Tag: cats

That Summer I Lived on a Farm and Loved a Cat . . .

 

The summer I was twelve, our family lived on a farm in central New York. Our borrowed farmhouse days were sandwiched between two stints in town: we’d spent the school year in one side of a turn-of-the-century house with antique furniture, and the coming short winter days would find us–parents and four kids–in a small, spare apartment.

But for now, down a narrow rural road named after the owners of the farm, wildflowers and grass and airy summer blouses rippled in a warm breeze.  We sat on the porch steps, chatting with the grandmotherly proprietor as gentle sunlight slowly baked the land until the wind brought mellow scents of corn and hay.  There was a barn filled with bales to climb on, a cornfield across the street, and quiet woods beyond it.  A sway-backed horse named Susie cropped grass in a field–several decades old now, she was retired. And there was a certain tortoise-shell cat that ended up determining my feelings about the farm.

Reflections on an Unwanted Cat

 

I am Bean, I am smol, and I am fearless.

Everybody, this is Bean, short for Tiabeanie. She calls herself Yao Mao, which is Chinese for “The Wanting Cat.” She showed up on our doorstep on a rainy day about a month ago. I had a suspicion about her at the time that was validated over the next few weeks as her belly grew round and full. Last week the vet confirmed it. We’re going to have Beanie Babies.

She is the third stray cat that has found its way to us. Our first, we found in a dumpster. The second, in a parking lot. But Bean decided on her own that this was the place she wanted to be. It made me wonder if mother cats have some instinct to look for a safe place for their babies. And in the manner of strays, she is obsessed with food, but has quickly gone from a kind of cautious gratitude for anything that was put in front of her to a feline pickiness. Sniff, turn up your nose, look at the provider as if to say, “Do you expect me to eat this?” and then grudgingly eat the food on offer.

Member Post

 

Pet adoptions or ownership in the United States grew somewhere upwards of 10% during 2020, especially during the pandemic. No surprise there. And pet ownership is huge: 85 million American households have at least one pet, some 67% of homes. Some 13% of people became first-time pet owners in 2020. Among those who adopted a […]

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Member Post

 

The date was February 3rd, 2002. For many New Englanders, it was an intense and historic day. After all, it was the day on which the New England Patriots would face off against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. This Massachusetts native was unmoved by the excitement. As a college senior majoring in […]

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Thirty-Something

 

I just came across this account of one of my birthdays from when my daughters were little, probably six and seven. I’m not sure where I originally posted it–probably on my old blog–and I have no idea why I backed it up. But I’m glad I did. Although it’s not my birthday, I had a lot of fun unpacking this thirteen-year-old time capsule.

My first birthday present of the morning: I had slept nearly eight hours, without waking up once. It was going to be the busiest of days.

Member Post

 

Some of the notes of P.I. MushroomAlgae in regards to the Case of the Cult of Cats. August 1st, 2020I always had a weird feeling about the cold case of the missing man with the odd story about the cats. However, I knew for the longest time that this story of the cats must have […]

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Unknown Transcription Found Earlier This Year

 

An unknown transcription found earlier this year without a year or transcriber. It was left as a note at one P.I. MushroomAlgae’s home. It reads:

To whoever gets this message. My mind is going and I can hardly make out what is what, so while I have time I must inscribe this before I can’t remember it correctly or the worst is to happen to me…

My Life As A Cat

 

Some scientists have gone on the record stating that the common house cat has a pineal gland more similar to our own than any other animal out there.

But even though quite similar, the cat’s pineal gland is supposedly twice as large as ours.

Climbin’ Psymon

 

Psymon (the “P” is silent, as in “psychedelic” and “psittacosis”) is just the most recent of many feline friends to have ingratiated themselves unexpectedly but permanently into my life and heart over the past four decades. I first noticed him during the dead of winter 2018, when I saw him, often accompanied by an all-black cat I’ve named, ummm, “Blackie.” (The “B” is voiced, as in “bafflegab” and “blowsabella,” which, I’m sorry to tell you, isn’t the name of one of Old Possum’s Practical Cats. I completely agree that it should be, though.) I’d see the two cats hanging out in the barn, or running in the snowy woods, and sometimes, worryingly, on the road. All my best efforts to entice them onto the porch for food failed, and I’d resigned myself to the thought that they’d either freeze to death, be run over, or be killed by predators. “Can’t save ’em all,” I’d think to myself in an attempt to bring reason to bear, while I fretted from day to day. Story of my life.

But. One cold day, almost exactly a year ago, I opened the front door and found an orange and white cat waiting for me, glaring intently at the entrance and drumming his paws rather impatiently on the brick patio. The moment he saw me, tail waving high, he marched into the house and has never left.** Proof positive, I suppose, that any cat can be saved, once he decides he wants to be. (I think that’s pretty much the way it works for members of the two-legged species, as well.)

The newly-dubbed “Psymon” spent slightly more than a week in my largest dog crate, stinking up the place with his toxic and overbearing (I’m not being catty about this) masculinity. Phew. Fortunately, a session with my veterinarian “fixed” this odiferous and argumentative problem, and he’s come up nothing but roses and agreeableness ever since. Would that all such problems could be solved so easily. She said. LOL.

A Pretty Good Cat

 

My siblings are bonkers about cats. I’m used to that. I’ve borne years of anthropomorphic fantasies about a line of household pets that included a sensitive and gorgeous special breed, country cross-varieties vaguely named after T.S. Eliot characters, and a few city “patio cats.” I’ve witnessed naming deliberations for new kitties that drag on for weeks, with “Pockets” being a near winner and a friend begging them not to saddle it with a noun handle for life. They eventually settled on human names for their animals, which pleased everyone: Eleanor, Titus. Titus, nearly two decades old, is still with us, and shows up occasionally in pictures, like the time he was sporting a small wide tie that my brother said made him think of “a night manager at Denny’s.”

What has just dawned on me, however, is that another family member has been something of a dark horse when it comes to passion for felines. I mean, I knew my dad liked cats, but I finally realized the degree of this affinity today when my mom texted us with a charming innovation my dad used to solve a problem with their old cat.

How Falling Cats, Physics, Science Relate to One Another

 

A cat always lands on its feet. Generations of young (and not so young) boys have conducted experiments testing this. These reveal while not universally true, this saying proves generally so. The question is why?

“Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics” by Gregory J. Gbur, answers the question. He blends whimsy, the history of technology, the development of physics and cat curiosities to explain why cats land on their feet.

The ultimate solution to what appears to be a trivial problem takes Gbur and his readers on a trip rambling through apparently disconnected items: how a horse gallops, the development of photography, the Foucault pendulum, relativity, space travel, figure skating, skyscrapers, why warm water freezes quicker than cold water, and robotics.

Group Writing: One Man’s Treat to Me Made My Life Complete

 

I woke up on the bus. It was silent, unmoving. I was right across from the driver’s seat, so I had an unobstructed view out the windshield. I was not looking out on the expected scene of night streets of New York City. I felt a moment of dread. I must have fallen asleep and slept past my stop, and now I appeared to be in a parking garage.

It was a Friday evening, and I had had conflicting social obligations in different boroughs. One group of friends on the Upper East Side was hosting several Japanese friends whom I hadn’t seen in a year or two, and there was no way I could miss that party. The other party was a house-warmer for my former roommate, who had just moved into her own apartment near mine in the Bronx. I felt obliged to be there as well. The Express Bus was my answer: a more expensive alternative to the subway, but much safer, and a direct ride from the UES to my neighborhood in the Bronx; no train switching, no riding with weirdos in the night. Since my grandmother lived in a nursing home in the UES, I took the Express Bus at least once a week after visiting her, so I knew how great it was.

Member Post

 

I won’t be able to match other’s writing skill, but this subject is dear to me, so here goes. We currently have 7 cats in the house. Smudge, a large Tuxedo female with a big black mark across her nose (hence the name), is an inside/outside cat. Mr. C puts her out most nights because […]

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Crazy Cat Family

 

We keep acquiring cats at my house. The tally is currently four but destined to grow, as my youngest daughter frequently asks when she can get a kitten. Most people can just blow off this kind of request, but we’re different. We’re the crazy cat family.

My wife and I each had several cats growing up. My family named cats after spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and my cat Curry, by far the dumbest cat I’ve ever seen. We got him from the neighbors across the street before he was weaned and consequently, the little Siamese guy would sit and suck on your shirt for hours. I once saw him climb to the top of a free-standing ladder in front of a second-story window, stare at his reflection, and begin shifting his bottom for a lunge.

“He’s not going to attack his reflection, is he?” we asked from the driveway.

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs! Not Messing!

 

The veterinarian finished his examination of the three-legged, short-tailed, grey and white cat with one blue eye and one green eye, shook his head wonderingly, and looked over at her owner.

“Don’t you have any normal pets?” he inquired.

“Actually, no,” I replied.