A year and a half ago some acquaintances began feeding some stray cats, a mom and three kittens, at their front door. They managed to catch one of the kittens. Because of cat allergies, they couldn’t keep it, but they knew whom to call. So, we adopted Toby. My younger daughter has doted on him, nicknaming him ‘Mr. Bud’, so that he’s now quite spoiled. Here he is catnapping with his good friend Mack.
Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category
Fifteen years ago, one of our daughters’ babysitters found a beautiful, long-haired kitten in a dumpster near campus. She wanted to keep the kitten, but her parents wouldn’t let her bring it home for the summer, so we kept it for her. When she returned in the fall, she was living in an apartment that didn’t accept pets. So, the kitten became ours permanently. Sasha turned out to be a quiet, loving cat whose long fur turned her into a mobile dust mop. She’s old now, and much thinner than she used to be, but still has the soulful eyes she had as a kitten popping up from a dumpster looking for a home.
Flemming Rose proposes that we answer Osama Bin Laden’s latest with defiance.
What should the response of Europe be? More cartoons or less cartoons? What kind of civilization are we, after all, if we refrain from mocking and ridiculing bin Laden and his followers?
In related news, the Bangladeshi cartoonist who drew a cartoon about a cat, was convicted and sentenced to a one-month jail term, has been released after six months.
Posting has been light this week, which was my spring break. Despite the well known spring break acceleration of time, however, the explanation has little to do with spring break and much to do with a cat, an open laptop, and a bottle of Hefeweizen. Luckily, the cat and the laptop survived.
Here are some links to articles that I find well worth reading:
Jonathan Davis defends Serbia against the myth of Serbian depravity.
Instapunk asks, “Who is Barack Obama?” and finds that he is everyone and no one.
Alan Greenspan on our current economic woes:
The current financial crisis in the US is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the second world war. It will end eventually when home prices stabilise and with them the value of equity in homes supporting troubled mortgage securities.
Jules Crittenden talks about poltical correctness in the campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Andrew Ferguson analyzes Obama’s phrase “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” which seems to mean we’re the smartest people ever:
No one who’s wandered through an Obama rally and heard the war whoops and seen the cheerful, vacant gazes would come away thinking, “These are the smartest people ever.” I’m sorry, they just aren’t. What is unmistakable is the creepy kind of solipsism and the air of self-congratulation that clings to his campaign. “There is something happening,” he says in stump speeches. And what’s happening? “Change is happening.” How so? “The reason our campaign has been different is about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.” And the way to change it is to join the campaign, which, once you join it, will change America. Because this is our moment. The time is now. Now is the time. Yes, we can. We bring change to the campaign because the campaign is about change. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Obama and his followers are perfecting postmodern reflexivity. It’s a campaign that’s about itself. The point of the campaign is the campaign.
They don’t put it this way, of course, which just confirms a suspicion that’s been creeping up on some of us for months: As a speech-giver, a man who has wowed the nation with the power of his language, Barack Obama is getting away with murder. Rhetorically, he is a master of le baloney.
A week ago, I got a call from a friend asking me to look after his animals while he was in the hospital. He also asked me to feed some stray cats who hang around his complex. One of them turned out to be pregnant. I wanted to give her a safe place to have her kittens. She was extraordinarily friendly, and easy to catch. So, I brought her home. She spent the week eating, sleeping, purring, and getting larger and larger, until last night, when she had her kittens just before midnight.
I recently wrote about Patch, the Hemingway cat we adopted when she had serious medical problems after giving birth. She had two kittens. This is one of them, Jean, a quiet cat who loves the warmth the satellite TV receiver produces. Like her mother, she has very soft, rabbit-like fur. She accepts attention but doesn’t really seek it out, at least from me; she prefers my older daughter, and misses her when she’s away at college, as she is now.
Back in 1995, a graduate student found a thin, scraggly cat wondering around her apartment complex. She already had a cat, and her lease wouldn’t let her have two, so she called a colleague of mine. He already had two cats, and his wife wouldn’t let him have three, so he called me. I promptly showed up with a carrier and pulled the frightened, hungry cat out from under a chair in his office. Her fur was in terrible condition. After a few days of quiet, safety, and food, however, it became clear that she was a beautiful tabby with classic markings. After a visit to the vet, moreover, it became clear that she was pregnant.
Trini, as my Power-Ranger inspired kids called her, grew to the size of a basketball by October, when she gave birth to five kittens. Three were boys—or maybe I should say BOYS. George grew to be 28 pounds; Simba, 18 pounds. We gave away one of the boys, who grew to be Simba’s size. Trini and her family dominated our household for ten years, when, within just a few months, Trini, George, and Simba died of rare forms of cancer.
Two of the kittens were girls. They remain healthy. Jackie misses her mother and brothers, not only because she is no longer part of a ruling family but because they all remained close. Trini continued to befriend, bathe, and discipline her children all through her life, even when they were twice her size. But Jackie has adjusted and seems content. Here she is in her favorite spot, on a perch on the cat tree in our sunroom overlooking the pool.
Some acquaintances had a cat, Freckles‘s sister, who gave birth and began having some serious medical problems. They couldn’t afford treatment. We offered to pay and to keep the cat indoors with her two kittens while she recovered. The acquaintances moved, and all three cats became ours. The momma cat, Patch, recovered nicely. She’s kind, loving, and has fur as soft as a rabbit’s. She and her kittens, like Freckles, are Hemingway cats; they have extra toes. Patch has 20 toes and 22 claws. (A normal cat has 18.) About once a day she meows insistently, twining about the closest human’s legs for attention. She’s also hard to photograph, because she moves to rub her head on the camera or the person holding it as soon as she’s approached. That’s why Feline Friday is a day late this week.
In late 2000, some acquaintances with a large contingent of outdoor, semi-stray cats gave us two kittens: Freckles and Nicky. They were best friends, playing together, napping together—inseparable. They craved water the way most cats crave tuna. Then, suddenly, Nicky became sluggish. We took him to the vet, who discovered that he had (and may well have been born with) FIP, feline infectious peritonitis. The vet recommended that he be put down immediately to protect our other cats. We researched the illness some on our own, however; Cornell researchers had found that FIP does not transmit as easily as initially thought. So, we isolated Nicky in the library, allowing Freckles visiting privileges, and gave him the best care we could, taking him outside when we could be with him, which he enjoyed immensely. He lasted six more months. His death left Freckles without her brother and best friend.
Freckles, now eight, has stayed healthy, though her obsession with water continues. (I can’t drink ice water without her drinking along with me.) She’s a sweet, gentle cat with a deep melancholy loneliness that human contact never quite touches.