Covid Kitty Campaigns

 

For everyone who’s not quite themselves right now, I offer this cute picture of a cat. Because cat photos are the only thing left in America not full of controversy and political connotations. You can’t have a pet elephant or a pet donkey or let’s put it out there – a dog – these days because people will form immediate conclusions about what you probably eat for breakfast and I just can’t handle that level of stereotyping.

Stop judging me.

I did not ask for this cat, yet the cat is here. In my house. Shredding my curtains. Turning his elegant little whiskers up at the expensive canned cat food I was told I had to feed him. I worry every single day that he will push his way through our second-story window in his effort to eat a woodpecker flying by and while I am eager to feed him the feathery treat, I also don’t want to see the cat splat.

This cat is now personal.

I have some basic questions now that I own a cat.

But mostly I want to know whether cats have the same rights as dogs. For years I’ve thrown a little hissy fit when I see dog owners bring their dogs into the grocery stores, riding in the front of the cart like a kid. They strap the dog’s leash to the table leg in the patio of the cafe and never ask if anyone at the table next to them has a dog allergy. Or is maybe terrified of dogs. Assuming they keep their dogs on the leash, of course. They walk their dogs on the trails, watch them defecate, then mumble something about “picking that up on my way out”. Their dogs go camping with them, get pushed in strollers through the park, wear little “service animal” vests, are allowed to hump your leg and sniff your crotch upon meeting you.

You are supposed to take it for the love it is and say, “Good Doggy.”

Ahem.

While I am not proposing that a cat is the same as a dog is the same as an iguana is the same as a jackrabbit, I am suggesting that my cat should be able to party in the same circles. If my cat can play “fetch” and come when I call him and knows how to keep his little business in a litterbox, it’s only logical that he can go for walks on his leash, play at “dog beach”, or hang out with me at the swanky local cafe.

Wait.

Dog Beach? That feels a little species specific, don’t you think?

And those swanky little cafes have Pup Pops, Puppy Patties, yogurt frosted Pupcakes, soy ice cream cups, Canine Cuisine, and FREE PUPPUCCINOS. Kitty Menu much?

Nuthin.

Are you saying I have to go all the way to Minnesota to enjoy a cat cafe? And if I want to visit an actual beach just for cats, I have to go to Malaysia? Obviously, someone has to be the San Diego trailblazer.

Stop judging me.

Kitty + Harness + Catpack = Adventures

A Whole New World

One Small Step for KittenKind!

Cats and Colors and Complete Confusion

Just let me sit down for a minute. I can explain. Sort of.

I’ve been trying to pick a paint color for the walls of my house and I can tell you it’s harder than deciding what to name a baby. I might just pour them all into a bucket and swish.

My walls are starting to look like a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper:

The colors look great on the flippy cards, even the raspberry one (Wazzup), because I’m reading their little printed names in the corner. How can you not choose Folding Chair, Sanskrit, or Oracle?

I almost don’t care what it looks like on a vaulted ceiling if I can tell my stunned guests, “That? Oh, that one is Mosquito Pass. We thought it was fitting. Here’s your mesh hat.The baseboards are a lovely shade of Serpent.”

At some point, those poor painter humans decided to pour words into a bucket and swish because there are colors called, so help me, In Between and Sample Pot.

Completely uninspiring.

I had to walk away for a while because I had the opportunity to assist in a humanitarian effort involving my sister-in-law, pheromones, and cardboard boxes with little holes in them.

She wanted to bust a cat out of the humane society and needed a wingman. That’s me.

The ladies in my life are blessed with an intuition that evades me and watching her walk into the Kitty Corral and choose a lifetime companion was like watching a magic trick.

How did she do that?

The room was full of cats and they all needed furr-ever homes, so my instincts said, “Take any of them home, of course! You can’t mess this up, it’s a good deed.”

A sweet little gray cat immediately began purring up against my legs. She snuggled my hand when I reached down to pet her and began following my sister around the room, trying to catch her eye.

“Paint the walls any color, of course. You can’t mess this up, anything will be an upgrade from what I’m staring at.”

But my sister already had a cat in mind. Her feline of choice was asleep in a cardboard condo, and flat out refused come out to say hello.

“I’ll take him,” she told the lady.

“A million paint colors. They all look the same. Two thousand shades of white. I’ll take this one.”

She circled the cat room again and discovered that her cat of choice had a sister. The girl cat was hiding in a cat tree. When the employee hauled her out and placed her in my sister’s arms, the cat made it very clear that not only was holding an unacceptable form of interaction, but that my sister was the last person on earth that it wanted to go home with. Ever.

It leapt onto a windowsill and scrambled frantically back into the hidey-hole.

“I don’t understand. It says white on the label. Why does it look yellow on the trim? This one isn’t brown, it’s peach. Didn’t the cute little pinterest website glorify this gray? Why is it screaming ‘purple’ at me? Why?

In the meantime, sweet little gray cat was tap-dancing, juggling catnip, and generally rolling around begging my sister to choose it.

“Okay, this is obviously the right one, let’s paint the walls in Riviera Beach.”

My sister turned to the employee, “I’ll take the sister cat, too, she’s a sweetheart.”

She saw the appalled look on my face.

“I knew it the minute I held her,” she insisted, “I could just tell.”

“Hm. Well, it looked great in the hall. Not so much in the living room. Maybe we will grow to love it. Maybe if we put enough art and furniture around it, we’ll get used to it being in the house.”

Darned if I don’t keep bringing home the wrong cat. Er, color.

I held this many paint pots:

They all tried frantically to escape my walls.

Why? Why can’t I ‘just tell’?

Meanwhile, my sister is settling in with two beautiful cats who adore her now.

They are named “Boy” and “Lola”.

So help me.

Fat Kitty

There are very good reasons why I am anti-pet these days.

I suppose I am actually anti-cage.

If I have a bird, I want it to grow feathers and fly free. If I have hens, they get to roam with the buffalo because it makes them happy. Dogs should have at minimum five acres of running space.

I absolutely refuse to accept that Shamu is happy in a tub.

I’ve looked into Shamu’s eyes and I’ve looked into the eyes of a mama whale off the coast of Maui.

The two whales told me very different messages.

When the kids were all young we had many smaller pets. We had hamsters and parakeets and guppies and lizards. I raised hens and cockatiels.

At some point, it occurred to me that I couldn’t have five kids and still do pet maintenance, so they all went to new homes. Anything more than a Beta fish was just out.

Betas live in tiny solitary puddles in the wild. That works.

When you name a thing, it belongs to you in a sense. You have given it an internal tie to yourself.

If you are raising a cow intending to make meatloaf out of it later, it may be best not to name it after your sweet Aunt Matilda.

I think God had Adam name each animal so that he would feel a personal attachment, a responsibility, to them. So he would understand that these animals existed in his world and depended on him to take that seriously.

Fat Kitty was never named, in a futile effort to avoid this.

We did not want a cat.

Perhaps she’d been abandoned. She just appeared in our backyard frightened and sad one day, and it was over.

We did not adopt Fat Kitty. She adopted us.

The giant calico must have been someone’s pampered princess kitten once.

She was always a lady and never scratched, bit or growled at us. She let our youngsters pull her by the tail, carry her like a baby, and ride her like a pony. When we put a harness on her, she instantly turned over, four paws waving in the breeze.

This cat didn’t ‘go for a walk’ on a leash. It was more like ‘go for a drag’.

But when she heard our car pull into the driveway she came waddling out to greet us, just like a dog.

In return, we fed her, groomed her, spent money on food, toys, and treats. We actually gave this outdoor cat a litter box which she deigned to use on rainy days.

I planted catnip in the herb garden once and she rolled around on top of it and then passed out, drooling, completely cross-eyed drunk. Once we stopped laughing hysterically, I decided not to replace the crushed plant.

For Kitty’s sanity and ours.

She never had kittens and she never got sick. She never invited the neighborhood cats over to play. She regularly placed dead birds, lizards and gophers at my doorstep.

As busy as our street was, she never crossed it.

Fat Kitty was not hit by a car.

She waited until Hubby and I were out of town and fell, overnight, desperately ill. The children called us in tears to say she would not eat or drink or walk. Several phone calls later, my sister took Fat Kitty on her final car ride and had her put down.

My oldest son buried Fat Kitty, wrapped in her favorite little blanket, deep in our garden.

I was not there to say goodbye or to comfort my family.

I want to say, “Well, it was just a cat.”

But she wasn’t an “it”.

And she wasn’t “just” a cat.

She was “our” cat.

And she mattered.

Every day of our relationship, she had the complete freedom to walk away and find a different life.

Turns out, love is pretty strong cage.