Manifestation of LOVE

There were a few things I wanted to accomplish this morning, including some tiger kit.jpgcomputer-related stuff, so I plopped down in front of the screen and began to type. Max, the 4-month old tiger kitten from the jungles of Sumatra (or perhaps the neighbor’s barn)—the tiny, orange baby that adopted us 3 months ago, was tearing around my room trying to engage me in play and mutual rough-housing.

I was having none of it. I wanted to write. I wanted to check the news site, Facebook, etc.

He was having none of my “none-of-it,” and began climbing up on everything in sight, including me. When he’d jump up onto my chest for nap-time, I’d put him back down tiger 4again because it’s hard to type one-handed and he’s getting heavier by the day. He must already weigh what our last adult female cat weighed before she died. He’s going to be a monster—a genuine mini-tiger!

He’s at the “look-at-me-I can-jump-as-high-as-the-counter” stage now, so after repeatedly yelling at him for his numerous incursions onto everything I did not want him disrupting, damaging, or pilfering, I finally just gave in to his last jump-to-my-chest assault and held him to me. He immediately quieted and began purring, then nestled gently into my arms and promptly went to sleep.

That’s all he wanted.

He just wanted to be held and loved. All the acting out—the naughtiness—the terrorizing—it was all because he wanted to be held in my arms and I had refused to allow it. So he made me regret my decision in any way that he could.

tiger face.jpgAs I listened to his deep-throated purr that vibrated against my body with a soothing reassurance that this little creature truly loved me in return, I realized that this fuzzy bundle of condensed, kinetic energy was exactly what I wanted, wasn’t it? Spirit gave me the very thing that I needed to fill that void from our last feline housemates passing away. S/he gave me LOVE.

We cuddled for as long as my arm could hold him; and he was ready to move on anyway as evidenced by the little nip to my other arm when I disrupted him. (We’re still working on that no-biting thing.)  Then he was content to sit on his own and watch out the window.

LOVE is not to be ignored. LOVE is not to be taken for granted.4 month old max.jpg

LOVE is to be gratefully enjoyed whenever it manifests.

If you doubt it, …I have LOVE’s Sumatran enforcer I can loan you.

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Agent of Chaos

Sure, I could easily be talking about our Chief Executive Officer of the USA—certainly nobody does chaos like he does, but actually I was referring to our kitten/cat/Tasmanian 20170609_131620 (1).jpgDevil that magically appeared on our front step about 2.5 months ago.

I don’t mean to be discriminatory about orange, tiger-stripe cats here but since I’ve had a large number of cats and kittens in my life, including two previous ginger-striped ones, I knew that seeing this tiny, starving, max shoe.jpgmonth-old baby at the door was likely going to be quite a ride if we kept him because the other two little tigers had been in leagues of their own for terrorizing everyone around them, including the other cats and dogs.

But how can you turn away a gift from Spirit like that? We just couldn’t.

I named him Max—short for Maxim the Great. He’s very entertaining, very challenging, and he’s very, very naughty.

max eyes (1).jpgWhen a kitten holds eye contact with you to the extent that Max did at the start, I knew he was pretty intelligent, and would soon learn how to push all our buttons.

He’s going to be a big guy from the looks of his over-sized paws to his ever-lengthening legs and tail.

He’s also a real toughie who doesn’t back down from a good rough-housing until you’ve called the truce, not him. After the first week, he walked around here like he owned the place and we were merely his servants. I know most cats do that, but he’s worse—he’s a max eyes (2).jpgbiter—he enforces his own rules. I can trim his nails weekly but I can’t trim his teeth.  The only thing that presently saves us from blood scabs all over our arms and legs is using a water squirt-bottle on him when he bites or locking him in time-out for awhile.

Clearly we’d forgotten how good-mannered our last inside adult cats had been until Max reminded us of the difference between him and them. No plants are safe now, nor is any small object that can be pilfered from fewer and fewer locations that remain outside his leaping abilities.

The house is a mass of toys to distract him, boxes and beds to house him, and towels and blankets on all furniture to prevent him from shredding them—with his teeth, no less.

He has brought chaos into our previously quiet and stagnant lives.

max me.jpgI mean I’m trying to type this one-handed at times because he insists on being the middle of whatever I am doing; and it’s so rare when he’s loving and huggable, that you make allowances to accommodate him because Tasmanian Max is a terror of “epic proportions, unlike the world has ever seen before,” to quote the earlier mentioned agent of chaos that our nation/the world must presently endure.

I wonder if water squirt-bottles and time-outs would work with him? Someone should try it.

Anyway, I keep reminding myself that kittens go though behavior stages and soon enough he will be fat and lazy like most adult cats become. We simply have to survive the 1st-year growth phase. In the meantime, I also recognize Spirit’s metaphor on agents of chaos shaking things up in stagnant environments.

Let’s hope the nation and the world survives the large “orange one’s” insanity because I’m pretty sure he won’t outgrow it.

But as the vet said to give us hope for the future, “Neutering might help.”max on afgan.jpg

The Couples Counselor

One day, the constantly-bickering Beebo and Boopikins decided that there was only one thing left to try before going their separate ways: couples counseling. So the sleek and fastidious Boopikins made the appointment marriage_counselor_all_alike_246055for them because if she had left it up to Beebo to do, it would never have been done.

In his defense, it wasn’t that Beebo didn’t want to make the appointment. It’s just that there were so many distractions in his life (squirrels, cars, and annoying kids) that he just couldn’t keep his focus long enough to remember to do it.

So the following week, they arrived together at the appointed time, and entered the counselor’s office with Boopikins coolly sauntering in first, and of course, that left Beebo trailing behind.

Boopikins immediately scanned the therapist’s messy room for possible items of interest to her before settling into the soft, cushy side-chair; while Beebo simply plopped down beside the other chair, with his muzzle on his paws.

The counselor, a middle-aged man of sizable girth with low-slung reading glasses saddled above his nostrils, welcomed them both and introduced himself as Mr. Mahler. He told them how happy he was to provide a controlled setting to discuss these “lingering disagreements” that they were experiencing between them; and if allowed, he would guide them in feeling comfortable enough to express what was really on their minds.Dog and cat on white background

Boopikins nodded with nose to the air catching the scent of Mr. Mahler’s corned beef lunch-breath; while Beebo sighed heavily. He knew where a crotch-sniffing-greeting would get him—a lightning-fast scratch on the nose from Boopikins for embarrassing them both, so he might as well just lie there and pass wind—one way or another.

“So, Ms. Boopikins,” the counselor began slowly then cleared his throat before continuing, “ah-h-h ….would you like to start the discussion by telling us what bothers you the most about Mr. Beebo?”

It was always wise to start with the female, as she would be the most anxious to be heard—REALLY heard by someone—anyone. Boopikins, gave a quick tail-flick which in cat body-language meant, “Of course, I’d be the first to start. I’m the one who has to put up with all of his …..WAYS!” And she wailed out a long “Yee-o-o-w-w-w.” (Have you ever noticed that cats never really say, “Meow”? They always say “Yeow.”)

Mr. Mahler nodded, wrote a few words on the legal pad in front of him, and said to Boopikins, “Is there more, or can we ask Mr. Beebo how he’d like to respond to that?”

An uninterested Boopikins yawned at him. This man was as boring as most men were. Same story, just a different day.

Mr. Mahler evidently understood “CAT,” and took that lack of interest as it was intended: “Like whatever, man…I could care less what you do.” So he bent far over his desk, with belly sliding atop it, and asked Beebo lying on the floor: “Would you like to respond to that ‘Yeow’ Mr. Beebo?”dogs and cats image

Beebo, seeing that suddenly everyone’s attention was on him—or at least Mr. Mahler’s attention was, began to pant open-mouthed, drooling a bit on the rug, and kind of grunted out a “boof.” (And dogs don’t “ruff” either.)

Then Beebo looked over to Boopikins, the love of his life who he could never understand in a million years—Boopikins, who was intently watching a pigeon prancing on the outside window sill of the counselor’s office. And seeing that once again, he couldn’t hold her attention even while at the therapist, he sighed heavily and dropped his muzzle back onto his hairy paws.

The counselor nodded, and wrote a few more words on his notepad before taking off his nose glasses to use as a flailing pointer between the differing pair before him.

“It’s unfortunate,” he began then deliberately paused for full effect, because that’s what counselors do—they pause for that dramatic impact. “Yes, I’ve seen this many times before, and I’m afraid it’s happening here between you two. The differences are too great, and the similarities are too few. I’m sorry. I think you’d be better off going your separate ways.”

Beebo lifted his head, hearing the dreaded words he feared the most—rejection and a tinge of sadness in the man’s voice. It was over. All done. They would part ways and never again would he sleep beside her on the cold floor while she claimed his dog pillow as her own. He was devastated. He slowly looked over to Boopikins who by now was preening her satiny fur, since she had all this down time and a soft chair to sit in, and the man was clearly as dumb as the stupid dog that she lived with, so why should she pay any attention to what he said anyway. If she wanted to keep that dumb dog around just to have something to annoy, she would. So there!

cat_and_dog_23And with that thought, she jumped down from the chair, teasingly bopped Beebo on the nose on the way by him, and invited him to chase her out. He jumped to his feet and off they dashed, back home together, to live unharmoniously ever after.

Moral to therapists: You never tell a cat what to do. You should know that by now Mr. Mahler.

Or …perhaps you already do!   Bravo sir!

Herding Cats or Corralling the Uncontainable

boat on orange sky

 

Is there a tiger in that boat? Try herding that one.

I’ve been a cat-wrangler for most of my life. Driving the herds from upstairs to downstairs, inside to outside, and then outside to back in again.

My “herds” over the years have been pretty small, but it’s a hard, thankless life because there are things that cats will do and things that they won’t. The only trick to herding cats is to make them think that it’s their idea where you want them to go, and they will beat you there.

Cats like food and fun, a cozy warm nest to snuggle into, and someone to occasionally pester. If they can’t find another cat or even the poor dog to harass, then you become their prime target.

You don’t really train a cat—it’s more like they train you to do what they want done—when they want it done. One thing that cats have trained me to do is either buy expensive food or cook food from scratch for them because if I don’t, they make me regret it in ways too graphic to explain further.

If you do have cats, you likely understand. If you don’t have cats, consider yourself lucky in one sense yet deprived in another—deprived of sharing your home with an extremely interesting species that is completely self-absorbed and considers you as a lesser being to them. What’s that saying? “Dogs have masters, but cats have staff.” Totally true. I know my place.

Cats grace you with their presence. They allow you to share the sofa with them but it comes at a cost: hair all over your shirt and pants or a tail in your face while you’re trying to watch something of interest on the TV.

You never need an alarm clock with a cat around. Breakfast is their favorite meal and they like it best around 3am. No arguments to the contrary will suffice.

The other interesting thing about cats is their amazing ability to read energy. If they encounter a captive audience (a house guest) who is either allergic to cats or simply wants no part of them, THAT is the person voted most likely to be the cat’s focal point of the night. Never fails. They love the ones who hate them but are too polite to make a big scene over it—pester-heaven for them.

Now, if someone who is of questionable character enters the home, the cat will also make you well aware of its distrust for that person by taking a wide path around them, doing “scowly-face” and flipping their tail side to side in disapproval. They do not suffer fools or psychos as the bad vibes emitted by the person gives them away.

I like dogs also, but cats are a whole other ballgame. You know where you stand with a dog—there’s never a doubt. But with a cat, you’re always watching where you step, …sometimes literally.