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The Cat Collector

Cat lover, cat enthusiast, cat crazed! These are just a few of the descriptions that come to mind when I think of my life's passion-cats.

I have lived with cats, I have worked with cats, and I have written about cats. My house is filled with cat objects-I am a cat marketer's dream! I can't really recall the first cat item I got, but I speculate it dates back to grammar school. I amassed a collection of 50+ novelty salt and pepper shakers, and I am certain several cat sets were hanging around.

I recently toured my home to inventory my collection. Where to start? At one time, I made an attempt to keep all the "cat stuff" in one or two rooms. That has been mildly successful. The cats don't like to be confined, and I discover the objects turning up in the oddest places-clothes closets, jewelry boxes, and kitchen cabinets! I collect books, jewelry, figurines, pictures, Christmas ornaments, sweaters, garden statues, teapots, cookie jars, black Halloween cats, and amateur photos. Oh, I must have forgotten something. That can't be all!

Let's start on the lower level of the house. The guest bedroom features a dozen framed cat prints. A cat figurine collection sleeps on several shelves in a bookcase. On the middle level of the house, the kitchen is watched over by a shelf full of Japanese black cat teapots from the 1940s. Cat cookie jars from the 1950s rest on top of a cabinet and numerous sets of 7-day-of-the-week embroidered cat towels complete the kitchen. As we head up the stairs to the upper level, a cat gallery in the hall displays my amateur photos of Noelle, Tatianna, Taittinger, Marnie, Katarina and Lexie Lee. My office is home to cat novels, cat reference books and cat picture books. Across the hall in the master suite, you will find the cat necklaces, vintage brooches, and Christmas cat sweaters.

During October, the black Halloween cats prowl the house. But the Christmas cats really take over in December when the 300+ cat ornament collection adorns my living room tree. The whimsical tree complete with cat garland is a legacy to all my cats and cats to come. For a change of pace from all the cats, let's just head out to the backyard. Well, guess what! I can't even escape outside without catching glimpses of cats-statues peeking out from under swaying area palm trees and other cats sleeping on a wrought iron chairs amidst flowering plants.

Yes, I agree, cat collecting is my obsession, but friends and family love it. After all, they can never go wrong by giving me a cat-related gift. All in all, being surrounded by my favorite "cat stuff" is fun and lighthearted-just like living with my precious Norwegian Forest Cat-Lexie Lee. It is probably time to edit the massive collection, but the keeper is always dear, sweet Lexie Lee!

What is the most unusual cat item you have seen?

Linda A. Mohr is the award-winning author of Tatianna-Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend and Catnip Connection blog for Seattle Press-Intelligencer, a professor at Northwood University, and the co-founder of Pet Apothecary. She is a member of Cat Writers' Association with human-animal bond expertise. Visit http://www.lindamohr.net or http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/catnipconnection

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