Cat blog about my life with many, many cats.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Florida Cat Found in San Francisco Seven Years After Disappearance

This is one of those happy ending stories that I always like to see in the news media. It seems like 99% of the news that is being forced down our throats lately is all negative. It's about time a heart-warming tale (or, in this case, tail) reached the public.

Cheyenne is the name of a cat that a woman adopted some seven years ago in Florida. Recently, this same cat turned up in San Francisco, and nobody knows how the cat got there. Was she abducted by aliens? Was she grabbed by catnappers? We may never know the full story, as Cheyenne isn't talking.


Sunday, April 18, 2004

Tabby's Place

In our continuing quest to get Teddy adopted to a good home, we checked out a new facility that opened up in Ringoes, New Jersey. It's called Tabby's Place, and it is a cat sanctuary. One man with a dream founded the place. It's a facility that only takes in "hopeless" cases, older cats who have been unable to be placed for adoption or sick cats who haven't been adopted, either. They get the cats from shelters which have scheduled these cats for euthanizing.

Tabby's Place is a wonderful, modern building, with specially designed areas for the cats to live and play. We were so happy to see how the cats were living. They all had fun cubicles and baskets and shelves so that they could each have a special spot for themselves. There are vets on staff whose only job is to serve the needs of these cats, especially the ones who are FIV positive.

The cats were all clear-eyed and happy-looking. One of the staffers listened as we told her about Teddy, and she let us put up an adoption poster for him. Since people mostly visit this facility to adopt a cat, maybe we'll get lucky and someone will inquire about Teddy.

Tabby's Place is a non-profit, and they are a great cause to donate to. I can vouch to the cleanliness of the place, the beauty of the areas where the cats live, and the kindness of the staffers there.

Let's put it this way - now I know where my extra money will be going :)


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Amazing Flying Cat Ball

If you've never seen two huge male cats in a tussle, let me tell you, it is an awesome thing to behold.

Our new cat, Teddy, the big bruiser of a tabby, has not been getting along with Earl, the gigantic white meatloaf of a cat who came with this house that we're renting. Some of the time they just engage in growling or hissing contests and leave it at that.

Sometimes they do their version of a Worldwide Wrestling Federation showdown.

The other day I was down on my knees cleaning up beside the bed where my books were all scattered about. Teddy was down at my level. In a sudden flash of white, I saw Earl launch himself through the air at Teddy. The next thing I knew, this awe-inspiring, whirling dervish feline tornado was crashing around the room.

The two of them were locked together, and there was no pulling them apart. Tom and I have already made that mistake in the past. One time, Tom tried to pull them apart with his hands and lost about eighteen layers of skin on his forearms. Another time, I thought I was being smart when I attempted to dislodge them from each other with my foot. (I was wearing a shoe and thick socks. I thought I was safe.)

I still have the puncture holes on my calf from that little incident.

So, basically, the rule of thumb is DON"T ATTEMPT TO SEPARATE THE FLYING BALL OF CATS unless you want to immediately head to the hospital for a skin graft.

This time, Earl and Teddy soared around the room for a while, and I just cussed for a bit, telling them to stop. This didn't work, either.

I watched the movements of the cat ball. It was a strange thing to behold, as the cat ball seemed to create its own vortex and defy gravity. I felt like I was watching a Tweety and Sylvester cartoon, or perhaps Tom and Jerry, with the images all sped up.

They were a blur of motion, first up, then down, then seemingly in the air, then moving side to side. If I tried to draw a diagram of their movements, it would look kind of like a play from a football team, with different full body tackles happening at different angles.

Eventually, the cat ball ended, and this powerful force of nature subsided.

Neither cat seemed the worse for wear, in spite of all that impressive action. Teddy was missing some tufts of fur, but he didn't even have a scratch on him.

The next time The Amazing Flying Cat Ball takes place, I am determined to make myself some popcorn, pull up a seat, and watch the show.

That's really all you can do. The two of them are going to have to resolve their "issues" on their own.

Unless Dr. Phil makes house calls for feline emergencies. I'll have to look into that.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Making Animal Contact

Over the years, I've been blessed to experience many moments of connection with animals, where I'm able to do a "Vulcan mind meld" and really see, sense, and hear what they are thinking. I've learned that the best way to make this type of connection is through beaming out lots of love and appreciation. Then they will usually come to you, calm down, or just simply take a moment and share some information with you.

I believe that we all have these abilities. We just rarely take time to develop them.

I'll never forget the time last year when our landlady brought a new horse to the farm. This big, brown sweetheart was standing in his fenced in area, getting adjusted to his new surroundings. He seemed skittish and nervous. I went up to him to try to stroke his head and say "Hi," but he wouldn't come near me.

I don't have much experience with horses, having never ridden them or been trained to work with them. What I do have is a lot of intuitive, instinctive, awareness. I find that it has clicked in from time to time, sometimes in emergency situations when some of the horses here on the farm have gotten loose, bolting from their fenced in pastures.

Anyway, this horse was very nervous, and somehow, I could tell he was stressed out. I took a moment to beam lots of love at him, doing this for several minutes. He came over to me then. I put out my arms in a hug. He reached his head over to me, and I felt a huge sigh go through him. Then he sort of went limp in my arms, completely relaxing his head on me as I cradled him in my arms. I sensed him saying that he was very scared, very worried about where he was going.

He had been shipped from a farm in Kentucky as a prospective new horse for a buyer here in New Jersey, and I don't think anybody had bothered to tell him what his future might hold. I told him that a lady would be coming to see him and that he might go home with her, but that if he didn't, he'd probably be going back home to his old farm. He seemed to express real gratitude to me then. He just wanted to know what was happening to him.

That horse ended up going back to Kentucky, where I think he was happier, anyway. But I'll never forget the heartfelt feeling of "Thanks!" I received from him after I provided some simple information about what was going on.

Here is a series of fascinating comments about how each of us can develop the technique of animal communication, which is actually an old technique of the Native Americans and other indigenous people. It can be used with horses, but the same ideas also work with cats, dogs, and just about any animal you can think of.

I plan to write more about our spiritual connection with animals in a future book, but for now, check out this great article:


Friday, April 09, 2004

Cats Found to be Our Friends for over 9,500 Years

For a long time, archeologists believed that the earliest era when humans befriended cats, keeping them as pets, was in ancient Egypt. Now evidence has been found in Cyprus that proves that people were keeping cats as pets much earlier than that, roughly 9,500 years ago.

Check this article out for more info:


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Super-Sized Kitten

Some cats seem to mature gracefully, adapting to the changes that their body makes over time. But Roman, our orange woolly worm of a cat, doesn’t seem to realize that he’s not a tiny kitten anymore.

He’s over two years old now, but in his mind, he’s still the bitty handful of fur that joined us that fateful summer when our landlady adopted him and his sister to become new outdoor barn cats. He and his sister, Becka, were only six weeks old. When our landlords went away for a week to Ireland, they asked if we would keep the kittens down in our basement. They had been staying in an enclosed area in one of the barns before that.

I said, “KITTENS! Of course, we’ll take them. I mean, look after them.”

Well, Becka and Roman joined us on the side area of our basement, but before long, they were moved upstairs to the enclosed living room. And, somehow, they never ended up becoming barn cats. They were our cats.

Having kittens is SO MUCH FUN. I’d cuddle them each day, and for a long time, the two of them were small enough to sit on my lap together. They seemed to be in denial as their bodies became longer and their dimensions increased. For a long time, the two of them would still try to sit on my lap together, even though one of them would inevitably fall off, and fuzzy kitten limbs would be scrambled everywhere as they jostled for position.

Becka seems to be maturing gracefully. She’s still a very small, thin, cat, but she seems to know that she’s not a baby kitty anymore.

Roman, however, knows he’s still the infant of the house, even if he has grown to be the size of horse. (Well, maybe not that big.)

Last night I was up late working on a column. The wind was blowing, and my upstairs office was chilly. I don’t get much heat up here in this old house because the radiator doesn’t work in this room.

Roman seemed to sense that I needed a lap warmer, and he joined me for several hours while I worked, purring contentedly in my lap. But he still thinks of himself as a tiny kitten, because he flops around on my lap and seemingly doesn’t realize that his limbs are big now, and that if he keeps flopping, he’ll fall off. So we go through this ritual of him relaxing on my lap and then flopping around and falling off, me picking him up again, and the cycle repeats.

It’s kind of like the instructions that come on a shampoo bottle. “Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat” only this cycle is more like “Purr. Fall Off Lap. Repeat.”

He’s an excellent lap warmer, though, and I was grateful for the extra warmth.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Rainy Day Pusscats

Although it's spring, the weather here has been chilly and damp for the last two weeks. The cats seem to know that it's spring, and they're eager to start going outside, but every time they stick their snouts out the cat doors, they come running back in pretty quickly. So, for now, they've kicked back into slumbering cold weather feline mode. or rainy day pusscats, as we call it.

I have a theory about the random movement of cats, although I have yet to put my ideas to the test in a lab setting. My theory is that cats, on sleepy rainy days, operate as a kind of a sundial. You can tell what time it is by the position that the cats have moved to. Some of this is obviously true. Some of the cats gravitate toward the window ledges when the sun comes in the afternoon, and they follow the patches of sunlight on the carpet as it works its way through the house in the late part of the day. So you really can tell, say, that it's three-o-clock because Smoky is sitting in a certain spot on the carpet.

But I think this same theory applies to other parts of the house, too. I haven't yet put together a mathematical formula that will withstand rigorous testing, but I'm working on it. There are a few variables that I need to keep in mind. I think Tom is a big variable in this equation. His lap always has a cat attached to it, so if he's in range, my cat sun dial theory could be skewed.

But we'll see.

With eight cats on board, we're always scratching our heads to figure out a way that we can harness the power of all of these animals. If we could put them to work marketing in our respective businesses, for instance, or even answering phones, that would be an excellent use for their feline energy. I'd love to teach them to fend off telemarketers. But so far, the only "work" the cats indulge in is Kirby knocking my pencils and pens around and seating herself on piles of important documents. I'm trying to encourage her to actually do some writing. Maybe she should have her own column.

Heck, if she really became good at her craft, she could take over this blog.

Friday, April 02, 2004

It's a Plot, I Tell You

You may recall from an earlier entry that we've been trying to get Teddy, the big grey tabby who showed up here this winter, placed in a good home. I've been gradually distributing posters with charming photos of the guy to various establishments in our area, including the post office, my favorite coffee house, restaurants, etc.

The only phone call we had was from a woman who thought Teddy was her cat Bruce, which he wasn't. (Take one good look at him, and you can tell right away he's not a Bruce. He's a Teddy. This is very clear to us.)

Anyway, this week I uncovered a secret conspiracy. Both at the post office and at the coffee house, Teddy's posters have been taken down. A mysterious hand would appear to be at work. I know the owners of the coffeehouse and have enlisted their enthusiastic help to spread the word about Teddy. They were surprised yesterday when we both noticed the poster was gone, vanished from their bulletin board without a trace.

Is there an underground feline adoption poster removal organization? (With secret initials: UFAPRO.) Hmmm. This seems very odd.

Teddy is settling in better with Earl, although they growl at each other in an almost ritualistic way for a period each day. A few hours later, they're both conked out on the bed, sleeping in huge feline piles right next to each other, their differences seemingly forgotten.

So maybe Teddy is meant to stay with us? Is this a message from Bastet, the cat goddess, or some other feline aspect of Deity?

We're keeping an open mind.

In the meantime, check out this cool link. You can send free animated cat and dog ecards, complete with your choice of text, graphics, and music:


If you go to the area for lucky cats, you'll find an array of animated Japanese beckoning cats. They have them for wealth, good luck, you name it. Very cool. I love those beckoning cats. If anybody knows where I can order a ceramic one, I really want one for my office.

Then again, I might ask myself, "Do I really need more cats?"

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Roman, the Orange Handbag of a Cat

Roman is our two and a half year old orange kitten who joined our household with his petite tortoiseshell sister, Becka, in the summer of 2001. There is something just plain FUN about orange cats. Roman is my first.

Ever seen one of those bright-colored, fuzzy caterpillars that appear in the fall as the leaves are turning? We call them woolly bears, but I don't know if they have another name. Roman is a woolly bear cat. It's not that he has really long hair, it's more that he is slow-moving, good-natured, and fuzzy, just like one of those cute, downy caterpillars.

Since Roman has always been an "OOHH I HAVE TO PICK HIM UP NOW AND CUDDLE HIM" kind of cat, he's learned to put up with me slinging him over my shoulder and carrying him around like a handbag. I need to get a picture of this in action to put up on my future website.

You can carry him around this way, and he'll just purr and go along for the ride. He's very comfortable being up high and has no fear of vertical spaces. He used to have a habit as a kitten of thinking that poor Tom, at 6'4", was a tree. He liked to climb up his legs all of a sudden or climb up his back. He still does this once in a while, but for the most part, he's learned to tell the difference between PERSON and TREE.

Roman makes an excellent handbag. Now, if only he had a pouch like a kangaroo, I could carry my wallet around in him.