Tag Archives: cats

If You Can by Harry Margulies

Beautiful Black Labrador Puppy DogSometimes when they dream their paws start to twitch,
Where is it they’re running? What is it they wish?
Maybe they’re chasing a squirrel or mouse,
Maybe they’re trotting home, back to their house.

 

2Cat
But what if they had nowhere to run,
Those tiny paws trembling from fear, not from fun.
The smallest things scare them, if only they knew,
They’ll take what they’re given, that’s all they can do.

 

Guarding TogetherSomeone will love them, that’s what we say,
Let’s leave them behind, get on with our day.
You’ll be fine, pups and kitties, you’ll be fine, just you see,
Someone will take you – it just won’t be me.

three kittens striped tabby isolatedBut more often than not they don’t end up fine,
Their life not a book, but barely a line.
They don’t understand why there’s no one to love,
Why they don’t get a chance, why they can’t find a hug.

Bulldog lying on wood floor.
Unconditional love, it’s so hard to find,
There’s always a catch, I hope you don’t mind.
But that’s what you’ll get if you give them a home,
Unquestioning love that won’t leave you alone.
It will be there all day, you don’t have to ask,
Their love is a pleasure, it’s never a task.

6CatIf you don’t have the time or the love or the space,
It’s not fair to adopt them, just leave them in place.
But if there is a spot in your family this season,
Please make a commitment, listen to reason.

And then when you notice their paws start to twitch,
You’ll know that they’re happy,
You’ve granted their wish.
7Harry&Bingo

If you can
 

* * *

Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the soon to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.

 

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It Ain’t Necessarily So – 2

Aint 3 finalIt Ain’t Necessarily So
CHAPTER TWO

The Wages of Sin
In doing it My Way

I said before that I don’t remember the event of being born. It would seem to me that one should remember the most important event in his or hers life. Without that important event there can be no other important events. I guess that is a deficiency on my part. Nor do I remember sucking my mother’s breast, but again, I’m told I had a voracious appetite.

One other thing that I think should be made quite clear is that I also do not remember being consulted as to whether or not I wanted to be born. It seems to me that is something a person should at least be informed about if not consulted. After all, I’m going to be spend more time with me than with anyone else and I should be allowed to decide if I want to be me, and spend my entire life with someone like me. Continue reading

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Perpetual Motion by J J Dare

The perpetual motion of life is an interesting state of being. Even when we’re inert, such as in couch potato mode, life doesn’t stop revolving around us. Here’s how my life has twirled lately:

At home after the parade: The Boy & his Mardi Gras loot

The baby’s first Mardi Gras parade was last night. It was a small parade, kind of like a starter parade for him until he’s older and graduates to the wild and woolly ones in New Orleans. He hated it. The bands made him cry and the lights scared him. The father of a two-year old standing next to us said it takes awhile. The two-year old looked slightly bored. Regardless, it’s something The Boy will get used to – it’s in our blood to celebrate Mardi Gras loud and proud.

White Devil: caught!

The White Devil amused us for awhile when he jumped into a narrow box and couldn’t figure how to get out. Even though he’s so mean to the other animals in the house, I couldn’t let him suffer for long; how could I resist those eyes? After a few minutes I tipped the box over and let him crawl out with his kitty pride intact.

Soft lights of the city late at night

Late the other night, I was driving out of town and the mist on my windshield made the streetlights and stoplights soft and fuzzy. It served a dual purpose by making the song “Sister Christian” stick in my mind and reminding me I need to up the prescription in my glasses.

Other events:

A friend is divorcing her husband of ten years and was trying to figure the best way to tell her two young children that everything will be okay. She was emotionally bombed more by having to explain that Mommy and Daddy are divorcing than by the divorce itself. I gave her the only thing I can in situations like this: a sounding board. When my friend and her children’s father explained what was going on, her oldest child said, “Okay,” and went back to a game he was playing and the youngest asked if this meant he would get two deserts, one from each parent, after supper every night. Kids.

Another friend told me of a mutual friend’s recent accident. He was on the interstate and a board flew out of the truck ahead of him. He veered to the right to avoid it and ran into the car in the lane beside him. Had he veered to the left, he would have driven along the shoulder and not suffered a broken body that will take a long time and many operations to repair. But, he is alive and will heal and the other driver suffered only bruises. The jerk in the truck sped away. My friend and I talked about the split second choices we make so often during the course of a normal day and how these choices could easily turn a normal day into a devastating one. During my own life, I’ve tried to follow my own intuition – instead of ignoring the nagging in my head (go left – not right; turn on the next street – not this one; back up your files now – nah, don’t worry about it ‘cause your laptop won’t completely quit).

My laptop is still dead. Oh, woe is me. Although there are three computers in the house, I was incredibly lazy with a laptop. I could take it anywhere, including the couch in front of the television, and I could multitask. Of course, this was not always good when I was trying to write. I’m easily distracted at times. Now, I have to use a desktop in a dedicated area with no television and a door that shuts everyone out. Yay is me. I found a plus side to a laptop death.

I’m cycling through the writing phase again. I feel something creeping up and scratching at my creativity door. “Tell the story,” the insidious muse is whispering through a crack in the wood. “I’m too busy,” I reply. “You have time to do everything else. Let me in.” Since my own muse terrifies me at times, I think I’ll get back to some of my WIPs.

The world is perpetual chaos. Well, at least in my world. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Sometimes the chaos is happy chaos (weddings, births, frozen yogurt runs); sometimes it’s not so good. We’re not wired to live in a perfect state. Perfection, like absinthe, should be handled in small sips.

From my kids at Christmas. My family keeps me grounded in life

The bedlam in the lives of my characters mirrors my own life far too often, but, the chaos of perpetual motion is my drug of choice. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, it’s off to my next line of mischief. My grandson sounds like a raptor when he yells (and he yells when his diaper’s wet or his belly’s empty). We tell him his raptor buddies aren’t coming to save him but I think it’s time for him to learn something new. Since I taught my granddaughter a short bit from “Superstar,” I’ll teach my grandson the head bob from “Night at the Roxbury.” It’s never too early to learn classic cult movie scenes and who knows? Maybe his first words will be, “What is Love?”

Hehehe.

© SNL Studios SUPERSTAR!

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction

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Nighttime Intruder

DSCN0730

The other night I’d left my elderly, portly cat Lizzie outside to fend for herself.  I shouldn’t, even though the neighborhood is mostly quiet. My experience of living here is that when you least expect it—expect it! I was relaxed during the summer a few years back when the folks across the street let their pit-bull escape. When he body-slammed our screen door, barking and snarling—we realized he wanted to get inside and eat our cats. Fortunately, back then, all the fuzzy butts were hale and fast on their feet. The second time this lethal weapon got loose, his owners spent over an hour attempting to catch him, apparently because they were more afraid of him than he was of them. Anyway—that’s another story—but it should explain why I couldn’t go to sleep, knowing Lizzie was waddling around the nighttime yard. After a couple of hours, I gave up the attempt to lose consciousness and went downstairs to collect her.

Another neighbor has one of those parking lot lights blazing away in his backyard, which actually makes it harder to see because of the high contrast it creates. Behind our tall fence, under the old silver maple, we remain in a small slice of darkness. Close to my feet, out tiger Bob muttered something like “Wowie Mrrrrrrp” deep down in his throat. I had an intuition he was cautioning me about something. My eyes were slow to adjust, and, as I stood on the patio in my nightgown I heard the distinct sound of something brushing through the flowerbed about ten feet away. My gaze pried into shadow. That was when I saw of a blaze of white and then the pacing movement, a distinct side to side motion, whisking away from me, across the porch. An oily smell, traveling more slowly, was the final clue to who this intruder was, visiting my nighttime yard.

The better part of valor was to retreat, so I did, back inside to turn on the porch light. By the time I did that, nothing was visible, just my cats. Bob sat by the door.  Lizzie was a little further out by a small spruce, lying there in the classic meatloaf posture, front paws neatly tucked under her chest. Clearly, neither of them was alarmed, simply keeping a respectful distance, while the skunk came to drink out of the water pots/bird baths that litter my yard. We’d moved into drought , so I wasn’t surprised some of the local outlaws were availing themselves of the detente of the nighttime suburban water hole.

Juliet Waldron

Hand-me-Down Bride & Roan Rose @ Second Wind Publishing  & Smashwords

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The War On Bunnies

Bob’s War on Bunnies occurs every spring in our suburban neighborhood. It’s disgusting, violent and shocking like an outtake from some TV nature show. Worse, Bob leaves it to Mom to remove the inedible body parts–gall bladders, tails, bits of fur–from the porch. Mom’s Aunt Juliet in Ohio reminds her about the dangers of allowing intermediate vectors into one’s home on a cuddle-me basis. Bob spends his evenings with his head in Mom’s lap while she watches The Big Bang Theory and Jeopardy. Late at night, when she should be sleeping, Mom fears she may become the Typhoid Mary of the next global pandemic. She also remembers the kid’s book Horror Classic, There’s a hair in my dirt! by Gary Larsen.

 Bob cleans house—out-of-doors. Although he’s grown a bit timid about attacking squirrels now that he’s no longer a hungry stray balls-out Tom Cat, he still likes to eat bunnies. Along with bunnies, his hit list includes darling chippies, birdies, mice and voles. Voles are the loss leader among the daily offerings; even when there’s nothing else to be out-smarted and slain, there’s always some poor bastard vole ambling near-sightedly past. Yes, my rescue cat is the bane of the local wildlife, except for the fine assortment of parasites he picks up from the guts of his prey. Then it’s time for Mom Picks Up after Bob and Mom does laundry for Bob, along with a trip to the vet for the tablets to de-worm a 13 lb. cat. 

He’s good about swallowing the first pill, but his dose is 1 ½ tablets, so he puts a paw down, or, actually his jaw closes, on my fingers as they attempt to deploy the second half.  That, he seems to believe, is pushing his goodwill in a shameless, numb-nuts duh-human way. He sets about explaining this with saber-like claws and shiny, clean white teeth.  He’s semi-polite, not quite ready to rip my arm off, but he’s firmly in the negative. Mom often has to give up.

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FOUND

This is a very sad time of the year for me because this is the time my dear friend left this earth.  March 20th  was her 1st year birthday with the angels.  She felt that angels exist and I think that when we die we experience what we believe in.  I think of her death date as a birth date in a better place.  But, I still feel very sad.

The last few days it has been difficult just to get up out of bed, get dressed and go to work.  I feel lost within my own life wondering where my life is going and what my future holds. Most days I just go through the motions and do what I need to do to survive. This morning was no different and little did I know that something wonderful awaited me today, something that would make me happy that I’d dragged myself from that warm, soft cocoon and forced myself out into the world.

I start this story by telling you that I love cats, I’ve had cats all my life and I understand most of the ways of cats and I communicate very well with cats.  Cats get into habits and whenever one of my cats acts differently from what I’ve come to know him to do I take notice.

Every day when I come home my big male cat, Murphy is in the backyard where I park my car.  He is usually on the old chaise lounge and he greets me and comes inside.

Today when I got home he was not there.  My backyard is not fenced in and I started to put the key in the backdoor lock, but something niggled at the back of my mind.  Where was Murphy?  Why was he not there?  Something was up and I needed to investigate.

I found Murphy at the edge of my property standing next to a full grown, large grey cat who was hunkered down in the grass not moving.  At first I thought the strange grey cat had a broken back.  I tentatively petted its head.  It seemed tame, but it still would not get up or move.

I brought it a bowl of food and it rose up and began eating. “ So”, I thought, “it’s not hurt, or at least not too badly considering how it’s scarfing up the food.”

But there was still something wrong with the cat.  I moved the bowl of food and the cat obviously could not see where it had gone.  This cat was blind!  Stone cold blind!  This cat could not see anything at all.

I remembered seeing a LOST flyer taped to the light post a couple of streets over from my house.  I took the cat inside and put her in my bathroom to keep her away from my cats.  I found the flyer and the picture was of the cat I had found.

A wonderful feeling came over me.  I called the number and the people were so happy that I’d found their beloved blind cat that they’d had for over 15 years.  Having cats I know that these animals are like children to me and it’s very heartbreaking when they die or get lost and are never found.  These animals give unconditional love and I always told my friend that cats are really angels in disguise.  In fact it was due to a cat that we found out my friend had lung cancer, and she was able to get treatment and extend her life, but that is a different story.

Anyway, the people came and got their cat and the woman was crying with gratitude.  The cat had been lost for three days and most assuredly would have died out there on its own.

The great weight of sadness and grief grew lighter and right now I can say that I am grateful to be alive.  My presence here brought a lot of joy to those two people, and the cat!  Even though I started the day feeling lost, I realize I’m right where I’m supposed to be and so was that lost cat. Today I received a blessing and I like to think that somehow my friend guided that blind cat to me.

Nancy A. Niles is the author of: Vendetta: A Deadly Win, Lethal Echoes and The Mill

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FOR SALE

Once a week you find it in the lobby of the grocery store, a freebie paper.  I have a habit of picking these up and reading through. There are the usual advertisers, the churches, the realtors, the auctions, the used car dealers (fewer of those than there used to be), restaurants of the kind that offer daily specials, and  local club listings—chess, photography, computers, knitting, quilting, and a host of support groups. There are a few obituaries, but as I’m not from around here and a hermit besides, I never know anyone—not that I hope to find the few people I do know on that page.  Its prime use is for the fireplace, but there are classified ads, and these are mostly the reason I pick it up. No, not because I’m buying stuff, or looking for more cats, or yard sales, but because I’m a human watcher.  

Every once in a while there’s something interesting.  My most recent favorite read: “Found! One of those things you pick up things with in the 300 block of Mayberry Street.”  This writer had good intentions, but the words to describe the object he’d found eluded him.  Still, he did note the block where he found the “thing,” and perhaps that would reunite the owner with the lost object.

Sometimes the ad gives a picture of the person who wrote it. This is, of course, unintentional, but here’s a good one: “Lost blue tool box full of tools. I’m not sure where I lost it, but it’s blue, full of tools and says Erector on the lid. Reward! Thank-you.”  You can tell that losing the box of tools was a bad thing, but you can also tell that he has probably lost a lot of other important things over the years. Still, I feel good-will toward this writer, and hope someone returns the lost toolbox (blue).

I have adopted cats through these papers, the last one many years ago. The ad I responded to—at a time when I was, actually, planning to adopt—said: “Help. I have 31 cats who need good homes.  Please bring cat food.“ I went to the place—the back of beyond, up a hill and along a dirt road. There I found an old unpainted house and barn. When I stopped my car, I saw cats, most running for cover. The woman, thin and tired looking, with tattoos on her arms, came out to talk to me. We sat down together on the grass. She explained that she had worked at a shelter, but couldn’t take the weekly euthanasia, and so had ended up with “all these cats.”

 I could see straight-away that most of the Cats had no use for people. I watched them skulking under the junkers  and old tractors that littered the yard and prepared to wait while they stared. After a few minutes , the woman  opened the bag of cat food I’d brought, spreading it out on the ground. Skinny cats came swarming from every direction.   After crunching speedily, with one eye on me–the person they didn’t know–most took  off. I’d been watching an orange threesome, scrawny 9 month old kittens. The woman called them “the orange brothers.” She told me they’d all been starving behind an apartment in a nearby dead steel town. 

One of them, the skinniest and shabbiest of the three, climbed into my lap. As soon as I touched him he began to purr, a huge roaring purr. He drooled with joy while I petted him. His eyes were washed out yellow; his fur felt like straw. I could count his ribs and feel his spine.

I felt we had made a true connection—and that was when he bit me, grabbing the skin of my forearm with his teeth and twisting like a bulldog. Just a millimeter short of blood, he leapt off my lap, stood just out of reach and continued to stare, trembling, drooling and purring.

“He doesn’t mean it,” the woman said. “He gets excited.” 

“I know,” I replied.  

As you might expect, this crazy, sick, love-boy—and he was all of those things–is the one I took home.

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Schuyler RIP

We lost a cat recently. He was one of the “legendary” one. Every lover of the domestic feline knows what I mean. These cats have strong personalities and compelling backstories, rather like the best kind of character.

Cat owners usually have a pair or more of the furry dominators in residence, and this is because   “You can’t have just one” is as true of cats as it is of potato chips. The standouts aren’t common. You may only host two or three of these in a lifetime of pet parenthood. It isn’t just that these special cats are sociable, interested  in the doings of their owners and in keeping them company. These cats possess an elusive, mystical aura.  

Schuyler came off the hard streets of an adjacent comatose steel town. He was about two years old when we found him at that Humane Society, with a tail broken in several places and a bad hip.  He called to us, then reached through the cage bars to hook my sleeve. It didn’t take my husband and I long to realize he was the one. We learned that he had been dropped off by some people who couldn’t keep him, but thought well enough of him to try this last resort method of finding him a home. I was working on Revolutionary War  novels at that time, and already had a “Hamilton,” so he was named for another favorite character: “Major General Philip Schuyler.”

He was skinny and roman-nosed. He would always favor one back leg, but when our Vet first checked him out, she said he was basically healthy. “Just feed him up, and he’ll be fine,” was her advice. As you can see from the picture, “feeding him up” was not a problem.

There were three other cats here when he came, but he quickly promoted himself to what the German’s call “Furst” a/k/a  Top Cat. I don’t remember much fighting, but his long Tom-Cat-hood and streetfighting experience probably gave him the edge to psych out his new mates. Schuyler quickly became my husband’s favorite. He spent most of his fourteen years either in his lap or curled up beside him.  He greeted Chris when he came home from work, and said good-bye, too, every morning.  Sky stayed with him tirelessly while my husband endured a slow recovery from cancer surgery.

He was a pretty cat, the kind you’d see in a Flemish painting, curled on a bench in a black-and-white tiled kitchen scene. He had pink paws and a pink nose and shell pink ears. One of my online friends, seeing his picture, observed that he had “TES.” I had never heard of TES, so she explained that her cat also had this condition. She said it meant “translucent ear syndrome.”

Sky was a hunter, as you’d expect from an ex-stray, and merciless to mousies and voles. Many mornings we found them laid as offerings on our front steps. He had a musical purr. He also had a great fondness for doughnuts. We quickly learned that we had to hide these inside a cupboard, because if we simply set them on the counter, they’d be on the floor in the next second, the bag torn apart, the contents spilled and hastily gobbled. So much for the notion that cats don’t enjoy sugar!

Sadly, he’s with his mates now, in our pet necropolis. This autumn, I’ll plant daffodils on his grave. RIP Schuyler.

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I Wish I Were a Cat by Claire Collins

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I want to be a housecat.

I mean really, is there a better life than to be a pampered fat cat?

Let’s think about this for just a minute.

I wake up from my early morning nap when I hear an alarm clock going off. When the human walks out of their room, I weave in and out of their feet trying to trip them so they can see the world from my point of view.

If they make it into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, I’ll be right there yowling around their ankles until the noise penetrates their sleeping ears and they fill up my food and water bowls. Then the human can go away while I enjoy my breakfast and take my morning nap.

When I wake up, the humans have all left my house and I can sit in any windowsill I choose. I stretch out all of my feline muscles while my sharpened claws are hooked in the upholstery of the living room couch.

I take my early afternoon nap, eat some more, then go lay in a human bed to groom myself, making sure to lick away all of the loose hair and other nasties so I’m nice and clean.

Then it’s naptime again.  After that, I stroll across the kitchen counters and table, looking for leftover scraps or those yummy breakfast dishes the young humans leave when they go to school.

Then it’s naptime.

Around the time I wake up, humans return to my house so I lounge around on the floor like the good kitty they think I am.

Periodically, I’d need to use the litter box, and when I cover my mess, I’d get to throw litter all over the floor. What do I care? I don’t have to clean it up. Once a week, the humans will put fresh litter in there and sweep up my mess.

When I want to be stroked, I only have to rub my furry face against a human and I get instant gratification.

Of course, when the humans are home, unless I’m eating, using the litter box, or being rubbed, I will spend all of my time napping.

When they go to bed, I will spend my time playing. My favorite game will involve rolling a marble across the tile floor just outside the adult human’s bedroom.

Meow.

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One Cat Over the Line, Sweet Jesus!

Kimi's Stitches

Like the 70’s song, I fear, our house has reached capacity. In fact, as of Thanksgiving, we’ve got one too many cats.

This all began when our beloved resident ex-stray and tough guy, Bob, disappeared in wintry weather. Four days passed. It was very cold, and he did not return. I’d rather keep him in like the others, but there was no way Bob would submit to being a full time housecat, so my husband and I had made the best of his wandering. Now we mourned for him, thinking that even his superior street smarts hadn’t kept him safe.  In fact, I was so worried I checked in at the township police station, even though I knew a wandering cat was “in violation of township regulation” and subject to a fine.  

Into this emotional turmoil came my best buddy, Patti, who feeds a few of the local strays. Onto her porch, in the twilight, had come a starving orange kitten, attracted by the dish of Purina she put out every night. She could count every rib, every bump in her little kitty spine. The kitten looked up at her with golden eyes and chirruped sweetly.  Patti knew she had to rescue her.

The next day, Patti came to me with this sad little creature in a carrier. She was, Patti said, to fill the hole in our house left by the death of Bob. My husband wasn’t thrilled, but Patti bravely offered to pay all the vet bills, and to get her tested for all the kitty plagues. The first thing was to flea treat her because she was polluted. I made a place for her in one room, with box, food, bedding and water. I sat down cross-legged, and the kitten promptly climbed onto my knee, purring.  She proved to not only have fleas, but a host of dog ticks which had to be removed. Later I’d discover an infected wound on her left flank. When my other cats looked in at her, she hissed and growled, imitating, I think, the meanest cat she knew, the one who had bitten her.  Integration of this fierce little mite into the existing peaceful feline kingdom inside our home was going to be difficult. 

As people with a multi-cat household know, behavior problems erupt if there are changes of any kind, particularly at the introduction of a new cat.  Hissing and fighting—even between cats that were friends—happens. It’s “the new baby” problem in spades, with jealous “siblings” and the added difficulty of interspecies communication. (I try, but sometimes I just can’t think like they do.) Now I had the new kitty—a semi-feral survivor with a septic wound and PTS who needrd lots of special handling—as well as the other three who were undergoing an emotional adjustment to the new reality in the house.

Of course, you can guess what happened next. One day after the arrival of the kitten, I opened the front door and Bob walked in, with his customary loud “MA-WOW, MA-WOW.” He rubbed against my legs, and then headed toward the communal food dish. As I watched his striped backside recede, I spoke aloud. “You didn’t call. You didn’t write. WHERE the hell have you been?”

 Of course, I’ll never get an answer, but I’m too darn glad to see him to be cross. I sat down beside him and patted him while he chowed noisily, dropping food all over the floor and purring like mad. I figure he lost some lives, and I sincerely hope he will be more careful of –whatever—in future!

 So things continue here with one more cat than I can easily handle. The kitten has been very sick, and to the vet for surgery. She’s begun to grow nicely, but she’s still paranoid and hissing. My days are full. I’m a little old lady cat patter, vet tech, and feline psychiatrist. The patting I’ve got down pretty well. That’s a pleasure. The rest takes time.  The refrain of the old song goes round and round in my head while I scrub water bowls and cat boxes. We’re “one cat over the line.”

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