Every cat has the uncanny ability to find the perfect napping spot. And, of course, when the cat IS a napping Spot, well, that explains the smile too.
Every cat has the uncanny ability to find the perfect napping spot. And, of course, when the cat IS a napping Spot, well, that explains the smile too.
Pete looks forward to spring every year … and with a smile, too.
The best Watch Cat and Yard Guard we’ve ever had outside, Pete turned six years old on March 1, 2023. Happy Birthday again, dude. Thanks for keeping the farm, the house and all inhabitants safe from lions and tigers and bears.
If your hooman gets out a camera, you may as well strike a pose. Then maybe they’ll let you go back to sleep.
On the other paw, if they won’t let you go back to sleep after you were posing nicely … make the most horrible face you can think of and then they’ll stop. I guarantee it.
There’s nothing wrong with agreeing to a bribe of catnip.
A cat is the very best edition of a dog that you could ever find.
There are no other animals which are as good as, as smart as, or as perfect as a cat.
Yes, there’s a Dog Star. There’s also a Cat Star, only it’s not out in the lonely spaces between planets. It’s in every hooman’s heart who shares life with a cat.
Years ago, the cats were each assigned a particular color of bowl. This was with the thought if they got accustomed to thinking of that color bowl as theirs, maybe they wouldn’t snitch bits of food from whichever bowl was sitting there.
Alas, that was a futile thought. Grayson’s bowl color is turquoise, Spot’s red, Slim’s blue. Pete has either a yellow, recycled whipped topping bowl or a yellow bowl. (He’s been told that’s because it matches his fur.) Ocho has a pretty orange-sherbet-colored dish for broth and otherwise, she has kibble.
But if Spot’s red bowl is just sitting there, her brother Slim will eat from it and ignore his own blue bowl beside it. Same thing with Grayson.
And sometimes one cat gets annoyed with anyone else nibbling from their food but ‘usually’ doesn’t make a really big deal out of it.
They’re either the most tolerant cats in captivity, or the most inclined to share, or they really are reincarnated people in little fur suits.
I’m beginning to think maybe it’s the last option. However, proving it is quite a challenge. Any theories, folks?
And if you’re planning on adding a kitten or an older cat from the shelter (hint, hint) to your household, please do get it neutered or spayed as quickly as possible. A female cat can start having litters at only four months of age.
As Ernest Hemingway said, “One cat just leads to another.”
Shown is a house for some of Hemingway’s cats at his former home in Key West, Florida. – Wikipedia
Sometimes sharing an office with an opinionated, stubborn, sweet-as-sugar when she wanted to be, independent black cat got downright scary. Abishag certainly conveyed what she was thinking most of the time – and then there were occasions, like this photo shows, when she was just going to look at you and not divulge a single thought.
If only I could perfect that look. It’d quell any snobby waiter.
This Saturday the Kibble Kids v.2 will be three years old. It seems like it’s been longer than that; so much has happened to the original seven kittens that Jamesie had in 2020 …
But this photo of them when they were six days old was just too cute to resist posting, even though it causes a few pangs in the heart region. Starting at the top left, that’s either Geronimo (lost to a speeding car) or Senor TaMale (nee Molly Brown except ‘she’ was a boy, hence the name change). Next, two tuxedos have to be Zorro and Sis (nee Cisco Kid, again, ‘he’ was a girl which made another name change necessary). Continuing clockwise, Annie Rose Oakley (lost to either a coyote or an owl) and the third tuxedo kitten, who must be Hoss Cartwright, since he’s smaller and has half-socks on his front feet. (The other two appear to have more white on their paws.) The gray one in the middle has to be the irrepressible Gabby Gayes, named for Gabby Hayes (not a boy, but always talking so no real name change needed); first one to purr and first one to boldly hiss at an unknown person.
Anyway, now that they’re all living in my office from late afternoon to broad daylight in the mornings, there surely can’t be a vicious coyote or evil owl carry any of them off again – and now they’re grown and fairly good fighters too.
It’s been quite a trip, what with a pandemic in the middle and changes around the world in so many areas.
They’re looking forward to ‘writing’ a few books and posing for lots more photos, so we’ll just let you, our favorite readers, know what’s new in their lives and when their books are ready to be read. Thanks for following their ornery, cheerful, flighty, sassy, determined, stubborn, adventurous, mayhem-prone, active and cuddly lives!
Just thought I’d let you know, hooman.
This is an old photo, but it shows Ira’s sense of humor – he’s actually got the mouse hidden underneath him. When cats are so smart they play pranks on their owners … well, it’s just mind-boggling. And very endearing.
Found a few more notes about the small books Abishag wanted to write. I know she’d meant this tongue-in-cheek photo of her, a black cat, inside of a box in a dark room as the cover for her book, “Stealth Is the Best Hunting App” and yes, it certainly fits with her sense of humor.
She’d be delighted at people trying so hard to find her black nose or equally black whiskers in the photo.
(Overheard while eavesdropping on one of the Kibble Kids meetings)
Fred: Her Brings Food says mus learn to ‘he munch he ate.’
Sis: Say wha?
Hoss: Uncle Fred’s found sum mor big words.
Gabby: Neber a shortage of big words wif Uncle Fred. Word mean what?
Fred: Um – not real sure. Guess not talk with mouf full? Or maybe what happens to nice fresh mousie.
Gabby: Dat sound mor like it. But why Her Brings Food tellin what to do with mousie?
Fred: (very importantly) Sumpin to do wif my Freditorials. Cause I’se a litter rarely cat.
Sis: You get tail shut in door jus like rest of us.
Hoss: Gotcha, Uncle Fred.
Well, plans were to ‘retire’ the original Three Wise Cats cast of mega-characters on or about December 27, but it seems the internet and Mother Nature had other plans. Between the bitter cold and fierce winds, the internet sank without a trace for quite a few days while running water froze in its tracks.
The above look likely would’ve been on Midnight’s face as she realized she couldn’t give her “I’m retiring – farewell to my friends and readers as I just appear in my favorite blog from time to time” speech …
but then, if I could recall more stories about her and her brother, Ira, and their cohort in crime, Kezia the Beautiful, she would’ve been happy to edit/correct/urge such stories on.
So they’re not ‘officially retired’ but just on an irregular schedule, ambling down Memory Lane.
However, you can still keep up with Spot and Slim, Seis and Ocho; the Kibble Kids v.2, GingerFred Boy and his upcoming Freditorials and Jamesie Momsie, intrepid kitten replicator. (Thank goodness the veterinarians were able to re-open their surgery and appointment book for spays and neuters in 2020. Otherwise cats and kittens might outnumber the hoomans in their newly-renamed Cat County.)
Happy New Year to all, and may your favorite feline have the time of its nine lives in 2023!
Cat does not live by bread alone.
Finicky is as finicky does.
Begging for treats is not demeaning, unless you beg in front of the dog.
Leave no breakable drinking glass unturned.
Meditate often. It impresses your hoomans. And after a while, they start to worry about what you’re plotting.
Being the center of attention is your due.
The only good flea is a dead, dead flea.
The double-minded cat is just being normal.
Most hoomans regard a cat sitting on their lap as a compliment. Let them think so – after all, they’re good heating pads.
Don’t swat the dog if a hooman is watching. Wait and get the cur later.
Even after all these years, it’s still a surprise that two little black cats could look – well, so evil.
And the only creatures who really ever got that very same look were a mouse, a mole – or a fly.
Abishag and Ira would’ve done very well in a movie version of Three Wise Cats.
But they would’ve hated traveling to Hollywood. They loved their beds, the sunshine, their toys and the treats, and wouldn’t have been happy to leave those behind. Fame had too high a price to lure them. And really, I’m glad of that.
The very first blog about Abishag, Ira and Kezia was published November 28, 2012.
Lots of changes since then.
A whole new cast of characters have been added – the Kibble Kids, Uncle Pete, Her Brings Food, Taller Than Us. Even a pair of disreputable tabbies, Herman Sherman Tank and Luna Moonwalker have made appearances in these blogs.
I hope, cherished readers, you’ve enjoyed most of them; sniffled over the tragic ones, and laughed at the chronicled antics of the crazier things the cats managed to do.
There are more changes coming.
I’m actually running out of stories about Abishag, Ira, Kezia and yes, even Ptolemy. So as of December 27 or thereabouts, the above-listed cast of their book, “Three Wise Cats” A Christmas Story, will gracefully retire from these blog pages and get some well-earned rest at the Rainbow Bridge.
Plans to begin a new blog about the Kibble Kids are being solidified; its publication date will be every Thursday, as they’ve been doing, but with far fewer interruptions and of course Fred is still terribly excited about his assigned ‘Freditorials.’ Some of their best blogs will be knowingly repeated so new readers can have their back stories.
Their ‘Dishunary’ is being put into shape too, and the self-publishing learning curve means you’ll be apprised of its publication as an ebook initially. (A print edition will depend upon the readers’ response to the cats’ challenge to an unsuspecting Daniel Webster.)
So a heart-felt Thank You to a wonderful group of people – all of you, our faithful readers who kept the stories coming as you requested more of them. See you soon, in our very best bibs and tuckers. (Fred will likely want spats, too.)
Fred here. Her Bring Food said she needs help wif blogs an said I cud get real good wif spelin, writig an so on an have colums regly, even wif my name on dem – Freditorial. (She had to spel dat for me. New word.) So I’se a nice cat, willin to help out, lend a paw, an said yes.
But now i’se relised dat means I gots to study spelin, writig an lotsa stuff. Dats work.
If deres homework, I quit.
Fred was teaching Hoss Cartwright the finer points of mole hunting yesterday.
GingerFred Boy * was one of the original Kibble Kids, and Hoss is one of the Kibble Kids v.2. Really nice to see the older cats making sure the fine tradition of mole hunting, which was developed into an art by Ira and Abishag, being continued.
I should read Abishag’s little book on hunting moles aloud to them, I suppose.
*Fred’s name is a complicated pun. He seemed to dance as a kitten instead of simply walking, so of course his name honors one of Hollywood’s best known dance teams, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And the Brits call all orange cats ‘gingers,’ so that adds to the pun. (They all know and come to their names, BTW.)
At three years old, Fred isn’t that much older than Hoss at two, but he’s got hours and hours already logged watching mole holes and digging in the same. I believe he’s caught more moles than any of the other cats. And he’s also Pete’s Apprentice Yard Guard and Watch Cat, so you can see he has quite a bit of responsibility in his work. Mole hunting has to be just a hobby.
It’s going to take a really talented cat or two to replace the legendary Abishag and Ira, and then Pete and Fred when they’ve both retired. Mighty big paws to fill there.
But they’ve got time – they should each have at least six or maybe seven of their nine lives left. Hope I get to bring you many stories about all of them in future years. Thanks for reading!
There is no such thing as “Just a cat.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
Regular readers will know that Abishag said what she thought and didn’t mince words. And her expressions matched what she was thinking, so even if she wasn’t really ‘speaking’ , you had a very good idea of what she meant.
There was a time several years ago when I couldn’t think of a topic for her blog.
“What’s going on, hooman?”
Oh, Abishag – I think I’ve run out of things to write.
“You can’t mean that.”
I’ve thought and thought, and no subject comes to mind.
“Have you looked through all my photos for an idea?”
Yes, sweetheart, I did. And I still can’t think of something to write about.
“Well, you’ve never let that stop you before.”
Abishag had a firm conviction that no better toy existed for a cat than some used, scrunched, brown packing papers.
“Just look at the advantages of packing paper. You can pretend there’s another cat hidden somewhere in the folds. You can pounce on the paper, roll on top of it and shred it with your teeth and claws – and never hear a whimper, or a shocked comment from a hooman about playing too rough.”
I never thought about all that. Abishag could probably be considered an authority on packing papers. She’d certainly trounced enough sets of them through the years. She could really surprise you with her inventiveness. Some more examples of her thinking:
“You can let kittens learn to pounce with packing papers. And the papers generally have unusual smells on them, which is enough to entice any feline, myself included. I also like to hide myself in them for some ‘me’ time. Hoomans are very nosy. They want to know what you’re doing, where you are and if you’re doing something they don’t want you to do, you’re supposed to stop doing it immediately. So I go hide in my packing papers and meditate or think about my next book or why I should smack my brother.”
I wonder if beating up packing papers would help hoomans relax, unwind, get rid of tension and aggressions …maybe we should all try it, at least once. It wouldn’t be the first time a little plump black cat was a spot-on therapist for a hooman.
This poor frog was standing in the outside cats’ drinking water last week trying to cool off.
The cats didn’t bother it. I think they knew the frog was desperate.
After all, Fred, Jamesie and Sis are all expert ‘froggers.’ Any of them could have had the frog for dinner. But I believe they felt sorry for it. Altruism isn’t just for hoomans.
Well, the American Veterinary Medical Association says it’s ‘National Pet Week.’
Several memes on the net say its ‘Adopt A Shelter Pet.’ Week or Day, no consensus here. Hmmm.
Whatever week or day you want to call it, just please do adopt a shelter pet.
After all, how could you resist owning so much cute?
“Hi, Fred, what are you doing?”
“I claims dis tree to be pervider of shade for all vershuns Kibble Kids.”
“Especially in this heat wave, that’s a very good idea. But – can only Kibble Kids sit in its shade? What about Uncle Pete, the Stripes and the hoomans around here?”
“Dey welcom too. But gots to pay told.”
“You mean a toll to use the shade? How much is it?”
“For haff day, one fresh mousie. Plump.”
“Ow, that’s kind of steep. What’s the toll for an hour?”
“Three dragon flyz.”
“Fred, you know what a terrible hunter I am. Can I pay someone to hunt for me?”
“We Kibble Kids gots to have meeting over dat. Not in buy-laws.”
“Hooman, you haz awful humor.”
“Sorry, Fred. But it’s fun to tease you because you take everything so seriously and literally.”
“What kind of litter? None of us use litter box unless snowed in. How dat get into us talkin?”
“Liter-ally. You take everything to mean exactly what’s said.”
“No, not at all. Very rare in this day and age though, I think.“
“Only for hoomans, who say somepin an not mean it. Cats always say what they mean.”
“I’ll remember that. Where are you going now?”
“Come wish me an I teach you to hunt. No one ever has an it shows.”
“Yes, Fred, there are big gaps in my education. It’s very kind of you to correct some of those.”
“Well, somebody has to. But without whiskers an paws, you may not be very successfull.”
“I’m good at hugs, though. Want one?”
“Sure! Told discounts for hugs.”
“That’s a great solution. Thanks, Fred.”
Abishag Adages: Every cat has two sides – especially when it’s being brushed.
Kittens should be seen and not heard.
Dogs think trees exist merely to supply sticks for them to chase.
Dogs are just a little smarter than moles, and don’t smell quite as bad. But that’s not much improvement.
A lion figures he’s King of the Jungle – but who’s living inside a home with a fireplace and a food bowl?
An empty food bowl is the stuff nightmares are made of.
It’s June, and that means the American Humane Association will be reminding everyone that first, it’s Kitten Season, and second, it’s National Adopt a Cat month, AKA, Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.
The American Humane Association began observing this special month in 1974 – so last century, yes, but still necessary, as over three million cats end up in shelters or rescues every year.
That’s heartbreakingly sad.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a companion, please consider a cat. It doesn’t have to be a kitten. Many loving, well-behaved older cats find themselves in a shelter because an elderly owner wasn’t permitted to take a companion animal into assisted living. Some cats (and kittens too) have missing eyes, ears, legs … but they can still purr and be a furry friend.
Cats adopted from shelters or rescues seem to realize they’ve been given new lives. They’re grateful for a cardboard box bed with an old towel in it, a bowl with food and one with water, and most of all – a kind person with hands that reassure and comfort. That cat will do its utmost to purr and cuddle a sad, lonely human into a smile or a chuckle.
Be kind to yourself and to a feline down on its luck – please adopt a cat. Thank you.
Abishag and I, both word-lovers, would play games with vocabulary or make up new words, etc., just to keep the wheels turning in our brains.
This somewhat awful sample was based on a Victorian? game that was even mentioned in Dickens. We always played for fun, not points.
A is for Awesome cat
B is for Brave (surviving that terrible snow storm on her own)
I is for Intelligent, of course
S is for Special (never another)
H is for Helpful, in editing
A is for Ageless (Abishag never looked her real age)
G is for Good Girl, even when she was being ornery.
Abishag: (sigh) Honestly, human, you are silly sometimes.
Yes. I know.
But I still love you.
Thank you, Abishag. I love you, too.
Of course you do.
No one has ever been able to discover how they make this subtle sound, and what is more, no one ever will. It is a secret that has endured from the very beginning of the time of cats and will never be revealed. ― Paul Gallico
“A good breakfast deserves a good burp.”
(some time later) “A good snack deserves a good burp.”
(even later) “A good dinner deserves a good burp.”
She must’ve known that in some cultures in other lands, a burp after eating is considered a high compliment to whoever prepared the delicious food. An inter-cultural cat. Somehow, there’s no surprise there. Abishag may not have been able to read per se, but she was definitely a professional listener.
“It is a difficult matter to gain the affection of a cat. He is a philosophical, methodical animal, tenacious of his own habits, fond of order and neatness, and disinclined to extravagant sentiment. He will be your friend, if he finds you worthy of friendship, but not your slave.” ― Théophile Gautier
Sometimes a really hard downpour of rain makes an ordinary cardboard box into a sleek, couturier design that truly fits only one cat. Ahhh.
Abishag and Ira loved spring! They liked the calmer weather, the flowers coming up, the moles beginning to be foolish and digging tunnels where the Champion Mole Hunters could find them …
Abishag had a special fondness for butterflies and dragonflies.
Unfortunately, in spite of my efforts to exclude them from their menu, this fondness of Abishag extended to eating them.
“If you want to write, keep cats.” Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
“And if you’z want to enjoy writing, write about cats.” – The Kibble Kids
(Dat’s us aboff. Old foto but good to look at. We dont forget Annie Rose, Geronimo, Zorro dat way.)
It was always interesting to watch as Abishag and Ira chose a place for a nap. Neither was interested in an expensive bed from the pet store. They both just wanted something comfortable for that day’s snooze.
Rarely did both want the same spot at the same time, as Ira almost always chose someplace up off the floor; the top of the office bookcase was a favorite perch for napping or just observing. He was more agile than his sister and leaping a favorite activity.
Abishag preferred a more plump cushion in her bed and on the floor was fine with her, as long as it was out of any drafts. She had more plumpness to her figure too, and had long ago quit the ‘kittenish jumping’ Ira loved to indulge.
As I’ve mentioned before and you’ve seen in their photos, the lid from a cardboard box containing reams of paper was the top choice as sleeping quarters. Living many years in a publishing company must’ve been quite an influence.
There must definitely be a reason that short naps are called ‘cat naps.’
Cats seem to sleep anywhere, noise or no noise, upon a hard wood table or the softest quilt. And they appear to wake refreshed, energy restored.
Einstein and Edison took frequent very short cat naps, especially when they were working on specific, complicated problems. And they certainly accomplished tremendous advancements in their fields.
So why aren’t these measured-by-moments naps called ‘people naps’ ?
This link will take you to one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time. It’s the story of an abandoned kitten who was rescued by a monk and stayed at the monastery where she obviously felt she belonged. I’ve had a cat who meditated regularly, but nothing compared to this uplifting article! Please click here:
And have a wonderful day! (If I’ve posted this before, I apologize. It’s just so heart-warming … purrs to all.)
Dis box no good.
What’s that, Gabby?
Dis box gots no room for a cat even my siz.
Well, it’s not really a box. It’s a home for bees, called a bee hive.
Bee hive? Dat what you always tellin us to do.
Good cats be hive alla time.
Oh, Gabby, that’s one of the worst puns ever.
I’m good at dem. Ize smart.
Yes to both those statements, Gabriella.
Gets a treat?
Yes, again. And I’ve been outsmarted by a five-pound cat.
Don’ worry bout dat. All cats smarter den hoomans.
See my ears? I’m annoyed. And now I forgot what I was going to say, human. It was important, too. I don’t say things that aren’t.
I’m sorry, Abishag. I thought you’d finished your sentence. I guess you were thinking.
Hmph. Impatient humans. Hurry, hurry, hurry. How am I going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature if you keep rushing me?
Good Heavens. Is that all you want?
It’s a start.
Thought readers might enjoy a bit of nostalgia, or something from the past. Abishag could be acerbic, too.
(Continued from Tuesday)
I found my storage building again but the humans didn’t know me. I was dirty and bloody and had no tail. I was skin and bones. The taller human brought me some kibble and I ate it, very thankful to have food at last. I slept in the storage building that night.
The next day, the silly dog the humans were dog sitting saw me as I came out of the storage building and started barking. It scared the smaller human who had the silly dog on a leash. When I ran at them happy to see them, she didn’t know me at first. She screamed and the dog kept barking until I ran up to him and licked his ears.
Then the smaller human screamed for joy and scooped me up in her arms crying and laughing and screaming some more. She was sure noisy about me coming home.
But I was glad to be home. I never got lost again.
Instead, I lived in the smaller human’s office and learned to write books. She said I was living in a publishing company and she wrote books and edited them. I helped her a lot. She would read something to me and if I didn’t think it was good, I’d make a face at her and she would change it.
I really had very good taste. The books I helped her with sold well.
Then she and a friend, Harold Konstantelos, wrote the book that made me famous. Oh, and Ira was in it too. Even Kezia, the snobby cat who didn’t want me to live in the house with Ptolemy and her was in the book. Ira had wanted to live in the house too because he thought Kezia was pretty but she didn’t like him.
A big publishing company took the book, Three Wise Cats A Christmas Story, and sold it across the country and around the world. I, Abishag, was world famous. There were book reviews in lots of magazines and people told the smaller human and her friend how much they liked the book. I was so pleased people liked my book. Ira was too.
The years went by and the smaller human kept writing and editing. She and her friend wanted another book to be taken by that same publishing company but couldn’t write one that the company wanted.
Some more years went by and then Ira started getting older. He couldn’t jump as far as he had before. He used to run across the open beams of the office ceiling to make the smaller human gasp and worry about him falling. I just looked up at him and told him how much it would hurt if he fell off a beam. He couldn’t do that any more either.
Then Ira had a series of something the smaller human called strokes and got even thinner than he had always been. He couldn’t use his right rear leg, but he hid that from the smaller human. He couldn’t see very well either. Then he wasn’t there in the office with me any more.
I didn’t think I would miss him but I did. Sometimes.
It’s been over a year since Ira went wherever he went. I don’t see quite as well as I did before either, and I’m very thin now too. But I’m still very, very smart. I don’t have to share the smaller human with Ira now. And all of the pats and brushing and combing and little treats are all for ME.
I know when I’m not in the office any more the smaller human and the taller human are both going to be sad. The smaller human will be more sad though because I kept her company every day and I helped her with all of her books.
The smaller human has promised me she’ll write all the rest of my books for me even if I’m not with her and that she’ll see me again some future day. She wants to have a big house and get all of her cats and dogs together to live with her once she’s no longer in her office.
I guess that’s okay. Do humans go to the Rainbow Bridge too?
But I want my own room and my own bed and my little pink mouse that she made for me and my soft blue blanket and some lemon cookies and sweet tea. I deserve them.
I am Abishag. And there will never ever be another cat as smart or cute or as good an editor as me. My autobiography will be a best seller.
Ira thinks he’s as good an editor but he’s not.
I am the best. And I know I am the best Abishag that ever was.
It seemed appropriate to publish Abishag’s autobiography this week, as it’s been a year exactly since she left for the Rainbow Bridge. I hope I wrote this just the way she wanted it. – Editor
I was born in the country and my mother was named Sapphire. She was a black cat too.
She wasn’t there any more when I was just a few months old so I went to live next door. They had a cat or two for me to play with and to have as friends.
I lived in what the humans called a storage building but I made it my own.
Then another mother cat came with a skinny black kitten a month younger than me. He said his name was Ira. They wanted to stay with me in the storage building.
At first I didn’t like it but then Ira’s mother wasn’t there any more so I let him stay with me.
The humans took good care of us but it was cold at night and we heard coyotes a lot. I asked the oldest cat who came outside once in a while if we could live with him but he said another cat named Kezia didn’t want us in the house.
The smaller human liked both Ira and me and often let us come up into what she called her office. It was nice up there. She gave us boxes with old sweaters to sleep in and toys and food. I liked going outside during the day and having the office to sleep in at night. I felt safe.
But Ira wanted to stay out at night too. He did that a lot.
So one night it was getting really dark and very late and the human was calling Ira and he didn’t come in.
And she called some more and he didn’t come in.
I had already come inside and had my dinner. I wanted to go to bed, but no Ira.
Finally the smaller human was very worried and we both could hear coyotes howling. She opened the door to go look for Ira one more time and he ran in! He had been running a long time, because he threw himself on the floor and had to gasp a lot before he caught his breath. It sounded like the coyotes were right behind him. I think they had followed him clear to the front yard.
So the human said that was it. Ira had come too close to being eaten by coyotes and we were going to be inside cats from then on.
I wonder what she said to Ira when a few weeks later I didn’t come in. But it wasn’t my fault.
I was hunting mice in the flower bed behind the house and didn’t want to go in the office. Ira was already inside but I was still hungry and wanted one more mouse for a snack. The smaller human wasn’t happy about leaving me outside but she told me they had to go to the store because there was a bad snow storm coming and that they would be right back.
When they came back I was gone.
That night a really bad winter storm (almost a blizzard) hit. It was so cold! I had run as far as I could to get away from something that had sneaked up behind me and scared me. Now the snow was sticking to the ground and nothing smelled like home any more.
I was so cold. The wind blew even harder and there were no stars out or trees that looked like any I’d seen. I crept under a porch for the night. It wasn’t much warmer under there but at least the wind wasn’t blowing on me.
The snow was up to my shoulders the next morning. I was lost.
I stayed lost a long, long time. I wandered and wandered. Once or twice I thought I heard the humans calling me but I couldn’t get to where I had heard them before they were gone. I was all alone.
One horrible night a coyote smelled me and I had to start running again. The snow was finally gone but I hadn’t had much to eat and I couldn’t run as far or as fast as I could before. I jumped through a small hole in a wood wall just as the coyote snapped at me. He got my tail.
I screamed. It hurt, really hurt. I had to stay there for what seemed like weeks but I guess it was only a day or two.
A day or two later I looked out of the hole in the wall and smelled the breeze. Oh!
IT SMELLED LIKE HOME!
I had to walk slowly because I was weak but I knew the way home now.
To be continued on Thursday (see, I know what writers do to interest their readers – Abishag)
The folks a couple of houses away have two large dogs, which are very well-behaved. Except when one of our cats decides to race under one of their noses, or boldly walk up to the living room window and peer in to see where the dogs are at the moment.
Then there are times when our cats decide to behave themselves too. The photo is of a farmer’s field, letting the sun bake the weed seeds under the black plastic so they don’t germinate and grow. You’ll note there’s a couple of black sandbags out there – or are they? ‘Kibble Kids’ Jamesie, Sis and Hoss figured out they can sit absolutely still, with their white paws tucked underneath, and the dogs think they’re ‘just another sandbag.’ So they’re sunning themselves, probably smiling a little, and playing a small joke on the dogs.
“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
Abishag would’ve been delighted at Poe’s comment.
When you’ve got three tuxedos living in the backyard, you have to look very closely to see who’s who. The top photo is Hoss Cartwright, with his spotless white half-socks.
The middle photo is Sis, with her dainty, trim anklets.
The last photo is their mom, Jamesie, sporting her knee socks. (The right one, just like a human’s socks, always appears to be sliding down.)
And of course if they’re in motion, you can forget telling which one is running in which direction. Your best bet here is to call, “Dinner time!” and get them inside. They’ll sort themselves out in the dining hall.
When books which weren’t textbooks were being written and illustrated for children to read and enjoy … (and now we can still enjoy them too, whether we’re children or not). This illustration, by Ida Waugh, is from “Kittyboy’s Christmas” written by Amy Blanchard, published in 1898. Courtesy of Project Gutenberg.
Somehow that small black kitten reminds me of Ira. Purrs, everyone.
When you run out of reading material – especially about cats – try Project Gutenberg. I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before, but they’re continuing with their mission to keep older books available to the general public. (https://www.gutenberg.org) They have some titles which I’d bet you’ve never read – unless you’re 100 or so years old. Try reading several of the over 500 books about felines which are already online, and you’ll glimpse the world in which our great-grandparents grew up.
Helen Hunt Jackson has a book too, purportedly written by her own cat. It’s sad, detailing the many mishaps which can befall a cat, but definitely shows everyday life long ago. “Letters from a cat” Helen Hunt Jackson (who also wrote “Ramona”)
(Skip “The Calico Cat” by Charles Miner Thompson. Too detailed an account of a man who hated the neighborhood stray.)
“Kreativity for Kats” by Fritz Leiber is a more modern tale (1961; copyright not renewed) but truly entertaining.
And three more; fittingly, “Three Little Kittens” , “Kittyboy’s Christmas” and “The Candle and the Cat”.
Let me know what you think of some of these; I think we cat people would enjoy them. And I’m tempted to start a new project involving these books, to be detailed in the weeks ahead. Purrs!
When it’s snowy and freezing outside, a cat needs to convince the human that:
A. It’s too cold to get out of bed to eat
B. The cat is too cold to get out of bed to eat
C. The cat is too weak from hunger to get out of bed to eat.
D. All of the above.
The cat, of course, will always choose “D”. And wonder why the human is laughing as breakfast gets delivered to the bedside.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks … but an old cat will invent her own.”
“A dead flea bites no cats.”
“Food, especially gravy, is in the eye of the bowl holder. And possession of the bowl means I get all the gravy.”
Illustration by Addie Ledyard
From Oxford Languages: “cat”
a small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractable claws. It is widely kept as a pet or for catching mice, and many breeds have been developed.
Urban Dictionary: “Cats”
Ninjas in fur suit with knives hidden in the paws. Author – iwillneverbeafraidagain
Or: the things trying to kill you in your sleep, the things trying to protect you from the things trying to kill you in your sleep …
Author – considerthefollowing
From Your Dictionary: Cat meaning
A small, lithe, soft-furred animal (Felis cattus) of this family, domesticated since ancient times and often kept as a pet or for killing mice.
Or, as Gertrude Stein may have said, “A cat is a cat is a cat.”
T’was the week after Christmas, and all through the house
every cat was listening, hoping for a mouse
To turn up atop a counter or ‘neath the stove,
And some lucky cat would catch it on the rove.
Oh! The squeaks they would hear
as the mouse saw them loom in sight,
the racing to catch it
by pale moonlight.
The scramble, the hurry, the flurry, the flight
of a panic-stricken mouse in the middle of the night.
The crash and the clatter
wouldn’t really matter,
as four paws, eight paws, then eleven
made three cats sound like at least twenty-seven.
The jubilation when the rodent was trapped at last!
The tri-pawed cat proven to be just as fast
as his sibling and housemate, both arriving too late
to assist the mouse in meeting his fate.
And then came the humans, woken from sleep,
who told the fastest cat “No, he couldn’t keep
the mouse he’d captured with effort so great,”
and “to go back to bed; it was very, very late.”
But he did get catnip, and several treats as well,
so he thought the swap was pretty swell,
because frankly the mouse wasn’t plump or delicious –
just the amazing appearance of three cats’ wishes.
And a Happy New Year from the Kibble Kids v.1 and v.2 plus (Uncle) Pete.
You needs to tell them we’s the workin farm cats too. An the farm is mos six haykers, so we stays bizzy.
That’s true, Fred. And you do work hard.
Plus we’s hansome or prety an very smart.
I’d agree with all of that, too.
An we’s writing a book.
So we’s all gonna be faymust an rich.
From just one book?
You said you ed it for us. Makes it bedder an’ den we sell mor books.
That’s the theory behind editing, yes. But it doesn’t guarantee a book sells lots of copies.
Easy to sell lots of copies.
Tell me your secret?
A nice fresh mousie in evry book. Markting done!
Fred, I hope you never open an ad agency.
What is it about cats and laundry baskets? If there’s one handy, empty or filled with laundry – dirty or clean, it doesn’t matter – see basket, insert cat.
Baskets have been around longer than pottery, so perhaps cats have been sleeping in all kinds of baskets since the Egyptians or earlier. The oldest carbon-dated baskets have an estimated age of 10 to 12,000 years old, and were used many centuries before pottery became popular. They can be used to transport food back to a rudimentary encampment, or store food for the future. Unless the mice and rats destroy it. Cue the cat.
So today Grayson is simply enjoying a nap in an historically-relevant structured space. Does he care what his ancestors did? Probably not. If the basket is still there tomorrow, however, he’ll enjoy yet another nap in it.
Sleep well, my friend. You’re a part of history, whether you know it or not.
Regular readers know about the great veterinary services our cats have had for years at Reelfoot Animal Hospital in a small corner of NW Tennessee.
But now all the pets and all of their owners are grieving the loss of one of the best cat veterinarians ever – Dr. Steven Crews. Dr. Crews had a remarkable way with cats – he knew where they were hurting, even though they couldn’t talk, and he kept searching for at least relief if not a cure for each one brought to him for treatment.
We’ve taken many, many cats to all the vets at Reelfoot, and this memorial isn’t meant to ignore any of them. But let me mention the special skills Dr. Crews had.
Our farm cat Callie May kept brushing at her face and eye, so we took her into town. He figured out our champion mouser had run into a bunch of weeds with hollow stems (doubtless while after a mouse), and a piece of one had broken off and lodged in her eye. Dr. Crews not only removed the bit of stem, but saved her eyesight in that eye.
He sewed Uno’s nose back in place when the cat had apparently fallen out of a tree and face-planted himself. After examination, Dr. Crews said there weren’t any bones broken and when the swelling went down, Uno should be as good as new. He was – almost. Once the swelling was gone, Uno had a nose which was off-kilter. The good doctor carefully put in three very tiny stitches and anchored Uno’s nose back where it belonged.
Our rescued strays and farm cats received the same empathetic and very skilled care our handpicked cats did. Dr. Crews diagnosed and successfully treated a very bad case of flea bite dermatitis for Seis, a black and white ‘cow cat.’ (Readers have seen Seis’ photos in these blogs too.)
When our tiny five-pound gray kitten got body-slammed on the sidewalk by her much bigger brother, she got up with a crick in her neck – and a tic. We rushed her to Dr. Crews, who did his usual careful examination and surmised neither condition was permanent. He was right, and now Gabby (Gabriella) is full-grown at eight pounds and terrorizes her bigger siblings – pay back.
He sewed Grayson’s toes back on his hind foot after a stray cat passing through the neighborhood had nearly bitten them off. Seventeen years later, he still walks without a limp.
Dr. Crews was also very sympathetic and helped several of our favorite cats across the Rainbow Bridge, using the latest and most humane two-injection procedure so it was nearly painless. What we appreciated most was that he allowed us to stay with our dearly-loved felines as the drugs worked, so we could say goodbye.
Now we have to say goodbye to a veterinarian who was so kind, so caring and down-to-earth, with the best bedside manner towards his patients and their owners. It’s a very hard parting, and way too soon.
Readers, if you have dedicated, gifted veterinarians who’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ for your fur kids, please – tell that doctor how much you appreciate the skill, the caring and the patience. Tell your vet frequently and often. They need to hear just how special they are.
“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Author Unknown
But Abishag would likely claim it.