable, mostly Bengal cat. Deciding that three would be the best number, we also got Casper, a little grey Tiger. Sadly, Casper only made it to about two years, and then he got sick and passed away. Later we got a little Siamese named Heidi, and were back to three again.

Suzie likes to crawl into small, tight places; she also plays "fetch", running after a piece of paper rolled into a ball, and bringing it back to be thrown over and over again. Tommy likes to open closet doors, and he also plays "ice-mouse hockey" on the kitchen floor, whacking an ice cube around until it melts, and trying to avoid having it escape under the refrigerator.  Heidi enjoyed spending time on top the computer monitor chasing the cursor around (better than on the keyboard!). And by now, all the cats now like to sleep in bed with us at night.  Sadly, Heidi passed away suddenly after three years.

Then, in 2003, we got two new kitties, Kit and Amy. They are part Himalayan, and have very downy, fluffy hair and very bushy, soft and fluffy tails. They are brother and sister, and we fell in love with them the first time we saw them at a local pet store. We brought them home at 8 weeks of age, and they have become wonderful little companions since then.  So, we are up to four kitties now!




 Young Trixie

AnnArbor, MI



 Trixie with her kittens
 Trixie's kittens:
Skipper is on the right.
Our friend
Martha Sweigert
kept Sugar, the little kitten in the middle.
 Young Skipper
Ann Arbor, MI
 Charlie holding
Read Charlie's
memorial to
this wonderful cat
in a paper bag
in a cardboard box

catching water drops

 Little Casper





 Kit with

our friend Maria

 October, 2003


Kit with

Lynn's cousin Marion

 October, 2004





Amy and Kit as seven-month old kittens, October 2003