Nathan Jr. and Willie

This is a page dedicated to the two most popular cats in Austin, Texas. I realized that today. True, 99% of people in Austin may have never heard of these two boys, but can they name any other two famous cats in Austin? I think not. These two boys have eaten Purina One for five years and promoted it (through me) on radio. Lots of listeners have emailed me to ask about Nathan Jr. and Willie since I was let go, so I will use this page to show you a little more about their lives.

This was the first picture taken of Nathan Jr. in June 2001. He was just a few months old.

  First day home

 Mark had once had a special cat named Morris. Morris lived a healthy 13 years, from his birth in a box in Mark's closet to his death in Mark's arms. He died in 1993, just before Mark and I met. I grew up with dozens of cats on the farm starting with Brownie and her brothers and sisters. But I had never had an indoor cat and never ever wanted to have one. In 2001 Mark said he thought he would like to have a cat again, what did I think about that? I said that was a possibility, but, of course, it would be mostly an outdoor cat. It might get to sleep in the house at night, but I did not want an indoor cat. No plans were made to FIND a cat, we both believed that cats find you. Not long after, our neighbor Katie came over with a kitten and said, "Mark, didn't you say you wanted to have a cat?" This kitten had been left when a family down the street had moved away. Can you imagine? Especially to abandon such an absolutely perfect cat. This is one of our first pictures, and an all time favorite picture, of Nathan Jr.

   El Gato Superior

It was love at first sight for us all. He wasn't named Nathan Jr. right away. Lyndon was an early contender. But if you've seen the movie Raising Arizona, you know the name of the kidnapped baby is Nathan Arizona Jr.  That is one of our favorite movies, so that seemed to fit more than Lyndon. And it has been Nathan Jr. ever since. Or Nate. My mother had a house cat when she was a teenager named Nathaniel. We didn't know that when Nate came along, but when Mother and Daddy would visit, they called him Nathaniel more than Nathan and that was fine, too. Junior, Supernate, Natona, Soop, and Buddy all work, too.

Nathan spent his days exploring the neighborhood and making himself a friend to all.

  Nate explores     Nathan on the roof   Nate surveys the neighborhood

But the part about being mostly an outdoor cat never really happened. He was just too adorable to let go! He slept on my head at night.

Nathan Jr. sleeps on my head   and with Mark every chance he got.  Mark and Nate nap

Nathan's first Christmas was special.

Cat nuts roasting by an open fire     Nate admires the tree  

It wasn't all fun and games. Nathan had a wild side, too.

Nate siesta

Yes, we love to dress up the cats.  There are only about 678, 993 other pictures of Nathan I would like to put on here and 78,456 stories that need to be told, but let's move on to the arrival of Wilburt into our lives.

It was Christmas Eve 2002. We stayed home that year and that evening I opened the front door and there was a cat on the doorstep. We didn't know where she belonged, so we welcomed her into the house and gave her food, water, and shelter. She was a sweet long-haired cat that we named Miss L Toe. "Miss Toe" was loving and sweet . . . and fat. As we looked for the home she came from, Mark asked our cat lady neighbor Katie if she thought Miss Toe might be pregnant. Definitely, she said. And it appeared she was due before too long. Boy, we were wrong about that. As days and then weeks went by, I checked the gestation period for a cat. A cat is pregnant for 72 days. So, figuring she was at least a month pregnant when we got her, we expected kitties in February, but no arrivals. More days and weeks go by. Finally, this sweet cat is looking like she was going to give birth to a basketball.

Fat cat   Wide load   Big mama

Finally, the blessed day came . . . a full 75 days after she walked into our house, already pregnant. So, WAY overdue, for sure. These kitties were almost born with their eyes open!. Mark had a gig at Casbeer's in San Antonio. I went along for the ride. We got back home about 4 in the morning and checked the box in the closet and found the sweetest pile of fluff you've ever seen.

Kitty Babies  pile o' cats

Names came pretty easy. Guess which one became the Red Headed Stranger? The others were Ringo, Turbo, Mambo, Pinky, and Grace (Grace was the lone sister).

Baby Willie   Mama and baby

Mark and kitties  Kitty in the hand

Mark left on a month long tour of Europe when the kittens were about three weeks old. He said, "Please don't let any go until I'm back and can play with them some more." But the minute he had left the house, the kittens decided their world needed to be bigger than their cardboard box.  I tried corralling them in the bathtub, but that quickly became no barrier. So I was living with eight free-roaming cats. Where was Nathan in all of this? He was usually outside during the entire day and when he did come in he stayed in the garage, hissing as he had to pass by these interlopers.

In the mornings I would try to eat a bowl of cereal standing in the kitchen, but I would have kittens crawling up the inside and the outside of my gown. At night I sat on the couch trying to eat something and I would have kittens crawling in my lap and on my shoulders. There was no escape. One night I was working at the computer and smelled an odd smell. I crawled under the desk and looked at all of the cords that are stuffed behind there and found several tiny piles of kitty poop. Joy. My house was  a litter box.

So I began to find homes for the kittens. Gracie went to my namesake in San Antonio, Pinky and Turbo went to a friend in Dallas, Mambo and the mama cat, Miss Toe, went to a friend in Houston. Willie, the red headed stranger, who was not only red headed, but treated differently by his brothers and sister, remained and so did Ringo. Willie was going to go to a radio listener, but she found out she was allergic and backed out. Then Mark's old roommate said he wanted another cat and he would take Willie. Then, sadly, he died unexpectedly and Willie became an orphan again. So sad! By now, Mark was home and getting to enjoy Willie and Ringo.

Willie plays hide and go seek     Ringo

With poor Willie losing out on two homes and already having been the stranger in his own family, we decided he needed to be the one to stay. I found a home for Ringo with a co-worker.

So Willie, or Wilburt as we call him more often, became a member of the family permanently. Even Nathan began to adjust and started to love his little brother.

Nate and Willie   Nate and Willie

Now they are the best of buddies . . .

Nate and Willie

And today they are both gorgeous, lovable, wonderful companions to each other and to us.

Nate snoozes   Willie

This is just a start of the Nathan Jr. and Willie page. More to come!