What a great question! In chronological order...
I talked my father into letting my mom get a kitten because I felt my mom was lonesome and needed someone to lavish her affections upon. Dylan was an eight-week-old bundle of energy who claimed us the instant we walked in the SPCA's door! 2. Sassy
Dylan turned out to be a very strong alpha male, and his need to be dominant led him to bite and scratch his humans. Someone suggested a companion, and four-month-old Sassy was so gentle and loving... we thought she might calm him down. And it worked! Sassy has since developed some litterbox issues, and she also refuses to venture beyond the kitchen, but she's such a sweet girl that we deal with these problems happily. 3. Clyde
Although I'd gotten my parents into "the cat business," as my father put it, I myself remained petless. Then I was fired by the new owners of a company I'd helped start eighteen years earlier, and I started volunteering at a shelter to try to soothe my anger and bitterness. Eight-week-old Clyde simply stole my heart with his tender little nosekisses, and he's been my fella ever since. 4. Abby
A fellow volunteer had trapped Abby in her neighborhood and brought her to the shelter, where she promptly gave birth to five beautiful boys -- one of whom was my Clydie. Abby seemed to be semi-feral. She was terrified of (and hostile toward) everyone, human and cat alike. I made a little progress with her, getting to the point where I could get her out of her cage and hold her for up to thirty minutes at a time... and she finally did get adopted... but by a woman who didn't understand her fears, and only terrorized her further. I got her to give Abby back, and rather than see the poor kitty go back into a cage, my mom took her in as a foster and worked with her tirelessly. Now Abby loves my parents dearly, and seems to like Dylan and St. John, too! She still lives in her own room (with occasional visitors), but her progress has been amazing. 5. Pearl
At this time, I was still living in my own place (whereas I've now moved in with my elderly parents), and I knew Clyde was lonely when I was out. One day, my mom and I stopped at Petco for kitty food, and they were having an SPCA event. My mom found Pearl in a cage and instantly knew that this little grey girl was supposed to be ours. I decided to trust her instinct. On the way home in the car, though, Pearl screeched like a lovesick banshee! Nonstop!
Mom and I looked at each other and said, "What have we done?"
But of course, Mom turned out to be so
right -- Pearl is a gift straight from heaven. 6. St. John
One day when I was volunteering at the shelter, someone brought in a six-week-old kitten who had been thrown out of a car
on the highway. Mom and I decided to foster him until he was old enough to be adopted. We were afraid he would be traumatized, antisocial, paranoid... but thank goodness, aside from a bit of soreness, he was none the worse for his awful experience. He won our hearts immediately, and all five of the other cats (Clyde and Pearl and I had now moved in with my folks) adored him too! He's the baby of the family, and the light of my mom's life.
Gosh, thinking back on all this...