Meet Athena!

athenakittenShe was a nine-month-old lilac-point Siamese-Angora mix who was surrendered by an ailing, aging cat breeder to the San Jose SPCA. Purebred Cats Rescue took her from the SPCA to their headquarters in Davis for registration, then took her to a veterinarian in Salinas who gave her surgery under anesthetic for spaying, dewormed her, treated her for fleas, and gave her the full battery of vaccinations. The PCR then took her to Kitty Hill Resort, a cat boarding facility in Santa Cruz, for adopting out.

Athena was probably born and raised in a breeding cage. She’s lived in cages and carrying cases for most of her short life. Her description called her a bluepoint ragdoll, but as you can see, her coloring is so pale, almost a lavender brown, that Tom and I decided she was a lilac-point Siamese-Angora mix. The breeder must have called her “Baby Blue” because of her beautiful blue eyes. The description said she was shy, fearful of people, and struggled to escape. The description said she was possibly a problem cat.

After eight catless years from when Alana went to kitty heaven, Tom and I were ready for another cat. I spotted her on the Purebred Cats Rescue website after a beautiful bluepoint kitten in Redding listed on Ebay didn’t work out. I immediately completed and sent in the PCR application.

I’m glad I moved fast. Six other people placed applications for Baby Blue. I sent photos of me with Alana, a link to the Luna and Alana pages on this website, and basically begged to adopt her.

athenainofficePurebred Cats Rescue means business when they adopt out a cat. The extensive application asked questions about my position on various cat issues and my cat experience, plus required that I provide two local personal references. They actually had a private investigator call my references.

I drove seventy-five miles to Santa Cruz, taking Route 17, which winds up and up and up through the Santa Cruz Mountains. The radio kept talking about how Route 17 is one of the most dangerous roads in the San Francisco Bay area. Great.

Kitty Hill is an unassuming clapboard house completely outfitted for keeping cats. The boarders get spacious, nicely appointed “rooms” on the top floor. The adoptees get smaller, but very nice rooms—cages the size of a small coat closet outfitted with cat trees, high and low ledges, a litter box, food and water bowls. I saw more beautiful purebred cats in one place than we saw at a cat show years ago.

athenacuteThey were keeping Baby Blue in one of these closet-cages with two big male flame-points. The minute I walked in her cage, her blue eyes met mine and she immediately climbed onto my lap, kneaded my thighs in that mommy milk-dance kittens do, and purred. She was mine.

After signing legal documents swearing I would take care of her till death do us part (did I mention these people are serious about placing a cat in a good home?) and enjoying a tour of Kitty Hill, I put her in my Sherpa carrying case, put her in the front seat, secured the case with the seat belt, and we were off.

Over the years, Tom and I have taken turns with cat names. I named my female Siamese seal-point Sita from the epic Hindu poem, The Ramayana. My mother had named my childhood male Siamese cat Rama from the same poem. Tom named our flame-point Siamese Ara from a constellation in the southern hemisphere. Tom named our female Turkish Angora Alana, which means "darling" in Gaelic. I named our female blue-mink Tonkinese Luna.

So it was Tom’s time to name our new cat. Baby Blue is a cute cat name, but reminded us too much of the Bob Dylan song, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” We didn’t like the negativity of that. Tom got out his mythology books and chose Athena, she who is the protecting goddess of civilization, of the arts and crafts. Athena is the goddess on the Great Seal of the State of California.

Athena, it is!

Athena screamed her lungs out on the crawl-and-go back from Santa Cruz. The fear and panic in her voice were very hard to take. We got the Sherpa carrying case years ago for Alana after she tried to bite her way out of a conventional carrier and bloodied her nose on the metal bars. The Sherpa has no metal bars at all, but is made of a very tough mesh, open on three sides so the cat can see out, and lined with a fluffy blanket.

It didn’t help. After numerous trips in a cage ended in no good from her point of view, Athena desperately thrashed around in the Sherpa. I sang to her the whole way and told her she was a good girl for two hours and a half hours straight. There were accidents everywhere on the road and it was sweltering hot in the car in spite of the air conditioning. I remember when freeways were fast and fun. This was a nightmare.

athenashoutoutThe Kitty Hill people advised us to place her in a bathroom for a week until she felt safe. We just didn’t want to do that after all her confinement. We let her out of the carrier and she explored our whole place, purring like mad, telling us the story of her life, galloping delightedly down the halls, checking out the various rooms several times, finding her food and water bowls, and finding her litter box, clearly delighted with her freedom and her spacious new home.

She is so vocal, purring like mad, doing that mommy-milk-dance kneading thing they do with their paws, and rubbing and loving us like crazy.

The most amazing thing is that she wanted to explore under my Internet-and-graphics center and staked out her own safe place. On the tabletop, I’ve got two computers and two printers. Below are stacks of binders with printouts of contracts, instructions, and records—paperless office, anyone? I had a binder stashed away beneath the table and she kept creeping in there and sneaking out.

Then Athena crept out with Alana’s favorite toy—you won’t believe this—the white plastic ring that Berkeley Farms Milk used to put on their milk bottles. Years ago, Alana found this ring on the kitchen floor where Tom had dropped one. Athena found it within an hour of coming home and started playing with it just the way Alana had—flipping it onto her cat wrist, flinging it into the air, and chasing after it, catching it in her mouth, and carrying it across the room.

athenawithbluefishWhen I saw that, I said to Tom, “Think we can teach her to fetch?”

Yep. She fetches everything, rattle balls, bouncing balls, natural-looking gray mice, pastel rattle mice, the plush toy blue fish. Fling the toy across the room, she chases it, plays with it, leaps about with it, making the toy seem like it’s alive, kicks it, kills it, and brings it back, dropping it at our feet. She is so smart!

Athena is like Luna and Alana miraculously combined in one cat! It’s a miracle that this beautiful, intelligent, loving little soul was attracted through time and space to Tom and me and our peaceful, creative home, where she belongs.


Athena is growing up! Happy, feisty, naughty, and wonderful!


Athena on the kitchen counter!


I wrote a story, one fantasy level up, about my experience of adopting Athena. One editor actually scolded me for having a Happily Ever After ending! I was so vexed I published a blog about why I wrote the story from the heart and gave the story away for the 2017 holidays. 2018 Update: I took the story down from my blog. "Crazy Chimera Lady" will be published, along with the afterword about how I came to write it, in my second story collection, Oddities: 22 Stories.

Lisa Mason, the Fantasy and Science Fiction Author

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ODDITIES: 22 Stories
Summer of Love The Gilded Age
The Garden of Abracadabra
One Day in the Life of Alexa
Arachne Cyberweb Spyder

Celestial Girl, A Lily Modjeska Mystery

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Eon's Kiss (Book 1 of the Eon Trilogy) by Suzanna Moore

Stories, Novelettes, Screenplays by Lisa Mason

Shaken Tomorrow's Child Hummers The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria
Every Mystery Unexplained Daughter of the Tao
Tesla, A Screenplay U F uh-O
My Charlotte: Patty's Story
"Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day" in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Illyria, My Love"
"The Bicycle Whisperer" in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Taiga" in Not One of Us Digest and Interview about "Taiga"

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Interview for "Riddle" in the September-October 2017 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Review of Summer of Love in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
The Story Collection Storybundle
The Artificial Intelligence Storybundle
Time Travel Blogs with Laura Vosika 4 to 5
Chats About Writing with Ryan Schneider (1) Chats About Writing with Ryan Schneider (2)

Ryan Schneider Chats with Lisa Mason About The Garden of Abracadabra

Keep Fit, Keep Writing: A Roundtable with Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason and Linda Nagata (Part 2: Chow Down!)
Festivale Interview
"Aurelia" Interview with F and SF Magazine "The Bicycle Whisperer" Interview with F and SF Magazine
The Next Thing Interview

Art, Jewelry, and Mobiles by Tom Robinson

Art by Tom Robinson
"Aether", The New Painting by Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson's Bio

Cats, Past and Present


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