The New Door Horror...

Just when I think I know my cats they go and do something that throws me off. I usually like to write my blog on Friday, but we had a new front door installed yesterday and it created quite a cat stir so I decided to post early. Since my guys are indoor cats I thought it best to put them all in an upstairs bedroom while the men were here working because once they removed the old door there was just a big open hole in the wall for hours. I thought Ben would most likely have bolted upstairs or downstairs once the workers arrived and Casper would probably have just watched with interest, but Archie would definitely have made a run for the great outdoors so just to be safe I deposited them in the cat room. I didn’t think this would be a problem given that they sleep together in that room every day basking in the afternoon sun, and there was a litterbox and food and water in there for them. I figured if Ben and Archie were nervous (due to all the construction sounds), Casper's usual nonchalance would keep the tone casual up there. But the second I closed the door Casper was not happy. From downstairs I could hear him yowling and scratching at the door. I left them for a little while to settle down while the work began. Pounding, sawing and drilling ensued for hours; we live in an old house so of course the door that was made did not fit into the existing frame. I know Casper is deaf and could not hear these noises, but the other two must have listened to the strangeness happening outside the bedroom and were glad of their sanctuary. Casper however was not comforted even though I’m certain he could feel the vibrations and the banging. I went into the room to spend some time with them hoping this would help Casper to calm down, but he would not be soothed. He slunk around the room like a caged animal (which technically he was) and darted in and out from under the bed. This broke my heart so I thought maybe I would try letting him out so he could see what was happening in the house. I opened the door, surprisingly the other two just lay on the bed unruffled and watched while Casper poked his nose around the corner (belly low to the ground). From the top of the stairs there is a clear view straight down to the front entrance, but once Casper saw the hole in the wall where the old door used to be he dashed back into the bedroom and went under the bed. Most of the time he is so bold and friendly and relaxed, I can’t figure out why this was such a big deal for him. Perhaps it had something to do with being shut in a room, even a familiar and cozy room. I think the people who had Casper before I adopted him must have shut him up a lot. They gave him up because they thought he was too hyper, so it makes sense (albeit cruel sense) that they might have confined him to one room when they felt he was getting out of hand. So I probably reactivated some kittenhood trauma by closing him in the bedroom, even though he had his brothers with him for company. Believe me when I tell you this was equally, if not more, traumatic for me! I try to create the best environment for my babies that I can to ensure happy well-adjusted cats, so the fact that I brought something scary into Casper’s world makes me sad. When I went in a second time to check on everyone, Ben and Archie were happily snoozing on the bed together but Casper was under the bed again in the farthest corner against the wall. I was heartsick, but felt it best to leave him there until the work was finished (I also needed to do some clean-up since sawdust had landed EVERYWHERE). Once things were back to normal and the workers had left, I released the boys from the bedroom all at the same time.

Casper came downstairs first but dashed behind the sofa in the living room. Archie had no interest in coming downstairs because a fly got in the house when the door was off so he was running all over the place trying to catch it. The only one who took any notice of the new door and went immediately to investigate was Ben which was astonishing because he is the consummate fraidy-cat. Two hours later Casper was still not himself and I thought about getting him high on catnip in the hope he would forget the horrors of the day. But just then he jumped into the windowsill and proceeded to have a bath. Casper washed away his ordeal and when he was finished he curled into a ball and went to sleep

The door still needs painting (ugh more upheaval) but for now at least it’s been installed so the biggest part of the job is over!


Kitty Bliss...

Sometimes the world gets a bit much for me. Sometimes I feel it is too big and too fast and too careless and I have to retreat. If I can, I like to spend an afternoon alone in our house with my cats. It is peaceful and gentle and cats with pink noses and delicate paws are therapeutic. With my cats there is no sadness, there is no inequity, there is no prejudice or crime, or anger there is only quiet and calm and sanctuary. I could sit for hours and watch my cats play or bathe or just sleep; there is such grace in their movements. Perhaps it is a kind of meditation to watch cats. Can it be that different from studying any art form or thing of beauty? Curled in a ball or stretched long in the sun they are silken perfection as far as I am concerned. They bring harmony and balance back into my life, they restore me when I am weary, they give me perspective and help me to remember what is truly important. All this I am given by these amazing creatures who ask for nothing in return.


Ode to Dad

It's Father's Day coming up this Sunday. Last year the cats wrote Robert a special poem, but I didn't have a blog at that time so I thought it deserved a reprint this year...

We think you’re the best Papa ever,
Even thought you’re not that clever,
A cat is always the superior species,
That’s why we let you scoop our feces.

But we thank you for the thoughtful toys,
That you bring home for us boys
And serving kibble at our table,
That keeps our fur as soft as sable.

Even the old girl admits
That you’re far from the pits
She’s come to love you very much,
And even tolerates your touch.

You help her take her daily pills,
And pay all her medical bills,
She knows she has you to thank,
And promises not to break the bank.

And so we all have come to say
That on this very special day,
There is no Dad on earth who’s better,
That’s why we had to write this letter!


Love, Molly, Casper, Benjamin and Archie


In Celebration of the Outstretched Paw

I thought I would join in the "Celebration of the Outstretched Paw". A lot of cat blogs out there have posted fantastic pictures and it gave me an excuse to sift through my photos and choose some of my favourites. Enjoy...

Here's Molly outstretching her back paws (I hope that counts lol).

This is Casper taking a break from writing the great Canadian novel to outstretch his paws

Max is outstretching his paws to give his family all the love he can before he crossed the bridge too soon.

Here is Benners with his outstretched paws to clobber his bouncing bird

And finally young Archie outstretches his paws to show his mum what a big man cat he will grow into


Old Molly

When the musical Cats premiered in Toronto I was probably about nineteen or so and I was desperate to see it. Can you imagine being a cat lover all your life and then there is a show just about cats who talk and dance…for adults? I wondered to myself who was this Webber guy, and thought what a genius he must be. A nice man named George asked me to go on a date with him and I said yes, BUT only if he got tickets to cats (good grief where did I get the cheek). I don’t remember that much about the show all these years later mostly just fantastically coloured costumes and lots of acrobatics, but I do, as I’m sure everyone does, remember Grizabella. She is the very old cat who is “withered by her age to the point that she no longer resembles the proud, carefree, flamboyant dancer of her youth”. The other cats tease her and shoo her away, but at the end of the show she is chosen to be reborn and of course sings Memories while everyone in the theatre sobs.
I now live with a real life Grizabella. At almost nineteen, Molly is a very old cat; her coat is graying and despite my best efforts continuously forms mats, she is slow and shaky on her paws and I know that one day in the not too distant future she will leave us and be reborn. But until that time, her heart is still strong and she still greets us with chirps and coos and lovingly sits between us in bed dispensing affection. She still sleeps on my pillow and at 3:00 in the morning her purring sounds like a freight train running through our bedroom. When I am sick she still stays by my side until I am well and she is still the best cuddler of the bunch. She still engages with us and has quality of life. In spite of the foibles of age I think she is happy and I think she likes her life. I’m certainly glad she has been a part of my life all these years!
“If you touch me you’ll understand what happiness is, look a new day has begun…”