Born as a feral cat and raised as a house cat. That's Mog's story. He was born as a feral cat (which are not uncommon here in Oz). One day when my cousin was having a party out on the farm, he and his guests heard a 'meiaouw'-ing sound, and found a group of feral kittens. The only one they managed to catch was our Mog. Poor Mog was going to be put down, but good ol' David (my cousin) managed to find a home for it. It was shortly presented to my mother as an early Christmas present from my father. (He timed it well - it was the same day as my sister's ballet recital.) Mog is a colour that's not quite ginger and not quite white, but he's pure white on his belly. He's fat and lazy and always wants out at night. Ha! Fat chance.

Vanilla, on the other hand, is a skinny, playful, energetic little shrimp of a cat. Vanilla is a tortoiseshell long-haired ball of fuzz, and she wins the award for 'biggest tail in comparison to body' award. I still swear she's hiding something in there. Vanilla is my sister's cat, and the first female we have had for ten years. She loves chasing around after the projection from my laser pen, and biting Mog when she's in the middle of washing him, just to irk him. My sister got Vanilla to be a companion for Mog after Paddy died.

Paddy was orphaned at the local vet. He was more quiet and reserved than Vanilla and Mog. He was jet black on his back, but pure white on his belly. He loved sleeping in the garage (especially in the winter) and in boxes, but most of all on my tiger rug on my bed. He was a great cat who didn't deserve to die the way he did.

Two years ago, while we were on holiday in Eden, we sent Paddy and Mog to a cattery. Paddy was not quite himself when we left him. He died of a genetic disease about four days into the holiday, which was about two days before his eighth "birthday". I was the one who missed him the most - he was more my cat than anyone else's, even though I wasn't the one who took care of him.

Moochie never had a companion. She was a calico and she was the first Marland cat. She was born on my aunt's farm, and raised there until my parents bought our house, and had enough room to keep her. According to my mother, she liked sleeping at the end of the bed, but all my sister can remember about her is that she "had a little pink nose". Moochie died at age 8, after being run over. It wasn't easy taking it all in.

I wish cats could stay in this world longer. That way we'd all be happy.

Our new one, Dusty, is a little tabby ball of fuzz that chases after literally everything she can. She sleeps on my desk, in any open drawer I have, on my magazines... The list goes on. But she's an excellent kitten, and we expect great things from her.