Film brings back cat memories

While I recently was sitting, reading with my cat Sam on my lap, I got to talking with my aide, Shannon, and Herman about the film, “Bell, Book and Candle,” which features a Siamese cat “familiar” named Pyewacket.

We also discussed the different attitudes people have toward cats in general.

In “Bell, Book and Candle,” the classic 1958 romantic comedy starring Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart and Jack Lemmon, Novak plays a witch who falls for her neighbor, Stewart. In the process, she loses her magic powers, as well as her cat, which vacates the premises when she no longer is a witch.

It’s a great film, which I highly recommend, and it led me to think about all the cats I’ve had over the years.

In the course of the discussion, my aide mentioned she had a Siamese cat named Emma that grew to like her boyfriend at the time more than it liked her, and also grew to dislike her more and more.

My first experience with a cat was told to me by my mother (happy Mother’s Day, by the way), and occurred back when I lived at 2330 Traymore Road in University Heights, Ohio. I was a baby at the time, and a neighbor’s cat jumped up on my stomach after I had had a bottle and I drooled milk, which the cat happily lapped up. I was lying in a bassinet, and when Mom momentarily turned her back, the cat jumped up on me, which horrified my mother and ended any prospects of having a cat as a pet when I was growing up.

When I went to college, in my first off-campus apartment, I shared a cat named Jasmine with my roommate, Dina Ellenbogen. The following year in speech class, my teacher, a Southern belle, had a cat with a litter of kittens, and I took a calico kitten I named Emily. I loved Emily, but didn’t pay as much attention to her as I should have, since I was in full-tilt chasing my acting dream, as well as chasing boys.

Emily wound up traveling with me from Cincinnati to New York City and finally to Los Angeles, where she sadly met her demise from age and illness.

I got my cat, Sam, now 18 years young, as a kitten from Herman’s farm, where he was a barn cat. As you can see by the picture, he is now a spoiled-rotten kitty who I still love, along with his foster sister, Sally, and our dog, Oscar.

Back to the movie and Pyewacket. As in every romantic comedy, true love finally prevails. In this film, Pyewacket finds Jimmy Stewart in Stewart’s office, and steers him back to Kim Novak. He returns her lost cat, only to find she has lost her powers because she fell in love. For the rest of this great movie, you’ll just have to watch it yourself, because there is so much more to the film.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,