Until one has loved an animal, part of the soul remains unawakened

Until one has loved an animal, part of the soul remains unawakened


Happy Cat Lady

Happy Cat Lady

Nov 29, 2009

Salmon and Shrimp

Turkey day came and went and no kitties in this house got any turkey! But we did get salmon and shrimp. Any good Ninja will tell you seafood is better for us! And I agree.

Miss E has been filling in for us this month as she was writing a novel. Well, not exactly. But, she joined something called National Novel Writing Month. The goal was to complete fifty thousand words in one month, and she did it! That's a LOT of haiku, if you ask me. Less is more. But, since she was so busy with the computer, we.... none of us, had an opportunity to get online. I see she added some stuff of her own to our blog.

I've known a few of those cats that she wrote about in one of my past lives. Stinky was one of the two pink cats she had as a kid. I used to hang out with him under the full moon, looking for girl cats. Ah, those were the days! I wasn't a Ninja then. I was a tuxedo cat, and quite the debonair cat around town. I knew Mickey, too. I was just a little girl kitten then, and he was a big grown up cat. I knew Beau, too. But not in his most recent reincarnation, as I was already a Ninja by that time. We knew each other way way back when. We had our disagrrrreements. He was always talking about how we were all descended from the ancient Egyptian cats, and am quite sure that we came from panthers. Otherwise, how would there be black cats? It is only logical. Is it not?

Bambi has gotten plumper and has a sleek rabbit fur coat. I don't know how any of us are going to lose any weight. I prefer to think that my muscles are getting heavier. It comes with age. You know. I am now eight years in people age. That makes me 48 according to some quotes I've seen on the internet. You might want to check out this chart I found

Spyder has grown in leaps and bounds. Of course, he does a LOT of leaping. I'm not so sure about bounding. But, he can leap from the floor to the kitchen sink, and from there to the top of the refrigerator. As a retired Ninja, I no longer have to prove myself by doing these daring acts. I'm as nimble as I ever was. But, I don't mind teaching the young Spyder how to perform his leaping techniques. He is getting rather good. Especially at leaping up into the high shelf of the closet. Just the other day, he leaped up there and pushed things around until he had a cozy place. But, when he tried to jump down, he got his feet caught in a purse strap and he didn't quite make it to the bed. If he were a well trained ninja, that never would have happened.

I guess I shouldn't expect too much of the little fella'. After all, he is not a black cat. Only black or dark grey cats can become ninjas. Only rarely would a ninja be white, and that is when it is wintertime in the snow and it is daytime.

Here is a Cat Haiku for you from the book, 'Cat Haiku", by Deborah Coates

Oh good, you're home. I
Celebrate joyously with
A rousing ear twitch

It is time for my sleep training practice.

Nov 26, 2009

Nov 25, 2009

What Not to Feed the Cat

The holidays are stressful enough without having to make a trip to the emergency vet. With Thanksgiving approaching, the ASPCA has published info on what holiday foods you should avoid feeding your cat. Sure, a little well-cooked, boneless turkey is okay as a treat, but other common foods are poisonous to your pet. Here’s the list:


If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Even though cats in the wild kill and catch their own food, and eat it raw, there is no need to introduce unwanted bacteria to our domesticated cats.


Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing tasty, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils. So unless you are putting catnip in your stuffing, keep it away from Tabby. And, NO, let's not put catnip in the stuffing! Okay?

Bread Dough

Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery. And don't ingest any yourself!!!

Pie Filling and Cake Batter

If you’re baking Thanksgiving pies and cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Other forbidden foods:

    * Macadamia nuts (can cause weakness and tremors)
    * Raisins and grapes (can cause kidney failure)
    * Onions and garlic (can cause anemia)
    * Chocolate (contains caffeine and theobromine, two different types of stimulants that affect the central nervous system and the heart muscle, as well as increasing the frequency of urination)

Nov 23, 2009

Beau's Story

History of Beau

Mother told me I was born on an auspicious evening, (as were my siblings) the full moon shone through the window into the comfortable box we were soon to share, and I was the first to enter this world. The first human to touch me was Ryan. He knew right away that I was the most awesome wonderful cat to come his way in a long time. He visited often and could hardly wait to take me home. Mother kissed me goodbye that day and told me to go on into life and make something of myself.

“Always remember,” she said, “flowing in your veins is the blood from a long line of true royalty. Your ancestors guarded the Temples of Egypt. They even rose in status to be considered sacred to the people. Our great ancestress, Bastet, was honored as divine. Bastet was loved so much that she became a household goddess, protector of women, children and all domestic cats.  She was also the goddess of sunrise, music, dance, pleasure, as well as family, fertility and birth. Wherever you go in life, my darling son, remember to keep your chin up and be proud of who you are. Yet, be humble, too.”

I didn’t give much thought to what Mother said at the time. I was so pleased to be in Ryan’s arms as he carried me away, content to begin my new life. With maturity I gained much greater respect and appreciation for all she tried to impart to me. I have never forgotten her wise words, as they have guided me all these years.

My years with Ryan were idyllic. He loved me best of all his kitties even though, as I grew, he began to see that I was not “show cat” material. He said it was because I was “knock-kneed”. I recall that Mother (and my siblings) held that it gave me a distinctive and debonair comportment.

I don’t think I would have much liked being a show cat. The others were always being prepared hour after hour, and sent off to their shows under a great deal of stress. I could hear them yowling as they road away. However, they often came back with an snooty, stuck-up attitude, as if those fancy ribbons gave them permission to act like they were superior. Didn’t they know that ALL Abyssinians are superior? There was no need for them to lord it over one another. This often caused a lot of jealousy and I tried my best to make peace among them. After all, as Ryan’s favorite, it was my duty to protect them from themselves and teach them some manners. Apparently their mothers forgot to tell them of their noble forebears.

As time passed they began to pay attention as I educated them regarding their family tree, and I don’t mean the tree that brushes against the window on a windy night! Some of the show cats were studs, but Ryan preserved me from that stinky business by taking me to the Veterinarian’s office. That place had quite an odd assortment of odoriferous intrigue, but before I could examine the sources, I soon found that I was drifting off to sleep. When I awoke I was aware of a dreadful ache near the bottom of my tail. I really felt sorry for myself, and was so glad when Ryan came to take me home. I purred on his lap all that evening. Previously, I had rarely occupied that position as I had felt compelled to make evening rounds. But, I slept cuddled and in his bed from that night forward. Knowing that I had no sacred temples to guard, I relaxed my vigil.

One day Ryan came home with a lovely lady named Serena. I thought she was nice, but I didn’t go running up to her right away. After all, I did have my reputation to preserve. Later, I often sat between her and Ryan and let her pet me, and give her polite purrs as she complemented my sleek form. She didn’t seem to enjoy my company whenever I ventured into bed in the evening very much, and I was taken aback when Ryan locked me out of our room! It was not too long after this that Serena fell quite ill with sneezing and itching. I could empathize, especially with the itching. I’ve had my share of it. Darned fleas! I tried giving her solace, even occasionally giving her a kind lick on the tip of her fingers when she reached to pet me. After all, Bastet had been the protector of women. I could do no less but to minister to her needs when she was not feeling well. And she grew to enjoy cuddling with me, while I fervently purred for her good health to return.

Before I knew it, one by one, the show cats all disappeared and did not return. Soon I was the only one left. I had survived almost seven years residing with Ryan and the show cats. I missed my kitty friends, but still, I had my Ryan to keep me company. It wasn’t long, however, until I learned that I was soon to make my departure, too. Ryan explained to me that he would always love me, but he loved Serena, too. Unfortunately, she was “allergic” to me and that was why I would have to go live elsewhere. I hoped it would be someone with an appreciation of my unique personality, didn’t have a bunch of show cats, nor allergies. Ryan promised me he would find a suitable match. Though I felt a little bothered by the circumstances, I began to reconcile myself and began to reflect upon my retirement years. Plus, who knows what new experiences I might have?

Ryan put an advertisement in the newspaper, and many responded. Ryan carefully screened them all before settling upon an elderly couple named Jim and Gennie. They were both in their eighties. Oh my! But the minute I walked in the door, I just knew this was it! Jim was like an old lost friend. He smelled so pleasant. He had a singing voice that made me want to meow happily, and he had nice big hands to for petting. He walked slowly so I could criss-cross through his legs as he went about.

Isn’t it odd, how life brings you down one corridor that seems to terminate in a dead-end? Then right there a new door opens, and suddenly you are out into the sunshine! That is exactly how I felt. I was encountering my destiny! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Farewell Ryan!

I wrapped myself around Jim letting him know that I would be very happy to own him, and I could tell I would have him trained in no time, as the first thing he did was to understand every nuance of my communications. He fed me whenever I wanted, and whatever I wanted. Oh, I really grew so fat and sassy. I had little to do but bask in the warmth and attention, and give back my love and purrs in return. It was a little odd, though to be the only cat in the household. Yet, I learned I had been missing so much. More time to meditate upon the bugs crawling the screen, the flowers bouncing outside in the pots, the leaves swinging with the breeze. I had no idea how much I had missed ‘til I had this time to myself.

Though I preferred Jim’s company and sat upon his lap at every opportunity, especially while he read his paper, I found that Gennie was a perfectly nice lady who loved me immediately, too. They were both quite knowledgeable about my famous ancestors and gave me the respect I deserved. They bought me a wonderful cat tree (the kind made out of carpet) and placed it in the window so I could get just the right amount of sunlight and report back to them all the occurrences going on outside. These people knew how to treat me. That first night I leaped up onto their bed and snuggled down between them and that was the way it remained. They appreciated my company and never once suggested that I was the cause of any sneezes, coughs, puffy eyes or itchiness.  Though these delightful old folks did seem to have plenty of that going on already.

Then Jim and Gennie moved to another apartment where their son and daughter could visit more regularly. Often their grandchildren and great grandchildren visited too, always leaving me uneasy and exhausted. I was always polite to the little ones, and they petted me nice, but I would often retire to my sunlight to snooze while xthey visited. Sometimes I got a bit nostalgic during those visits, as I would think of my long lost siblings, and felt lonesome for the company of my show cats. It was an odd coincidence that Gennie, too, pined away for a kitty of her own. Though I was nice to her, she was well aware I was partial to Jim. She wanted a kitty of her own.

One day Gennie’s daughter brought home the most delightful lady cat I have ever met in my life, Miss Boo Boo! Oh what a delightful addition to my life! I was in kitty heaven. For me, it was love at first sight! I could hardly wait to get acquainted. I guess I was a bit too forward when I walked right up to her and touched her nose with mine. I was anxious to become familiar with her, and she just skittered away. I was embarrassed and knew right away she was uncomfortable, so I went into the other room while she got acclimated to her new home. That evening, I could hear her shivering so I invited her to come lay down on the bed with me, and our people. Soon, we realized how perfectly compatible we were. We developed a bond just like the one Jim and Gennie had. All four of us shared the big bed.

As time went by we moved into a smaller apartment closer to the grand-daughter. We saw our lovely people having a harder time managing things. Gennie had lost her eye sight, and had a hard time walking but she had spirit. Jim took care of us all, even though he was tired and needed oxygen. I always thought what a gallant soul he was, to watch after his Gennie. Still, she was able to sit in her chair and enjoy the antics of my dear sweet Boo Boo, who entertained us all with her acrobatics. She was remarkable to say the least. The way she would use her tail to help her fly from the back of Gennie’s chair across to the sofa was astonishing, and delighted us all. I always gave her a little kiss when she was finished. I was a little more sedate than BooBoo, and took pleasure following Jim around overseeing all his activities. If he went to retrieve something out of the cupboard I was there to peer inside to evaluate every object, analyzing if all was in it’s place. If he began to fix something on the counter, I stood on my hind legs, and stretched myself out full-length to see what Jim was doing. Well, you know what they say about a Cat’s curiosity. That is how I got the nickname, “The Inspector”. But I was still a gentleman and never jumped up on counters or tables.

Then came the sad day when Jim informed me that he and Gennie were moving away to a nursing home. This time my sweet Boo Boo and I were not going to be able to move with them. We all had tears in our eyes. I became uneasy, and Boo Boo was in low spirits. But, their granddaughter Varsha, who was visiting from Indiana, put us in her air-conditioned SUV and drove us 480 miles north. My poor Boo became a little car sick on the way. I did everything I could to console her. I sang songs, romantic songs to her which she liked. But, Varsha apparently didn’t like my singing. Just the same we enjoyed all the interesting sights, sounds and smells along the way.

The end of our journey came, and we were surprised that we were at the home of Elizabeth, who is Jim and Gennie’s older daughter. We were glad to realize this. We knew Elizabeth. She had come to visit us many times in the past and we remembered her as a lady who admired and appreciated us. As a people she was quite cat-like and spoke our language, well a little bit, with an undecipherable accent. But she tried valiantly to communicate in ways to make us comfortable. We remembered when she brought the feather toy and had us playing like kittens again. I also remembered her elderly Calico Queen who we immediately learned to respect. We especially remembered the fresh catnip she brought us, and were ecstatic to learn that it was growing right outside, just on the other side of the screen door! Elizabeth had a very large Catnip farm it seemed to us. To quote a well-known phrase, “We were not in Kansas anymore!!!”

From that point on we decided that Elizabeth would be our Auntie EM, even though, theoretically, she could be considered our sister. As fanciful as this new life was to be, still we missed our beloved Jim and Gennie. Anytime Auntie EM called them on the telephone, we could hear their voices. Often we would meaow our hellos, and tell them how much we loved them, and missed them. But, truly, it is complicated to translate our language over such a device. We knew Jim and Gennie immensely missed us, too. We grew concerned that our separation from them might be detrimental. After all they were attempting to adjust to their new environment in the nursing home, and missing us was hard on them. So, too ease the tragedy of our separation, we decided we would do the uncharacteristic, and reveal the knowledge we had of the human language by writing them cards and letters to bring some cheerfulness into their changing lives. Within about a year we had mastered the art of computer letter writing, which was much easier on our de-clawed digits.

As time went by our existence with Auntie EM took on a new dimension. Since she had a large back yard with very tall fence surrounding it, she let her own Miss Keli outside regularly. Keli can barely leap from the floor to climb up on the bed, so any idea of her escaping out of the backyard was preposterous. At first Auntie EM struggled to take care of our litter boxes, and to keep us inside while Keli was outside. She had a tendency to tease us especially while rolling in the catnip. Soon Auntie EM gave up her vigilance and we had a few forays out into that fascinating world. Auntie decided we could be trusted outside so the door remained open from that time on for us to come and go as we pleased.

They say that Cats have nine lives and this was definitely a new incarnation for us. We had only viewed this outer world all our lives and here we were out in it. We soon learned to enjoy it to the max. BooBoo liked to play chase with the lizards, hang out with Keli in the sun, chat with the hummingbirds who came to visit, and during damp weather, she liked to lay out in the round bed inside the garden shed. I, on the other hand, had more sense, and stayed inside where it was less damp.

Sometimes Auntie EM would have to go away to the hospital and her boyfriend came and took care of us. Funny! Here was a human named, Kats!!! When he first met us, he was afraid. That did not put me off. I soon had this Cat hater, (he claimed) bending to my will. Soon he was well trained. Whenever he came to visit, he always fed us before he even greeted Auntie. I liked to make him nervous by brushing up against his legs or tickling him with my tail. I always laughed when he jumped. But, still we knew he loved us.

After living with our dear Auntie EM and her wicked cat Keli (only kidding) about two and a half years, the phone calls with Jim and Gennie were less relaxed. We could tell something was terribly wrong. We seldom got to hear the voice of our Dear Jim, anymore, though we meowed messages to him when Auntie EM was on the phone with them. We knew that Jim was seriously ill. All these years he had been the one in good health and taking loving care of Gennie, and now he could do nothing but lay there, sad and frustrated. Then, Auntie EM went away for several weeks. No more phone calls to sing to Gennie and Jim. We could hear Kats and Auntie EM talking in hushed tones. Then Auntie EM came home with many of Jim’s clothes. She set them on the floor and we were soon sniffing them. BooBoo was sad and went to lie down with Keli. I was so glad to smell my Darling Jim in those clothes that I rolled all over them for days. As I mentioned before, Auntie EM has a great understanding of Kitties, and she knew it was important for me to say good bye to my Jim this way. It took a while for my grief to heal. Auntie let me have some of his shirts until I let her know that I was no longer interested in them.

Life must go on. Now we were in the delicate position of making a decision whether to continue our cards and letters to our Dear Gennie. But, we knew it was too stressful for her to try to read anything we wrote as she cannot see well, or for her to get any staff people to take the time to read to her. Because Jim had always been the one to read our messages to her, it was painful for her to have anyone else read them. So, from that time on, BooBoo kept up her loyal communications whenever Auntie EM was on the telephone talking to Gennie.

I have to admit that with Jim gone, my affections turned to Kats. I could hardly wait for him to come over to visit. And Auntie EM’s son, Xavier came to visit and we became good friends too. We knew that we would never see our Jim and Gennie again. We knew we would always be with our Auntie EM, her little “witch cat” (only kidding) and our wonderful Kats. But we are not in our first lifetime. Getting closer to that ninth life all the time. And, we have enough experience under our fur to understand that life is full of changes, nothing remains the same, and there are new adventures to be accomplished.

Please note: Beau and BooBoo left us a year or so after this was written. I guess Jim and Gennie were calling them home.

Nov 19, 2009

I always thought a particularly elderly female cat was a Dowager Queen!

Are you a CAT LOVER?

an abnormal love of cats.
a lover of cats. Also called felinophile, philofelist, philogalist.
an abnormal fear of cats. Also called felinophobia.
an excessive fondness for cats.
an abnormal fear of cats.
1. a cat, particularly an old female cat.
2. a bad-tempered old woman.
British dialect, the young of an animal, especially a kitten or young cat.
British dialect, a cat or hare. Also spelled mawkin.

Nov 18, 2009

Eight Months Today

Keli  lived with me nearly twenty years.

Together, we went through a divorce, a tornado, my son growing up, a serious illness, moving 2,000 miles to California in an old station wagon, a couple of mild earthquakes, and falling in love with a good man.

I don't know who loved him more. Me? or Keli? I wasn't the one throwing myself at his feet and rolling over to have my belly rubbed whenever he arrived. How could he resist her? How could I not share him with her? After all, Keli was the Queen, and I, but her devoted subject.

My beloved Keli, my dearest friend, and kitty soul-mate died March 18, 2009.  It has been eight months and even though I have adopted three cats since then, I still miss her.

Nov 17, 2009

Bambi loves her sheepskin. She's nearly two years old.
(her birthday is the day before Christmas)
She kneads her sheepskin and tenderly licks it like it is a kitten.
Cats do the strangest things. But, I'm sure they think the same of humans.

Picture was taken by cell phone.

Nov 13, 2009

Mickey the Tough Guy Cat

My cat, Mickey, was a bigger snob than Morris. When I reach out to pet him he always slinked away without so much as a glance in my direction, proceeding to lick his fur as though I’ve contaminated him. But, if I was sick, he'd lurch onto my bed. He had to lurch. He was a really big cat! Then he would decide choose the very spot on my body that troubled me the most and begin kneading "his" pillow to lie upon. I couldn't always tolerate it but usually forced myself. After all, Mickey, the snob, the guy who slunk away from my touch, was actually having something to do with me.

It's odd how he acted, but when he landed on my "spot" and began kneading me, I became aware that a healing process was occurring. I can only hope he got something from me as well. He didn't seem to need my pets. My goodness we must have had some Karma built up to have such a love-hate relationship! I loved him. He hated me. Or sometimes it seemed

It wasn't always that way. There was a time when he was younger, and allowed to freely roam the redwood groves of Northern California when we lived there. We seemed to have a special affinity for one another. It was at that time, I remember in particular, a vivid dream, where I was a furry creature. I was a cat and very proud of myself as I wandered among the trees, and grasses. I came to a fence and leaped to the top of it to see what was on the other side.

Lo and behold! A picnic table with curious objects on it that smelled tantalizingly of food. I jumped down upon it and began snooping. when one hell of a huge dog appeared from nowhere, nearly swallowing me whole. I bolted in mid-air aiming for the safety of the fence with “jaws” too close behind me.

I awoke to find Mickey leaping onto the bed looking wild eyed, and wanting to be petted until he purre

Nov 11, 2009

Oh, My Darling (1991)

Written by Elizabeth

Sitting there reading, suddenly, I think of her. Glancing across the room, I notice her beautiful eyes staring back at me. Did she break her reverie the same moment I did? Or, did she bore a hole into my brain the last ten minutes to impress my mind to think of her just then? I smile. She winks. I wink back. She winks again. We play this game a lot. Closing both eyes, she stretches her lithe body, and yawns, giving the impression she is bored with me. At the last second she re-opens them to see if I’m still enchanted. Then, petulantly, she sticks her tongue out. I make a similar face. She gets up, comes over to me and sits contentedly in my lap. She’s so enticing! I caress her. I’m so privileged, she chose to spend her life with me.

Some may think she is ordinary, but to me, she’s beautiful. Yes, she is on the puny side, but, courageous, even tough. Her under-slung jaw gives an exotic pouty look, but can never hide her Mona Lisa smile. Some genetic quirk inherited from her mother, gives her a flat nose. No elegant proboscis, that! Yet, her sea-green eyes. Ah! They hypnotize! The quiver ‘neath my hand when I caress her, I know just where to touch to give her pleasure. What a gratifying responsive creature she is. I can’t keep my hands off her. Which may explain her temperamental behaviour. She’s so independent. She only permits me to touch her when she wants it. Doesn’t matter what I want. If she’s not in the mood, forget it! She’ll reach out and smack my hand. Some of my friends think she’s mean to me and I should put her in her place.

I can’t complain though, When I really need her, when I’m sick, she never leaves my side. A devoted nurse; I swear, her very presence is healing! Sometimes I stop breathing momentarily, apnea, they call it. She gives me a gentle nudge until I awaken, airless, gratefully gasping for breath. I hug her to me and thank her once again for being there to watch out for me. She doesn’t hog the bed or steal the covers from me. If I have a rough night, tossing and turning she’ll get up and go sleep somewhere else, so I can have the bed to myself.

She adores my singing voice and stops whatever she is doing to run to me. Especially if I whistle, her favorite song, “Oh, My Darling, Clementine”. Whenever I go out, she is content to stay at home and waits for me ‘til all hours without complaint. No matter what time it is, she’s right there at the door to warmly greet me. Now, That is devotion!

However, she sometimes does insist on going with me. At first, it was a little awkward, but now I’ve grown used to it. As I’m ready to go out the door, she sneaks up behind me and jumps on my shoulder. She maintains her balance while I lock up, proceed down the stairs and out the door, through the parking lot, to get into my car. Other times I just have to head her off before she makes the leap. She understands when I tell her. “Not this time, My Darling. Then, she’ll growl and grumble at me, but, she won’t really be angry.

This beguiling female is my Calico Cat, Kelly.

Nov 10, 2009

I've thought about this for the last few days, whether or not I should make this posting. But, finally came to the decision to do so, as it weighs heavy on my heart.

The other day, when there was a fire in an apartment complex near me I got to thinking about the pet clinic nearby. I worried if they were safe and actually got in my car to go check. There were employees there, and the fire was not close enough to do them harm. But, I wondered if there were pets involved in the apartment fire. Eight families were without homes that night. I know that under the same circumstances I would put my cats  into my car before my purse or family photos or my grandmother's antique vase.

Of course if an owner isn't home when the fire starts and his pets are outside, there isn't much he can do, except hope someone would find the cat and turn them in to a local shelter. If your pets live indoors and you are not home and there is a fire, how would the fire department know to rescue them?  You can put a sign on or near your front door. "In case of emergency, please rescue my 3 cats inside" I have seen stickers that people put in their windows saying this. Give a call to your local fire department and ask what they would do. Do they have any of those stickers? Can they register that you have cats in your home?

All this being said, I just had such an epiphany about it. We make preparations for disaster. Don't we? We put away food, water, medicine and blankets for those times when flood, fire, earthquake, ice storm, etc. occur. We make plans for where the family will go if we can't be in our homes. But, when we are making all those plans, do we include our animals? Not me. the thought hadn't crossed my mind except knowing I would grab my cats and put them in the car first, as I mentioned.

When I put aside canned goods and emergency lights and bandages in the garage, I didn't put away any cat food. In case of a true disaster, my cat will be one of those ending up in the shelters,

Ninja and  Bambi wear collars with ID tags. I cant keep a collar on Spyder because he seems to be double jointed enough that he gets his jaw caught underneath it. I have even tried a harness for him. But he did the same thing. So, if there were an emergency and he got out, I would have to trust that his computer chip would get him back home to me.

Just putting my thoughts on all this out here. Have you thought about your own disaster preparedness? What plans have you made for your pets? Do you have a safe cage or carrier for each pet if you have to evacuate your home? Do you have collars with your phone number on them? Do they have computer chips? Who will take care of them if you are not able to? How will they be kept safe? How will you prove they are yours if they have no ID on them? Call your local shelter and ask a few questions. What are their emergency plans? How long would they keep a stray cat, if that's what they thought yours was? If your cat turned up and had ID on him, how long would they keep him if they couldn't get in touch with you by telephone?

Nov 9, 2009

Claws or No Claws, That Is The Question

Mother Nature created cats, all of them, with claws. Cats need their claws to serve a purpose in their lives. In nature, claws help cats to protect themselves, as well as provide them with food.

Today,  with cats living indoors in protected environments, why would they need claws? Except to tear up the furniture? They certainly haven't learned how to open cans of tuna with their claws, so it seems that cat claws have outgrown their need. 

But, does that give us the right to have them removed? Hmmm... good question? It's kind of like abortions, you know? Who has the right to decide?

Certainly a cat would prefer to keep it's claws. Certainly a person would prefer to keep their sofa in good condition. Sofa or Claws? Which will it be? 

Is it illegal to declaw a cat? Should it be made illegal?


Starting Jan. 1, a California state law will prevent municipalities from banning declawing procedures.

I just took Ninja, Bambi and Spyder in to a local pet shop and had all their nails clipped for an extremely reasonable price. Less than I would pay for a meal if I were to go out for dinner. Well, worth the price. And, yes, just like any good meal, I will be taking them back when the time comes. I can always cook dinner at home, or go out. I can clip cat nails at home, but it is so nice to have someone else do it. I couldn't believe the cats just stood there while someone grabbed a paw and clipped. I have to wrap them up tightly in blankets and .... well you probably know the rest. 

It bothers me to think that the city I live in would pass a law against declawing cats. I know some elderly folks in my neighborhood who wouldn't be able to have a kitty without the declawing. It's a hard decision to make, but like abortion it should not be a decision made by your local city. Besides, if a city passes a law like that, people will just take their cats somewhere else to have them declawed. Oh, that's just like with abortion, too.

L.A. Council committee favors law against declawing cats
Several California cities to look at cat declawing bans this week
Santa Monica moves closer to cat declawing ban

Nov 8, 2009

Fire and Cats

The sirens closed in on the neighborhood. I hear them often, as there must be a fire station somewhere nearby. They most often go on the highway out of town that passes close enough to my neighborhood that it's hard to ignore. "oh there they go again" gets to be a commonplace comment. "I bet it's out there on that curve where all the cars crash".

But not this time. One firetruck, police car, ambulance after the other. Sometimes you can tell the difference between the sirens. They all sound like world war II all over again, and again, and again. From what I see in foreign films, I like European emergency vehicle sounds better.

The first set of sirens began at 6 PM. I noticed because the evening news just began and I turned up the sound on the TV to hear better. Within a few minutes, the cats had all leaped up onto the windowsill looking off toward the northeast. The dogs barked incessantly and more sirens echoed through the area. At 6:10 PM I received a phone call and couldn't pay attention to my caller because new emergency vehicles were arriving. I hung up and went outside to take a look. Scanning the sky, of course the cats were right, the northheast was unnaturally lit up with billowing clouds of smoke. Not our usual evening fog.

Still the sirens! I began to determine just what street it might be located on as I got in the car and began driving a few blocks closer to all the excitement. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this had to be right near my Veterinarian's office. Oh no! What if there are animals in there? I wonder if anyone is there after hours to take care of them. Do they have an evacuation plan in place?

This way: the police cars blocking the street, I went a few blocks away and headed inwards. Nope, more flashing red lights block the way. So I turned back and went southwest to come about from the other side of the main street where the Vets office was located. That side was clear. I pulled into the parking lot and could clearly see over the fence that the apartment complex next door was the source of the fire. Two vet office employees were standing outside. We talked for a while, and I went home, relieved the animals were okay.

Five hours later, the news made some comments about the fire. Fire personnel had come in from four other communities to help put this fire out. Eight families were removed from their homes and provided temporary assistance from the red cross. Two apartments are totally burned out. The other six families might be able to return, but who knows what the smoke damage is? The fire started from a mother turning on her stove to start cooking a meal. Thinking she had the stove on low heat, she decided to go to the corner store to purchase some ingredient for the meal. Unfortunately, the stove was not on low heat. Her daughter and husband were at home in the upstairs, and luckily escaped the fire alive.  It was learned by the fire department that all the 8 apartments involved did not have batteries in their smoke detectors. VERY luck to get out alive. Okay, so that was the report given on the news that night.

A more complete and different set of circumstances are reported here.

Nov 6, 2009

Clementine 1989

This is a continuation of the previous story from Nov 4:

As soon as I found homes for the kittens, I took Magic to be neutered and planned on getting Gypsy spayed the following month. But the money didn’t come fast enough and she went into heat. Even tho’ Magic was neutered he tried everything he did before. But it was not enough for Gypsy. A cat in heat can demand a lot of attention and yeowl a lot. When we were not at home, I put her in the basement. But, was dismayed to discover her outside when I returned.She had climbed through a slim hole beside the plumbing that led into the neighbors side of the basement. (We lived in a duplex) The neighbors dogs barked like crazy as she calmly walked along the furnace flue to gain access to the outdoors. The neighbors, concerned about the ruckus their dogs were causing, opened their cellar door only to have Gypsy fly out. They did not know she was in heat, so they let her outside.

Needless to say, Gypsy was pregnant a second time. I had no idea who the father cat could be. There  was a stray white cat with an orange striped tail in the vicinity and I thought maybe it might be him. Then I had a dream that I had a beautiful calico kitten (red, black and white) that had been born to Gypsy. I felt strongly the dream would come true

The day came and went that she gave birth (Aug 27, 1989). Three healthy kittens were born. There was a black and white, a gray and one that sort of was like a calico, but not like the one in the dream.  That night as I tried to sleep, Gypsy kept coming to me and meowing. I continually got up and went to her box with her, but every thing was fine. Her kittens were okay. The next day I realized that her belly wasn’t as soft as it should be and, in fact, it had a hard little lump in it, I figured another kitten was inside, by Gypsy showed no further signs of labor. Eventually because it was a Sunday, I found a vet clinic on the far side of the city who would agree to see her.  I put her and the kittens in the car and departed.

The vet said there was another kitten in ther,alright. But it was dead. He would give Gypsy a shot to help contract her uterus and if it didnt expel the dead kitten in thrreee hours, she would have to have to be cut open and the dead kitten removed at a terribly high price. As we drove home, I explained to Gypsy that I couldn’t really afford it and so, three hours later she gave birth to the calico kitten in my dream.  I named her after the vet: Kelly. That was probably a pretty dumb thing to do as I have since met many people who have calico cats they have named Kelly or Cally.  Although, secretly, I named her Clementine, because I always sing that song to her.

And that's another story

Nov 4, 2009

Gypsy Magic 1988-9

First, there was lovable Gypsy, also known as Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Born Halloween of ’88, I adopted her on Xavier’s birthday, the thirteenth of December.  Gypsy had thick, black-satin fur, and she was built stocky like a brick shit-house; the perfect witch’s cat. 

The woman I got her from wouldn’t let me take her unless I took her sister too. Different as night and day, they definitely were not twins. Raven, also known as She, of Whom Hell Hath No Fury,  was a black cat, too. Sleek, slim and pointy, as though descended from a Siamese, she was the meanest cat in the whole wide world!  If you tried to pet her or pick her up, she growled and swatted at your hand. Haughty, beautiful, and hateful, the evil queen in Disney’s Snow White movie had nothing on her. She was unmercifully cruel with her sister. 

Obviously Gypsy became my favorite, but Raven wouldn’t  let her near me. If I paid any attention to her, Raven would corner Gypsy and growl at her.  I figured they would have to work it out their dominance issues, and at first, didn’t interfere. But I grew tired of Raven’s nastiness and decided to lean things more in Gypsy’s favor, so that she would become the Alpha female. I began feeding her lots of extra food. Since she was more muscluar, I thought she would simply grow bigger and stronger than Raven and it would just happen by default. I also  got Raven neutered, with the plan to have Gypsy done later. 

Shortly after that Raven decided not to stay with us anymore. Or on a cosmic level, that is the way one could look at it.

One lovely spring day, as she sat in the bedroom window looking out the screen, the window suddenly fell shut. It happened so fast, I couldn’t save her. Caught between the closed window and the screen, she clawed through that screen in a flash and was gone.  Who knows where? We never saw her again. Perhaps adopted by some unsuspecting souls in the neighborhood, she became the bane of their existence.  It was almost a case of Good Riddance.  I never before had a cat that treated me as though she personally despised me.

I couldn’t just let her go unsought, though.  I did miss her!  So, I made up some posters and plastered them all over the neighborhood.  LOST, BLACK CAT, YELLOW EYES, ANSWERS TO RAVEN (etc.).  About the time I gave up on ever seeing her again, a little old lady called me on the phone in response to our ad campaign.  She said her son had found my cat.

“I’m pretty sure she is yours based on the description in your flyer, about six months old, female; looks like she might have some Siamese in her. That last was not something I had mentioned in the ads.

“Great!” I said, “If you’ll give me directions to your place, I’ll be right over to take her home.

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” She said. “My son will bring the kitty to your place.  He’s already got her out in his car.” We live on Sylvania drive, not far from you. The way she described her neighborhood, I wasn't sure I could find it, anyway. It was getting dark out and I wasn’t feeling like driving through unfamiliar territory. Her street name seemed so unfamiliar to me. I wondered how Raven got there. So, I gladly gave her instructions to our apartment.  

A short time later her Sonny-boy arrived.  A linebacker for any NFL football team would never have gotten past this guy!  He was BIG!  There,  contentedly purring, nestled in his huge ham-hock arms was my little black shiny Raven.

                “Gosh!  She looks so tiny!  She must have lost weight.” as I gathered her into my welcoming embrace.  “Thanks so much for bringing her home!.  I can’t believe she’s actually purring!”  I was thrilled that she seemed so glad to see me. Maybe her sojourn in the outside world had taught her to appreciate us and coming home. I knew Gypsy was now bigger than her sister and the Top Cat problem would be solved. Maybe we could settle down into a peaceful cat household.

I came back into the living room and with a happy smile, announced to my family,  “Look!  I’ve got Raven!”
My husband glanced up and said, “That’s not Raven!”

“Of course, it is” I responded, a little surprised at his attitude.

“No!” He stated, “That cat can’t be Raven.  It’s letting you hold it without trying to rip your face off! Raven never purred before,either! And...” He added,”that cat is just too small to be Raven.”

I began to think he was right. Just then, Gypsy, who had been enjoying her freedom ever since her sister’s disappearance, came traipsing happily into the room.  The kitty in my arms suddenly leaped down to greet her, nose to nose.  No growling or spitting occurred. That made me really suspicious.

“Besides,” with a rueful grin, he said “That kitty is a boy!”

The obvious signs of masculinity swung beneath the tail.  “How could I have been so stupid as to not check that? We’ve been duped!” I shreiked, ran to the door and looked out on the empty parking lot. The Hulk had gone!

That’s how Magic came into our lives. That night he slept with Gypsy on the pillow by my head. He was even more lovable than Gypsy and they adored each other. Magic was sleek and long and tall.  He was the Abe Lincoln of cats!  When he stretched himself out, he could reach the top of the kitchen counter and watch me chop onions on my cutting board.  He was the sweetest cat there ever was!  I think we got a good trade.

After that, Gypsy decided to become the grouchy one and wouldn’t let people pick her up without growling at them. But I knew she was faking it, as she would also purr, at the same time. She loved to be petted and taken for rides in the car. We often stopped at the Burger King to buy french fries for her. She sat on my shoulder by the front window as I ordered and paid for the french fries. Then, when they were handed into us, she would greedily try to swipe them out of my hand. This always gave the Burger King employee a laugh.

Gypsy had big round golden eyes that reminded me of the old-fashioned head lamps on locomotives. Magic’s eyes were a deep orange. As they grew older, their eyes began to change color until they were indistinguishible. Gypsy had a full round head. Magic’s head was long and triangular.  Between the two of them, they produced five adorable little copies of themselves.  I found homes for them all. Magic was the perfect Daddy Cat.  He got right into the box with Gypsy and bathed the kittens every opportunity he could. Gypsy, like most new mother’s seemed to appreciate the father’s participation. She was a gentle momcat. When she began to wean her kittens, Magic let them nurse on him. I mean literally, nurse on his tiny little male nipples.

Nov 2, 2009

PINKY AND STINKY 1956 to 1969

Today's blog is written by Elizabeth

Scout lived in the home of the Dominguez family. She was an unusual cat, basically white with great orange-red splotches splashed over her body. Roger, Wendy, and I had gone over to Karen’s house one day to visit. Karen’s mother impressed us with her story-telling abilities. She was a huge woman with flashing black eyes, dark skin and long wavy flowing, heavily silver-streaked black hair. We were sure she was a witch. She giggled and cackled appropriately when she caught on to our suspicions. She also thrilled us by showing us the newborn kittens that Scout had presented her in one of her file cabinet drawers. We fell in love with the “pink” twins.

When it came time for the kittens to have a home, I was hard pressed to decide on just one. Since Dad was not fond of cats, bringing a furry critter home would be touchy. I brazenly brought “Pinky” home and hid him in my room. We were all pretty ecstatic about him. Even Mom readily accepted Pinky, but warned us that Dad wasn’t going to be happy about it. He wasn’t. But, he didn’t insist that we return Pinky. Maybe he let us keep him because Pinky was the nickname given to Dad’s brother, Oliver, back in their high school days. Maybe, because he couldn’t face the revolt we kid’s hinted at producing.

So, Pinky stayed and became the center of our adoration. A week later, I couldn’t stand it anymore and went back over to Karen’s house to fetch Pinky’s other half. We promptly named him, “Stinky”, although both kitties could have gone by that name at times!

We spent the next week carefully hiding one kitten in the bedroom while the other one came out to eat, use the litter box, and play. Mom was the first to catch on and just laughed at our conniving cleverness. She also kept a promise not to tell Dad. But, we grew careless and didn’t discover our mistake until we heard Dad’s voice booming.

"Wha....? TWO CATS!!”

We all froze and glanced guiltily at one another. There was a certain tone to Dad’s voice that made the word, cat, come out sounding as though it meant a slimy thing crawling out from under a rock.

I began talking fast as I could, as the kittens were quickly grabbed up and held cuddled tightly in Roger and Wendy’s arms. I kept trying to talk convincingly, ‘til I realized the big teardrops forming in my little sister’s eyes could have more sway than anything I could say. So, I signaled her to come over to be with me in front of Dad. She picked up my cue and as she looked up at Daddy with her big blue brimming eyes, I played my card, in my most convincing wheedle.

“Please! Can’t we keep them both?

Of course Dad caved in. Pinky and Stinky became regular members of our household.
A few years later, we were supposed to be helping clean up the yard. Half-heartedly I got out the rake, then left it lying in the grass as I noticed the picnic chest which had been left out in the yard under a bush. I opened it only to discover Pinky, asleep forever, inside. Suddenly a vision of my little brother locking the cat inside the picnic cooler formed in my mind as clear as watching a movie. And I firmly believed that I knew exactly what had happened.

I turned on him, shouting, “Murderer!” 

Roger stood facing me innocently widening his eyes refusing to admit having any knowledge of what happened to Pinky. I knew he was not telling the truth. Grief and rage overtook me as I threatened to force a confession out of him. I picked up the rake, shaking it menacingly in his face. No amount of denial on his part could remove the certainty from my mind that Roger had been responsible for Pinky’s demise. Then, I chased him with the rake, promising to smash his brain in for “killing MY cat”. We ran in and out of the yard and house. I’m sure we worried the neighbors. Roger was sufficiently wily and swift. I never got much chance to do serious damage. But, I’m sure the experience was doubly traumatic for him. To discover the consequences of his actions resulting in the death of our beloved Pinky was sad enough, without having his big sister turn into a screaming harridan.

As time passed, I learned to stop muttering, “cat killer” in my little brother’s ear every time I went near him and eventually stopped shooting arrows at him with my eyes. Nonetheless, he continued to deny having been responsible and I continued to see the picture in my mind as clearly as if I had been present. 

An uneasy peace settled between us as the years went by. I eventually forgot my anger and, as a young adult, remembered my cruelty. I went to Roger to apologize for abusing him so unmercifully for the unfortunate death of Pinky. He, in turn, was free to confess to me that, yes, he had been the one who innocently closed the lid upon finding Pinky snoozing within. It had not occurred to him that it would cause any harm.

After all, it had not previously caused any harm the time he had put Pinky inside the birdcage with Pretty-boy, our parakeet, and then put the cage inside the refrigerator and shut the door. It was only luck that I discovered them in enough time. Pinky had not been so fortunate and I had not been so swift the second time.

If we could live the experience over again, I wish that I could have been able to allow myself to grieve properly. I wish that, as a family, we all could have been able to comfort each other in our loss. At the time, we didn’t know how. But, now, when I think about it. I replay the experience in my mind two ways.

First, we discover Pinky and our quick thinking big brother, Dave, bravely resuscitates him, as we all gratefully cheer, hug one another, pet the cat, and learn to be more careful.
Second, Pinky is beyond our help and we all cry and hold each other for comfort and plan a quiet ceremonial for Pinky. Roger and I understand each other, (beyond our years), and we all heal ourselves of our loss.

But, of course, those scenarios are only another fantasy in my wistful mind. Speaking of which, it was uncanny, Roger told me, that what I saw in my mind’s eye so many years ago when Pinky died was exactly the way it happened.

What about Stinky? One may wonder. Stinky didn’t appear to miss his pal, twin, and lifelong playmate much. After all, he gained the total undivided attention of an appreciative family of six. Yes, Dad did come around a bit where cats were concerned. 

Stinky was last seen the winter I was fourteen, one evening crossing the ice at Eighteen Mile Creek near Roosevelt Beach when we lived in Wilson, New York. Since he was a full-fledged gentleman cat, he was off on an amorous adventure. I hope he got to meet up with the lady cat of his dreams that night before the ice-melt came upon him by sunrise.