The Three Truths of Cats

I’ve been a cat owner essentially all my life.  We got my lil sister Sweetie Pie when I was three.  Jack-Jack was an adoption of a 12 year old boy who needed respite from his busy house.  Tony and Gino were adoptees from the Katrina disaster.  Razputin, my current baby, was an adoptee who wouldn’t let me leave without him.  I’ve had a full menagerie in my life, but I always come back to cats as the lil furry companions I relate the most to.
Over the years I’ve found some things that cat owners will completely understand.  In the spirit of our Third Anniversary I thought I’d mention the top three things cat owners understand.

3.) They are the pauper kings/queens of the residence:

Every cat rules his or her house.  At least they believe they do.  Strangely however they are all entirely reliant on their chosen hairless housemate for food, water, and entertainment.  It’s unusual to have a tiny little fur-face essentially tell you what to do (and you do it…at least you’d better) when you are, at least logically, the boss round the place.  As royalty they can also be adorably mentally abusive.  They will innocently use noise (mreoow…mreeeeow…MREEEOW) to get you up at 2am.  Then look at you like, “what? Oh did that wake you?  Sorry, but as long as you’re up…look at this toy!  Or these treats!  And pet me here!”  They can destroy your whole world [40k players understand how a furry monstrous creature, eternal warrior, with hatred (all models), and 12D6 attacks can wreck your gaming s**t].  Then look at you with a sweet kitty face and make you love them for it.  If that’s not the behavior of an insecure monarch I don’t know what is…

2.) They see many things…maybe even dead people…
They will stare.  Stare at things.  There’s nothing there…but there’s SOMETHING there.  Sweetie (miss my lil sis) stared mostly at ME.  It’s unnerving to be eyed by a predator.  Even a little cute one.  Jack-Jack (he was connected to me and we gave him the best last years of his life we could) was nearly blind but his hood-eyed scowl often drew attention.  Tony only stares to smash things and even as a senior cat now he still has that young man athleticism.  Gino (miss my lil crazy booboo) would just stare…at dust or fuzzies or microscopic particles only visible with an electron microscope.  Raz stares up walls and at ceilings.  But often…there’s nothing there.  At least nothing I can see.  Occasionally I’ll spot a tiny bug or a spot on the wall that has his attention.  But sometimes nothing.  He’s intently staring at the air.  And cats do that.  Just stare, fascinated by the various nematodes and bogeymen only visible to cat-kind.  I know this.  I’m not worried about it…but every now and then I’m drawn into the fantasy.  I get up to check what he’s staring at.   I think he does it to laugh at me…

1.) You mean NOTHING….but you mean everything…

Cats are the world’s greatest actors.  They make you feel tiny, usually from self-important cattitude, but in the end one slow blink, one head butt, or one nose touch lets you know that, even though they make you feel utterly beneath contempt…they’re as glad to have you as you are to have them.  I know my various babies liked to pretend I mean nothing to them…but for all the kitty bravado they all loved to have me there…even when all they wanted was for me to be in the same space as them.   And for us, we’re happy to be in their space too.

Look for Life with Raz Cat coming soon on RevPub!  A webcomic series featuring stories from life with a Mad Russian Blue!


It’s good to be the king…

Weird Pets: We Love Them Too

When I tell people I have a dog and a bird, I get raised eyebrows and strange looks. Sure, most people understand the dog, but a bird? They ask, “Why do you have a bird?” “Does it talk?” and “What do you do with a bird?”

A lot of people think a pet should just be a dog or a cat. Dogs and cats are “real” pets because you can play with them and/or cuddle with them. If you have a bird, reptile, amphibian, or any other animal that doesn’t fall into the traditional pet category, it’s weird.

These people should open their eyes (and minds) a little.

Friday afternoon as I sat in traffic, I received the call about my bird, Snowflake, passing away. She sat comfortably in her cage, where she used to lay eggs, and fell asleep for the last time. She did not suffer and simply died from old age.

Snowflake the cockatiel
She loved to explore our bedroom.

I won’t lie, it hurt. A lot. I cried the whole way home. I thought, if she wasn’t a real pet, this wouldn’t hurt so much…

We adopted Snowflake 15 years ago when she landed on someone’s head, and they brought her to us. Growing up, I only had dogs and maybe a cat, but there was no way I would let her just fly out a window. She needed a home, and I was happy to care for her.

Snowflake was more than just a pied cockatiel. She was sweet and affectionate. She was moody and hostile. She hated men of her kind and mine. She loved heavy metal, hated the answering machine, protected the women in the house, and only wanted to socialize on her terms. She loved popcorn and Doritos. Snowflake had personality.

Snowflake the cockatiel
Snowflake rubbing her head on my cheek.

When I got married and moved into my current house, she was the only thing – other than clothes and a few posters – that was mine. Sure, she was the family pet, but we shared a special bond. I talked to her like she was a person, I let her fly around my room, and she loved to walk on my bed. And she’d fly back and forth, from one window to another, when she didn’t want to go back into her cage. Sometimes I’d cuss at her for that, too, as I balanced on chairs and my bed while offering my hand as a perch.

No matter the animal, we grow attached to them. Sometimes we talk to them when we can’t talk to anyone else – animals can’t gossip or argue. In fact, they may be the only ones in the world we can completely trust. There’s no judgment or criticism.

So, to those who don’t understand why someone has a nontraditional pet: Think about having a confidant who is understanding, loyal, and can offer peace and normalcy during the toughest times. We depend on them, whether we realize it or not, just as they depend on us for food, shelter, and water. We need them as much as they need us.

A special thanks to Snowflake, one of the best pets I’ve ever owned. The house won’t be the same without her…

Snowflake the cockatiel
Perched on top of my curtain rods where she’d spend hours in my room…

Story of the Month: A Surprise Dinner Guest

Well, the holiday season is upon us. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week, and I’ve already started shopping. Time flies when you’re having fun!

This month I want to share a story about a very special guest we had a few years ago. He was the highlight of our holiday and caused a lot of chaos and fun.

 A Surprise Dinner Guest

It was Christmas Eve, and we had lots of family coming to the house for food and festivities. Our guests were about to arrive, so we opened the door only to find a large multicolored duck on our front porch.

A greena dn white duck on our porch on Christmas Eve.

We live in a highly residential neighborhood between several main roads. Our houses are about 15 feet apart, and there are rows and rows of houses in the neighborhood. Needless to say, ducks are not a common site, and the only wildlife you see around my house are domestic pets or squirrels. I could not believe a duck would choose to chill at our house of all the ones in the neighborhood.

At first I worried that he was sick or had a broken wing. We fed him, and he was a little nervous, but he never ran. He was still on our porch when the guests arrived; and then we had a problem. We had several kids who wanted to play with him, and one wanted to chase the duck around the yard. I yelled some sense into him, and everyone left the duck in peace.

The duck fluffed up next to the house and slept. Hours later he was still there, sleeping the night away. Late that night, I fed him once more and checked on him. He was still asleep in his warm spot, and I fell asleep wondering how we would take care of a duck. We had a dog and a small bird, and I did not have the heart to call animal control.

Christmas morning arrived, and our feathery friend was gone. I like to think he continued his journey at dawn, moving onto another house or he found his new home.

So, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for pets – past, present, and future. No matter the size or how long we have them, their unconditional love makes the darkest days seem a little brighter.

Feel free to share your weird and/or special pet stories below in the comments section!