The Cat’s Meow

I didn’t grow up having cats as pets. To be honest, I didn’t give cats much thought. I believed the stereotypes about them, that they are arrogant, the owner follows THEIR rules, and they climb on everything in sight. I have to say, when I lived in the city I had a cat that for reasons known only to her….picked me to be her person. She was a stray that lived on my front porch. I started feeding her and that sealed the deal. She was mine from then on. A small delicate, black cat. I named her Salem. Having an outside cat worked for me. She had her life. I had mine. I pet her and fed her and she purred for me. Then I married my husband. He had inside cats…..so now I had inside cats too.

Samson

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Samson was a black Maine Coon, long haired and elegant. Samson was very stealthy. He could sneak up on a person before she realized he was even there. One night, early on in our marriage, my husband and I had gone to bed. It was pitch black in the bedroom so I couldn’t see a black cat. Samson found his way to the top of my head and curled himself into a tight furry ball on my pillow. In the middle of the night I woke up, feeling a “presence”, it was like I was wearing one of those fuzzy Russian hats. Joe was the other cat. A black and white domestic cat. A sweet boy who liked to “talk”, and was content to lay around and watch the comings and goings of the family members. My husband was Joe’s person.

All three of the cats I mentioned have passed on. Samson, from old age, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Salem, for whatever reason got high blood pressure, went blind, and had a stroke. Her poor health broke my heart. Joe just recently passed from a 6 month bout with feline cancer. Joe was the first pet I’ve ever had to put to sleep. I cried like a baby.

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Nikki is a calico. I suspect that she was “dumped” out here in the country, by someone who no longer could afford to take care of her. She showed up at our house several years ago, and hung out under our deck. I noticed her one morning and coaxed her to me. From then on she was ours. We ended up bringing her inside because she had already been declawed and fixed. She couldn’t live outside with no front claws. If I could sum Nikki up in one word, it would be persistent. She loves being loved.

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A couple of years ago, stray mama cat chose our barn for her labor and delivery. She bore five kittens, four survived. For being stray kittens, even the vet has said, “They are some of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen.” Lara Croft (Barn Raider) is a buff long haired girl, her sister Juliette a sleek Tabico (tabby with calico coloring), and the two boys are big and long. Dante a sleek white, and his brother, Virgil, a gorgeous long haired white. Virgil does not understand that he is a long haired white, and is not above trouncing through whatever might be on the barn floor. Dante went to live with our grandson, in Texas, the other three are with us. They live in the barn and hunt around our twelve country acres. They are the best mousers, hands (or paws?) down!

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This puts us up to last October. I was on my way to work with one of my home instruction students, when I saw the smallest little piece of gray and white fluff on the side of the road…..in the middle of nowhere. No houses around. This little guy looked like he couldn’t have been weaned for very long. He was so small! I called home, and my daughter drove to where I gave directions and picked the little guy up. I took Itty Bitty to the vet and he was checked out. Now, he lives here with us and his other feline friends.

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Finally……last but not least…..is Jack. Jack is a young orange tabby that showed up at our house a couple of months ago. I don’t know where he came from. He was attracted to me like a magnet. Every day he greets me when I go over to the barn. I am seriously wanting to bring Jack inside. He has a special place in my heart.

So, as you can see, I am now a dog AND cat person. Probably, if truth be told, I am just a plain ol’ animal person.

It is difficult to obtain the friendship of a cat. It is a philosophical animal… one that does not place its affections thoughtlessly.

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Hot Diggity Dog!

I’ve been thinking about dogs lately. Actually, I think about dogs quite a bit, since my family has four of them! Each of them is unique and special, with their own personality. If a person doesn’t understand that, than it is pretty clear to me that he/she has never owned a dog. I really can’t imagine my life without my canine companions. They make me laugh. They make me yell (sometimes). They shed and howl and bark. They jump and lick and are loyal beyond anything else.

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Ace is technically my daughters dog, although she “shares” him with the rest of the family. He is a twelve year old baby. He may be getting old, and because his joints ache, he takes longer to get moving, but he loves to love. Even though he is a 70 lb, pure bred Scotch Collie, he does not understand why he can’t be a lap dog, after all he is a dog and we have laps. Ace has been the best guard dog….running the perimeter of our property, letting the coyotes know that they are not welcome here. Now, he spends his days laying around the yard, and barking at the UPS guy…..not because he will eat the guy (in his old age he doesn’t have many front teeth left), but because he knows the guy will give him a treat. According to Ace, the UPS guy is smart. The FedEx guy needs to get with the program.

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Lonnie is a Terrier mix, the vet thinks maybe a Terrier and a Schipperke. Lonnie is my son’s dog…he and I went to the shelter and picked Lonnie out of a line-up. From the moment I saw the, then 5 year old little guy, with his big brown eyes and energetic spirit, I knew he was the one….so did my son. In a few months we will celebrate 5 years with Lonnie. I can’t imagine life without this guy. He makes me laugh. He can do several tricks and runs in circles when he knows it is time to go outside. I enjoy laying on the living room floor with this little guy laying next to me. He also enjoys a good massage and belly rub during our TV time. This dog isn’t spoiled, at all. Really. I promise.

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August of 2014, the family decided to get another dog. My daughter and I made a trip back to the local shelter. Rocky was a 1.5 year old brindle Boxer and not really sure what other breed, mix. I think maybe a lab? Really not sure, and Rocky isn’t saying. Rocky was the dog in the back of the kennel with his tail tucked between his legs, nervous to come to the fence so he could be pet. He wanted to, but he was scared. Come to find out, he had been an owner surrender, his first family couldn’t afford his care. He was then adopted and brought back, because another family dog didn’t get along with him. Poor guy. He needed a family to love. My daughter and I looked at each other. We knew this shy brindle was going to be our newest family member. After bringing Rocky home, it took a little while for him to not be so scared…..you’d never know it to look at him now! Rocky has a vicious bark and scares the delivery drivers, “I think he would eat me for lunch!”, but Rocky is a true love bug. He is content to run around the yard and play with his other furry friends, or lay at my feet while I’m sitting at the table. He has soulful brown eyes, and I swear he knows how great life is now, compared to what it was. He is grateful. I can feel it, and see it in his expression. I love this guy and am so happy we chose him……even if he has chewed up my solar lights, ripped up plants, and mauled all his toys. Such is the life of a dog owner.

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Lastly, is our little surprise, Mitford. Last September, Miss Sophia (the neighbor’s dog) and our Ace were the proud parents of six little bundles of joy. Sophia decided to have her precious pups up under our deck. We could hear them crying, so my daughter did an army crawl through the (very) narrow space under our deck to retrieve the puppies and bring them up on the deck where we could all admire them. Pudgy and blind, but we fell in love with them. We and the neighbors each kept a puppy and the rest were given to good homes. Mitford will celebrate his first birthday on the 29th of this month. He has the beautiful soft fur and curled up tail of his mama, and the coloring and size of his daddy. Mitford has enough energy for everyone. He is a natural “fetcher” and loves to chase–and bring back his toys for more. I love to pet him, as his fur is incredibly soft. He irritates his grumpy daddy with all his shenanigans, but loves running around with his buddy, Rocky.

Yes. I love dogs. I have always considered myself a dog person. I was fine with this title until about ten years ago…..then I married a cat person. Now, I’ve expanded my love to the feline persuasion too. I’ll blog about them in my next post.
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 

A Wondrous Mystery

I love animals. They bring me a lot of joy. We have several dogs and cats, chickens, and a horse. I wouldn’t mind getting some llamas one day. Until then, I am content to watch our neighbor’s llamas across the road.

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Yesterday our neighbor’s dog had her litter of puppies, up under our deck. My daughter and I spent the majority of the day yesterday looking after Mama and her six little fur balls. Ace, our Collie, and Papa to this crew looked on, not sure what to make of these whiny little things.

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As I sat there and observed Mama taking care of her babies, washing them, feeding them, protecting them….I had a God moment. Life, in all forms, is such a wondrous mystery. A miracle. It made me happy to witness it.

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On the sixth day, God created animals, and He said that it was good. Then they made man (and woman) and gave them the responsibility of naming the animals and ruling over them.

A great responsibility indeed.

24Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”… Genesis Chapter 1

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I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

You Do The Crime, You Do The Time

 

Calico cat (Felis silvestris catus)This is a post from a few years ago…… I reread it and laughed all over again. I hope you will laugh too. After all laughter is good for you!

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My intention was to finish my story from yesterday….but, that will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m too wound up to type something serious this morning.

Some days are better than others. Just sayin’.

1. The indoor pets needed their flea treatments. The weather is getting warmer and fleas and ticks are already becoming an issue.

2. My husband was gone to a meeting in the evening. I was left to my own device.

3. My son helped with giving the dog a flea treatment. The dog behaved himself at the time….but, then proceeded to roll around in the grass afterward —during his evening walk. Sigh. I hope any nasty little blood sucking varmints that happened to be in said grass, were repelled. Sigh again.

4. I commissioned my daughter to help with the two indoor cats. I had been noticing a little scratching going on (with the cats, not her) and decided we needed to treat them now, while the getting is good.

5. The cats were okay during the treatment, that takes all of 60 seconds. Joe (the senior citizen cat) took it like a champ. No problemo. Nikki, my calico, stalker kitty….not so much.

6. She sulked in my closet all evening. I tried to get her to come out, but she just turned her head and continued to lay on my shoes. It was a major snub.

7. FINE! Lay in there and  I hope you don’t roll over and poke yourself with a high heel!!!! Hmmppfff.

8. Well, Nikki finally emerged, but if ever a cat was ticked off….it was her. Cross my heart and hope to die, if she could speak…she would have cursed me. I’m sure of it.

9. She skulked around.

10. Bedtime came. She usually lays at the foot of the bed…..after she gets pet and loved on.

11. Last night she decided to show her ire, by PEEING on the bed. Right up near me. As a matter of fact she peed all over my new Country Living magazine that I was just settling down to read….and a book….and on the quilt, which soaked through to the blanket underneath.

12. At the moment I did not see what was going on…..but, my husband did and grabbed her by the scruff of her neck. He carried her out to the laundry room–where she was banished for the rest of the night.

13. While that was going on, I had to strip the bed linens and wash them in hot, soapy water….at 11pm at night. I was not a happy camper. In my mind I was thinking up horrible sayings….things like…. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  Yeah.

14. Nikki was crying in the laundry room and I was yelling back, “Suck it up sister. You pee you pay!” (along with maniacal, sleep deprived laughter)

15. She got out of detention this morning….none worse for the wear.

16. The bedroom is OFF limits to her today. She is NOT pleased.

17. Hey, that’s the price ya gotta pay, girlie. You do the crime, you do the time.

18. My bed is now fresh and clean.

19. I am in a much better mood.

20 And Nikki is sulking behind the file cabinet in the school room.

AND THAT IS MY LIFE…..end of story.

Laughter Makes The Whole Day Better

A blog post I picked from my archive……..we all need to have a good laugh. It does a body good:)

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“A cheerful heart has a continuous feast.”  Proverbs 15:15

When is the last time you laughed out loud, tears streaming down your face?  Laughed so hard you snorted? Got the hiccups? Your stomach ached from the muscles you used for a good belly laugh?

Laughter feels good.

Nikki, the family calico cat, has a special fondness towards me. Some might call it stalking. She follows me around the house like my shadow. She makes me a little paranoid when she follows me into the bathroom…and sits and stares at me. Eh, hem….I can do this myself, kitty cat. This morning I was making the bed when she came flying out from underneath it. I didn’t know she was there so I nearly had a heart attack. She made me laugh out loud because she was covered with dust bunnies. Okay, I admit to all my blog readers that cleaning under the bed is not at the top of my list. Not this week. Um… okay. Not ever. Nikki looked hilarious with a big  ol’ dust bunny right on top of her head, between her ears. She did not appear too humiliated by the whole thing.

 

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I laughed so hard this evening! My son’s dog, Lonnie is a terrier mix. He can stand and walk around on his hind legs. Lonnie loved the smell of the pot roast that I was serving for dinner. Boy, did he want some! He walked around on his hind legs trying to get at the plate. He was so focused on the plate that he backed right up into the garbage bag I had setting on the floor, ready to go out. The expression on his face was priceless.

 

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This is the same dog that I blogged about last week that would not eat his yummy, dog food, nutritional bits. Go figure.

Tonight, while preparing dinner, I was singing and goofing around in the kitchen. My son said, “Mom, you are very ‘bubbly’ today. I like it when you are in a good mood. It makes the whole day better.”  His words struck me. How often do I forget, in my day to day busyness, to smile and laugh, and joke?

My son reminded me  that

Laughter is the best medicine and….

It makes the whole day better.

 

 

A Lover Of All Things Furry and Feathered

I love animals. I’ve had pets since I was a child. I used to consider myself strictly a “dog person”. That was true until the last several years. Now I just consider myself an “animal person”… A lover of all things furry or feathered.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and  I moved out to the country with my family that I had opportunity to own several animals. All of which are pets….even the chickens! Seriously, if I had my way I’d have my own petting zoo.

Yes, I know animals can be a lot of work. They can be stinky and messy and shed like nothing I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t matter. They give love and devotion that can make me smile on even the worst of days.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” — Genesis 1 

So thankful for my furry and feathered friends.

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Faithful Friend

My heart aches this morning.

I really hate death. It just hurts too much.

Yesterday afternoon, our elderly dog, Junior, died. Now, I am not comparing his death to other losses I’ve experienced. The deaths of loved ones are definitely not the same as the death of a pet. But, death still hurts. It always does.

My husband found Junior, laying in the yard. It is as if he had just laid down, the last moments of his life winding down…until he just stopped.

We were just getting ready to leave the house for evening choir and church services, when my husband, from across the yard, answered my question, “Is he dead?” He solemnly nodded as I ran across the yard, tears streaming down my face.

Yes, he was about fourteen and a half years old. Yes, I know he was old, and yes I knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer.

But, none of that mattered. Not at that moment.

I met Junior when I married my husband in 2005. He was about seven years old then. A brindle colored mutt. Maybe some sort of bird dog/boxer mix? He liked to walk with me through the years, even after his aging joints made walking difficult and painful. He always had a lick for everyone and would bark with excitement when the family drove up the driveway. Our collie, Ace, will miss his friend. I’m sure he will be lonely without his buddy.

The last year and a half of Junior’s life was a struggle. I faithfully gave him his glucosimine and chondroitin every day for his arthritic joints, picked him up when the steps to the deck got to be too much, and slowly walked him over to the barn on the coldest of winter days, where he could snuggle in the hay with barn kitty.

Grief is the price one pays for loving someone, or in this case, loving a dear pet.

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