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Katy and Kitty

Katy Boultinghouse and her kitten Kitty.

Champion James: a name for a king, a name for a prince? A cat; that's right, a cat.

Our daughter, who was 12 at the time, had wanted a kitten for years. She begged, she cried, she tried everything, but her dad stood firm. No cats in this house! In fact, she and I had visited a local hardware/pet store to see the kittens that were for sale so many times that we jokingly called our visits "visitation rights."

This particular summer, Katy played slow-pitch softball for a local team. Every night at supper, much to my dismay, we discussed the games. Katy and her dad rehashed every play, every hit, every run and every error. Finally, a wager was made between the two. If Katy could hit a true double, no errors or overthrows, she could get a kitten. Now anyone who has ever played slow-pitch softball knows this is very hard to do.

Everyone on the team, including the players, spectators and even the coaches, were cheering for "Team Katy!" The bet became almost legendary, so big it could be compared to the movie "The Sandlot". (OK, that might have been a bit of an embellished, but it was big news on the team.) Finally, the perfect pitch came Katy's way and she got her double. The fans went wild!

Of course her dad disputed the ruling. No way was that a "true" double. Someone should have caught that ball!

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At dinner that night, the phone rang. It was the coach's wife saying she had videotaped the game. The hit was definitely a double. Being a man of his word, the unyielding father told Katy to go get a kitten.

As fate would have it, I worked with a lady who had "smuggled" a kitten into her apartment. She had been caught and told she must give the poor little thing up or move. I heard the news and inquired about the kitten. That weekend Kitty came to live with us. His fate was Katy's fortune.

Eventually, Katy grew up. She graduated from college and started a family. Her dad and I were left with Kitty, a large orange cat with serious digestive issues. Also included were a litter box, vet bills and daily throw-up. But despite these problems, the love he gave us made keeping him all worthwhile.

Over time, Katy's dad became Kitty's biggest fan. And the name of the team Katy played for ... Champion Federal. That is how the cat got his name, but we just called him Kitty.

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