After several weeks of Sunbear being very pissy about Buddha’s existence, he has decided that Buddha makes a very good teddy bear.
I’m not entirely sure why a cat up on its hind legs makes it a zombie cat, but I’ll go with it.This picture made me smile because Brian and I used to have a cat named Asmodeus (which was shortened to Asmos, Asmo-Bop and Shmoo, depending on … well, who knows?) who loved his butter pecan ice cream. He didn’t want it out of the bowl, though. No, he had his very own spoon and an enabling daddy who’d sit there patiently and feed Shmoo spoonfuls in between his own bites of ice-cream. Pretty damn cute.
And people say cats don’t have unique personalities…
Fell is no longer a kitten, but still so adorable I can’t resist putting up her photo for today’s post, which is, btw, the last in my month long “I Will Post Daily!” endeavor. Not that I’m going to stop posting (the whole point of this exercise was to get back into the habit of writing daily and putting regular content on my blog), but I’m not going to be quite as Draconian about posting every day.
We call Fell “Wee Fell” because when she was a kitten, she was a tiny scrap of a thing with huge ears and not much else. She and her brother Fro (short for Frohicke, although we call him Fro, Frodo, Froyo, NO FRO!) were originally fostered by friends of ours and supposed to go to a rescue organization in Marin, but Fell was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia so they ended up coming to our guest room for quarantine until she could be tested again. There are a lot of false positives when kittens are tested too young. Subsequent testing showed she was clear and by this time, lots of feline pattypaw had been played under the door between Fell and Fro, and our cats. When quarantine was lifted, the two immediately integrated into the horde without any fuss or fighting. So… now Wee Fell (not so wee but just as cute) and Fro (the underwear thief I’ve written about in earlier posts) are part of the family.
And yes, I’m talking about my cats. Would a human child systematically pry open my lingerie drawer and pull out my bras and assorted frilly undergarments and drag them around the house?
But would this same child also … well, I’m getting ahead of myself.
While at work on Thursday I kept smelling the sadly familiar smell of cat whiz. I checked my jeans, shirt and shoes, all of which came up clean. The same thing happened Friday morning and I did the same check, just in case I missed something Thursday. Again, couldn’t find a source.
Great. Instead of hearing voices, I’m smelling phantom pee.
I had a yoga class Friday at noon. No cat pee smell during class. When I changed back into my street clothes, however, I noticed a suspicious odor wafting from my bra (the same one I wore the day before) and took a good whiff. Yup, one of my vile little felines had marked my bra.
Still not as horrible as the Russian Pee Cookie tale of terror, but I’m here to tell you if they weren’t so damn cute and affectionate…
Buying deadbolts for my dresser drawers.
I’ve been trying to set a mood at home conducive to writing. Back when I lived in Glendale and had a house with a fireplace, I’d shut the curtains, put a firelog on and light candles. Then I’d find the appropriate music and the creative portion of my brain would automatically click on.
As much as I love my house in by the beach in San Francisco, it does lack a fireplace. It also has fewer places to place candles where they’re not a fire hazard due to our ‘bunctious felines.
So instead of lighting multiple tealights and candles, I followed the decorating example of my bf Maureen (that’s ‘best friend’, not ‘boyfriend’ btw) and got creative with decorative string lights and fairy lights. I’ve got several crackle glass mosaic jars throughout the house and each now has a coil of white fairy lights inside. The effect is gorgeous and, while not totally cat-proof, a better choice than candles. As you can see from this picture, Tsavo knows a good photo op when he finds one.
Okay, it’s a catnip den, but the same decadent lounging and sad, sad addiction applies…
I haven’t been posting for quite a while and it’s time to get back to it, along with the daily writing since I have five impending book deadlines in the next two and a half years. So to this end, I’m going to start with an exercise that my friend Dani at Blog Book Tours does in her classes on how to create a viable blog: write a post a day, no matter what the content. It could be a photo, an observation, a review… the point is just to post some content on your blog every day for a month. To start I’m posting a photo I took with my iPhone of my new fairy lights strung on the kitchen window and coiled inside a mosaic crackle glass jar on the table. Bug Bear decided it was a great place for a photo op, so…. here you go!
Beezle came to us on Halloween 1994. Quite literally as soon as the jack-o-lantern (which Brian had carved in the likeness of a cat) was lit. I was inside, fussing with decorations and candy and heard a loud “D’oh!” from the front porch, where Brian had just set the Jack-o-lantern. I stuck my head out the door and asked what was wrong. Brian just pointed dramatically down the stairs.
First just the tips of little black ears appeared. Then huge golden eyes followed by nose, whiskers, and chin appeared over the first step. Finally, a fuzzy little body with a spiky black tail. “Hey there, little Beezlebuddy!” (We’d been watching the Simpson’s.). Not even a second’s thought as to what his name would be. I took one look at him and started cooing. He looked at me and started purring. True love was born that night.
For the first year or so Beezle would nurse on my ear. He’d crawl up next to me, start pattypawing my hair and neck, and very gently chew on my earlobe like a little bat. When he was finished, he’d give this soft exhalation (he always made a little ‘foof!’ sound) and fall asleep, nose in my ear. Brian thought the whole nursing on the ear thing was a bit weird. One day, in a particular grouchy mood, he grumbled, “That’s just wrong.” Beezle stopped nursing, both of us looking at Brian as I said in my best Mrs. Peacock (X-Files fans, you’ll get the reference) “You don’t understand the love a son has for his mother.” To which Brian yelled, “Gross!” and started laughing. After that he made references to Morgan LeFay and Mordred, and Norman and Mrs. Bates.
Okay, so Beezle and I had a kind of strange, symbiotic relationship. But see, he was my first born son.
He also had a special meow he used just for me; a high-pitched kitten “meeeeeuw!” that just broke my heart every time I heard it. Brian swore up and down Beezle’s REAL meow was a raucous throaty ‘raaawr.’ I wasn’t buying it. Until one morning I wandered into the kitchen from the living room as Brian was feeding the cats. Beezle stared up at him hungrily and meowed … a throaty raaaaowrrr’ that sounded nothing like my little kitten. I started laughing and the look on Beezle’s face was priceless. I’ve never seen a cat look sheepish before. Almost immediately he ran over to me and gave his little kitten “meeeeeuw!” But he was so busted…
When Beez was almost a year old, I went to Michigan for three weeks to do a Halloween show and theatrical combat workshop with friends. I’d never been gone more than a day since he’d shown up, up until this point. When I got home from the trip, he ignored me. All the other cats ran up for love, excited Mom was home, but Beezle turned his back on me and went under a table. No amount of coaxing would get him back out. So I left him alone for a bit, hoping he’d forgive me given enough time. A half hour later I felt something by my feet, looked down and saw Beezle staring up at me with the most intense, stricken expression I’ve ever seen on a cat. If a cat had eyebrows, his would be furrowed. I picked him up and he put both paws around my neck, purring fiercely as if to say, “Don’t ever leave me for that long again!” And I never did.
When Luna, an older female cat who was also the alpha feline of the house, had to be put to sleep due to cancer, we had the vet come into the house so she’d be at home in comfort and amongst the people and cats who loved her. Beezle stayed on the bed with her while the vet administered the injection. Beezle then curled up around Luna’s body as if trying to warm her back up. I have pictures, but they’re too heartbreaking to post. I still cry when I look at them. It was unbearably poignant to see him with her. Beezle adored Luna and when she passed, he took over as alpha.
Whereas Luna was a benevolent ruler (she’d only smack the other cats around when they annoyed her), Beezle ruled with an iron paw in velvet-furred gloves. He had the feline intimi-stare down to perfection and didn’t hesitate to use it. His position as alpha remained unchallenged even after I moved with him and four other cats to San Francisco, eventually adding more felines to the population. Some of the new cats were (and are) hellraisers, but none of them ever challenged Beezle’s reign.
About six or seven months ago, Beezle started losing weight for no apparent reason. Dave and I took him to the vet’s and got the senior blood panel done. He got a clean bill of health. Which didn’t rule out the possibility of something like cancer, but at his age (sixteen) even if cancer was diagnosed, there wouldn’t be anything we could do for him without drastically reducing his quality of life. Our vet said to keep an eye on his weight, feed him as much as he wanted, and we’d go from there. So we kept feeding him anything he wanted (including people food – he was very fond of scallops) and let him get away with behavior like sitting next to/nearly on top of my plate so he had first dibs on scraps. Beezle kept losing weight, however, and another visit to the vet brought us no joy. I’ll spare you the details beyond the fact my first born son was fading away in front of my eyes and there wasn’t anything I could do about it beyond continue to love him, spoil him rotten, and search for food to tempt a now decreasing appetite.
I had ten days off over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays and made a list of “to-do’s” that I couldn’t wait to tackle. It included things like clean the garage, sort through all my clothes, sew, tae-bo every day, finish at least two short stories, etc. Instead I got sick the weekend before Christmas and spent most of the holidays on the couch recovering from a nasty ass cold/flu either reading or watching movies. Beezle spent most of the holidays sitting on my lap or sleeping next to me at night, getting more concentrated attention than he had since he was a wee kitten nursing on my earlobe.
The week I went back to work Beezle’s conditioned worsened. We could barely get him to eat anything in the mornings, although he’d still show interest in my food (particularly scallops), which insured he’d get as much of it as he wanted. Wednesday day he wouldn’t eat. Wednesday night, however, he sat on my lap and ate meat from a taco. He drank a ton of water. It was so hard to tell what to do because one of the signs of a cat who’s ready to go is when they stop eating and drinking… and Beezle never really stopped, he just slowed down. Picking him up was painful; there was nothing but skin and bones under his fur (which remained plush throughout). He had trouble jumping up on things and was shaky when he walked. That night he slept with me, barely moving at all. He mewed his baby kitten meow a few times, something I hadn’t heard since he was a youngster. I woke up early in the morning to hear him purring as he crawled up closer to me, resting his chin on my hand. We both fell back asleep… and I knew it was time to have the vet come over to the house so he could go without suffering.
Beezle wasn’t moving much Thursday morning, just lying next to the bed. He purred when I kissed him goodbye. I ran out in a hurry, not wanting to be late. I called the vet’s office when I got to work to see if they could come over that night and take care of things. I had to wait for our vet to call back when she got out of surgery, which wouldn’t be until the afternoon, but it turned out it wasn’t necessary. Dave called me around 11:00 to see if I could come home; he didn’t think Beezle would make it until the evening. He’d been having little seizures and mewing like a kitten for the last hour. Dave had never heard his baby meow and didn’t know what to make of it. Dave held the phone up to Beezle’s ear and I talked to him, told him Mom was coming home and that I loved him and to try to hold on till I got there, but no matter what, his momma loved him. I told Dave I’d be home as soon as I could and dashed out the door.
When I got home Dave was holding a still and silent Beezle in his arms. He told me that as soon as Beezle had heard my voice on the phone he’d stopped meowing, stopped having seizures and faded out. As much as it broke my heart that I didn’t make it home in time to be with him when he passed, I like to think he was waiting for his mom before letting go of his life and moving on to join Luna in whatever afterlife exists for animals. And hearing my voice allowed him to let go.
There’s a quote about someone’s idea of heaven being the place where all the pets we’ve ever loved greet us when we get there… and that works for me. Until then… I love you, Beezle. You were my first born son, my pride and joy, and the best Halloween treat anyone could ask for.