The only thing I know is that I love him and he's the perfect jTC pet for me,'' says 14-year-old Kelli Bobb as she hugs her large and cuddly cat named Ziggy.
When Kelli was about 7, she let her mother Pat know she was tired of not having her very own kitten.
Her request, as the youngest of 8 children in a house full of pets, was unusual, says her mother, Pat Bobb. ''She really didn't have her own so we began looking for advertisements for kittens. It was the middle of winter and not many kittens are born at that time but we finally found a litter in Catonsville.''
Instead of one kitten, Kelli and her sister Jenny came home with two, which they named Ziggy and Punky. Kelli claimed Ziggy, a short-hair domestic in a color called brown mackerel tabby with white. He is broad and stocky and unlike his brother, who is a tall and thin red mackerel tabby.
Kelli is the only birth child of Pat and John Bobb who have seven other children from previous marriages. ''We have yours, mine and ours,'' says Pat, laughing.
''There's Kelli, the only one at home now, and next in age is Jenny, 17, and brothers Trey, Douglas, Christopher, David, Michael and John, who range in age from 18 to 28. Plus we have five grandchildren,'' she says. She and John work for Bell Atlantic Corp. in Silver Spring. The family lives in Ellicott City.
Ziggy has been entered in household pet cat shows for the last two years and almost always comes away with some kind of award.
''I saw some articles about showing cats and how much fun it could be and I knew Ziggy was pretty perfect and would be a winner,'' Kelli says. She was right. ''Ziggy doesn't mind going -- he's laid back, even a little lazy, but he likes it.''
In household pet cat classes, Ziggy has won a second best cat in an entry of 60 cats and a third in color category, plus many others.
''One judge said his back was so broad one could play a game of cards on him. Another said she imagined sitting at home with her feet propped up on him like a foot stool,'' says Kelli.
When Pat Bobb lists the names of family members she also includes the family's pets, who almost exceed the number of children and grandchildren.
Beside Ziggy and Punky, 7, the other family cats include Cuddles, 10, Spooky, 5, and Mercedes (called Murphy), 2, who is a dark blue purebred Persian.
A golden retriever named Buffy is 6, and a 2-year-old parrot named Birdo is a red-bellied macaw. There are also some goldfish.
Pat Bobb stops listing the pets to say, ''I'm an animal fancier.'' Then she names her five horses.
''Sam is a 4-year-old Morgan gelding. Zefyr is a 4-year-old Arabian stallion and his mother Rafayn is a 14-year-old Arabian mare. There is Vannatee, a 3-year-old Arabian filly, and we also have Rafayn's new baby. Registration is pending but we expect her name will be Brandy Alexandra,'' she says.
Kelli compares her love for Ziggy -- ''he's like a baby'' -- with the other family pets. ''Cats are best, they have a personality. Horses are OK but too big, and I admit I'm sort of afraid of them. The dog I love, but she sometimes gets on my nerves, and Birdo the parrot is all right but she is Mom's,'' she says.
To top it all, Kelli is allergic to all of these household pets, ''and just about everything else,'' says her mother. ''But she keeps it under control with shots and medication.''
Beside Ziggy, Kelli's deep interest is to be a singer. She sings in the choir at her school, Glenelge High School. ''I will try to be a pop rock vocalist. My interest in school is math and English and if singing doesn't work, I'll concentrate on math,'' she says.
Her mother says she is taking voice lessons, has studied the flute and plans to study piano. ''She is good,'' says Pat, who also notes that her daughter is a typical teen-ager.
''She baby sits, will cut the grass and she's on the phone an awful lot.''
Kelli says that Ziggy is special. And this big, cuddly cat seems to know it, although he is but one in a sizable group of family pets.