Animals are such agreeable friends ― they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~ George Eliot
Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923, Swiss) was an Art Nouveau print maker, illustrator, painter and sculptor best known for his prolific portfolio of cat depictions.
Living in Montmartre allowed him to meet the leading artists and writers of the day who often frequented the club Chat Noir.
In Paris he began to illustrate various magazines and books by Guy de Maupassant and Anatole Frances.
His love of cats and their world inspired marvelous artwork circling the aloof creature, much to our enjoyment.More of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen‘s work can be found across the Internet, includinghttps://www.thegreatcat.org/the-cat-in-art-and-photos-2/cats-in-art-20th-century/theophile-alexandre-steinlen-1859-1923-swiss/.
St. Petersburg-based artist Vladimir Rumyantsev was born in 1957 in Cherepovets, Russia.
Vladimir paints mainly in watercolor, and his works are full of fun. He has become popular for his “St. Petersburg cats.”
His paintings are well-known and appreciated all over Russia, and many of them found their place in museums across Europe, USA, Britain and other countries.
The specialty of his works is the humorous representation of cats’ lives, often in human roles, which still makes them loved pets.
Perhaps one of his cats are based on yours!
Vladimir Rumyantsev‘s work can be seen around the Internet.
My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.
I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)
Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)
Chemistry Cat, also known as Science Cat, is a series of puns and science jokes appearing as captions around a cat behind some chemistry glassware wearing black rimmed glasses and a red bow tie.
While the source of the image remains a mystery, it is likely a stock photograph, possibly of Russian origin.
This wonderfully serious cat with a quick wit has changed the face of Chemistry.
Chemistry Cat puts a smile on scientists and non-scientists alike.
And isn’t that the purpose of Art?
To bring enjoyment and a smile into your life?
My life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve taken off to North Carolina and visited my bff and a city that was fun and busy and full of Southern charm, went to work for two days, then took off to Northern Wisconsin and noshed and laughed and cackled with friends while we hid from the rain.
It seems everyone had fun these past few weeks except for one.
Do you ever get punished by your pets for going away? I have two cats, a toughy, lovey boy tuxedo named Tom, and a once-tiny-now-balloony girl Mysty.
Tom could care less when I come and go. He sleeps with whomever is around, including sometimes the dogs. Mysty is another story.
Everytime I go away and then return she makes eye contact, barely acknowledging my return, then gives me the cold shoulder for the day.
I didn’t think cats held grudges. But this one does.
When I’m home she’s on my computer, twisting her cute little head sideways, insisting on pets. She sleeps by my head, climbs all over me when I watch TV, all that cute little cat stuff.
But when I’ve been gone a few days — worse, when the whole family has been away and the cats have been left alone — well, hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.
Of course, things are back to normal after a long day. I don’t think cats have that long of a memory span, and besides, they want to be fed. And pet. But for those few first hours, I swear my cat pouts and looks forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where her master momma stayed home and played with her every day.
Maybe that’s why I didn’t leave my first born until he was 2 or 3. Just think of the dramatic sigh a toddler would make, looking forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where his momma stayed home and played with him every day.
That is, until grandma or grandpa gave him popcorn or a Butterfinger or took him to the park. Which was instantly after I drove away.
Maybe I should offer a Butterfinger to Mysty…
I think of myself as an (pretty much) independent person; loving, kind, funny, quirky, smart (in different ways). Self confidence was a long time in coming, but now that I’m a wee bit older, it is finally beginning to be a way of life.
Imagine my chagrin, then, when my husband told me that my cats are training ME!
For all you cat lovers out there (and I know there’s alot), cats are independent, affectionate, and vocal. Vocal to the point of nagging, sometimes.
Such is the case of my two darlings…Tom and Mysty.
Mysty is one of those squirrel-furred types who is as big as Dick Butkus. Tom is a gray and white tuxedo with a smaller girth but solid as a punching bag.
My hubby feeds them when he comes home from work (4 a.m.) and before I get home from work (4 p.m.) It obviously is not often enough, though, according to my dears, because they follow me and meow and scream and needle me from the time hubby leaves the house until I go to bed.
I once suggested hubby didn’t feed them enough at mealtime. His response was an incredulous eyeball popper. He, indeed, fed them plenty at both meals.
Well, not according to Tom and Mysty.
That’s when he told me that the cats are conditioning me. Training me to give them tidbits all night long.
Not me, I assured him. He MUST not be feeding them enough!
Hubby showed me how much food each should be getting each day, and how he slips a tad bit more into their bowls. It’s their eating habits that are out of hand when I’m around.
Well, when you are home alone evening after evening, putzing with laundry and dishes and working on your computer, and every time you stand up, they come meowing, and follow you into the kitchen and bathroom still meowing, well, it sounds like they are starving to me.
So I give them itsy bitsy extras just to shut them up.
I suppose it’s my fault that Mysty is Tanky and Tom is Wide Buff. They chase each other around the house at night all the time, so I figured they were burning off some of those calories.
Tom gets kidney problems now and then, so the vet has me change to canned food now and then. This change turns him into a cannibal and Mysty into a scavenger. Tom’s habit is eating three or four bites, then play, sleep, then come back for the rest.
Mysty’s habit is devour everything in sight.
Hubby says I should ignore them when they meow at me. That they know what gets to me and are controlling me.
I say pfffish…no one controls me. I am my own person.
Of course, it’s always easy to boast my bravado when I’m sitting at a computer miles away from the choir…and I hear n.u.t.i.n…..
I thought about this blog this morning on the way to work. I was listening to the results of the New Hampshire primary, and wondered how our political future was going to turn out.
One thing led to another, and in my own wandering mind, I thought of putting out there some metaphysical, ethereal, weird thoughts that have no answers. Take away all political bias, all psychological jumble, and just wonder….
THAT would be the answer to all answers…
I know this doesn’t apply to my readers, but get the message out:
DON’T HURT ANY BLACK CATS THIS HALLOWEEN! IF YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE PLANNING SOMETHING NASTY, CALL THE POLICE!! THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS CATS TURNING INTO WITCHES AND VICE VERSA. Cats can’t help the color of their fur, no more than people their skin.
Now that that’s over…
All Hallow’s Eve.
That magical time of the year that embraces too much candy, Midwest rain, and follow-up visits to the dentist. How can you not love a day like that?
According to http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween, Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Okay, I see where the death part comes in. Cold weather, not much fire, working in the fields 18 hours a day — not a happy recipe for long life.
But then empty heads turned to black cats and witches and things they couldn’t explain. Black cats used to rule. They were held in high esteem in early Egyptian times, dating back as far as 3000 BC. I mean, who doesn’t know Bastet?
It wasn’t until the middle-ages in Europe that the black cat’s rock star status started to go downhill as they began to be associated with so-called witches. The hysteria of witches practicing black magic had just hit Europe and alley cats were often cared for and fed by the poor lonely old ladies (funny how some things never change) later accused of witchery.
So all this nonsense of sacrificing black cats and dark magic and hibbery jibbery came from the fear of cat ladies. Can you imagine? Imagination is one thing, nonsense is another.
I say let’s take this ghostly, spooky, totally Americanized holiday and bring it back to its ancient roots in Egypt. You don’t have to like cats to respect them. Worship you cat. At least let him sit and type with you on your laptop. Embrace the millennium in which you exist and embrace life. Get rid of the fear of the hokus pokus associated with this really delightful celebration of candy and pumpkin pie and the Monster Mash. And knock the nonsense out of anyone who says different.
They say the border between worlds is thinnest at Samhain. I’m going to go out and check the communication between worlds tomorrow night. Who knows? Maybe my mom will stop by. Or dad. Or my dog Rennie. Maybe I can catch up on the gossip from the other side. Who’s hanging with who. Who’s doing the Irish Jig on the table and who’s sleeping under it. Who’s got the best bonies in the neighborhood. Which cat is hangin’ with which dog.
There’s always a story somewhere. Whether you’re looking for it or not, it’s there, waiting for you. Find one this Halloween. Write it. Live it. Sing it.
Who knows — maybe your black cat will sing with you!
It was a beautiful Summer morning. Cool breeze, bright sunshine, quiet countryside. I take the backroads to work; little if any traffic, cornfields and open fields and barns and houses on hills in the distance. Calming. Nourishing.
So I’m driving to work and I ZOOM! around this cute little ruby red car (must have been a Chrysler…great paint color), saying to myself (and them through the ethereal)…if I didn’t have to get to work on time, I’d be you.
Moving at the speed of light isn’t my thing. If you know me at all, you know it takes a lot to get me zinging at all. I’m usually not late for work — but I usually have more than 2 hours of sleep, too.
Clicking off on my fingers the reasons I might have insomnia (husband gets home at 3:30am; ; overworked at work; cats and dogs sleeping in the bed)…What?? Cats and Dogs sleeping in the bed?!?
As I get older I find that I’m really not as much a cat or dog person as I once was. Sure, they’re cute. Sure, they’re loving and affectionate and independent. They are also a pain in the butt at night. Can’t leave the dogs (3) out to wander through the house because they’ll knock down the babygates in the kitchen and eat whatever is on the counter. Can’t leave the dogs out to wander at night because they will bark like idiots at 3:30 a.m. and wake up the kindergardener (and you don’t want a kindergardener up and crabby at 4 in the morning). Cat’s barred at the door will meow relentlessly every 15 minutes until you let them into the bedroom because, hey — they want to cuddle.
It would be one thing if the cats would just find a place at the bottom of the bed and just sleep. But, like most cats, one has to climb up by my neck, lay on my shoulder, put her arm around my neck, lick my face (ewww) every now and then, and not allow me to turn over without turning the world upside down.
I have no room in a king-sized bed.
I’m not a pet-on-the-bed kinda girl. It’s just become easier than waking up every hour or two because someone is in the garbage or meowing their heads off or scratching at the door or watching TV.
Looking back on that little ruby car, they were just meandering along the road, taking their time, breathing in the fresh air and quiet countryside. (At least that seems like what they were doing). There were no (obvious) deadlines, bosses upset, burned-out co-workers, or garbage picking dogs in their vicinity. Just them…and the morning…and driving 25 mph.
There’s no need telling you that stress is the hellion of the millenium. You used to be able to work 40 years someplace and get a gold watch for your time. Now you’re doing the work of two people, getting barely paid for one, and praying downsizing goes to the next company over. We push ourselves way too hard — and can’t help it. It’s move forward or move out.
I’m tired of working that hard. I’m tired of worrying if I’ll get my work done on time or if I’ll learn the newest version of some program. And the older I get, the more ridiculous the whole working world seems.
Believe me — I appreciate Technology. Agriculture. Science. But I keep thinking we’re paying an awful high price for the privilege. You don’t have a choice. You want TV: you have to work. You want to buy groceries: you have to work. You want to buy your grandbaby a birthday gift: you have to work.
America is such a hurry-up culture. Do it now, do it fast, move on over if you can’t handle it. As much as I preach a “stop and smell the roses” kind of life, it’s not always feasible. Not when someone is on your tail pushing you faster and faster.
It’s hard to find the middle ground. The middle ground between sleeping in and sleeping at all. Between mowing your lawn and sitting in a chair on it. Keeping pets and living with pets. But we all have to do it if we are to keep our sanity.
Which brings me back to my original thought. Cats and dogs on the bed. Mass hysteria — or mass sleep hypnosis?
Maybe I’ll start eyeballing the comfy sofa downstairs.
I want to start this off by saying how lucky — and I mean lucky — I am to have my oldest son, his pregnant wife, and my 4-year-old grandbaby living with us for a few months. I will never have this opportunity again, so I don’t want to blow it.
Having said that, I have found that when family stays with you (even if it’s for a week or two), the rules as a Granny change. I find I’m not as freebird-ish as I want to be. I have learned that, much to MY chagrin, you have to be respectful of the parents’ wishes, thoughts, and actions.
So for you other present or future grannies and grandpas, here are some rules you should think about.
1. Bed Time is Bed Time.
Oh, you may be able to squeeze an extra hour out on the weekends, but during the week, there is no watching TV in bed with Granny while eating an ice cream bar or jumping on the bed with the dogs. They need to calm down before sleep time. (So do you!)
2. Bed Time Snacks Are Different.
No more chips and soda before bed; no more cheese sticks and slices of salami, no more Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch cocktails. Pull that apple out from the back of the frig shelf, or pour a bowl of cereal. Act responsible. (Leave the ice cream bars for before YOU go to bed..)
3. Ask your Mom/Dad
My grandson used to come over and get just about anything he wanted any time he wanted. Now that he’s under closer supervision, I can’t sneak him string cheese or pretzels and peanut butter instead of dinner. I find myself saying, “Ask your Mother.” I feel like I’m shirking my Granny duties, but it’s better if the stomach aches come from them, not me.
4. Kids and Pets
I tend to yell at my 3 stupid dogs a lot. I now have to clean up my language and not sound like a truck driver every time the dog pees or poops inside or wraps the leash around my ankle. My grandbaby adds to the furor by picking up my cats around the neck and parading around with them. When the cats have finally had enough, he takes it personally and starts to antagonize them. My language AND my reprimands are a little stronger now days. Not the Granny Way.
5. Play Age-Approriate Games
Teaching a grandbaby how to use an axe to cut the string on firewood or mowing the lawn with a riding tractor (although grandpa rode on the tractor too) is not what a mother wants to hear. I am always honest with her — much to HER chagrin. While riding down the little hill on a Big Wheels looks as scary as a runaway train, a vigilant grandparent will be there every step of the way. Trust me — past times like coloring and playing with cars don’t hold a candle to a big squirt gun fight.
6. Give your kids and grandkids space.
It’s fairly easy to trip over each other in one household. Fortunately my husband is gone in the evening and I’m gone during the day, so our 25 minutes of shared daylight doesn’t get in anyone’s way. But once grandpa is gone and I’m home alone with everybody, I tend to start feeling like a sticky note. I believe that evening times are Dad and Mom times, with a little Granny sprinkled in now and then for color. I usually wind up going into my room and writing/watch TV/fold laundry anyway, giving them plenty of time to cuddle as a threesome and talk about me if they want.
7. No Hands.
And who better to teach a 4-year-old no hands on the roller coaster? Momma and I get sick just looking at them; then there’s Grandpa. And Dad. But Grandpa is the Instigator who looks fear in the eye and laughs at it. (He has a great laugh). If trying something off-center, try and pull one of the parents into it. It’s easier in the long run.
8. Be honest.
Grannies are always honest…it just doesn’t always seem like it. Most times we are relegated to seeing our grandkids every other weekend, or, sadly, every month or every year. We have to make the most of our time together; after all, we don’t want our grandkids to forget about us once we’re gone. That’s why I tell my grandbaby (and my kids, but to a lesser degree), how much I love them, how much I miss them when they’re gone, how much I can’t wait to see them the next time. We plan things that might not come to fruition, but it’s the fun and love in planning that makes the difference. I wear my love on my sleeve. And don’t regret the shredded mess at all.
We’re going to have another addition to our family in a few months. I have found as a mother myself that it’s easier to let go (to grandparents) by the time the second one comes along. Parents realize that their parents aren’t one step from the looney bin, they’re not Charles Manson followers, and the craziness that occurs is more in the mind than in reality.
Soon we will have TWO kids to spoil. My kids won’t be living with us by then.
Momma — watch out. Granny’s coming —
You see, I was walking down the tractor trail along this huge, long cornfield. It happened that sunset and moonrise were at the same time that night, and with MR — I mean Mercury Retrograde (I can say it now) in full swing, I was prepared for anything.
Or so I thought.
As the huge moon crested over a barn in the far distance (a real Kodak moment), I started to hear strange sounds from the center of the cornfield. Now, mind you, the corn is really only stubble; 4-5 inches max. So I should have noticed something strange down the row from the get-go. But you know me — into the Goddess “thing” and blah blah blah-ing to the moon about writing and getting published and all that, I just didn’t notice.
I didn’t notice a gathering of moving things dancing in a circle.
Now, you know me. I’m more pretzel than logic, and my creativity takes me to places I’ve never been before. But I was standing on a dirt road all by myself a quarter mile from home, so I instantly switched to my logic gear (also known as survival mode).
I stood very still, trying to figure out what the commotion was. If it was a band of gypsies or satan worshipers, I was gonna take off faster than Dale Earnhardt. But the “gathering” wasn’t tall at all. Not like human beings. Not even tall enough to be kids.
No — the noise was coming from something no bigger than a cat.
Wolves, I thought. Coyotes. Eating, devouring their prey. Howling and growling and sacrificing to the Strawberry Moon. I felt adrenelin flush my whole body. Yet I had to know. Curiosity was suddenly my deadly companion. So C and I tip-toed closer to the group making all the noise.
All I could hear was, “Mrrrro brrrreeerrr Mrrrrro! Mrrrrro breeerrrr Mrrrro!” Over and over. Chanting. A mantra. Surely they were calling up the spirits of the Strawberry! I would be a gonner if I wandered any closer. But, you know me. I couldn’t resist.
Louder and louder they chanted. The moon kept rising, bigger, fuller, flushed with red, not unlike the Strawberry it was named after. The cold wind blew around me, bringing goosebumps to my under-dressed body. But the chanting got louder and louder.
What in the #($*#@ was going on?
Suddenly the chanting reached its pinnacle, and all in one voice they screamed, “MRRRRO BEEERRRRZZZ MRRRROOOOO!” The moon shook, the wind swirled in a final tornado, and suddenly 7 or 8 cats ran off into the night!
They had been dancing around something half buried between two corn stubs. I was terrified. But I had wandered this far — what could it have been?? Stumbling over the last few rows of corn, smashing a stalk or two (sorry, farmer John), I saw what the commotion had been about.
Half buried in the dirt was a little dark blue football, a big orange “C” facing the Strawberry Moon that now had turned orangy itself. And I knew.
Go Bears Go.
The Chicago Bears needed all the help they could get…
(I told you there was a story there somewhere….)
I had a case of the crabbies today, par for most who have to work a whole week after only have worked 4 days the week before and none the week before that. It seemed a number of people I encountered today were a bit “off” as well. I would blame it on MR (can’t say…I promised), but I think it’s just a case of I-wanna-be-anywhere-but-at-work syndrome.
Tonight is/was the Strawberry Moon. You’ve undoubtedly have heard of it — a full moon, close to Earth, makes for one giant strawberry in the sky. So me and my adventurous self took a walk down a wooded path to the back gate which faces a huge corn field, and waited for the moon to appear.
I always think myself a bit weird to begin with, but pacing up and down the tractor road along side newly sprouted corn, waiting for a moon that could show up anywhere across the horizon was plenty weird, too. I’ve waited for moonrise before — I even blogged about one incident (Moonlight at Sunset, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-4e, if you want to go back that far) eleventy twenty nine years ago (that’s how my grandson counts).
There was a tractor plowing/planting in the field, and I’m sure he caught sight of me once or twice. I didn’t want to have to explain what I was doing tiptoeing around his field (even though he’s a good guy and wouldn’t mind), so I occasionally ducked in the hedgerow lining the path. What a weirdo, too.
But all my weirdness was well worth it when the moon rose. It was indeed a strawberry color, huge and ripe and round and lovely to behold. It was at that moment that the crabbys disappeared…who could hold a grudge against the world with something so awesome in the night sky?
It’s these moments that make me feel so small, yet so immense. If there is no heaven, I want to be able to absorb these cosmic moments as often as I can. For nothing is as holy as a phenomenon in space.
I used to be an astronomy buff; I took classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and even bought a telescope. My scientific side melded with my fantasy side, and a true appreciation of science fiction was born. I think it’s true for all creative people. Thinking of places you can go, things you can invent, spaces you can fill, all overwhelm the senses. Creativity isn’t pidgeon-holed into science fiction realms — I have seen pottery and jewelry and wire sculpturing that escape all dimensions. And all that creativity makes me wonder — what’s next?
When you see the immensity of the moon, something real and bright and ever changing, how can you hold a grudge with the world? Get out of your house, out of your room, out of your car. Go out and experience the Goddess in her every changing glory. Then bring Her energy into you and let it turn your imagination into reality. Be inspired. Be creative. Be whole. If the moon isn’t your thing, try the sun. Let the warm rays fill you with hope and strength. Or Mother Earth. She’s a phenomenon all unto herself.
Let go of the crabbies. They never helped anyone get anywhere anyway.
Since my thought earlier today was of writing a blog about cats, I leave you with the image above. Cats and Strawberry Moons have the makings of a wonderful story. Or necklace. Or painting.
Don’t you think?
To all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .
As far as us lovers of blab go:
The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.
The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.
The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.
I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?
I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds. You can:
Glance over one’s resume
Count to 8
Delete your Facebook account
Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon
Speed dial Japan
Make a bologna sandwich
So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.
Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.
I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686). Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.
Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.
But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.
I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:
Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.
Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.
They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?
I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.
I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.
You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.
Maybe this is just a middle-aged reaction to thieves in the night. Thieves in the cold, crisp dawn. Thieves in the whisper of the early morn.
Last night I went to watch my grandbaby and his swimming lessons. Came home, set my purse on the sofa end table, loved and pet the dogs and cats, and went to bed. Somewhere in the late night I let them come and sleep with me for a couple of hours. (Mistake number 1). Now, I’m not a sleep-with-the-animals kinda girl, but when I’m overtired and I don’t want to hear the dogs click-click-click across the wood floor, I invite them now and then to sleep on the bed.
Hubby comes home at 4, feeds said cats and dogs, and kicks all animals out of the room, and things are quiet until I get up for work a couple hours later. (Mistake number 2).
I get up this morning to go to work, and look at what I found on the dog’s pillow! My glasses soft case, a bracelet, and my flash drive holder! My first instinct was to blame the dogs…they are big, naughty, lovey chocolate labs. They get into the garbage, run away helter skelter if not watched, and bug me 95% of my waking hours. So who easier to blame for the woes of my domestic tranquility than them?
Later in the day I tell hubby about finding my prized possessions on the dog pillows, and, low and behold, he said it was my cats. My little Tom and my fatty Mysty. I say, “wha?” He says, oh yeah, I hear them playing hockey with things I leave out all the time. Pens, pins, bracelets, all kinds of trinkets find their way off the tables and onto the floor courtesy of my kitties.
Now, it’s only the two of us (humans) in the house; it’s babyproofed when my grandbaby comes to visit, but otherwise it’s a kind of pick-up-when-you-feel-like-it place. I lived a long time to be able to live this way.
Now I find I have to kitty-proof my house. Including zipping my purse closed, it seems.
What ever happened to the carefree days of middle age? Those days when your kids are gone and you are free to walk around in your underwear and drink milk straight from the jug? The days when you are free to leave your purse open without fear of some ransacking animal pulling things out of it and seeing if they bounce? Before you know it they’ll be pulling out my toothbrush and brushing their kitty teeth or using a fork to eat their cat food, ordering cat trinkets on HSN and ordering tuna pizza from Pizza Hut.
Now that I think about it, though, it’s actually kinda funny to picture fat cat digging around in my purse, pushing the lipstick and gum aside, just to find the empty cloth glass case, picking it up with her teeth, pulling it out, shaking it around, and fetching it across the room, leaving it on the dog’s pillows, setting them up for the fall.
I guess she’s not such a dumb cat after all.
My cats also drive me up the proverbial wall.
They do the usual “cat” things…they lay on my laptop when I’m typing, sleep by my head when I’m trying to sleep. But they also make more noise than the Park Street Band. Especially Tom.
Tom is my grey and white tuxedo. He is the friendliest, coolest cat I’ve ever owned. He holds his own against my chocolate lab, along with the two other labs that practically live at my house. He allows my grandson to carry him all around the house, feet dangling near the floor, as his body as long as my grandson is tall. He loves to lay on your lap – anyone’s lap – especially if you are under a blanket.
What’s the problem, then, you ask?
It’s multifold, actually.
First off, his meow is loud and demanding. Not just when he’s hungry, but when he wants a snack. When he wants a bite. When the other cat eats more than her share of breakfast and dinner. He’s not a fat cat – he’s just a slow eater. A bite, a nibble, a nap, another bite. So his eating/lifestyle often leaves his bowl empty, and his meow obnoxious. Relentless. Over the top.
I think Tom must be a vocal kind of cat. For his pestering snacking “meow” doesn’t hold a candle to his…cleaning ritual.
I have never heard a cat be so loud in cleaning himself. Not just a licky here, chewy there. This is a full-blown, groaning, squeaking, icky-sticky ritual. Grunts and groans that would make a sound effects master blush. And he seems to pick the quietest times to take a bath. 2 a.m. 4 a.m. When I just go to bed. An hour before I wake up. If he can’t lick himself, he licks the dog’s head. Unless I close the bedroom door at night, he is there like clockwork. Cuddling, snuggling, licking and yacking and hacking. If I close him out, he and the other cat play tag from one end of the house to the other. I’m doomed no matter which way I turn.
You say maybe he’s got a mineral deficiency. Or needs more water. Or a bath. I am of the belief that he is just one big, happy cat, and when he kicks back and relaxes, he thinks, “Hey! I’m relaxed! Laid back! Let’s get clean!”
My other cat Mysty is the fat cat. I feel bad – I have never overfed either one. It’s just that once she got her plumbing “fixed”, she put on a pound or six. As the joke goes, she never met a meal she didn’t like. Rattle the cat food container and she is all over me like white on rice. So to speak. And once she’s full, she loves to lay and snuggle … on my chest. Ten pounds of kitty makes breathing a little labored. Not that I let her lay around my neck – it’s just that she hasn’t forgotten she used to do that when she was a baby. Three years and ten pounds ago.
Pets are a wonderful thing. Cats and dogs are wonderful companions. They give of themselves 100 percent of the time, wanting nothing more than to be loved in return.
I just wish they’d be a bit more quiet about it.
It was the week before Christmas
And all through the house
The kitties were running
In search of their mouse.
They tore through the kitchen
And under the chair
Then disappeared down the hallway
As if never there
The stockings weren’t hung
I’m nobody’s fool
For all that’d be left
Would be shredded in drool
The doggies were eyeballing
The goodies I baked
They had full intention
of sharing my cake
The tree stood by waiting
For garland and lights
The statues and santas
Were stacked way up tight
Christmas cards were patient
For pen and for stamp
My list just kept growing
There under the lamp
I was cooking, I was cleaning
I was staying up late
Worrying about strudel
And empty Christmas plates
The kitties were wrestling
And howling at night
They were drinking milk from glasses
And causing a fright
Then what to my wondering
eyes should appear
But a Food Network magazine
And a bottle of beer
The recipes flowed
Like snow in the hills
With last minute tips
For stove and for grill
On Candy! On Cookies!
On chocolate pecans!
The holiday planning
Had only begun!
Another beer or two
And I was planning gourmet
Pot-au-feu and remoulades
And salmon pate
After the six pack
The tree decorated itself
The dogs baked a meatloaf
With the elf on the shelf
The cats were all dancing
To Jinglebell Rock
The ornaments were hung
On the dining room clock
The beauty of Christmas
Shown brightly that night
My head did a spinneroonie
But that was all right
The turkey and stuffing
Could wait one more day
I took two more aspirins
And called it a day.
Alright. Sad news first. My yellow labrador Renaissance Faire passed away yesterday. She was 11; a great huntress who was sweet and quirky and always knew when it was 7 p.m. and time for her 7 o’clock B(bonie). I was by her side to help her transition to the land of open fields and T-bone steaks; a daunting task, unnerving to say the least. We buried her under a tree next to my favorite cat Jasmine and my father-in-law’s dog Indy.
(Thanks for the good thoughts, btw)
Now the humorous part.
Here I am, 60 years old, walking through tick-infested grass and doggie mines not yet picked up with bare feet to give Rennie her final, eternal 7 o’clock B. Crying, wiping my snotty nose on my shirt, my mind taking over and remembering all slights and hurts real and imaginary, piling them together on top of my loss, fueling the fire that burned out of control. I was whispering baby doggie talk to the grave, babbling nonsense that only a dog would understand.
To the dog.
Not a child, a family member, friend or distant relative. A dog. Dogs and cats are dogs and cats — lower rungs on the food chain that do such innocuous things as lick their butt or eat other animal’s…well…you get my drift.
How many of you have done this?
I’m not sorry for my over reaction — I can stand back and chuckle at myself. For what is life but knowing who we are? Yet I ask…How do dogs and cats become our 1st or 2nd or 3rd child? And where do they get these…personalities?
I know one person whose cat looks at him and poops right in front of him every time he comes home from a long vacation. Another person’s dog won’t go outside to do her duty when the grass is wet. Another person’s cat talks on the phone along with its owner. My own Rennie had the uncanny ability to know when it was 7 pm no matter where we were and what we were doing. Where do they get these quirks? And why is it us that has to do the adjusting?
I know humans tend to anthropomorphize (give animals human traits). We give them personalities and assume they understand what we are saying. Why else would we talk to them so much? Many stand firm on their belief that animals think and feel and react as humans do. And on many levels that is true. I am not here to debate the validity of such things. What I will say, however, is that it is amazing how one little canine or feline can change your life. They listen without complaining; they don’t hold a grudge when they come to sleep with you at night, and want to be with you all the time. They listen while you go on and on about your crummy day at work or your overbearing mother-in-law or the barking dog down the street.
I’m also not saying that pets are for everyone. Cleaning out kitty litter boxes and scooping up lincoln logs are not for everyone. Often it’s easier to spoil someone else’s dog or cat. Why not? Their love is universal. Their devotion and energy should say something about how the world should work. They don’t care about the color of your skin or how fat you are or what religion tickles your fancy. Their needs are basic — love, food, and pets. Something the world should take note of.
The moral of this little ditty is to just love your pets, or your family’s pets, or the pets at the shelter. Treat your fellow humans that way too, and you’ll never be sorry.
Just make sure you always make time for your 7 o’clock B.