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Posts Tagged ‘chewie’

Dear Readers,

Like a lot of life, I meant to get this finished and posted over a month ago.  But I have been back East twice during that time, with the second visit a final goodbye to my father…

I thought that talking about everyday kitty undertakings would be too mundane, too ordinary—my mood being as somber as it has been of late.  But then I thought, well, what better way to acknowledge the gift of the everyday than with a post about the everyday.  So here is that post, kept mostly intact with its original title:

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It’s mid summer, and the kitties and their humans have gotten into a routine.  Life is “normal”; well, as normal as you can get when you have two humans living with five felines.  Vacuuming should be constant, but I’m not a fan of the chore…  (And for those of you who wonder why the husband does not pitch in:  Roger’s domain is primarily house repair and outside maintenance—both ongoing, year-round activities!)  And then there is the continual changing of cat alliances and the breaking up of kitty skirmishes.   And the constant cleaning of daily hair ball pukage (yuchhh, gross).

Then there are, of course, the sweet routines:

Ø  Puffy supervising the making of the bed in the mornings.  Well, mostly he waits in a corner of the bedroom—patiently I might add—until I am roused enough to realize his presence.  Then he plops in the middle of the bed-making action and raises his rump sufficiently high to ensure rigorous rubbing.

Ø  Cuddling with the Tiggster at night on my office floor before bedtime.

Ø  Head nuggying (is that a word?) with Junior, chirping his way of happiness.

Ø  Even Blackie ensuring—through plaintive mews—that I don’t forget him during mealtimes.

And then there is Chewie with his food fetishes.  Zucchinis have been handled and are no longer left unguarded on the kitchen counter.  And this summer I’ve discovered that he loves… salad!   No iceberg  lettuce for him. Green leaf lettuce is a favorite, although he also has a liking for arugula, red leaf lettuce and mesclun.  I may not have seen the goofy critter for hours, holed up in some closet somewhere… but as soon as I start preparations for the evening’s salad, invariably up on the counter he emerges from nonphysical to inspect the progress—and to steal a leaf for munching when I’m not looking.  What an odd appetite indeed…

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This time of year, with the summer waning and hints of fall in the cool night air, has always been a special time for me.  It is particularly poignant as it will be the first time without my father’s physical presence.  Being a product of his generation and a survivor of The Holocaust, my Dad never truly understood my choices of creative output.  Yet, he loved animals—especially cats.  And he always asked about my brood.

So these moments of mirth—when the unexpected collides with the everyday during a time when I feel very sad, indeed—have been a wonderful reminder and acknowledgement of the gift that is the present moment.  A gift that is  fleeting, momentary—and never guaranteed.

I’ll end with a video snippet of my father from 2009 (I was testing my former BlackBerry’s video capabilities) talking about my parents’ cat, Lilly.  He just loved and spoiled that cat!  She died two summers ago… I’d like to think that my father and Lilly have now reunited on the Rainbow Bridge to cross together into eternity…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=706895239323913&set=vb.100000103308560&type=2&theater

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Now that we’ve allowed all five kitties full access through the house –except during the occasional cat skirmish—there always seems to be a cat (or three!) in bed during any one night.  On the surface, this is quite cute…it is a king sized bed.  But in reality this has impacted my ability to get a full night’s sleep….seven straight hours..oh, the hope and the glory.  Junior (the mostly grey short haired tabby), has a thing for my pillow.  Yep, my pillow—not Roger’s, mine.  Fine, he sleeps on it during the day.  But at night, it’s mine.  Well, maybe.  I gently toss the furbeast off my pillow, only for him to return stealthily during the night.  I awaken to a furried  paw on m’noggin. Junior’s quite persistent… And last night, he cuddled next to my head while I was half asleep and he began to lick Roger and his pillow.  Vigorously!  Odd and strange…

And Puffy and Chewie, the two half brother litter mates, have taken to sandwiching me in.  Chewie prefers my right side and Puffy, my left.  That’s fine until I need to move or stretch.  Then I’m the baddie for (again) gently repositioning the furried ones.

Junior & Chewie a'nappin

Junior & Chewie a’nappin

To balance all this whining  (yes, I’ll admit to it!), there have been some nice benefits to full house access. Blackie—  Roger’s partially feral project—is now exploring the nooks and crannies of the front sunroom.  And Tigger has expanded his in-home territory.  He spends time now in both the sunroom and the den.  In fact, Tigger has become quite the couch cuddler and futon napper— remnants of his kittenhood when he was the sole furbeast…

Balancing the good with the annoying…well, that’s life.  And perhaps I can look at the annoying as yet another opportunity for learning greater acceptance …

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Hello, 2013!  As part of my effort to lighten the mood of this blog (per the husband’s feedback) at least occasionally, this first post of 2013 will focus on a positive change in the feline household:  there appears to be subtle shift in feline relationships—as evidenced by the photo below (taken by Roger when I was still half asleep!):

Early Morning with Chewie, Tigger and Junior

Early Morning with Chewie, Tigger and Junior

As you can see, there are three cats on the bed:  Chewie, Tigger and Junior.  The significance to this is that both Junior and Tigger are sharing space in relative close quarters!  You would never have seen this six months ago.  Since the beginning of the year, Tigger not only has been frequenting the sunroom and den much more regularly, he does so regardless of which cat might also be present.  Yes, there is still a bit of spatting between Tigger and Junior , but this is balanced with a seeming reluctant acceptance, finally, of each other’s presence.

Now, if cats can ultimately learn to accept the existence of each other and perhaps live in a tenuous harmony, what does that say for the potential of us mere humans?  We may not like everyone we meet, but does that really matter?

Can’t we all just get along?

I think it’s possible.  At least I hope so.

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To bid the year adieu, here are our cats past and present with which we shared this wondrous and sometimes vexing life experience.  These specific images I included in an annual personalized kitty calendar for Roger.

Enjoy!

Orange Kitty & Sylvester.

Orange Kitty & Sylvester

Chewbacca, aka Chewie

Chewbacca, aka Chewie

Tigger, Chewie, Puffy & Junior

Tigger, Chewie, Puffy & Junior

Puffy

Puffy

Junior

Junior

Sluggo, aka "Mama Girl"

Sluggo, aka “Mama Girl”

Blackie

Blackie

Junior and His Daddy

Junior and His Daddy

Chewie and his froggies

Chewie and his froggies

Puffy & Tigger

Puffy & Tigger

Chewie & Tiggy

Chewie & Tiggy

Junior & Chewie

Junior & Chewie

Tigger!

Tigger!

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That old saying that dogs have owners and cats have staff is so true.  In terms of archetype, I would describe a cat’s behavior as “king”:  they command more than demand attention—especially when it comes to love and affection.

Picture this scenario:  You’re paying the bills, penning an email or talking on the phone.  In other words, you’re just not giving your domestic feline enough attention as he patiently waits by your feet.  Since his world revolves around his immediate needs, up he jumps onto the desk to be closer to his human caretaker.  You pet, scritch behind the ears and then return to the task that has taken your focus.  Of course this is not good enough.  So with a barely noticeable swipe of the paw, a trinket is gently swept off the desk…  You notice, pick up said item and gently chide the offender—with the goal of returning to the task at hand.

But yet again, this is not good enough.  In his world, you have not provided enough attention. For a more dramatic effect, the offending kitty might choose to take a flying leap and ski across your paperwork—with documents aflutter and limbs akimbo.  After a few deep breathes, you gently toss the offender out of the room and close the door in a huff.  Bad kitty!

But of course our cats are not being bad.  They are just being the kingly, self-focused creatures they were born to be.  It was during this slow and somewhat reluctant realization I discovered the joy of the head nuggie—that robust rubbing of the noggin to express love, affection and…ownership.  In addition to five felines, we now have a menagerie of neon tetras and semi-aggressive tropical fish (angels, tiger barbs, clown loaches, silver dollars, catfish), two albino African claw-footed frogs and hundreds of apple snails.  (Well, we started with just three, but they did what nature does best.  I think we now have a handle on snail population control…) One afternoon while lying the floor and admiring how fast our snail progeny has been maturing, Junior, with vigor and focus, started rubbing his head against mine.  I needed to pay attention to him!  But then I decided to do something quite feline-like—I rubbed his noggin back, nuggie-style—and I liked it!

That afternoon the nuggie session was born.

I have seen the kitties rub up against each other, but this is the first time I had the honor of being a recipient of a head nuggie.  I did research on this phenomenon: http://hglick.hubpages.com/hub/Cat-Symptoms.  So, I’ve been officially anointed by the kings (and princes) of the household—a great honor for a mere human, ehhh?

I have now experienced the quiet joy of the head nuggie with Tigger, during our nightly calming and cuddling ritual before bedtime; with Puffy during our morning bed-making routine; and with Chewie whenever he demands a good face rub and a brushing.

Yes, our kitties can be frustrating and self-centered at times, but their simple outlook on life is also quite refreshing:  Imagine a life where, without any need for explanation or justification, you just ask for what you want.  Simple and to the point.  No need to prove your worthiness to be a recipient of life’s abundance.  And then you wait for it manifest in all its magnificent glory.

Imagine that, indeed.

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Life has this way of sneaking by, and before I realize it, the moments have passed before I have had the chance to reflect on them.  It’s been a while since I’ve shared on this blog…

My attention has been elsewhere.  Roger and I are striving to become better human beings and partners to each other.  Continuing lessons include staying focused and keeping our commitments to ourselves and to one another… Being in the now does provide momentary relief from the lessons life constantly provides.

It’s been nearly five months since Chewie’s “Great Escape and 11-day Outdoor Adventure.”  It’s as if he never left, and he seems quite content to live the indoor lifestyle.  But we will not be tricked into complacency!

And, Roger has kept his word to Chewie:  We have not one but three tricked out warm water tanks!  In addition to five felines, we are now the caretakers of a variety of warm water fish, two crawfish and two albino African clawed frogs (Pinky and Peetie) .  Yes, we have quite the menagerie of fins, flippers and furbies.  And, yes, I do have an admiration for alliteration…  The tanks are Roger’s primary new hobby.   And all the cats do enjoy their new live “television” experience!

And life has gone on for our kitties.  Throughout all the changes and the passing of time, they remain as they are—beacons of hope, reminders of the present.  Still fighting and cuddling.  Still puking and peeing.  And still remaining lumps of irrepressible love.

My promise is to resume posting regularly to this blog.  This artistic outlet is one of many varied, creative lifelines anchoring me to this world of color, texture, taste…to this sensual life, brimming with joy, love, grief and sorrow.  But a full life, nonetheless.  And I’m not yet done…there are still a few items left on my bucket list.  But, first, I must find and pet a kitty.

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The last month of 2011 has turned out to be quite the odyssey.  An emotional rollercoaster of regret, sadness, irritation, hope…and gratitude.

The Monday starting the second week of December began like most any other.  Chewie, transparent as always, woke up Roger with a little kneading and cuddling—with the ultimate goal of earning an early morning snack.  After snacking all our furbies, Roger kissed me goodbye and was about to leave for work.  And, then…

He just bolted.  Chewie got underfoot while Roger was fiddling with the front door, leaving Roger in a daze and Chewie off to God-knows where.  We looked for him for most of that Monday, through the neighborhood, hoping to see a glimpse of him hunkering down…but nothing.  We were so fearful he ran too far he could not find his way home…or that he met his fate with some other beast or vehicle.

By that Wednesday, we posted a lost kitty ad on Craigslist and affixed flyers around our neighborhood.  We looked for him continually and hoped to lure him home with treats…but nothing. Was he scared?  Upset with us?  Lost and hurt?  Or…did he just prefer the life of a street kitty??

This turn of events was disheartening but not surprising.  Of all the indoor cats, Chewie was the one who expressed the most interest in exploring what was beyond that front door.  I guess his curiosity, desire and need to investigate outweighed his desire for safety, comfort and love from his hairless beings. 

Then, by the end of the first week, our regret and sadness turned to irritation.  On Thursday evening, we caught a glimpse of the fur beast just lounging outside our back door!  But when we went to let him in, Chewie bolted…again!  What the  F*%^&*$?!  Now we felt incensed and exasperated.  Ok, he was not hurt, alone or lost, and we felt relief over that.  Now he just seemed to prefer the outdoors?  Was Cheiwe afraid to approach the front door because of Sylvester or Orange Kitty?  Were we just trying to come up with answers, anthropomorphisng our ten-pound headache, in the attempt to understand the changing circumstances?  Even his two older half brothers, Junior and Blackie, eventually returned home after several unscheduled excursions.

For nearly a week, I feel asleep praying that Chewie was ok and trying to understand why he wouldn’t come back.  Of course, Roger felt horribly guilty for not paying better attention and vowed to make our home more inviting for Chewie by refurbishing the fish tank and stocking it with more fish for the viewing pleasure of all the kitties.

Well, we did catch sightings of Chewie several more times.  But in the end, Roger resorted to trapping our furbeast with one of our humane traps.  Yep.  After 11 nights out-of-doors, Chewie came home—a little skinnier and rumpled, but he’s home now.  And within an hour of his homecoming, he came out from hunkering underneath the bed and rubbed against his hairless beasts as if nothing had happened, no time at all had passed.  And of course our hurt and annoyance just evaporated into wellsprings of gratitude. 

Maybe in his mind, no time had really gone bye.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to truly and whole-heartedly live just in the moment?  One moment you’re inside—woo hooo!  The next moment you’re outside—woo hoo!  No recognition of the passage of time, and no regret for what is not happening.

We higher-level beings are the ones who suffer—perhaps, even by choice—when things do not seem to go our way, or when we do not understand why something is occurring.  If we could truly live in the now, would there be any place for suffering, regret and shame?  Would we take for granted life’s impermanence and the gifts of love, kindness and friendship?

Chewie and Junior Relaxing

Chewie has now been home 9 days.  He has had to re-earn the title of kitty goodwill ambassador….when he was gone, he left quite a vacuum and the power hierarchy among the four remaining felines began to shift…The first to melt was Junior, after a day, but Puffy and Tigger were still quite vocal with their displeasure.  But after a week, Roger caught a glimpse of Chewie and Puffy cuddling, and I have witnessed the beginnings of Tigger wanting to again play with the Chew-butt.  Blackie still keeps to himself…

Roger now owes the cats one tricked-out fish tank—the first resolution 2012!

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