This is Freeway:
Mostly black, but with white paws, a white spot above her nose, and a white stripe that went from her nose and covered her soft, fluffy underbelly. Freeway was many things -- cute, strange, funny -- but above all else, she was gentle.
It's hard to say when Freeway was born precisely. We estimated that it was probably sometime around May 1st of 1991 -- so that became her birthday to us.
As zweeb alluded to, there's an interesting story behind how she came to live with us. My sister (S~) was driving on one of the main thoroughfares through the San Fernando Valley and came to a stop light. I believe it was this one at Devonshire and Haskell. Devonshire's 3 lanes in either direction and it tends to be pretty busy as it's very near the 405 freeway.
While she was waiting for the light to change, she noticed a little black cat running around. S~ has always been a little crazy about animals and this day was no exception. Looking to see if traffic was clear, she pulled her car out into the intersection and as she set about the task of saving the cat, it ran underneath her stopped car.
She got out and looked around, but couldn't find it. She managed to get the (presumably annoyed) people behind her to back up a little bit so she could check under her car, but it vanished into thin air. There were some bushes behind the car, so it seemed plausible that the cat ran under her car and into the bushes to safety. So, she drove home and put the matter behind her.
The next day, she was on to work at Magic Mountain, but for some reason didn't go to work. Instead, she drove to Woodland Hills to visit a friend. When we had lunch that day, she told us the story of how she risked life and limb to save that cat.
That evening, she planned on going out with her friend. Her friend came over and when they went out the door to hop in the car, one of the neighbors told her not to start the car because there was a cat in it. She came back inside and said "Mom, my car's meowing!"
Dad went out and looked under the car and found the cat -- sitting on this little shelf above the front suspension in her '68 Mustang. That little kitten managed to survive something like 50 miles of driving around LA.
S~'s friend used to work for a vet, so she thought nothing of reaching in there and pulling the cat out.
At the time, I was in 5th grade. I've never had very large hands and one can reasonably assume my hands were much smaller at the time. That kitten could sit in the palm of my hand.
We had two older cats at the time (Pablo & Gertrude -- another long, sad story) in the house at the time, so we figured the best thing to do was put her outside with the dog (Rover) and our desert tortoises. Freeway pretty much bolted for the one place in the backyard that no one was going to come after her -- underneath the tortoise house. Rover sat around the edge of it, sniffing at the newcomer to the backyard and howling a bit.
That night we found out something interesting about Freeway -- cats learn how to meow. That night, Freeway learned to imitate Rover and meowed these loud, little howls until my sisters came out to get her. We put her in one of the bathrooms that night and tried to feed her milk off of our fingers with some success. She obviously wasn't old enough for solid food, so that seemed like the best bet.
After all was said and done, we took her to the vet. Apart from a case of worms, she was in excellent shape.
We're still not sure what exactly happened to separate her from her mother or how long she survived until she took that fateful excursion, but it was unquestionably one hell of a ride.