Posts Tagged With: animals

 
 

Something the Cat Dragged In

Cute, yes?

Cute, yes?

One of the four cutest kids I know has a cat at her house, named Penelope Buttercup. Also, there’s a dog named Pabst, which you should imagine as a teddy bear that Penelope has targeted as arch-enemy number one. Oh, and this sweet girl also has a stuffed toy mouse who goes by the name of, well, Mouse.

When I’ve been lucky enough to spend time at her home she uses some big words for such a little girl. And by big, I mean loud. If the cat walks past she’ll yell “TAAAAAT!” If the dog walks by she hollers, “PAAAAAAAP!” And if you show her the stuffed mouse she proclaims, “MOWW!”

There’s no question which of those three she’s referring to. Not sure why the dog isn’t called “DAWG!” I suppose “PAAAAAP!” can be shouted easier. Who knows what goes on in those little computer brains of babies these days.

When I see a cat now I automatically yell in my head “TAAAAAAAT!” It’s my little equivalent of seeing a moon and thinking someone else I love who lives far away is seeing the same moon. I see a cat and know that my little palindrome grand-daughter sees a cat during her day, too.

Every I look I see cats. Especially online. Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats.

Why?

These aren’t particularly friendly critters. Hardly. They’re standoffish and snooty. And yet the human race seems to embrace the furballs with unbridled ridiculousness.

Of course, I used to be the same way. As a tweenager I adopted a stray cat every time the last stray disappeared. Which was often. Weird. They were various combinations of black and white, whose names I don’t remember except for Zorro, which, of course, sported a little black mask around his eyes. And there was Tom, the feral cat, who was horse cat of a different color.

The term “something the cat dragged in” could have and often did refer to my Tom. You can read about him here if you’re curious.

My oldest daughter’s cat, pre-Penelope, would bring lizards and live birds in through the cat door at her house. Things got a bit exciting then, especially with multiple cats and a dog or two living there.

In Washington state we had neighbor cats that used to leave dead birds on our doorstep as a gesture of friendship. How sweet. We felt so…loved, or some other emotion. Just recently I thought that some human relationships are just like that. One person presents what they perceive as astounding gifts of love and sacrifice and the receiver only sees mayhem and grossness. That’s one of the saddest kinds of stories I know.

MSH hasn’t ever been a cat person. In fact, he taught my son at a very young age about the “handle” on a cat. SMH (Shaking My Head.) I’m afraid he took too well to that teaching and hauled many a neighborhood cat around by its tail.

My middle daughter and I once watched a cat play with a mouse in a sloped driveway. It was all kinds of fascinating. That is until the cat bit off the mouse’s head and played with that for a while. When the crunching started we left the area.

In a similar tone my parents’ cat leaves dismembered field critters on the driveway, proving his usefulness in spite of all proof to the contrary.

Sweet half-size Oreo.

Sweet half-size Oreo.

A notable exception to uppity cats is my son’s recently adopted dwarf cat, Oreo. He’s fully grown but still quite small, with a smooshy face and no meow. He doesn’t really jump or climb or do much of anything cat-like. That is, except for taunting the grand-dog Blondie by walking near the dog food dish. Subtle but effective snark there, if you ask me. (This little guy belonged to my brother who has five kids at home and has now rehomed of all the pets.)

Figuratively speaking, I often look like something the cat dragged in after a few hours of yard work, but then, don’t we all? Actually I think I look that way first thing in the morning too, but a bike helmet covers that up pretty well.

Some days I feel like something the cat dragged in, discombobulated, disoriented and “dis” in general. Days like that I kind of wish I were a cat, able to lounge about in odd places, soaking up some sun, or sprawled along the top of the couch. Maybe curled into a ball in a dark corner somewhere. Those days I just want someone to rub my neck and reassure me that I’m worthwhile and useful and loved and that yes, that “everything is gonna be okay.”

Ever so un-catlike, I have to actually be useful. I go about my days and nights fulfilling my obligations, contributing to society and the well-being of a few people I know and attempt to stay cheerful. I think I’m more like a dog than a cat. But that’s not all bad.

If all else fails I can always watch funny cat videos on YouTube, right?

~~~~~

“Meow” means “woof” in cat.” 
 ~ George Carlin

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Categories: Being Human, Communication | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Nameless: The Bear Who Still Lives, Sort of

Friday Letter to My Kids – April 17, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

When I need to get some conversation started with someone I don’t know well I often mention my Grand-dogs, Blondie and Pabst. Almost everyone can relate to dogs and dog stories. They always get a chuckle out of the term “grand-dog.” For sure it’s a real thing. I bought some doggie treats the other day to have around the house. Is that a Grandma thing, or what? It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to dog ownership given your dad’s anti-dog attitude.

Kind of along the same lines as pets, with an imaginative metaphysical leap, stuffed animals fall in a similar category.

This one's on ebay and labeled Vintage.

This one’s on ebay and labeled Vintage.

The first stuffed animal to join our family back in the very early eighties was Peter Cottontail. I know you all know him only as “That Creepy Bunny” but he once had led a charmed and happy life. When Peter first arrived, Big J had also just arrived. (Hard to believe the man i stand on tip-toes to hug was once such a tiny snuggable babe.) If you wound up Peter’s key he’d play the song “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” in sweet music box chime, while his head moved from side to side with the music. His fur was soft, his blue velvet jacket removable, and his whiskers ever so cute.

After a few years, in an attempt to keep him from getting destroyed, Peter spent some time in a box or two, and in storage more than a couple of times. Then he became an Easter decoration. Somewhere along the way his blue jacket got lost, his whiskers bent and his head movements grew jerky and odd, more like a tick than a dance. Oh, and his song kind of warped. In fact, I haven’t seen Peter for a while now. I’m a little worried about him. Probably made the migration to another box in the garage. I’m not sure he’s going to get to be a real bunny. But that’s another story.

Other stuffed animals came to stay, most for a long time. The Care Bears that your Grandma M made captured my heart. And Sparky moved away with Big L and now frolics with her littles, flatter and smooshier than he was when he got named by Grandpa M.  And then there’s Lambie, a few years younger than Peter and much fluffier with a wind up chime that still plays. Where did Lambie go anyway? Hmmm.

Then there’s this guy…

Big enough to sit up in my office chair.

Big enough to sit up in my office chair.

This bear came to me in my early teen years. A snuggly friend to hold and talk to when I felt friendless and forlorn. (A common malady called puberty, if I recall correctly. As per Baymax.) Somehow I never named this bear. How strange is that? He came along with me when I moved out of my childhood home, but shortly afterwards developed a leaky foot. Pieces of stuffing bled out of him in spurts and squirts and made a mess. He got put in a mending pile, then the mending box, then a box of his own. I finally, finally, finally fixed his owie last year so he doesn’t leak. But still, no one really plays with him. Is he too big? Intimidating? Lacking a personality? Maybe if he had a name he’d seem friendlier and more approachable. Maybe he needs a little messenger bag that hold treats and chocolate, a kind of bribery for friendship deal. I just don’t know.

He probably needs to hang out on the couch so he can pick up some pointers from watching Netflix, TED talks and PBS. Frankly, I’m a little sad for him.

The playgroup?

The playgroup?

Maybe I can get a playgroup going between him and the White Tiger, Beremy, the Huggy Bears, Chicken, and Giraffe. Red Pig and Crocodile will want to be part of the gang. Maybe Lambchop can join in too, if he can promise not to sing that endless song.

I’m a little worried that I’m even considering such things. I’m sure I just need to get out more often. It might be time for me to find a paying gig. Or go back to school.

I’m fine. Really.

In the meantime, If you have any ideas for a good stuffed bear name, let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

Lots of love,

Mom

~~~~~

P.S. Do you remember The Teddy Bears Picnic? Click here to listen to it again. Good times!!

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bunny Hop, Hop, Hop

By Masteruk (Own work)

Contemplative Bunny Photo by Masteruk (Own work)

I’ve observed this fun play at the Riparian on my morning walks over the past few months. Two rabbits face each other, then one hops straight up while the other one runs under it. The hopper turns midair and lands facing the other rabbit who turns almost immediately upon running under. They repeat this behavior taking turns on who hops and who runs. It’s a bit like watching popcorn popping when several pairs are hopping and running in the same general area.

This fun behavior seems to have ramped up with the cooler weather. I’ve wondered what it all means.

At first I thought it was some form of Bunny Jousting. Or perhaps it’s where the name of the popular wedding reception dance “The Bunny Hop” came from. (Could be.) But I did what any self-respecting blogger would and engaged in a bit of research before making a fool of myself online.

Turns out it’s part of the mating ritual between a male and a female. Looks fun!

Since my video attempts came out grainy and unclear, I’ve included video someone else shot of the same behavior.

Given the amount of such frolicking and the frequency of the hopping going on over at the Riparian a bumper crop of bunnies ought to make a huge showing in about a month.

Apparently there’s good reason for the anonymous saying, “Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.”

~.~.~.~.~

(If you’re really into Bunnies and all their nuances, this website has more information than the average person would ever need or want to know. But if you’ve got a son working on his rabbit raising merit badge, it’d come in really handy.)

Categories: Mondaze, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Let the Doggie Out?

Last week I dog sat. Yes. Me.

MSH even agreed to it, which in itself constitutes an incredible miracle of stellar proportions.

Look at this face. Who could say no to this face?

Sweet lil Blondie.

Sweet lil Blondie.

A fluffy curling tail that wags faster than a hummingbirds wing, this sweet little doggie grabs your heart and won’t let go. Kind of how she grabs her squeaker toy for a game of throw, fetch and keep away.

She’s new to the extended family, but not a puppy. She’s about eight years old and obviously not used to children. Her disposition lies somewhere along the realm of a pampered princess with little use for sticky little grabbing hands and unpredictability and loudness that comes with the territory of small children.

She’s playful, just not in a kid-friendly or other dog friendly way. She’s been the center of attention, the ruler of all things household.

She sports a blingy collar to match her bleach blond fur and mincing little steps. I took her along on my walk at the Rip one morning and had a tough time keeping up with those short legs. She’s fast and curious and doesn’t waste any time doddling, except over certain bushes and taller grasses. She loved the rabbits and if not on a leash would certainly have managed to catch one or at least give it a good run.

Y’know that ankle-biter dog bark? Yeah, that one. She’s got it down. Thing is, she’s got the razor-sharp chops and the chutzpah to back it up. I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. No way.

We had a great time. Except for the fact that I worried about her when away from the house. I didn’t want to stay away too long. I felt bad leaving her at all, especially when she’d get so excited when I prepped to go.

Honestly, I felt like a brand new mom all over again. Completely clueless about what I should do with this little bundle. How much attention to give? How much to let her just do her own thing? Is she eating enough? Drinking enough? What about potty issues? How much is enough, too much? All those looks, barks, growls, yips, non-verbal communication that I can’t interpret no matter how much I want to.

Smiling lovingly at her "mommy."

Smiling lovingly at her “mommy.”

And there’s surely some doggie etiquette I didn’t get while out in public. Is there a book about that? And I didn’t remember what mix of breeds she is, (akin to cluelessness about your own child’s age.)

All that worry melted away when she sat on my lap or lay at my feet.

See? Just like a kid! They look so sweet and adorable and problem-free when they sleep.

When her mommy/owner picked her up I felt both relief and sadness. Relief because someone who knew what to do and understood her language could meet her needs better than I. And sadness because she brought an energy and joy into our home I hadn’t expected. Hopefully she’ll come visit soon.

Don’t get too excited. No potential doggie adoption here. Nope. MSH’s heart wasn’t captured, snuggled or charmed. Not a chance.

Categories: Fun | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crazy Going Slowly Am I

I think I have all the makings for becoming a crazy cat lady.

I used to love cats! As a kid I almost always owned a stray cat of one stripe or another.  Zorro had a black mask around his eyes that made him seem mysterious and sneaky.  He’s the only one whose name I remember of six or eight little fur balls that I loved.

A photograph of a stray cat I have adopted.

A stray cat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was this Tom cat with bald patches, a short crooked tail, huge clumps of white matted fur and two different eye colors. That was on a good day.  He would disappear for weeks at a time and return with injuries, sores, greasy fur and skinnier than when I’d last seen him.

I’d get him washed up, fed and snuggled into a blanket on my bed and then rub his ears to reassure him that all was well.  He’d stick around for a month or two and then disappear again for a few weeks.  On his return we’d repeat the cleaning ritual. After a few years he simply never returned from one of his forays. I like to think that scraggly Tom went out with a wild cat fight that matched his obviously wild life.

We adopted another scruffy stray when I had a toddler at home.  This one I didn’t let in the house, but it got fed and watered and loved by my toddler.  She was the one who came up with a name for it, “Suffer.”  Seemed like a really appropriate name for a mangy stray who attacked the birds from my feeder and looked like he lived a rough life.  Years later that toddler told me she got the name from cat in the Disney movie “Cinderella.” That cat’s name: “Lucifer.”  Apparently to a toddler’s ears the name sounded like “Suffer.”

We don’t own or feed any cats anymore. MSH is allergic to the critters and I don’t have time or patience for one. Lately I just chase cats away from the yard.  The overfed orange tabby I refer to is usually lying in wait for some hapless bird to get complacent and comfortable.

English: Orange tabby cat

English: Orange tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So why do I think I’m ripe for becoming a crazy cat lady?  Maybe the emphasis needs to focus more on the “crazy” and less on the “cat.”

Cats are only predictable in their unpredictability. You can’t count on them to snuggle you when you need snuggling, not like a dog, who senses a need and fills it. No cats are all about spontaneity and whimsy and fluffiness.

I’m unpredictable, spontaneous, whimsical and all too often focused on the fluffiness.  I’m a dreamer with little follow through, a planner lacking energy. Stacks of papers fill surfaces like a litter box and things sit around half-finished, waiting for inspiration or desire to strike, like a cat waiting for motivation.  It isn’t gonna happen.

At this stage in my life am I capable of scaling back or ramping up or finding balance, chi, inner peace, feng shui, enlightenment, reason, order or balance? Or am I one quickly becoming of those people everyone will want to avoid for her eccentricities?

“Crazy  Aunt Kami, man was she ever weird, let me tell you about the time she…” they’ll say and I’ll roll over in my grave to listen to yet another story of my non-exploits.

Maybe if I got a cat, I’d be a little less “Crazy” and more “cat.”  Sassy and content, carefree and clueless, living in the moment. Oh, and lots and lots of naps.

Actually, I think I’m already doing that, and that’s the problem.  What circular thinking I have.

Maybe I’ll just be crazy. I think it’s unavoidable.

Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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