Meet Dexter's Mother, JR!

My oldest sister and I try to plan at least one nice bus trip together each year. We love spending quality "sister" time together, and we both enjoy the beach. So we booked a bus trip to Atlantic City, which was scheduled to leave from Harrisburg early in the morning of September 22. The bus would take us to Atlantic City on Sunday morning and bring us back on Monday night, with an overnight stay at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean.

The bus would depart for Atlantic City early enough on Sunday that I would need to spend Saturday night at my sister's house across the river from Harrisburg. So on Saturday afternoon, I made the two-hour drive to my sister's house, stopping to visit my parents (and another sister who surprised me by stopping by) along the way.

The weather was predicted to be rather challenging for the drive, with lots of rain expected. As I was trying to avoid the Penn State football traffic, alas, my travel schedule coincided perfectly with the heaviest part of the rains. But I had a lovely visit with my parents and one sister, then got on the road just before about 100,000 people left Beaver Stadium, clogging the highways and byways of central Pennsylvania for several hours.

When I got to my sister's, we went to visit some friends who have several cats and two beagles. They had asked if I might do them the favor of photographing their pets, as they had seen my photos of my tabby boy Dexter (and other kitties) online and admired them. I love animals and was happy to oblige!

One of their cats is Bogie, one of Dexter's brothers. Bogie is the largest and most outgoing of the three tabby brothers, and it was delightful to see him again. By all reports, he serves as the official greeter in their household, which is very similar to reports of Dexter's other brother, Skeeter, who lives with one of my girlfriends.

We also stopped on the way to visit Dexter's mother, JR (my sister pronounces it "Junior," as she has the same Maine coon markings that her mother, Fluffy Kat, did), and some other cats that my sister takes care of in Harrisburg. It was marvelous to see JR again. There is a strong family resemblance, with all of the three boys and their mother having gray, black, and white tabby markings (each with a unique combination of spots, swirls, and stripes) and four white paws.

JR was about a year old when the tabby boys were born, so she is not a lot older than they are. They are five years old now, and she is around six. Her three tabby sons are all quite large, weighing in at around 20 pounds (9 kg) apiece. However, JR, at about 8 pounds (less than 4 kg), is a little slip of a thing.

But don't let that small size and mild appearance fool you! JR is the queen of the local cats, and she rules the roost with an iron paw! (And speaking of which, now you can see where Dexter and his brothers get those beautiful, stunningly white paws!)

JR, we thank you for giving us those three tabby boys, originally known as the Itty Bitty City Kitty Gang. Do you know how much we adore your sons? And you too? And so the song to accompany this photo is: Abba, Does Your Mother Know?

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