Holly and Ivy: The Power of Torties

Holly and Ivy are a pair of tortoiseshell cats (torties) who came to us just before Christmas 2018. They are sisters and rescue kitties. Tortoiseshells are the result of a recessive gene, and only a very small percentage of them are male.

We have had cats for over 40 years, beginning with a Siamese named Space (or Chairman Meow) whom we inherited in Boulder, Colorado in 1976. In the spring of 1977 Confucius, our first black-and-white cat, came to us, and ever since, up until 2016, we had always had a black-and-white house cat. Obviously we are very partial to them, and when we decided to adopt again, we wanted to get two black-and-white kittens. (We wanted two because we learned long ago that two kittens socialize more easily and are a lot happier than a single cat.)

We were also determined to adopt shelter or rescue animals, though, and we knew we might not be able to get our first choice. When we first met Holly and Ivy, they were about six months old, which was also quite a bit older than we had been hoping for. Upon meeting them we agreed to take them, but we almost backed out. We now consider the fact that we didn’t one of the most fortunate decisions we’ve ever made. It took the girls less than a day to completely win our hearts.

All cat lovers, given half a chance, will rave about their kitties of course. Even allowing for that, it’s hard to find the words to tell you how amazing these two truly are.

Hangin out on the bed with the big human.
The girls came out from under a trailer last fall, and into our lives and hearts thanks to the rescue work done by Peg Hamlett.

They quickly settled in to their new home.


The back of the couch was a big hit, and remains a favorite. It is amazing how often the two of them take the same pose– but then it also amazing how often they are together. They do spend time apart, usually when they’re sleeping. But they sleep together on their chair a lot, and when they’re awake they’re almost inevitably together.

If you’re a cat lover, you’ve probably already decided that these two are a special pair of sisters. If you’re not, it’s highly unlikely you’ve come this far, anyway.
They’re kind of like a couple of Nac Mac Feegle, actually, except they like bathing, chasin’ and rasslin’ better than fightin’, drinkin’ and snafflin’ coo beasties. Good thing. If you don’t know who the Nac Mac Feegle are, you need to read The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett. And if you’ve never read any Pratchett, well then. I am not responsible for gaps in the education of others.

It never ceases to amaze us how in synch these two are.

This is their favorite snuggling chair. In this case Ivy decided to snuggle on top of Holly, who obviously didn’t mind.

They’re not completely inseparable, but they are quite frequently together, asleep or awake. We’ve never had a cat that liked to hunker down as much as Ivy does.

But then, we’ve never had a cat like Ivy before. Or Holly, for that matter. And the two of them are precious. There’s just no other word for it.

Both girls are very helpful when it comes to working on the podcast. Ivy is our designated engineer, and Holly is the producer. But as you’ll see below, they are both very versatile.

Here they’re assisting in coloring the Josh Kidby drawing of the Disc from above. Note the difference in technique.

The girls celebrated their second birthday on the 3rd of May. Since they’re rescue kitties this is of course only an approximation. The vet sent my wife a “Happy Birthday” email for them on the third, so we’ll call that the official date.

Who, us photogenic?

We’re biased, of course, but they are. Photogenic that is. They also have an uncanny ability to pose together. Here they were helping my wife hang up clothes, and of course they wanted a good view of the process.

Although Ivy looks shorter and smaller in this picture, she’s really not. They’re the same height, but Ivy has a very weird body shape. And, since they’re Tralfamadorians in disguise, sometimes photos of them come out looking very odd indeed.

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