Posts Tagged ‘cats’

As a person who habitually finds cats camped on my doorstep or yard, I have long wondered how they know MY yard–of all the yards in the area–is the ONE to come to. How can they make that decision?
I think I finally figured out the hobo signs that cats scratch on trees as they travel the neighborhoods, leaving clues for the next little furry feline vagabond who wanders along.
In my imagination, I see little claw marks along the bottoms of trees and posts that sort of resemble these figures, left by traveling cats to warn others of good and bad houses along the “kitty hobo trail”.
Dog lives here — use caution
Persons with gun
Great garbage
Even better Food
Lots of Good food
Crazy cat lady lives here
Resident cats already here
Can get a warm bed here
Bad dogs  would somehow feature a cute dog within a circle and slash
Naturally I have adopted a few little furry hoboes, after taking great pains and time to tame them down. Without exception, once they are moved inside, they acclimate within a few days and never look back on their wild wandering days. A couple have remained (years later) suspicious of all humans and visitors, while others have adopted a tolerance of anyone who might want to pat them.
Whatever their origins–feral colony, second generation wild cat, or just homeless waif– I have loved them all and they have all enriched my life in their unique ways.

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Depending on who you are, those words–an observation–is going to bring up different reactions.

Is it said by a pair or group of women berating another women, one they view as a competitor? Is it coming from a bunch of guys sitting around a twelve-pack or pool table, talking about a lady one of the just met? If so, pictures please.

Or are they words thrown out in anger and bitterness about me, either overheard or spat to my face? Ouch! That would really hurt.

The main thing is that to just hear the comment, without a setting or description of who is talking or listening, our minds can run pretty wild with those words.

So the truth is, I was in the shower, lamenting how my cat, Kryshnah, is frequently catching the curtain with her long tail and puling it back as she slinks along the tub’s edge. Kryshnah is lanky and sleek, with that slender tail that hooks everything it seems, especially the shower curtain. She is like a slinky with giraffe legs.

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The pets and I have lived in our new digs for about 2 and a half months now and I am seeing some new personalities emerging, especially in Kryshnah and Taz.

Krysh used to live for the dripping water in our former house. The bathtub faucet stayed at a steady trickle and the kitchen faucet had a fairly decent drip. Kryshnah could usually be found drinking from one or the other. Now, here in the new house, none of the faucets drip. They don’t drain all the best, but a drip you won’t find. Krysh is devastated. She now must make due with the two water bowls I provide. Now primitive.

Le Chat Noir

The other change I see in my darling kitty is her new habit of getting into everything. I have lost count of the times the trash can has been knocked over, she is constantly underfoot as I cook, pestering me to ‘drop’ something. She is forever on the counter, knocking lids off containers or just pushing bottles over.

Today over breakfast I was considering this new behavior from my previously well-behaved girl. Well, in the old house, we lived with the constant threat of invasion from ants. Seemed they were always looking to move inside year round. So consequently I kept everything locked up. Most stuff stayed in the refrigerator. Bread, sugar bowl, anything that had been opened and only partially used. All pasta boxes were resealed in plastic storage bags. Everything and anything had to be protected from the invading insects. That meant it was also protected from Kryshnah. No tantalizing sticks of butter resting on the counter in a faux crystal dish, until now.

And the trash can had to be kept under wraps as well, stashed away under the counter behind closed doors. Moving here, I found it much easier for me to leave it under the counter’s generous overhang. No more struggling to open a cabinet door with gooey hands, I could just drop the mess in the bag and wash off. But having such ease also gave Kryshnah ease to any goodies I might have dumped in. So she searches it, frequently and often.

Now, on to Tazzie. previously, he had two posts of honor. His cage in my work-study where we were literally no more than three feet apart or his perch in the living room where he could see me through three flowing rooms. Short of the bathroom or my bedroom, I was never out of sight of him. Even outside, if I were pulling weeds and such, he could watch from his window perch. His life was pretty good.

Now, due to a new layout, his cage is in the den, which happens to be the room I spend the least mount of time in and his perch is in the work-study where I pretty much live, but it’s clear across the room, behind me. I thought it nice to place him along a wall where he has rows of windows on two sides so he can watch the world go by.

However, should I wander into the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or even the entry or porch, he cannot see me. Oh now! Time to panic! He yells, screams, carries on like the world is ending. Hello, Chicken Little….

He calls my name and squaws, demanding that I ‘Come here’ and screams when I don’t come running. Now, if I am at the stove cooking, there is a 95 % he will get some of whatever I am making. Can he wait quietly, knowing he’ll soon be rewarded? Nope. My entire time at the stove, sink, bathtub or any other place is filled with never-ending yells and moans of clear separation anxiety.

Once I enter the study, he returns to a happy bird, contentedly preening and chattering as though the sky is once more firmly attached. Oh, by the way, will I give him a kiss, he asks.

So what is a mom to do? I’ve moved the trash can into a cabinet, leaving things piled on the table until I can find new homes for them. A bit of a pain but at least I won’t be sweeping up the floor four times a day. My butter and bread have returned to living in the fridge, at least I won’t be replacing it weekly. I stash as much as possible up in the cabinets. As far as Taz, I just grit my teeth and ride it out, hoping he will eventually realize the house has not swallowed me up and I shall return. At another view, it’s nice to know I am so precious in his sight.


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cat in luggage with books

My bags are packed, a cat or two are probably packed in the bags. They’re in the boxes for sure since I can’t keep them out of the boxes. Or baskets. Or my way.

But…. that’s okay, because….

…it’s almost here, closer than Halloween actually. Closing date is set, need a confirmation for  a time. Moving plans are finalized. (Just about…about 98% firmed up) So it’s official. In a few days, I will be a homeowner… my first ‘mine only’ ownership, eleven years post-divorce. Can you just hear that giant sigh?

The gap is also rapidly closing (no pun intended, well, maybe) between my next book— When Clouds Gather– goes from an endless stack of edits and re-writes to a final, completed book.

So in the meantime, here is a peek at the new humble abode where Taz, the furr-kids and I shall soon be calling home. Next I’ll share a bit about the new book, once I have that date set in wet concrete.

new entry and bedroom window Exterior. Cute, cute, cute, lots of personality and ageless charm.

New writing office New writing room


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I walked into my study this morning, coffee cup in hand, anticipating getting a little work done before shower and breakfast. Immediately I noticed a small hairball on the floor. Black, wet, nasty. I knew it was from Kryshnah. She has been tossing up a few hairballs lately, in spite of the gooey stuff I give them all that is supposed to control such issues.

Okay, I reasoned, not so bad. Small amount, albeit still gross. But at least she had the manners to wretch it up on the chair runner, instead of the carpet, so it would be easy to clean up. Good girl, Krysh. Then I set my cup down on the desk, or rather tried to.

The reason there was such a small part of hairball debris on the floor was because the majority of it had been flung up on my desk! Literally all over my desk. Heart sinking, I surveyed the sodden damage.

My ledger of accounts was wet through the pages, my latest edition of The Writer, a printout of platform information and another printout of contests I have yet to study and highlight, and oh no! My calendar where I keep all my print outs and dates for blogging tours and host blog dates and tons of related notes to such. They were all now reduced to a soaking, sodden mess. She’d even managed  to spew some nastiness onto my keyboard. Lovely, just lovely.

Hastily I mopped up the wet hair and stomach contents that come with Kryshnah’s hairballs, shuffling the papers and pages out to hopefully dry. Disgusting but hopefully salvageable. Later, I snapped this picture of  Whymzie, Aspen and Muldoone all chilling out. Absent from the photo-op were Avery Faith, who was gallivanting about chasing things, and of course Kryshnah, my little hairball puker extraordinaire.Whym, Aspen & Muld 7-5-14

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I had moved from the north to the south in 2004. For some reason, I was thinking of this move today.The van on loan from my home church resembled Noah’s Ark. Literally. Wally my plecto (big 16 inch ugly fish) and Bruce (14 inch shark) traveled in watery totes with battery-powered air supply. Their large aquarium  was nestled safely among my few belongings.

I had three cats–Sebastian, Kirbie Leigh and Pepper-who were all too advanced in age to be left behind. Sebastian and Kirbie had been with me long before my failed marriage had started. They were to be with me to the bitter end. I had a rescue rabbit–Jade–riding in his big bunny cage, munching hay. Taz, my blue and gold Macaw rode shotgun on the back of my passenger seat. Sharing hip space between the front seats were my last two remaining collies, Kip and Riley James. On the dashboard, looking like a stuffed bubble head toy was my Papillion, Scrapper. The only one missing was my horse. He was being cared for by someone and I would return for him in a few weeks.

I had managed to fit a few suitcases and boxes in for my stuff, but most the van space was indeed devoted to the pets and their stuff. It was much like traveling with a baby or toddler, nine times over. For about 850 miles. I am glad to say they all handled it very well. I do recall Taz got a little bored around southern Ohio so he and Pepper swapped places for a few a short while. And the last few miles to our new home the collies started growling and snapping at one another but they were tired and hungry and cramped so I understood.

So we all survived the journey, we settled in and blossomed where we were now planted in our new home, new region, new everything. And it occurred to me today that ten years have gone by since that time. Wally and Bruce– the fish I could not bear to part with–both died within a few years of fishy infections. I lost Sebastian and Kirbie Leigh within the first year, a scant thirteen days apart. Kip and Riley James were both passed on by 2010. Scrapper was let go just this year at the age of 17. Jade the bunny died within a couple years. Even my horse had to go on.

Of the original Noah’s Ark, only Taz and Pepper remain. Taz is 21 and Pepper is 18. The clock has started on Pepper’s countdown. Taz is expected to hopefully outlive me and everyone reading this post.  Maybe in 50 to 80 years, someone will read my journals and these blog entries and marvel at his travels.

So today I was taking a break, and I happened to realize who was chilling with me–Whymzie, Kryshnah and Muldoone. Just so happened it was these three. These are the three kitties I adopted shortly after moving to the south. Two were kittens and one was around a year old. And now all are ‘young’ seniors themselves. That was a scary revelation today. And finally there is the newest members of my group–Aspen who is about a year and her baby, Avery Faith, who is roughly 5 months old.

I see a cycle and I see time marching on. I do have new sharks, Zechariah and Malachi. They are still young, neither one not quite reaching a foot long yet. No dogs and no bunnies and no horses any more. The desire is certainly there, the time is not right. So I heed to the practicality of time over heart.

Time is such an odd and abstract creature. Unshakable, unchangeable, uncontrollable. It only marches onward, but our memories can take us backward. Today I think of my personal little Ark, full of pets who I wanted to have with me to begin a new life together. Isn’t it odd how choices and time often travel together?

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Some change is good… some change is bad….all change is inevitable.


I made that whimsical observation last May. It impressed me enough to jot it down in a little notebook I keep for little ditties such as that.

This winter has been a time of change and adapting around the house. I realized this recently, as winter slowly, reluctantly, loosens her grip and yields to spring’s dawn. I am adapting to not having my constant companion Scrapper with me. I have grieved over her loss for two months now, agonized on wanting a new companion dog but knowing it is not the time to do so. So I have grieved Scrapper’s passing even more. This is compounded because the same door is quickly closing on 18 year old Pepper as she leaves stability and enters feline hospice.

In the world of real hospice, I lost a dear friend and confidant this March, one I continue to grieve as well. His passing continues to challenge and change and grow my spiritual beliefs. My frequent journal entries point to these observations and discussions.

In my writing life, I am on an overwhelmed ride of highs. I am gearing up for a the first Book Festival for Whispers next week. I’ve studied, speculated and studied for this like a mid-term exam. I need to remember to have fun with it too. I’ve completed a second round of edits for Shimmers of Stardust. I can happily say the lessons learned in editing processes is changing and helping my current works in progress. And I can now dream of later this year, when it and When Clouds Gather become full-fledged books for public consumption. More changes are in store as the year wears on I think.

The constant work load of emails, promotion, social media and all the business of publishing and being a writer is swamping me so I have to sometimes stop, get off the ride, suck in a few breaths of air and hop back on again. It’s an experience I am still learning, almost two years later.

The household is changing too. I have come to know shy Aspen and her not shy daughter, Avery Faith as they learn to adapt to house cat living. One sleeps with me at night and one wakes me in the morning. They have had to learn sisal rope is fine for sharpening claws unless it’s used for wicker plant stands. I’ve learned to make chili powder paste. They’ve learned chairs are okay to sit on, but not tables. I’ve learned pretty flower displays don’t hold up to curious kittens. They’ve learned indoor cats will have periodic nail trims. I’ve learned even more patience then I ever dreamed. The four resident seniors have learned to tolerate, and even enjoy, the new usurpers. More than once I’ve caught at least three of them engaged in play with one or the other.

I guess the biggest thing I have learned over the winter months as we all change, adapt, challenge ourselves and each other, grow and struggle is this: I am only one person. I can only do what I can do in the present moment. I can only learn from the past, both good and bad parts of it, apply it to the moment of right now and do my best. The future is where I will be shortly. I owe it to myself and my furry/feathered/finned dependents to make it the best I can. This truth has to encompass my work life, my writing life, my home life, my social life and my spiritual life. (not necessarily in that order but they have to be listed somehow) And most importantly, I have learned this, as I am growing, changing, adapting and evolving–so are others around me. Co-workers, friends, pets and strangers alike. We are all part of this trip called LIFE.

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Kittens with shoes

Who needs a new puppy to chew up your shoes? I have Avery Faith. This morning she was happily rolling around on the piece of carpet I store my shoes on, kicking and clawing and biting at this poor victim of her play wrath. At least I am getting closer to her now.
Overall, progress has been made with the wild winter wind–both of them.
Aspen, the mama who started all this back in November, is now collared. I bought her a pretty blue breakaway collar last night and she has taken to wearing it pretty good. She has tamed down to what I figured she would be–affectionate, always seeking me out to be in my lap, purring and kneading. Both her and Avery Faith have been treated for eat mites and dewormed. That was fairly simple to do. It is the nail trimming that is harder to accomplish. Both are learning their names too.
Aspen’s only fault is her desire to still go out. Partly because she is going back into season and wants to find a male to make more little Avery’s and partly because it is a hostile environment inside. The resident cats are not so excited about the newcomers. So each time I return home or wake in the morning, I follow Aspen’s trail of destruction, which so far has been knocked over plants and knocked over curtains. Nothing more serious or lasting. Otherwise, she has been a friendly, affectionate kitty. Once spayed, which was supposed to be this week and now rescheduled due to weather, she ought to settle in better.
Avery Faith has made great strides too. No destruction at all from her, she has taught herself all about the litter box, spends her time happily playing with any and all toys, boarding them and she will now approach me, but not quite ready to make that full commitment of actually moving into my outstretched hand like mama does. Not quite. It’s coming. Like when I knew Aspen would eventually move into a full-out belly rub. That’s hardly even new any more. And she loves to be brushed==Aspen that is.
So over all, I would have to say the wild winter wind has tamed down–at least inside my house. Outside it seems so much fiercer.

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Introducing Aspen Kennedy

This pretty creature is Aspen Kennedy. She first showed up on my porch in November, around the time of JFK’s anniversary, hence the ‘Kennedy’ part of her name. It would serve as a timeline reminder for me. She was clearly as wild as the November winds, paused to give me a wide-eyed glare and then raced off in a streak of smoky fur. So I did the only sensible thing I could do–I immediately grabbed a small dish, poured some of my cat’s kibble in it and left out for her.

Sure enough, she returned, when I could not see her. Each day I filled the dish and each night it was emptied out. Once in a blue moon, I’d catch a glimpse of her, just enough to know she was still coming around. Thus began our awkward relationship.

Because it’s the sort of person I am, and I have a pretty good track record at this sort of thing, I decided to tame this wild November wind. By now we were sliding into December. I armed myself with a few cans of yummy flavored cat food and prepared for a long winter of Taming Aspen.

I could tell she never had an owner, and most likely never had a real home. Each night that I wasn’t working, I was home, sitting on the porch, waiting for her. I soon learned her timetable. She would wait until the solar lights just kicked on and twilight was falling. Under the cover of darkness, she would steal silently onto the porch, looking for her dinner. Rain, cold, whatever the weather, I was there, with a dish of canned and dry food.

She would eat and I would talk, sitting motionless except to occasionally stir the canned around for easier reach. Gradually, as the days stretched through the month, she would creep closer to me, finally getting so close that her head would rest against my leg or knee. Still, I dare not try to pet her. Any movement on my part would still make her shift backward a foot or two. It was tempting to want to pet her, but it was still too early in our relationship for such overtures. Trust takes time and it had only been maybe 5 or 6 weeks at that point.

Fast forward another couple of weeks, this past weekend in fact. We had made great strides, she and I.  I had reached the point I could gently scrub her ears and along her back and she reached the point to realize it felt good. Go figure. When she had eaten her fill, she would hang out to groom herself, sharpen her claws on the banister and slowly stretch a few times. She had reached a point where she liked my darling little Papillion when I would return later to walk Scrapper and Aspen was still hanging around.

This past Sunday evening, I was at my post, food ready for her nightly visit. At her regular time, she appeared, bringing along a surprise—

Next time–the continuing story of Aspen and see what her surprise turned out to be.

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