In mid September '98, I posted "Kitten Wanted, Double Pawed, Black" to the newsgroup hfx.general. Our last cat, Duchess, had been double pawed, or polydactylous, she had lived to be 22, and we were looking for another "lucky" cat.

On the 30th, Janet MacKay emailed me to say that she had seen, in the lobby of her apartment building, a notice of a "found" friendly 4x double pawed calico, and gave me the number. Janet said that the Gaelic word for a female double-pawed cat is sprachan. The next night we came to visit her (all calico cats are female, for an excessively long explantion click here) out, and we found the beautiful, affectionate three month old kitten irresistable.

So, since we didn't think we could pronounce Janet's word, she got a modified version -- Zara, short for the character in Neitzsche's parables.

Click on any thumb to drop into the slideshow.

Here's Norval showing off the double paws.

June 2000 -- fleas had made her lick all the fur off the base of her tail. It took a loooong time for it to grow back.

March 2002 -- testing newly repaired camera.

Every morning she leaps up onto Norval's shoulders and nuzzles there for a while.

Eighth birthday party

Christmas 2009


K, Zara, we're glad that you love your new litterbox, there's just one problem.

Cat, o cat! How can you shed your entire body weight in fur each day in the spring? Where's the conservation of mass?


Zara's last day with us. Her hips developed arthritis and she was in severe pain any time she moved.

Slideshow code by Daniel MacKay, based on ideas from Gustav Evertsson