Her words are measured and parsed, quietly and only at the appropriate times. If there’s too much noise in the room, you might not even hear her. Athena speaks softy. She is tidy, thoughtful and methodical. Every move is calculated, purposeful and intended. She meant to do it. Athena plans carefully.

Unless she’s chasing her sister through the house. I didn’t know that tiny cat paws can sound like a herd until Athena and her sister Dawn joined our family. They thunder, the two of them, I swear. They barely weight a dozen pounds put together; I think there must be some kind of physics anomaly relating to the ratio of cat size to noise creation. Maybe there’s a physicist out there who will make a discovery about the nature of the universe and the time space continuum by studying cats.

Athena is curious.  I know, that’s expected for cats. When Jasper and Lilah come running to the door to great us (or the UPS guy), Athena is right with them. Only she’s not wagging her tail.  She just Wants to Know.  But she wants to know about Everything. What’s in the box? Who’s at the door? What’s in the cabinet? What are the dogs barking at? What’s in the drawer? Why does the vacuum cleaner make that loud noise? What are you doing? Who are all these people? Is that food?

If there’s food involved, that’s Very Important because it probably is meant as a snack for Athena. Actually, all food is really hers; you just haven’t realized that yet. And by “you,” she means anyone including 2-legged and 4-legged creatures.

 Athena was named after the goddess of war and and wisdom. She has a spare, Egyptian look about her.  Her color is similar to Dawn’s, though she is all dilute tortoiseshell instead of a combination of tortoiseshell and tabby. White, gray, orange, tan, gold and other colors are scattered throughout her fur, with one lovely splotch on one half of her chin, giving her an almost harlequin look.

Our first cats, Dawn and Athena are teaching us many things about felis catus, including how different two sisters can be, in looks, attitude and action. Dawn and Athena, part of our family since August 2010, have taught Jasper and Lilah to not only tolerate them, but to actually like them. Humans, cats, dogs: they are all members of the pack.


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