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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

N is for -- NO!

"No!" I shouted at Mattie and Little Debbie, "You cannot have a pet! We have no room in this tiny house for any more animals, You saw on the video that Joanne's cat Maxine frolics with a chipmunk OUTDOORS. You two don't go outside. No chipmunks will be allowed indoors. Enough said. I don't want to hear any more about it!"

FYI, readers, here's the video that started all the fuss:

I watched the two very unhappy cats amble over to the recliner, jump up on it, curl around each other, and pretend to nap. I could hear enough of their chat to get the drift of the conversation.

Mattie: Did you see that privileged cat, Maxine??? Joanne allows her to have a PET!

Little Debbie: Yeah, and Maxine even carries it around like its her kitten.

Mattie: And did you watch the two of them romp around the yard? If we had pets like that, you'd sure lose a few pounds with all the romping you'd do!

Little Debbie: Hey! You said the magic words: "pets like that"! Let's think this through. What kind of pet was that?

Mattie: A chipmunk.

Little Debbie: And where was Maxine's pet living?

Mattie: Outside. So?

Little Debbie: What lives right outside our front door and under the porch? What animal does staff feed sunflower seeds and dried fruit and assorted kinds of nuts to?

Mattie: A chipmunk. Or two. Or even more.

Little Debbie (frowning at Mattie): AND??? Make a connection, girl!

Mattie (light dawning): Oooooooooh, we have chipmunks in our yard, too, just like Maxine does!

Little Debbie: Bingo! Staff won't let us have hamsters. And they spayed us so we can't have kittens. Chipmunks are available and FREE! No purchase necessary!

Mattie: Instead of the chipmunks coming indoors, you and I can go outside and play with them just like Maxine does with her chipmunk!

Little Debbie: Now you're talkin'!

Mattie: But wait. The front porch is close to the public sidewalk and the street. There's not much grass for romping. We'd be better off in the back where there's lots of room.

Little Debbie: Interesting idea, but that won't work for me.

Mattie: Now what?

Little Debbie: I haven't been outside for at least fourteen years. The last time, I was lost and cold and hungry and scared and it was starting to snow and I couldn't carry on much longer, but then staff saw me on the front porch and fed me. I came back each evening for a week. By then, it was snowing every day, so staff just scooped me up, took me to a nice kitty doc-doc who said I was about six months old, and then brought me back into their nice, warm house where I've been ever since.

Mattie (playing an imaginary violin): So?

Little Debbie: If I go outside, I might get lost again!

Mattie: Naw, you won't get lost again. I'll keep an eye on you.

Little Debbie: But what if I'm romping with my pet chipmunk and it scampers into another yard and I follow it and my chipmunk disappears and I can't find my way home again? Then I'll be LOST!

Mattie: Worry wart! Okay, how about this? Staff builds a roofed glass playroom for us. It'll be grassy with cat condos and carpeted ramps and lots of cat toys and will be heated in the winter. It'll have a southern exposure so staff could install solar panels for heating and a small a/c unit for cooling, as necessary. Like this:

Little Debbie: How will we get into it -- and out of it?

Mattie: There can be an enclosed hallway from Daniel's room to the playroom. Staff can make a cat door with a flap on it to keep chipmunks out of the house.

Little Debbie: Hmmmm, from what Joanne said in the video, a flap wouldn't discourage cunning little chipmunks. And another problem.

Mattie: Is that all you do -- bring up problems? Sheesh. I'm surprised staff has kept you around all these years.

Little Debbie: The chipmunks are under the front porch. The playroom will be in back. How will the chipmunks know where to go to find us? And how will they get in and out of our play area?

Mattie: Silly girl! There'll be a chipmunk door into the playroom. Then staff will have to come up with a way to keep chipmunks out of the house. Not our problem. Oh, and there are even more chipmunks in the backyard. I heard staff wondering where they're all coming from. And bunnies, too.

Little Debbie (squealing in delight): BUNNIES????

Mattie: Yeah, and 'possums and 'coons and a fox and a hungry coyote or two.

Little Debbie: Uh oh. I think I sense a rescue effort ahead. The back yard is really wide and deep. Staff should build a BIG play area for us with enough room inside for rabbit warrens and chipmunk burrows.  Then the little critters would be safe from marauding coyotes.

Mattie: Good grief! There won't be any room to play! We'll break a leg when we accidentally step into a hole.

Little Debbie: But we have an opportunity to put staff's money to good use and to make life better and safer for others! What's wrong with that?

Mattie: Sounds like you "Feel the Bern"....

Little Debbie: Huh?

Mattie: Bernie Sanders. Never mind.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

M is for -- Merry Christmas!

"Well, I see our staff is starting to put up Christmas decorations again," Little Debbie snorted. "Didn't we just go through this a few months ago?"

"Nope," Mattie sighed. "That was all of a year ago. The older you get, the faster time passes."

Yeah, yeah, I'm getting old. You don't have to remind me. It seems like only yesterday when our male human scooped me up off the front porch. I was shivering so much and was so hungry!"

Mattie closed her eyes, remembering her own rescue. "Our lady human had been feeding me and my sister out on the back stoop for about a year. One day the lady got sneaky and put the bowl of food inside in the back hall. Of course, I went in, was just too hungry to think about consequences. Before I could run back outside, she had closed the door behind me, trapping me in the back hall. I camped out under a sewing machine table for a couple of weeks until it felt safe to check out these new digs. So much better – I NEVER want to be outside again!"

"What about your sister?"

"Several times they tried the same food trick with her, but she was too smart. I've never seen her again. And then I heard my humans mutter that coyotes had moved into the area." Mattie bowed her head in grief. "I fear the worst. That's why it's so important for us strays or ferals to find humans who will adopt us and open those little cans of food and love us."

Mattie sat up straight on her haunches, whiskers twitching. “And that’s exactly why no-kill shelters are so very important and even necessary. Places like that find and rescue and take in strays and ferals and abandoned kitties and lost fur babies who will be loved and cared for until they find their forever homes.”

“Exactly!” Little Debbie punched the air with her paw, then began to carefully lick all sides of it. “And that’s why it’s so important for humans to donate to animal shelters, especially to cat shelters. I hope our staff will gift one with a Christmas check!”

“Me, too. Now! Ta da! It’s naptime. I’ll curl up on the loveseat and you head for your blankie. See you at dinnertime.”

Psssst, this is the lady who tricked Mattie into the back hall. I was fortunate to overhear the above conversation and have sent a personal check to our local cat shelter. I too want kitties to be safe and fed and loved until they find their forever home. Please find it in your heart to volunteer and even donate!

Merry Christmas!
M is for -- Mug.

The UPS guy delivered several boxes this morning. One was a small square box.

"Open it! Open it!" shrieked Mattie. "Maybe it's from Unka Steve. It's the right-size box for a new catnip toy."

Both cats shivered with excitement. I sighed, grabbed my little knife, and carefully slit open the box flaps. Immediately I realized it was a mug.

"Sorry, girls. This one's for me. But don't worry. Unka Steve says there will be a gift for you two."

I carefully peeled off the bubblewrap and set the mug on the carpet so the girls could see the picture on the mug. It was a cat with middle claws upraised and surrounded by the words, "I do what I want."

The two cats looked at the mug and then at each other. "That's a naughty picture!" and "We never talk like that!" 

I choked back a cough. "Yeah, right. You think I don't notice, but I see you two doing that a lot when we give you food you don't like and when Daniel doesn't scoop your litterbox as carefully as you'd like. And when I try to get Little Debbie's blankie away from her to wash it now and then." 

I continued. "This gift is for ME. Thank goodness you won't be able to get your furry little faces down into it to suck up my coffee. And apparently Unka Steve knows what I'm up against in this house."

"Well, okay then. Think what you will about us. Don't choke on your coffee," retorted Mattie. "And stop telling him lies about us. C'mon, Deb. Let's sit near the front door and wait for the UPS guy to deliver OUR gift from Unka Steve. I bet it will be one for Christian cats like WE are."

"Get comfy, ladies. You've got a long wait ahead of you." As I turned to walk away, my peripheral vision caught a flash of upraised paws with middle claws pointed toward the ceiling.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

K is for -- Krinkle, Krackle, Krunch.

It all started at Christmas 2007 with a candy cane -- a fabric, dried-catnip-filled candy cane, that is -- from my dear friend Steve (known to the cats as "Unka Steve").

Thomas Jefferson promptly claimed it and spent most of his (four) waking hours wrestling with it, clawing at it, tossing it around, leaping on it, drooling on it, sleeping on it, and generally mauling it until it was more pink and gray rather than the original red and white. The other cats tried to steal it to play with it, but soon came to realize it was Thomas's candy cane and no one else's.

The next Christmas Unka Steve played Santa again and sent the cats mice -- catnip mice. Cute little mice knitted-and-felt packed with dried catnip.

A felt, catnip-filled banana followed (see my blog post on August 6, 2013, "B is for -- Banana"). A year or so later, the cats got a catnip-filled Kickeroo toy.

And kickaroo they did!


Cats Rule Catnip Toy, Cylinder

[to be continued]
J is for -- Jack, or Jill?

A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen and heard Mattie's and Little Debbie's strident arguing. They were having an animated "discussion" about something. I peeked around the corner and into the back hall to see them standing at the back door and staring out through the glass storm door at something on the concrete slab outside the back door. I quietly sat on the top step of the four steps that went down to the door and proceeded to eavesdrop.

Little Debbie: What's going on here? The staff has been giving our uneaten food to that cat.

Mattie (hissing): I've also noticed Daniel has been OPENING cans of our favorite cat food for that cat.

Little Debbie: And look at her -- or him! Getting chubbier and chubbier! Eating OUR food!

Mattie: I wonder if it's a boy cat or a girl cat. Maybe staff would invite him -- or her -- inside and we could have a new friend to chat with and snuggle up to. That cat actually looks harmless enough.

Little Debbie: A boy cat would be fun. Boy cats are soooooooo laid back! I miss Kuro. It would be cool to have a boy cat around again.

Mattie: The way this cat is getting chubby, I'm wondering if she's a girl. It might not be food that's making her chubby.

Little Debbie: What do you mean? Do you think she has a tumor?

Mattie (sighing): YOU think! Didn't your mother ever have The Talk with you? "The birds and the bees" talk? Feral girl cats loose outside. Feral boy cats loose outside. February is mating season. This cat might be pregnant.

Little Debbie (eyes wide): Ooooooooooooooo!!!!!! KITTENS! I can picture the fun already! We'll finally have PETS!


Mattie: And we need to somehow convince staff to get her inside before they are born. They don't have a prayer of surviving outdoors. Not with the coyotes that have moved into this neighborhood.

Mattie and Little Debbie sighed in unison and continued to watch the black-and-white visitor.

Deep in thought about defenseless kittens and hungry coyotes, I stood up and tiptoed back into the kitchen.