Posts Tagged With: Cat

 
 

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

Tuning the Cat

“If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.

—   Douglas Adams

English: This feral cat is about to drink wate...

Have I mentioned that my dad is a cat tuner? Yes, you read that correctly, a cat tuner. No it’s not a Boston-accent kind of fish.

The best I can do is illustrate how he goes about tuning a cat.

My youngest brother had a cat named Car Keys.  Now Car Keys would be lounging about, sleeping, minding his own business in some quiet corner. Dad would slink up beside Car Keys and in one swift movement stamp his foot, clap his hands and let out an ear-piercing whistle. That poor kitty would leap about three feet into the air, let out a yowl and take off running out of dead sleep.

“That is how you tune a cat,” my dad would say, laughing.

He was simply honing the cat’s natural instincts.

Another time Dad might pick up Car Keys and snuggle him, pet that sweet spot behind the ears, love on that cat as if it were the best friend he ever had. Car Keys would get all comfortable and feel loved and cared for.  At about that point Dad would gently toss the cat on to the roof.

You know if he could speak that cat would be saying, “*$($%*@(??*!!!!” Which is simply cat language for “what the heck?”

If I were that cat I’d leap down on Dad’s head and claw his ears apart. But no, Car Keys would slink about the roof looking for an easy way down.  That cat liked to hang out on the roof after a while. I think it figured out Dad couldn’t sneak up on him very easily up there.

Having been the instrument of many of dad’s tunings, Car Keys didn’t, surprisingly, run away when he was around. That cat would still rub up against Dad’s leg, meow at him with affection and interest, and generally treat Dad like a regular person. Maybe it was Car Key’s way of proving to Dad that he wasn’t going to be manipulated, changed, or tuned.

I think Dad ’s also keeping himself sharp and tuned, like a young kid. That’s how he stays young, by being mischievous. That twinkle in his eye comes from seeing the world through a humorous lens.  I think his mind is always thinking, “What can I do to liven things up, stir the pot, or kick things up a notch?”

Another brother’s cat lives with Mom and Dad nowadays. It seems to tolerate Dad’s tuning and teasing. It still snuggles up to him, doesn’t scratch him, and brings him dead critters it caught in the field as gifts of love.

If people were more like cats, or least like the cats my Dad has tuned, life would be a heck of a lot calmer and there’d be less contention.  It’s as if those cats get my Dad. They understand he’s not mean. He’s just being silly and having fun. The cat mentality is so chill and relaxed, so forgiving and easygoing that none of Dad’s antics can keep it ruffled for long. People need to chill out, learn to laugh, relax, forgive, move on.

Come to think of it, Dad used to tune us kids. We’d be riding in the front seat of the truck or car, with him at the wheel, watching the scenery blowing past, relaxed and  feeling good. There wasn’t much conversation usually. Next thing you know Dad would let out a whoop or an ear-piercing whistle and grab that tickle spot on just above your knee caps on the outside edged. We’d yelp and leap about four feet, which is tough to do in a vehicle with a low roof.

He’d chuckle and, once our heart rate slowed down a bit. Oh, we’d be in tune, but wary.

Never could return the favor.

Dang it.

Categories: Family, Humor, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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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