My Profile
Diary Rings

Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

Join my Notify List and get email when I update my site:
Powered by

2:47 p.m. - 2013-11-25

How DO people manage to take all those amazing and amusing pictures of their cats? Do they lie in wait for hours and hours like wildlife photographers? I've been trying all morning to get some decent pics of my gang and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of vaguely cat-shaped blurry smears.

And why am I finally breaking down and trying to do that annoying "Hey, look at MY cats! Aren't they gorgeous/unique/so cute you could die?" thing? Peer pressure. *snort* Not really. (Okay, maybe a little.) Mostly though I wanted to take cat pics because we have a new cat and Mandy is going to die soon. I need photographic evidence. Posting the pics online would just be a bonus and a place to park them in case I drop my phone down a sewer grate or something. (I was going to say 'drop my phone in the toilet' but I never take my phone into the can. No, not even to play Angry Birds while I'm pooping.) Archiving pet pics here in my blog seems to make sense, the rest of my life is recorded here so why not my cats?

Yes, Mandy the cat is going to die. It's happening fast. In August she was fat and sassy and still very much the Queen. She'd been in charge since she showed up here nine years ago. A chronic runaway wearing a collar and a tag she strolled in one morning and made herself to home. We returned her to her owners once and when she came back here they told us to keep her. They were tired of her truant ways. So she stayed. Easily assuming command and running herd on the other cats. And when Princess joined us it was Mandy who let our doggie know her place in the pet pecking order. (Dead last.) She decided who ate first and who got to sit on Wolf's lap while he played video games, Mandy was a bad ass. Then a few weeks ago we noticed Anna Cat had taken over. Mandy, it seemed, had retired. Suddenly she was old. Her stripes are fading, her muzzle is white and she's getting bony. She's not ill, just elderly. Mandy is as friendly as ever, just as glad for a lap, and will still take offered bits of cold cuts from my hands when I'm making Mick's lunch, but mostly she sleeps. The only thing she asks for these days is for us to open the bathroom door so she can go in and curl up by the radiator. It's become her place. While the other pets jackass around vying for room on the couch or on the dining room sideboard (sunniest window in the house and a prime snoozing location) Mandy is content to snuggle down on the bathmat pressed as closely as she can get to the radiator without scorching her fur.

When you inherit a stray (or one adopts you as Mandy did) it's difficult to know exactly how old they are. Our other three jokers were wee bitty brand new kittens when we got them, but Mandy was full grown and we never thought to ask her former family how old she was. If pressed I'd say she's about 15 now. She's been with us for almost 10 years and was definitely in her prime when she moved in. The rapidity of her aging isn't too worrisome. It goes like that with cats sometimes. Feline Dorian Grays who cruise along ageless for lots of years and then one day they wake up shriveled crones. Mandy will spend her dotage being loved and cared for as always. As long as she stays comfortable and continent Mandy will live out her retirement being our creaky old lady cat. If she dies here at home that's all the better. But if it becomes obvious she's in pain or can't eat and make it downstairs to the litter box anymore we'll do her the courtesy and kindness of having her put down. It's what I'd want if I was trapped in my failing bod- confused and starved and all wracked with pain. She was our Queen and it seems terribly selfish to keep her here a sad fur-covered skeleton with diarrhea caking her gimpy legs just because we're too cowardly to make the hard call.

Anyhow, I want to get a pic of Mandy before it's too late.

And the rest of our gang. Which numbers four cats these days.

I know, I know, we took a vow that three cats was it. And when they died they wouldn't be replaced. It's not unreasonable for me and Mick to be thinking of our own retirement- the end of his job, the both of us not being needed as fulltime parents, heck, even doing the upkeep of this house. We want to travel A LOT. And possibly spend some time as ex-pats living abroad. Belize. Panama. Somewhere in the British Isles. Lithuania. The Adriatic coast of Italy perhaps. This is partly why we want to travel- to shop for a place to live. Someplace where the food and the weather agree with us and the living is cheap enough for two relatively low-maintenance Americans on a fixed income to get by okay. Besides, New York makes it terribly difficult to fight off being extradited to Florida. It is the law after all. Turn 75 and you must relocate to Boca, buy a white Buick and start wearing gaudy track suits. This is something we'd like to avoid if possible. Neither of us even like Florida. If it weren't for DisneyWorld and the Keys we'd never, ever, ever go back. The forced relocation of retirees is just mean, but that's New York for ya.

Okay, all silliness aside we truly do have a new cat. Not only that...he's Mick's cat. Yes, my husband Mick. The guy who never wanted kids and thinks pets are unsanitary money wasters. The one who only got me a dog because his need to spoil me is greater than his neurotic need for quiet clean slobber-free comfort. The guy who seriously risked me getting involved with him at all because he detested cats and I have no patience with men who are cat haters. (Such a cliché. Daaaww does the big manly-man hate cats because they don't take orders from his big important self? Boo-hoo-hoo.) Yet there it is. Mick has fallen stone in love with a cat.

The ex-husband can't ever do anything neatly. When he finally moved away he left enormous junk piles of hoarded crap in the backyard, his '66 VW (in pieces and up on blocks) and a raggedy bunch of feral cats he'd been feeding outside his apartment in the chicken coop. Over time we'd caught most of them, got them fixed and passed on to new homes. Had to. Or we'd have been run over by an exponentially growing wild cat population. But a few strays defied capture. Earlier this past spring we found a nest. The mama cat absconded leaving us with a smorgasbord of barely weaned babies. Wolf was allowed to keep one. He chose Anna Cat. A scrappy calico who's since proven to be a wall-climbing annoying pain in the kiester. We found homes for most of the rest. However two of those kittens refused to be caught or disappear. They hung around long enough for us to know them by sight and give them names. There's The Wild Thing- a fierce calico with oddly lopsided facial coloring and Smokey- so designated because he looked insubstantial in direct sunlight. A wisp of a thing. A wraith. Hardly real. The Wild Thing still comes by in the morning for kibble. I keep a bowl outside the backdoor and fill it when I let Princess out for her morning constitutional. Occasionally The Wild Thing will deign to be scritched by me but no other human is ever allowed near. Wolf's tried and tried but our parti-colored feral isn't interested in being pals with my kid.

Smokey, on the other hand, is a total snuggle-puss. Willingly, gladly submitting to pets and cuddles from me and Wolf, sure, but Smokey's great love and object of devotion is Mick. No teenaged Belieber could be more enthralled than Smokey is when Mick pets him. If a cat could wet its pants with joy then Smokey's would be soaked when Mick sits down on the back stoop and gives our other scruffy feral kitty some lovin's. Smokey purrs and slobbers and makes little mewls of pure joy when Mick is petting him.

I've had many, many cats in my life. A couple of them as dear to me as my children, but I've never seen anything like Smokey and Mick. If it weren't so goddamn adorable and sweet I'd be jealous. See, a few days ago Smokey decided to up their relationship. Instead of backdoor morning kibble and the occasional lap sit on the stoop Mick's new love slave came inside. In defiance of established house rules and feral cat law Smokey marched in and insisted on being with his love. Nevermind that damn dog. Nevermind the inside cats. Nevermind me and my attempts to hold fast to the three cat rule or how often I tossed him back outside Smokey was having none of it. Mick is his guy. His god. THE human to whom Smokey gives his allegiance. Ain't nobody getting in his way. And Mick agrees. Smokey is his. Allowed where no other cat has ever been. Given rights even I don't have. Shoot, I still knock before going into Mick's den, but Smokey comes and goes as he pleases. Mick's furry feline pal. His goomba. They've become a bonded pair and the best of friends.

The regular feedings have allowed Smokey to blossom from wispy insubstantial ghost kitty into a gorgeous, sleek and shiny black cat with a white bib and the well-muscled lines of a panther. Another few months of cushy indoor living and special favors from his love god, Mick, and I imagine Smokey will rival our other beast-cat, Lucky. Lucky- rescued from a horse barn and coming home with us when he was a plucky absurdly courageous wee tiny thing the size of a corn muffin. Lucky who's grown to 18lbs and is roughly the size of a mountain lion, Smokey and Lucky will be forever duking it out for second place. The pet hierarchy in the Sage house is just the same as the human one- females rule. When Mandy retired it was Anna who took her place, not Lucky though he's been here years longer, or even Smokey who is Mick's especial pet friend. The hand that rocks the cradle, the one who own the ovaries, She Who Must Be Obeyed. Yeah. Whatever the species the deal is the same...Chicks Rule. And to be honest? The guys wouldn't have it any other way.

So now we are eight. Three people. One dog. And four cats. ~LA

5 Wanna talk about it!

previous // next