Archive for the 'Pets' Category

02
Apr
14

sharing & caring, a cat story for all ages

This is a story of feline sharing and caring from my yet to be written, therefore unpublished, AdvoCat Studio anthology: My Life With Cats.

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Frankie, the polydactyl, tabby cat, began his life with us under the care and tutelage of Nicky, our big, luxuriously furred, Himalayan-Birman mix. With patience and forbearance, Uncle Nick taught Frankie the ABCs of cat behavior and etiquette, a sometimes daunting task.

Frank & Nick 150

Frank was already a grown up with a long track record of caring and tutoring each kitten that came to live with us just as he’d been taught, but like any cat, he needed his rest and had his favorite spots.

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One fine winter’s day, when Frankie was asleep on his favorite morning spot atop the radiator in my studio, dreaming dreams only cats really understand… in walked Beau, the sleekly, beautiful, young prince of the household.

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“Ah, there’s Frank… must be a great spot for a nap,” he said to his cat self as he gracefully leaped up to join his friend.

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“Oh bother’ muttered Frankie through his sleepy cat lips. ‘Patience, forbearance… that’s the key…”

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“Okay, you’re cute, I love you: lay down now.” In truth, Frank was just a tiny bit annoyed, because he’d been dreaming the most wonderful dreams that morning and wanted to get back to them as quickly as he could.

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Beau sighed, deeply content with such loving acceptance, but he just couldn’t get comfortable.

 

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“I’ll give him another minute to find his groove,” Frank thought… ‘he’s just a kid.”

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“You okay, there buddy?” Frank asked in his best uncle voice.

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“I think my feet are too long,” whined Beau as he twisted about, certain that with perseverance, he’d find his perfect spot right next, and as close as possible, to his friend.

“Feet? Something like that,’ Frank whispered to his own self… ‘something like that!”

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“Got it, Uncle Frank! Thanks”

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“This spot feels great; I’ll just do a quick wash, be done in a jiffy. You don’t mind do you Uncle?”

 

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“Musn’t forget the hips ‘n haunches… so important to a cat’s graceful beauty. Appearances are important.”

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“Okay, all done, I’m back now. Thanks for waiting Frankie.”

Frank, running a bit low on patience said ever so quietly, “I’m sleeping now, gorgeous. Try it, you’ll like it… we’ll both like it.”Image 12a_Neg JI-26A_cropped

But Beau wasn’t ready to sleep yet. Settled near enough to hear his friend’s heartbeat, he said coquettishly, “Tell me a story and then I’ll go to sleep.”

Frank, reaching the end of patience as well as forbearance, thought: “I really don’t have time for this.”

” See you later…bonne nuit,  Beau, sleep well.” He said warmly, and slipped away to where grown-up cats go when they really, really need their rest.

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Beau was bewildered; he couldn’t understand why Frankie would just up and leave like that.  “Where’s he going,’ he mused, ‘I’m kind of lonely here all by myself… but I do look good, don’t you think?”

 

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09
Feb
13

cats ‘n dogs love food

Today, I want to post a couple of simple blessings to bring smiles on a cold winter day.  For dog lovers, a YouTube doggie video compliments of klaatu42 . Enjoy!

Speaking of Cats…here is one for cat lovers originally posted (in part) on my Facebook page:

I am trying to work. Bella thinks I need a break. I haven’t even started, Bel. Please get off my key board. (What I will have to do in about 10 minutes is “put her to bed”. Really! I’m not kidding. Oy, vey! She is now laying across my left arm, making it difficult to type accurately. She just decided I’m not worth waiting on and left. Bless her.Bella and her keyboard trick

By 1:30 P.M. Bella’s brother Ben awakes from his morning slumber and stretches out in all his princely glory. “It is time for lunch,” he says and proceeds to set himself between me and the keyboard much as his sister did this morning. He is much bigger than dainty Bella. No matter his tricks, I know how to open the fridge and he doesn’t. Lunch is always 3:00/3:30. Ah, he sees a bird outside the window…off he goes.Bennie and his keyboard trick

Or so I thought… When I closed down the computer and got up to leave the studio, there he was, under my desk, waiting for me to get the message and go down to the kitchen. In fact, both of them were quietly waiting, Ben under the desk and Bella at the doorway. When I rose from my chair, both of them got excited and ran ahead to the kitchen. But it was only 2:00. They waited patiently for about 5 minutes. These cats are smart. They aren’t going to waste energy mewing and fussing…no. They chose their spots to wait it out and I chose mine.

Doggone it! I couldn’t manage the last 5 minutes. They got their lunch at 2:55. If there is reincarnation, I want to come back a cat and live with a push-over like me. Of course, I will be well behaved, like Bella and Bennie.

13
Jul
10

beginning and ending

The day started with what I thought would be an early visit to the doctor for a cholesterol blood draw, followed by a pleasant, sweet-treat breakfast and chat with one of my dearest friends.

I drove up to the medical building somewhere between 8 and 8:30 this morning, parked my car in the nearly empty lot (lucky me), phoned my friend to say that I’d be at the cafe shortly and smartly proceeded to gather my belongings from the front seat of the car. Oh, oh, no purse…everything else, but no purse! That meant no driver’s license, no insurance cards, no money and no credit cards. Bummer! I (not so smartly) phoned my friend again to say that I would have to drive back home and start again. She was gracious as usual. I was feeling the result of having been too pre-occupied with a challenging email I’d read before leaving the house to think straight. Multi-tasking had eluded me once again.

I drove home, picked up my purse and started out again traveling back the toll road route, which is faster but unpleasantly nerve-wracking. The parking lot had filled in a bit, but miraculously the space I’d vacated 40 minutes earlier was invitationally still there! Still more miraculously, I didn’t have to wait an hour at the lab, only about 15 minutes. What luck!

“Are you fasting” the technician asked?

“No one told me to fast; I had one cup of coffee,” I said somewhat reluctantly.

“Black? That would be fasting,” the technician’s supervisor announced.

“Cream and sugar,” I said.

“Sugar? Sugar? That’s non-fasting…write non-fasting and go ahead with the test,” the supervising lady replied, while keeping her gaze directly on her computer screen.

I was given the choice of right or left arm for the poke and so it was done. I got out of there quick without caring one whit what the test said one way or the other, and called my friend to say that I was on my way to the cafe, where we would have whatever looked good to us. Coffee with cream and with sugar, for sure! We had a fine time eating, enjoying each other’s company, and celebrating her birthday. It was a lovely couple of rejuvenating hours, then time to say goodbye and head home—richer and deeper for the shared time together. What is better than that?

I drove home along the same road I’d gone  back on the first time around. It was 3 hours later. I was mulling over some things we’d discussed, and generally feeling happy, when suddenly I saw a tiny, furry body on the road. It was a small kitten about 6 weeks old—small enough to fit in the palm of the hand—black with a triangular patch of white on its chest. The kitten was lying limply on its side with legs outstretched. How does an infant cat find its way to the highway? It wasn’t there 3 hours ago when I drove this road home the first time. How did it get there? Was it feral? If so, where was its mother or litter mates? Worse case scenario: someone dumped it out the window for whatever reason. This happens, I am sorry to say. Some people think animals can fend for themselves and are better off out there. (This, of course is never true of older animals who have had human companions, or of the young who haven’t yet learned survival skills.) I have heard all sorts of reasons for the inhumane treatment of animals. Humans do not yet realize that God is incarnate in every living thing.

I gasped as my car passed squarely over that baby kitty. In that instant I felt jointly responsible as a member of the human race, and my heart broke completely. Prayers for the kitten all the way home…prayers and tears and helplessness.

Am I an animal nut? No. I am not wed to the idea of  no-kill shelters or heroic measures for the diseased and deformed. There are millions of unwanted animals in this country. I am an advocate for spaying and neutering and responsible stewardship of God’s creatures, which would include responsible and compassionate euthanasia…not the gas chambers until they are dead that often happens in county animal facilities. I do not like to see an animal suffer, just as I do not like to see human beings suffer…do not like factory farming, just as I do not like warehousing of the elderly or mentally infirm.

As I remember that lifeless little body lying there, I feel a nagging sense of guilt mixed with shame and sadness. Although life is more manageable for us now with only 2 (perfect) cats, I am filled with an urge to add another…one not so fortunate as my Ben and Bella—the prince and princess of our towerless castle. Crazy…guilt driven and compulsive…maybe I’ll just pray some more for the kitty and for all those people out there with whom I am connected as a human being, like it or not.

P.S. There will be more postings about the wedding and grandchildren…and pictures too…eventually.

03
Aug
09

one more for cats

While I am yet in a cheery mood, let me post another little kitty story for your feline pleasure:

Toulouse the Tabby Cat Saves Christmas, by Darling Daughter

Brown TabbyOnce upon a time there was a brown striped tabby cat named Toulouse.  Toulouse lived in a big old house in Chicago with his person, a nice girl who fed him well, and a big yard full of birds and leaves to chase, and if he was very lucky, and very quiet, a mouse or two at night.

Toulouse was happy in his house and yard.  His life was well ordered in cat-like fashion:  meals twice a day, sleep as needed – most of the day, in the spring and summer he hunted, in the fall he chased dried leaves and in the winter he curled up contentedly on the soft red couch in the living room and watched snowflakes fall or the flames lap up the fireplace walls.  “Birds, mice, squirrels, food, bed, what a nice life,” Toulouse thought as he purred himself to sleep.

Then one day, Toulouse’s world was turned upside down in a most uncat-like way: his person got a new cat.  The new cat was gray and white with silver tips where the sun hit the edges of his fur.  The new cat had long elegant whiskers and a way of striding around the house that gave no indication that he was going to be the second place cat.  The new cat was soon named Pablo and just as soon tried to take over.  “Yes, I’ll be king of this house,” he thought firmly.  “What a perfect setting the girl gave me to rule.”
Toulouse was focused on his orderly pursuits – hunting, sleeping, eating.

******

It was that time of year again, the time when the house began to smell of warm, nutty baked goods, when the snow began to pile up against the cat door and when the girl began to spend lots of time with the shiny strings and paper that Toulouse loved to play with.  “All those good smells, Pablo,” said Toulouse, “you know it means we’ll be getting salmon and turkey ourselves.”

“Yeah, especially when we steal them off the counter when the girl gets careless,” purred Pablo.”

All was cozy and content in the big house in Chicago until one day the girl and her friend brought home a fir tree.  Pablo and Toulouse stared wide eyed as the two humans lugged it in and set it up in the living room.  “A tree, a real live tree, just like the ones the birds live in!” thought Toulouse to himself.  “Maybe, if I’m real quiet and stay hidden under the couch I’ll catch one.”  But Pablo had other thoughts.

“Wow, my own climber!  How nice of them to get a tall one for me.  I’ll just wait ‘til the girl goes into the other room to try it.”  And when evening came, the tree glowed with lights and jangly, bobbly, twizly toys that cats love and the girl soon went to bed.  Pablo crouched low at the living room door, “a running start, that’s what I need,” he plotted.

“No!” Toulouse shouted, “you must not, Pablo.  You’ll ruin Christmas for the girl.”

“Out of my way, Toulouse,” Pablo growled, “try and stop me!”  And Toulouse did just that.  From under the couch he shot, tackling Pablo full on.  The two cats tousled, brown and gray balls of fur rolling and flopping and spitting at each other.  Until finally, Toulouse backed Pablo into a corner “say you won’t do it, say it!” he hissed at Pablo.  “No!” A quick swat of a brown paw and Pablo conceded, “I didn’t want to climb that stupid tree anyway,” he said licking himself.

And so it was that the next day the girl and her friend woke to a perfect Christmas morning and enjoyed a happy Christmas with Pablo and Toulouse, who got their extra turkey, plus what they managed to steal off the counters.

Finis

01
Aug
09

the gift of the magae

In my last post I told you all about Bennie and Bella and the joy they are to me and my family. As a child I loved cats, but my mother was frightened of all four-legged creatures. Despite that, my father brought one home once, when I was about 7 or 8. I had her for about a month, all the while knowing how much my mother actively hated her. One day, when I came home from school for lunch I couldn’t find her. My mother had given the kitty away, but claimed that she had run away. I was heart-sick about it—heart broken. I think it might have been my first such experience of loss. I knew my mother was not being truthful and the relationship between us suffered ever after because I could not trust her. I don’t think I could have responded any differently than I did as a child. The kitten had been my solace in a lonely world of blond, blue-eyed Americans. Once grown up, I filled my life with cats, to be sure, and even had a talk with my mother about the incident. She was sorry, I forgave her but we could not go backward in time. We both missed out on a trusting relationship between us.

When I learned that my friend’s family was going to welcome a cat into their home…an orange tabby no less…I was overjoyed for the children, especially the middle daughter who seems to yearn for her own place in the sun. (It’s hard to be a middle child.) I asked and received permission to post a drawing she had done of Jack the cat and he is below, at the very end of this post, watching over us all with grace and peace.

Also posted here is a little story called The Gift of the Magae, that my daughter wrote for me about 10 years ago.  She changed my childhood story to one with a happy ending. Although it is not quite biographical, it is a sweet little story and a sweet thing to do.

The Gift of the Magae, by Darling Daughter

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Merry, who grew up in Chicago during World War II. She lived in an old house with her parents, her two older sisters and a brother. During the summer, Merry and her family went to Lake Michigan to swim.  They took vacations in St. Joe Michigan and went to Armenian picnics in the park. Merry and her friends had lemonade stands and held scrap metal drives to raise money for the war effort. (Merry’s family were not Mennonites!) In the winter, she and her sisters listened to radio shows after school and went to the Saturday cinemas. But Christmas was the most magical time of all; Merry and her family would take the trolley downtown to see the decorations in the big department store windows, shop and have lunch in the Walnut Room at Marshall Field’s. She always looked forward to getting a new doll for Christmas. Sometimes, Merry and her sisters got to decorate the Armenian Christmas tree at the Museum of Science and Industry, or even see the toy train set in the there.

Merry was happy except for one thing: she dearly wanted a pet, a warm, furry creature all her own to love and hug. Many times Merry had asked her mother for a cat, but she had said no each time. “Oh, Merry, what do you want that for? It’s dirty, it will scratch the furniture and scratch you too.”

“Please Ma I really want a kitty,” she said.

But the answer was always no. Merry tried her father, who looked at her as if she had lost her mind: “A WHAT! A cat, are you crazy? An animal in the house, no! Go do your homework,” he said.

“But Maureen Finley has a cat,” Merry begged her father. He gave her an annoyed look and sent her off to do her homework.

One day in the late fall, Merry’s sister came home with a small bundle for Merry. “Look what I found, Merry. It begged me to bring it home to you.”

“What is it…a kitten? Oh, thank you, thank you Faith,” Merry cried. “Ma, please can I keep it, please?” begged Merry, as the small bundle of brown tabby stripes nestled into her arms.

Merry’s parents grudgingly allowed her to keep the kitten. Merry was overjoyed with her kitty, which she named Mittens. She fed it every morning before school and in the afternoons when she came home. She brushed Mittens and played with her, and at night, the cat slept on her bed in a tight curl of fur. Merry and her kitty were very happy.

A few weeks later, Merry came home from school to find her tabby cat was gone. She called and called for it, she  looked in every nook and cranny but still could not find the cat. “Ma.,” she asked, “where’s my kitty? Have you seen her?”

“Oh, she ran away,” replied her mother casually.

“What, that’s not possible! You took her, you got rid of her, you know where  she is, you never wanted me to have it,” Merry wailed in helpless fury at her mother. She was inconsolable over the loss of  her furry friend and cried for days, but there was nothing she could do.

Christmas Eve came and the family prepared to decorate the tree and bake the paklava and lamb for the night’s dinner. Merry was helping her sister cut out paper chains for the tree garland when she heard a faint scratching noise at the  back door. She ignored it and bent her head back over the red paper, but…”scritch, scratch” there it was again. “I wonder what that is,” she thought and got up to look outside. At first, she saw nothing in the fading afternoon light and was  about to close the door again when she heard a tiny mew from behind the door. Merry stooped down and saw a cat. “No it couldn’t be,” she though… her kitty cat? She held out her hand and the kitten came close and rubbed against her hand. It was…it was her tabby cat! She had miraculously found her old home and came back from where ever she had been.

Merry picked up Mittens and brought her inside. She showed the cat to Faith who promised she would talk to their mom. Merry gave Mittens some food and she was soon purring happily in Merry’s arms again.

Faith was true to her word and convinced her parents to let Merry keep the cat. Her mother kept her promise and made Merry’s favorite desert to make up for the loss of her cat. Mittens lived with Merry and her family for many years, bringing warmth and fun into the old house. Merry grew up and had more cats in her life but she nevver forgot the wonderful Christmas and the cat who came to stay. The End.

This is Jack the cat, a lovely drawing by my dear friend’s middle daughter.  I think he is quite grand and will soon come out to play.

Jack by JillHe hopes middle daughter will understand his shyness and wait for him to get used to his new house and his new people.

27
Jul
09

what’s in a name?

Are names important? If so, why? This morning when I received an email from my dear friend, Crazy Horse (who is neither crazy, nor a horse, but is at times strange) concerning the naming of a soon to be adopted pet. The name mentioned was very disturbing to me, so I responded with an epistle about how not to name your pet and why good names are important. This advice was unsolicited and somewhat balllsy on my part, but lately I can’t seem to stop speaking out as though my opinion really matters all that much in our world—currently spinning backward. So I lowered my weapon and let ‘im have it. Both barrels on why we need to name out pets lovingly so that we are inspired to treat them lovingly and respectfully. As a fine topper, I threw in the Golden Rule as the standard by which we should care for our animal friends. Nothing like a little guilt when needed…like seasoning a stew.

Well, I think my views are right-on, BUT…they were not requested. In fact, I think CH might have been pulling one of my short legs. Clearly, I didn’t think of that at the time since I was knee-deep (not a long way down in my case) in serious personal thought. As the day wore on and my heart and soul accumulated many more thoughts accompanied by numerous emotions, I came to realize that I may have offended dear friend CH, so I wrote an apology, expecting a course correction, and went upstairs to eat dinner.

One and a half hours later, I sheepishly crank up my computer…sheepishly because some in the household think I have a computer addiction…and lo, and behold CH has sent a reply. I am told that no offense was taken and that my spouting off is a beloved quality (today anyway)! Do I believe this? Might as well, for today anyway. Tomorrow is another day and that’s all folks.

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