But usually includes some form of Rest & Relaxation.
Does somebody need a little loving?
Stiletto was a stray...
Um, folks tell me stories all the time; and as much as I try to pay attention, come a month, a week, or a even a single day later and all the relevant details have disappeared and flitted away: out of sight and out of my mind.
Which is to say, someone might know the facts of the matter, but that someone is not me.
Stiletto was a stray.
I think her mother was a stray, a house cat that ran away to give birth and who died shortly thereafter. Her children, Stiletto among them, were all adopted by the same family, who lost control on moving day, when the cats ran out some open door amongst all the commotion.
Stiletto was the best at running away as she stayed gone the longest, which is odd, as I think she was the least suited, the most momma's cat of the lot, having been virtually hand raised in someone's lap.
But like, I said, the details blur.
Anyway, she was loose in the wild for maybe six months before things got grim.
Finding a Cat
Lazing in the sun on a cool summer day.
Some cats are easy to find... others not so much.
Stiletto would have never gone back into a house (any house) if she had had the choice. Clearly, I know not the details, but the other cat, Mr Z, pictured sleeping above, had gotten into the habit of taking walks (on a leash, no less) on a regular basis (at least twice a day). So, the yard smelled of cat. And it was a messy yard, with tarps to hide under during the rain, so, like, the place was highly inviting to a cat on the run, if you catch my drift.
On one walk, Mr Z very much wanted to go under a tarp (laid over scrap wood and who knows what else, probably a wheelbarrow or two), but thinking it might be a rat that he sensed, the Big Guy (as he is sometimes called) was not allowed to investigate the situation any further.
Days later, Stiletto was spotted in the yard.
'Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.'
And she came a'running.
Here! Kitty! Kitty!
It's easier to catch a cat when one has a little help.
Yeah, food's good.
Food would become a constant theme.
Who would have thought?
And training her to stand on her hind legs... er, that is to say, her indicating that it was time to be fed by standing was so easy, it was almost like she did all the work herself.
Anyhow, I was telling you about that first meeting. Food was placed outside; and then, on the sill, at which point, she ran around inside for a bit, freaking out I think, having lost her way to the door, before finally escaping. But the next day, she had to come inside (a mere six inches) to get that free food, which was all it took to slide the door shut behind her: Freedom Denied.
I suppose that's one way of looking at it.
Another way would be to talk about a scraggly cat with an infected tail, no doubt the result of losing a fight with another cat, you know, the type of infection that could kill a critter... especially one on the brink of starvation or have I already mentioned her dire situation?
For the first week, she growled and purred while eating.
Thank you for the food.
If you try to take it away, I will shred you.
Though, it really was both sounds at the exact same time.
'Purr! Growl! Growl! Purr!'
I am the toughest cat you will ever meet, my claws are sharp, while my temper is short. So, don't mess with me. Oh, and my current situation of ill health does not reflect my historical conditions. I am used to living well.
Overall, the blend was surreal, something I had not encountered before or since.
I remember when she came into my life by the books I was reading at the time and (by extrapolation) the stories I was writing.
The truth is, I had very little to do with rescuing Stilleto. I did not notice her. I did not feed her. I did not trick her into coming inside. Nor did I give her a house or a home.
But I was all alone with her... for the next several weeks: she isolated in a room by herself, lest she have some kitty disease, which would infect the other cat (Mr Z); and me, going into the room to read, spending hour after hour with her, for most of the day, probably for half my waking hours.
So, in her mind (and rightly so), I had saved her.
Thus, almost from the start (and as the saying goes), She thought I hung the moon.
Here we are, reading together those first few days (one can tell by the tan flipper stripes on my feet in the image below).
Don't stop now!
What comes next?
Maybe a nap?
Or time to play?
And soon, she was right at home: settling in, standing by the door waiting to go out, and doing all those behaviors one usually observes in feline type companions.
However, I never did learn how to play with that cat.
So, um, is that the full story?
I actually did not know how to play with her, probably never did learn, playing wasn't her thing, not my thing... or so, I shall say.
Looking back, she probably tried to teach me, but she had thunderously sharp claws, a quick temper, and she'd just got done loosing fight after fight out on the street.
Seriously, I don't know how many times I went to pet her and she'd wrap herself around my hand, all four paws, claws out, mouth open, teeth pressed against skin, ready to kill, teach me a lesson, or whatever.
I just froze. Those who did not lost blood. So, I just froze.
Such behavior is not conducive to playtime.
In the end, she liked attacking strings (along with small stuff animals or mice) and would chase a balled up plastic bag (call it a 'bird' that was thrown around), but most likely, the best toy (the one she enjoyed the most) was a macadamia nut (much like an old walnut or acorn), all dried up in the shell, that would rattle when rolled down the hall and she'd scramble after it, touch it once, but absolutely never bring it back.
Silly Boy, fetch is for dogs.
Actually, she would bring toys over on occasion when she wanted to play, but since she was mostly interested in playing at three in the morning, let's just say, I was not consistent in my reinforcement of this behavior.
In loving arms and/or an exposed belly.
And that's basically the story of how we met.
In time, I did figure out how to hold her. And after a few missteps (and despite her squirms), I knew she would never claw me... of course, I was often wrong in this last.
After all, accidents will happen. And it is awfully hard to communicate to a cat the difference between jeans (claw proof) and pajamas (not so much); but for the most, she respected bare skin (so counter-intuitively, less protection could be safer with her).
In the beginning there was The Big Guy and The Big Guy was all.
At one time, Mr Z was working on his own children's book. Though, he never got very far on it.
Mom, I know it's an hour early, but if you feed me now, you could always feed me again later. That way I could eat twice.
I think I read somewhere that Hobbits have been known to eat up to three breakfasts on any given day, along with brunch, lunch, second lunch, high tea, and at least two or three dinners, all topped off with a light snack before an early bedtime.
I think I may be Hobbit, mom.
I've got hairy feet like a Hobbit... though I don't think I would like to go on an adventure, not if it's going to get in the way of my morning nap.
Oh, but I know. Maybe we could go on a little adventure of our own today and have a second breakfast!
What do you think about that, mom?
It's Time to Feed the Cats
I'm singing for my breakfast.
I'm singing for my food.
Soon it will be breakfast.
So I'm singing for my food.
There's going to be food.
I waiting for the food.
Where is the food?.
Anyhow, the intent was that they would be best friends. It's actually why the one was rescued.
But you know how cats are.
The best laid plans Of Mice and Men.
I guess the point is that not knowing thing one about cats, I thought Stiletto and Mr Z would become the best of friends right from the start, sleeping in each others arms, and all the rest.
But that sort of relationship took years to develop. And that sleeping together part was highly dependent upon the weather: the colder, the more likely they were to snuggle up next to each other.
Still, time goes by...
And the next thing you know, they're the best of friends.
I am not of the opinion that cats can tell time. I have heard folks theorize that they can, with the idea being supported by cats locating themselves by the food bowl, patiently waiting, just like clockwork, prior to feeding time. However, what I have found is that cats are there, waiting by the food bowl, most any time day or night, in the off chance it might be time to be fed. Say, at three in the morning, a cat would be more than happy to walk across my face, by way of inquiring whether it was time to eat. No, it was not. Nor, as coincidence would have it, would it be time to eat five minutes later, when they repeated the performance.
Anyhow, so as to discourage 3AM feeding requests, I set an alarm on my phone (see recording above). And when it went off, I would feed the cats, because (as the recording indicates), it was then time to feed the cats. Oddly, I do not think they understood this recording either. Oh, their behavior changed, but I think that behavioral change had more to do with my behavioral change than anything else.
'Want to eat?'
'Is a cat hungry?'
And their ears would perk up.
Of course, I could, also, sound excited or distressed and call their name (or at least, Stiletto's name) from another room and she would come running. That cat had my back.
Anyway, Circling Sharks, that's what this section is about. Round about time to eat and the cats would start circling at my feet, rubbing against me, purring, standing on their hind legs, and doing whatever it was they could do to speed up the process. And then, since the alarm hadn't rung, I hadn't actually called them for breakfast, and it wasn't time to eat, I'd take my hot chocolate back to my desk and work on some silly webpage (like, say, this one) or an even sillier computer program, leaving the cats to wonder what went wrong, in the end, deciding it was best to sit in my lap and wait, you know, close to ground zero, until the appointed hour arrived.
She, Stiletto, would stand on her hind legs prior to feeding. I trained her to do this. Of course, what is far more accurate is to say, back in those first days, when she was all alone in that room, secluded, and I was carrying a plate of food towards her, she would get on her hind legs in order to get a better whiff of what was being served for dinner. And being a smart (and/or opportunistic) human, I know a Stupid Animal Trick when I see one.
As to food, the two cats shared and shared alike, which isn't anywhere near close to the truth. I'd put down two plates, bowls, saucers, whatever, little dishes like you'd (or at least, I'd) put wasabi and/or soy sauce into for sushi (Yes, please, Mr Brett), and they would both eat as fast as they could: Gulp! Gulp! Gulp! And then, when the easy pickings were gone from their own plates, they would (one or the other, as they both did this) push the other cat out of the way and lick up whatever remained on the other's plate.
They both liked the runny broth part of their meals best. And if I ever market a cat food, it's going to be Cat Broth Soup™ or something of the like, creamy smooth, maybe the consistency of milk (which I am told tends to cause diarrhea in felines, so word to the wise).
What makes a cat a cat?
As we all know, toilet water is the best. But when in Rome...
Actually, the most cat like behavior is sleeping. This place looks good.
These last pictures are all of Stilleto. And she is the one I loved the most, played with the most, slept with the most. I never really bonded with a cat (or maybe any other animal) until she came along. And maybe would not have, even at that, if she had not bonded with me first, decided I was her saviour, and wherever I was, well, that was where she wanted to be.
But I new Mr Z first. I used to dance with him on my shoulder for long hours (OK, maybe only ten minutes), twist around in a circle, do a light waltz, sing to him, whisper in his ear, and he would be as happy as a cat could be (you know, judging by the drool). He was bad with his claws, though (scratched me pretty consistently when jumping down); so, I took to doing the dance routine while wearing a heavy shirt, so as to protect myself, which I mention as part of the set up for the next.
As Mr Z got older, he started relieving himself in new and unusual places, including my bed, which I found annoying, to say the least. This strained our relationship. And then, I had to give him pills, a process neither one of us enjoyed. I suppose if I really hated him, it would have been easy to enjoy cramming a bit of bitterness down his throat, but I didn't.
Anyway, there we were, wrestling with each other, me trying to give him a pill, and he trying to resist.
He'd about had it. So, he pulled back with his paw and swatted my hand.
Stop it, Brett!
But he didn't draw blood. I believe it is important to allow cats their claws, so they can communicate displeasure, fight back, and the negotiated settlement (that comes from living with another) has some (albeit limited) degree of parity.
Anyway, if that 'Medicine Time' crap was half as annoying to Mr Z as it was to me, he demonstrated remarkable restraint in not slicing my hand open... likely more than Stiletto ever would have. And it reset our relationship closer to what it had been years before.
He even gave me a few final Napping Lessons before we parted company. Still, all in all, I would have liked it better if he'd never pissed on my pillow.
But then, perhaps that was a commentary on my dedication to the Somatic Craft.
But sleeping isn't likely very much of an idiosyncrasy for a cat.
Nor is being cute... or sneaky... or manipulative.
Though, calling it sneaky when they do it right out in the open is a bit of a misnomer.
The business of being a cat.
What are we doing here?
Count me in!
After all, who knows when scratchies will commence.
Take your time.
After all, in their own way, cats can be very patient.
And then, They are gone.
A statement, which to me, sounds more somber than it need be: gone does not always mean a corpereal disembarkation, just no longer nearby.
Hey, I'm more than Happy to House Sit. But don't be surprised when your 'Best Friend' wants to come home with me.
Not that I expect anyone to ever take me up on this, but if by chance you are interested in that house sitting thing, drop me a line: email@example.com
But whatever the case, eventually all things (even this webpage) must come to an end.