The Travelling Cat Chronicles

“The Travelling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa

When I borrowed this book I was expecting a silly cat story. Boy was I wrong! This is truly a chronicle of a cat who traveled. In fact he traveled all over Japan. The cat is the narrator and he is very funny and wise. His relationship with his master was one that made me smile page after page. This small book is packed full of interconnections of small boys as they grew into adulthood and the emotions run the gamut. I recommend this book for anyone who is an animal lover, especially a lover of cats.

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A book that “speak[s] volumes about our need for connection—human, feline or otherwise” (The San Francisco Chronicle), 

Talking to the Animals

If you could communicate with animals, what species would you like to talk with?

My Answer: Dogs and Cats

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I would want to know what they remember, if they can think of the future and whether they get their feelings hurt. I feel sure that they love deeply.

Your Answer?

 

“Children, old crones, peasants, and dogs ramble; cats and philosophers stick to their point.” H. P. Lovecraft

Photos by Pixabay

 

Post from Elliott

Hi Readers,

My name is Elliott Mattingly. You may have heard of me, I’m pretty famous or is it “infamous” that I hear so often?  https://crookedcreek.live/2018/01/13/cats  

My Human (a.k.a. Sue) likes to make fun of my butt. I resent it and I do not know how to get even with her. If I could talk I’d tell her that her butt is big, too. Since I can’t talk, I’ve been searching and searching for a way to get her back. I could puke as Zoe does but I’m too refined for that although I do enjoy watching the Human clean it up. 

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See? My butt isn’t so big!

I do everything that I can to keep in shape and she knows it because look at the photos she takes. She must think I’m pretty good looking, but still she has to mention my almost 22# weight and my big butt. 

I decided to steal her blog for this entry. Never mind how I learned to type, but can’t talk, just work with me here. My diabolical plan to really get even with her is something I did learn from Zoe. Zoe can never be caught to go to the vet. I don’t know why she doesn’t want to go, but that’s her problem. I’ve seen how upset the Human gets trying to catch her so I decided that could work for me. 

Last week we had an appointment with our nice vets at the Shelbyville Rd. Animal Clinic. When the carrier appeared I ran under the king-sized bed and the human looked so ridiculous trying to get under there for me. She begged, pleaded really for some time, then she got mad and demanded I come out. I just sat and looked at her, licking . . . well, I won’t say where. I was quite pleased when I heard her calling the vet to reschedule. I tried to catch the date for the next appointment but wasn’t able to hear it. I’d just have to be on the lookout for that carrier to reappear. 

And today it did! I retreated under the big bed again and we went through the whole scenario from last week. I am good! Or so I thought listening to yet another call to cancel and reschedule. This could be fun for a long time! Zoe watched the whole thing and I’m pretty sure she was impressed and taking notes. 

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Zoe

So things got quiet for a while and I thought the Human must have left the premises so I wandered out to hop onto my window seat to watch the birds outside. I jumped, but instead of landing on my target two big human hands caught me midair and before I knew it I was in the carrier! No amount of crying and cussing made any difference, we were in the car and backing out of the garage so fast it made me dizzy. 

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I’m back home now and a little embarrassed at the scene I made. Dr. Patterson was so nice and I really enjoyed the exam and care, but the best news was that I have lost almost two pounds! It was worth all the fuss and bother to get that news. I knew the Human was jealous because she never has even a pound to celebrate! 

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Sigmund Freud

Springtime Walk

Back to the Park

For various reasons, some more important than others, I have not been to the Parklands to walk for a long time. Mostly it’s just that during the winter months I’m a wimp about the cold temperatures and it seems that spring has been a long time coming here in Kentucky. Finally this past weekend the temperature was just right and I returned to Pope Lick Park, my favorite along Floyd’s Fork. Other areas of the Parklands are more elaborate and have very interesting features, but Pope Lick is more wild in places and more intimate, except for the soccer fields, but the walk around them illustrates kids and adults interacting in the most positive ways. Whether a team or family event, the atmosphere is competition at its best. 

The Walk

As I began my walk I eagerly looked forward to the signs of spring, but they were not as abundant as expected. Most trees had tiny tender leaves springing forth. There were signs of wildlife, but I saw only a few birds. I did document the extensive work of the resident woodpecker population.  The grass was mostly green, but there were dried grasses all along the trails. 

The further I ventured, the more interesting finds, including some of my favorites. There were cattails shedding like cats, mushrooms living well on dead trees and a sure sign of springtime, May apples. 

The 1.5 mile walk revealed very few wild flowers, or perhaps they are weeds, but they bloomed nevertheless. I wasn’t disappointed, but a little letdown that springtime was not waiting there for me as I had anticipated. 

The Encounter

Then I spotted a tree that was apparently very glad to see me!

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Cats Again!

Zoe & Elliott

A few weeks ago in Cats 3 post, I made the following statement:  “In these almost ten years of cohabitation, I’m unable to find one photo of Zoe and Elliott together.”

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Those of you familiar with small children may know that they often make a liar out of their parents. When Mom or Dad says the child will not do such and so, the child will immediately do that. 

It seems my cats are no different. After all these years of not lying or sitting near each other, I now have about a dozen photos of them doing just that. Here are a few, just to finish their story. 

 

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Trips to the Vet

fullsizeoutput_126e  Zoe

Taking Zoe to the vet has become increasingly difficult. Part of that may be that I now must do it alone, but the biggest factor is her fear of enclosure. She is quick to sense that something is up. It makes me wonder what she may have endured in her first year of life before she was given up for adoption. I learned long ago to not let her see the carrier ahead of time or she would hide where it is impossible to reach her. Currently, she escapes under the king sized bed and holds her ground right in the middle where not even the longest human arms could retrieve her.

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After doing some Online research I ordered a “Cat Bag” to transport her in an effort to help her feel more secure. It has a long zipper and adjustable velcro at the neck. A soft handle in the middle allows carrying the cat snugly in the bag. She said, “You’re kidding, right?” and the chase was on.  

She weighs less than ten pounds, but the total package consists of amazing speed, terrorizing screams and four paws equipped with dagger claws. Now almost twelve years old, Zoe is behind in vet visits for the first time. We are waiting each other out and I’m pretty sure who will win. Yes, the one with the claws.

fullsizeoutput_1227  Elliott

Elliott couldn’t run away if he wanted to. I simply pick him up and stuff him into his larger size carrier. Simple, until I start to carry the carrier! Really, I’m capable of carrying twenty-two pounds. I carry heavier bags of cat food and litter, however, those packages do not shift. Elliott cries half-heartedly as he moves from one end of the carrier to the other, keeping me off balance as I carry him.

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With each annual trip to the vet, it becomes increasingly more difficult. The staff always sees my challenge and offers to help me get him back to the car, but I need to demonstrate that women (and senior women at that) can handle any job we accept. He is my cat. I can carry my cat. I always pray they are not watching my retreat wobbling to the car. 

I have a plan for Elliott’s next outing. We will meet the challenge.

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Bottom Line

Zoe, Elliott and I are all seniors. We understand each other. We need each other. We love each other. We know that, one at a time, we will conclude our stay on this spinning orb, but for now, the three of us are making one another happy day by day.

 

So now you know that adopting a cat (or any pet) is a big responsibility. You probably knew that already, but thank you for reading about my life with Zoe and Elliott. I hope you have pets you love as much. Animals are wonderful. They give so much love and devotion and expect only that in return.

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Night Prayers

Part 4 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott

 

Cats 3

Here We Are in 2018

In these almost ten years of cohabitation, I’m unable to find one photo of Zoe and Elliott together. She has never warmed up to him. He has never learned that she likes her personal space. 

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Monetary Liability

I am not exaggerating when I say that the medical care for the two cats combined is a few thousand dollars. Even though I have all the records and receipts I don’t want to know the actual total. I do recall that Elliott’s heart ultrasound was $350 back in 2008 and that his workup last year for a period of lethargy when I thought he was surely terminal was about the same. He was apparently just faking it since all his tests and exams were normal.

These charges are fair and are part of the deal when we take animals into our lives. The total includes annual exams and vaccinations as well as illnesses. Add to that food, litter, treats, toys, brushes, nail trimmers, bathing (Elliott loves his spa days, Zoe not so much) and laser pointers which are so much fun for cat and human and the investment is not insignificant. This fact is important to know before taking on the responsibility of a pet.

Are They Worth It?    

Absolutely, many times over, but if money is tight this may not be the time to adopt a cat (or other pet). 

Hard Decisions 

To the vets’ chagrin, Elliott has continued to gain weight. None of the counseling, handouts or warnings has worked. Not even four pounds when we adopted him, this week he topped the scales at nearly twenty-two pounds. It wasn’t that I did not understand the instructions or the cardiac condition that made being overweight a risk. I did. I do. But when there are two cats who live together and one is skinny and the other obese it is a dilemma. The only way to limit Elliott’s food is to put the cats into separate living areas and that is next to impossible in this space. So, the decision I have made, right or wrong, is quality over quantity.

Elliott was rescued on a railroad track when he was a kitten. There is no way to know how he got there or how he survived long enough to be saved, but he has been happy for all the years since. 

We are lucky that his murmur has not worsened in spite of the weight. He is a big fat happy boy whose heart is full of love. 

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Number 3 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott