the Magic CatEllie in the Deli
Cats Steal San Diego Exhibit! Smokie Profile

May 24, 1985
A Purr-fect Rescue

Los Angeles Times          
A kitten hides under the cooling ducts at the Von’s supermarket at Valley View Avenue and Imperial Highway. The kitten runs into the store, not giving employees time to catch her before going into hiding. "Animal control officials had offered everything from fresh mackerel to tuna to 'here kitty' calls to draw the kitten out," reports Times writer Steven R. Churm. Terri Brown, a veteran of several animal groups, suggests offering the kitten a chicken wing--and it works. Around midnight, “Ellie in the Deli,” named by the employees, emerges from the cooling ducts to Brown’s 8-year-old daughter, who notices the kittens' eyes are nearly closed. The eight-week-old kitten is the center of attention in the Brown household.

October 11, 1985
Cats Steal the Show in San Diego

The Los Angeles Times
The San Diego Natural History Museum's summer exhibit is named “The Eclectic Cat,” and presents the evolution and cultural relevance of cats through nature, art, and artifacts. The exhibit has a 7,000-year-old cat mummy dated to Egypt’s “Cult of the Cat.”


Sharon Sekhon
The Studio for Southern California History
This timeline is dedicated to Smokie--one of my closest friends. I am introduced to Smokie through Shirley Kurata, whose mom finds a clump of fur outside their Monterey Park home and screams, realizing the clump is alive. Shirley seizes upon the kittens and calls me. We name them Lincoln, Renoir, and Smokie and invent complicated lives for them. Lincoln, a tabby, has a keyboard scarf and is a nerd musician who rides a motorcycle. Renoir is a black-and-white playboy who will tolerate being called "Reni" but wants you to call him "Renoir." He is an aloof artist who would never go on a motorcycle. Smokie is the runt of the litter, with fluffy gray fur and very independent. She is what Shirley describes as a "coquette," a heartbreaker and fashion trendsetter. Imaginary and in the real, Smokie owns my heart instantly. When my allergic dad says she must leave, I pack my bags too. We are both invited to stay. Ultimately, Smokie is everyone's favorite, and my dad praises her intelligence --"her computer" and the "massages" she gives him--kneading on his chest to wake him up. Smokie survives so much-- schools and boyfriends and even my wedding where I dedicate special time for our life together. She is my confidant and sometimes visible in the sweet felines who share my life after her death in 2004 of cancer. Smokie teaches me that we may find the divine through cats.

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