Scout (1994-) was born on December 10, 1994.  She'll be 17 in December of 2011, but I don't think she'll make it that far.  In 1996 she gave birth to four boys that we called Cupcake, Poundcake, Carrotcake, and Shortcake.  We kept Carrotcake who became Dill, and Poundcake who become Jem.  

His Royal Highness, Charles Baker Harris, Snaggle-Toothed King of the Tribe of the Long Whiskers (1994-2011). But folks, of course, called him Dill.  My mother-in-law thought he was so beautiful we shouldn't let him out because someone would steal him.  If I was an actor and needed to cry on cue, all I would have to do is think of Dill and me at the vet's when we put him down.  After the doctor was through, he left and said to take all the time I needed and I just put my head on Dill and held him.

Jem (1994-2009).  His claim to fame, or course, was that he had two families in Fort Wayne before we move back to Chicago.  He used to run off and be missing for a couple days at a time.  They called us from the number on the collar.  Plus being extruded from the top of our garage door the day we were driving Lizy to I.U. for the first time.

Chester (found in 1999-) was around when we first moved into the Kedzie address in the sping of 1999, right after my bypass.  We didn't take him in, however, until around 2002.  He'd been hurt again and I guess he was just tired of running.  Broken leg that healed crooked and two breaks in his tail.  He was so dirty.  And clearly, when you see him now, cleanliness is one of his top priorities. He just never had time before, between looking for food and running from bad guys.  He let me wash him with a warm wash cloth that night and just sat shivering in my lap.  Breaks my heart.  We took him to the doctor the next day.  When I cam to retrieve him they had to have me come in the back room to get him because no one else could coax him out of the back of the cage.

Groucho (found in 1998-2010) was found in a bird's nest in a tree in Rolling Meadows, between a BP station and a McDonalds.  She clearly wasn't feral.  Came up to me and I brought her food, but one time when I tried to grab her she bit me and I had to fill out a police report with Rolling Meadows animal control...just in case.  A couple of weeks later the animal control lady called me and said they caught her and if I wanted her they could forego the usual red tape and just let me take her, which I did of course.  I guess she's the only cat I had with a criminal record, but, hell, that's kind of a Battin family tradition.  I gave her to Megan and she was happy there until she passed.

Keaton (1983-1996) was obtained in Fort Wayne when the girls were just kids. Her picture was in the paper and I just went and picked her up.  She was a great dog.  All she had was love for everybody and she was so good.  We would just let her out in the yard without a leash or a fence and she would just stay put.  She developed a large tumor and had to be put down over Thanksgiving break in 1996.  They came to the house to do it and we all just sat around holding her and each other.  I'm almost crying now thinking about it.  

Ozzie (1990-1995); loved corn on the cob and tortilla chips.  He did a fairly good rendition of the Andy Griffith theme song although he did tend to lapse into "Fly Me to the Moon" towards the end.  We used to leave his wings clipped just long enough so he could fly from his cage to the top of the refrigerator which is where he preferred to spend most of the day. 

Sadie (1974-1978).  Her full name was Sadie Anastasia Mount Batton.  She ran out in the street from our house in Willow Glen, CA. and got hit by a car the week before my youngest daughter, Lizy, was born.  I knew she was dead but I picked her up in her favorite blanket and rushed her to the vet.  I didn't want Adie to get too upset being nine months pregnant.  We buried Sadie in that blanket in out backyard in Willow Glen.  

Beverly(1973-?) wandered into a small shop in San Jose that was run by Marcus Clark, Carol's second husband and a friend of mine from high school.  When we got her (we meaning my first wife and I) we named her Justin.  When Adie and I got together she told me that Justin was the name she and her first husband had chosen for their first child and she wanted to change the cat's name.  So we just started yelling out names at random and when we came to Beverly, she turned and looked at us.

Tubs (1974-?) was Beverly's son.  An assistant city editor took them both when we left San Diego.  He loved cats.  At least that's what I have to tell myself to assuage the guilt I still feel.