1973 - 1994

During the period when Daisy moved in with us, it was decided to adopt a second cat as a companion for Daisy and Roddy. Unfortunately, Roddy the sheepdog fell into a deep illness almost immediately thereafter and subsequently died after living with us for only a month or so. At that time, through an classified ad in the Palo Alto Times, we located a family of Burmese cats living with a graduate student and his wife in a small apartment in Palo Alto who were about to relocate to Montana. Shasta, the remaining kitten from a litter of about 8, didn't win over my mother right away. My mother later described this kitten as "clingy" to her mother, and growled and hissed when handled. But in the end, my mother felt bad for this little kitten, and we took her in.

She was named for Mount Shasta (following a convention of naming our children after mountains), a volcanic peak located in a large state park of the same name north of San Francisco. After discovering Daisy was a "he," Shasta, which we also thought was a "he"... went into heat. Actually, we didn't know what was wrong with her. She just sort of laid on the floor and moaned. Even Daisy was going, "what's wrong with you?" A vet visit said our "he" was a "she" and was then fixed when she was about 8 months old. Shasta became inseparable friends with Daisy in their several residences in and about Menlo Park. They used "play fierce" as we called it, an act of chasing each other all over the house. Sometimes the fights were just chases, sometimes they were quite brutal, but never drew blood after the first few years. The pattern was always the same. Daisy would get "the kitty crazies," and start the chase. It would end with a fight, and Shasta always, always won.

When we relocated to the Washington, DC area in the Spring of 1974, Daisy and Shasta flew together in a single carrier in the cargo hold of a United jet from San Francisco to Washington Dulles airport. They lived and played together in a hotel and temporary apartments for two months until we moved into a home in McLean, VA.

Daisy and Shasta in 1986 Shasta was not the most mentally stable cat we had. She spent most of her adult life under the furniture. It wasn't because of Daisy so much, but Shasta was just afraid of everything. She was the stereotypical black "fraidy cat." She growled and hissed a lot. You picked her up, she growled. You fed her, she growled. In fact, she growled at everything new, or anything that approached her while she was under a piece of the furniture. The only thing she liked was being brushed, which would excited her so much, she would go into heat-like symptoms, and drool excessively. She used to make this "Brrrp" noise at the thought of being brushed, and it was the only thing you could use to get her out from under the furniture. Trying to get her out by grabbing her was like reaching into a dark crevasse filled with razor-sharp knives. My friend Kyle didn't take my advice to stop teasing her under the dresser, and Shasta near tore his nose right off. He had to have stitches from his right eye down to his upper lip. Kyle's parents wouldn't let him play at my house anymore.

The only times I ever saw her out in the open was when she was eating, occasionally sunning herself, being chased by Daisy, or next to my father's side. Maybe this was because Shasta didn't like me. She didn't really hate me, but just didn't want anything to do with me, and even refused to eat when I served the cats food. She loved my father, though, and often sat next to him while watch TV.

When Daisy died, though... it was a complete reversal of personality. I guess Shasta did have some sort of territorial agreement with Daisy, because months after she died, she didn't sleep under furniture anymore. She was more in the open, and far more accepting of me. After my mother died, and I no longer lived at home, my father's new girlfriend Nicole moved in. Nicole has a cat of her own, Annabelle. Annabelle has suffered greatly as a kitten after Nicole entered my father's house, Shasta refused to go back to a quiet role and wanted to stay the top cat much to the dislike of Annabelle. Within a matter of months, these two strong-willed queens had reached a mutual territorial accommodation and tolerance. Shasta subsequently lived a relatively pleasant and comforting life when she too suffered the pangs of old age. She passed away in the spring of 1994 having lived for more than 20 years.

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