There is an apple tree in my West Tisbury back yard. It bears no apples because cedar trees line Tiasquam Road and bring with them cedar-apple rust. But underneath the tree, five cats are buried.

Last week, Vercingetorix, a golden cat named for a valiant Gallic warrior who rebelled against the Roman rule of Caesar and was killed by him, joined the four others there.

For 80 of my 88 years, there have been cats in my life. Once there was a collie too. He was golden like Vercingetorix, but because I have always lived a peripatetic life, cats have been more sensible companions.

The first was Domino, a white cat with back spots as her name suggests. She was born in a beauty parlor on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs. She caught my mother’s eye one summer when my father, not an animal lover, was teaching in Vermont. He was forced in time to adjust to cats, as Domino, over her 17 years, produced 136 kittens. That was in the days before SPAY.

I found homes for her kittens — carrying them in my arms down the back streets of Oak Bluffs. Domino’s last kitten was born when she was 17. She was double pawed and scrawny, but nonetheless, I found a man on Main street in Edgartown who took her out of my arms and agreed to keep her. I didn’t know then that he was an important person.

The following summer, at 17, I was hired as a summer reporter on this paper. An early assignment was to interview Leo Huberman, a socialist journalist who summered at Menemsha. It was my first interview in what would become a lifetime of interviewing people for newspapers and magazines.

When I knocked tremulously on the door of Mr. Huberman’s Menemsha shack, I was greeted with: “But you’re the girl who gave me that flea-ridden cat last year.” Happily, he had kept the cat and let me in. I am sure all cats with black spots on Martha’s Vineyard today are descendants of Domino.

Since then there have been many cats of many colors in my life.

When, just married, I moved year-round to West Tisbury in the 1960s, a cat from the Whiting farm found her way across the street to the Congregational Church parsonage we were renting. She wasn’t a coon cat, but she was raccoon colored.

My husband, the late Tom Cocroft, was an artist who liked animals, but had never had a cat. He found the cat that had found us quite endearing. When she died, he found another — a golden cat from Edgartown. Like Domino, she produced kittens. One litter was born at the foot of his bed while I was traveling. He hastened to a neighbor’s house to find out what to do with newborn kittens. As they grew, he found one calico he particularly liked. He named her Groucho after Groucho Marx, and chose her to give to his best friend who lived in Providence. But when he took her there and was leaving, he saw her looking out an upstairs window at him. He decided he wanted her himself. Groucho stayed with us on the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven, where we lived for a time. She is remembered in many drawings Tom lovingly made of her.

Next there were tiger cats and golden cats. They were variously named by Tom for comedians (like Groucho); cartoon figures (Mutt and Jeff) and then illustrious historic figures. Hamilcar Barca, a defender of Sicily against the Romans and the father of the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, who crossed the Alps with elephants in 218 B.C., were among them. Most have lived long and, I hope, happy lives hunting mice and rabbits and an occasional snake.

Vercingetorix was always a welcome guest at the home of Fred and Bonnie Waitzkin just across Tiasquam Road. They nicknamed him Charlie and were always delighted when he caught the rabbits that ate the lettuce in their garden. My tenant, Marjorie Pierce, and I were less delighted, however, when he brought them home to proudly show them off. But when he came to greet our cars when we drove in, we were pleased that — doglike — he always came to greet us. Except for our cars, he was sensible about avoiding traffic. And he had a perfect sense of time. Between 2 and 3 p.m. he would appear for lunch. At 6 p.m., he was on hand for supper. At 5 a.m., he would nibble at my nose in bed to let me know that it was breakfast time.

Vercingetorix was very much an outdoor cat. In winter snow, he enjoyed plowing through it to leave tracks. On summer afternoons, he happily lounged beneath the apple tree where he now lies. If the day was hot, he would find his way to a hideaway he had made in the underbrush nearby. In a hunting mood, he would head either to the Waitskin rabbit hole or down toward my neighbor, Ann Burt’s, where there were chipmunks of interest. (He would assiduously avoid the turkeys there.)

He enjoyed perching on the rail fence along Tiasquam Road, and delighted in jumping off it to go for walks in late afternoon when I went walking. And he liked evening watering time in summer — always making sure he found a place to watch at a safe distance from the hose.

Happily, few of my cats have been bird hunters. Sadly, two were killed by cars: Mutt by a speeder on Tiasquam Road, and Yellow Cat (who never had another name) on the dirt road next door.

When Jeff died, he was replaced by Jen — a gold and white cat with short legs and a short tail. She had been found in a Chicago parking lot by Jason Silber, the brother of West Tisburyite Laura Silber. Unable to keep her himself, he asked Laura to help find a Vineyard home for her. Since I had recently lost Jeff, pictures were e-mailed to me of Jen. I was told that — gold and white and plump as she was — she resembled a loaf of bread on legs. I agreed to adopt her and she was flown to Boston. Then in a snowstorm, when there were no boats running, Jason Silber smuggled her into a hotel in Falmouth. Fifteen pounds when she arrived, she did indeed resemble a loaf of bread on legs. Clearly, she needed a young companion to help slim her down. So Laura and I went looking for a kitten for her to play with. That was the Chilmark kitten I named Vercingetorix.

Over the years they lived together, Jen went from 15 pounds to 13 — not exactly a great weight loss, but she delighted in consuming the mice and voles and rabbits that he caught.

Jen died last November and was buried beneath the apple tree, alongside Mutt and Jeff and Hamilcar. Now Vercingetorix is with them. Come spring, the daffodils the late Sal Laterra planted there will again be blooming golden in remembrance of them all.