I’ve never been good at telling whether kittens are boys or girls, so I didn’t realize Charlotte was a girl for a long time. From the beginning, she was the dominant kitten of a litter. She was so dominant, in fact, that all of us thought she must be a little boy — trying to boss her sisters around.
It turned out that all of the kittens were girls. Charlotte was just a bossy young lady. (That’s her as a kitten in one of the drawers of my desk on the right.) The dark fur pattern of her forehead at the time led several people to remark that she looked like a Vulcan — with their angled eyebrows — so her early nickname was Mr. Spock. She lived up to the fearlessness of the fictional Vulcans from the beginning.
When “he” turned out to be a “she,” she needed a new name, of course, but naming the three sisters was a bit of a quandary for me. I like to name cats and dogs for specific reasons related to their personalities when I can, not just because I like the names. So they went nameless for months.
As they grew, Charlotte continued to be the unquestioned leader. Whether it was time to eat or play or sleep, she seemed to take the lead. She was very comfortable with herself and fearless when it came to people. There was a kind of unrestrained joy in the way she did everything, which you can see a bit of in this picture of her playing with her sister, Emily, when they were young.
As they grew, Charlotte started seeming more serious. She was still confident. In fact, she was seemingly unflappable. When things would happen that would send the others flying under the bed, she would typically just open an eye and make sure she wasn’t in danger — and she’d go back to sleep.
I finally noticed something interesting about these kittens. More than any I’ve been around, they were drawn to books. They liked to sit on books, rest on books and even sleep on books. The inspiration finally hit me. They were writing sisters. They were going to be named for the three writing Bronte sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne. As the dominant sister, Charlotte was named for the oldest girl. Their names have suited them.
Today, Charlotte’s role hasn’t changed. She’s still the leader of the pack — to mix the metaphor — and she’s still the confident one who stays when the others scatter. The one odd thing about her is that she won’t allow me to pick her up or even touch her very much. She’s a lot like her mother, Molly, in that way, although not nearly as bad. She just wants her space — and she’ll let you know in no uncertain terms if you try to do something she doesn’t like. There’s nothing shy about this girl.
There’s something about her that still seems like a Vulcan science officer. I often feel as though she’s a cat scientist and I’m just the human subject she’s observing. If cats turn out to be aliens from another world who have been sent here to observe us, it won’t surprise me one bit to find out that she’s among their leaders. This little six-pound girl is very confident about herself.
Editor’s note: If you enjoyed meeting Charlotte, you might enjoy previous stories and pictures about Merlin, William, Anne, Dagny, Sonny, Alex, Bessie, Molly, Oliver, Munchkin, Sam, Maggie, Henry, Lucy, Amelia, Charlotte and Emily.