Chat Tales

The story continues with le chat.

After a night in our garage where he had dinner and slept in a warm spot, Alf put le chat outside the next day to see if mamma would respond to his plaintive cries and claim him.

No such luck. She’s chucked her mothering role for better options.

He ended up running into our neighbor’s backyard and meowing at a window sill. Our neighbor scooped him up, the kitten scratched him, he let it go, and the thing flew up a tree covered in blue morning glory vines.

We could hear him but not see him. le chat

That was the stand-still when I arrived home later that day.

I called a cat rescue group and talked to Lisa. Lisa was an expert in flying cats up trees. “Put some food out, he’ll come down,” she said.

Sure enough the poor beast couldn’t resist the smell of that plateful of tuna. As he gulped it down, I grabbed it and pulled him indoors back into the garage where he finished his food as I sat watching him. Afterwards he explored my feet and my back and rubbed his little body everywhere to put his ownership on things.

He’s moving too fast.

Today at work I may have found two people who would like to adopt him. They’re thinking about it.

I’m waiting with hope and bated breath.

Calvin says, “Me too! It can’t happen soon enough.” beagle

 

 

 

 

Doctora Doolittle

Yesterday was my day for lost animals.

It’s funny how things like this happen in bunches.

I came into the office to discover a yellow cockatiel in the kitchen peering out of its cage. As the story goes, he flew onto the front steps over the weekend and one of our co-workers, who lives up the street, discovered him, rushed to the store for a cage and food, and is now caring for it until she can find its owner. He’s well socialized and beautiful. Somebody loved him. Did he fly in from the surrounding neighborhood or from Mexico? He’s not talking and so we’ll never know.

When I got home that evening Alf announced he’d found a lost kitten. He was sitting on top of our backyard fence making loud cries for its mother. If you want to see me spring into action this is it. We scooped him up and walked over to our neighbors who have several cats. The kitten was not theirs, and no, they didn’t want it. We brought it home, fed it some tuna, and tried to calm the little thing down. He was shaking from fright from nose to tail. The rest of the evening I was on the phone talking with friends and marketing the heck out of the little thing. Nothing worked. Every one stood their ground while I tugged at their heart strings. IMG_3147

We kept him overnight and this morning Alf returned him to the fence. We’re hoping the mamma cat will come around looking for him and they’ll be reunited and I can go back to a good night’s sleep again.

That’s in a perfect world.

Calvin says, “Hey, you didn’t consult me about this. It stinks. He’ll consume your attention and affections. And don’t count on me to cat-sit. I’ll be sulking.”  beagle

All About Dogs

Today is National Dog Day.

It made me remember the dogs in my life.

I was raised with my grandmother’s four Pekineses, and that made me one of the pack.

When we moved away, my mother bought a French poodle we named Jolie, whom we adored. He was a mass of brown curls with brown eyes and a pink tongue.

As I got older and we had grass we had a Collie and then a Doberman.

When I got married we had a succession of cats. Pretzels, the stray. Eternity, the Siamese mix, and Zoe, the Russian Blue. Pretzels died of cancer. Zoe walked out one day and moved into another couple’s home. Eternity stuck with us through a cross-country move, the birth of two children, and neighborhood feline bullies. calvin3

When our son was twelve, he wanted a dog. We told him he’d have to research the breed and give a report describing why he had chosen that particular one. To help him we took him to a dog show. He fell in love with the beagles. We chatted with the breeders and decided the handsomest dogs came from a breeder in Napa. Who wouldn’t want a beagle from wine country? And so Calvin came into our lives and changed us forever.

He flunked training school. We attempted off-leash episodes only to regret it when he caught the whiff of a scent. He loved to eat. He’d bay at police sirens. He’d get fox tails up his nose, which meant visits to the vet’s for surgery. When he developed a chronic neck problem we took him to the chiropractor for treatments.

Everybody in the neighborhood loved Calvin. He was our goodwill, fun loving, expensive ambassador.

Calvin says, “But aren’t you glad for the adventure?” beagle

Something Different

IMG_1017On my way to get coffee this morning, I ran into Leo.

He’s an American short hair cat who owns Hugo’s garage on Linden Street in San Francisco. Hugo, the car mechanic, believes he’s the owner, but he’s mistaken. Leo got there first when he moved in as a kitten. He’s now 7-years old, ancient in cat years, but he knows his rights.

At night Leo slips in through a loose brick in the wall and curls up on the hood of whatever car Hugo is fixing. He’s not picky. He doesn’t care if it’s European or American. Sometimes he gets lucky and the hood is warm from Hugo running the engine during the day. Most times though it’s cold, but at least he has a peaceful place to sleep that’s high off the ground.

As far as he knows Hugo has never connected the paw prints to him, which is a good thing because he certainly leaves  a lot of them, especially if the car is dusty.

One night he woke up with a start. His fur stood straight up, his face blushed red, and his heart thumped inside his bony chest. What was that? He heard a rattling. Then a loud crash. Leo darted from the hood and fled under the car and crashed into a wall of softness.

“Ouch!” a voice said.

Leo growled.

“What happened to your whiskers warning of objects in the way?” said the very erudite English voice.

Leo blinked a few times.

“Forgive me for startling you. I needed a place to land for the night and I missed by a few feet.”

“Who are you?” Leo said when his heart finally settled back down.

“I’m Geraldine. I’m from two stories up,” she said.

Leo noticed an outline of this creature. She didn’t look like a cat or a dog. She didn’t smell like one either.

Geraldine stood up and shook.

Oh my. Geraldine was a parrot. An African Grey with red tail feathers.  African Grey

“From two stories up? What does that mean?” Leo asked.

“I’ve escaped my confinement. It was ruining me,” she said stretching a wing that brushed Leo’s whiskers and tickled his face.

“They’ll look for you in the morning,” he said.

“I’ll be long gone, off to a Pacific island. I’ve been plotting this for years,” she said.

“That’s a long flight. Have you calculated the miles?”

“Of course. Every detail. It’s what’s kept me alive all these years.”

“How did you escape?” Leo was now interested in the story.

Calvin says, “Oh no! Not another attempt at a children’s story. Your inner child left when you got me.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rumble Under My Feet

My sister, who lives in Los Angeles, was rocked awake this morning by a 4.4 earthquake.

“Our cats levitated off the bed, helicopter style, with fur on their backs straight up. Impressive!” she said.

Then she added, “Keep those emergency supplies well stocked! This is California!”

And Kentucky, and Oregon, and a slew of other states that are not immune these days from the earth moving under people’s feet.

I grew up in earthquake country.  Floorless roller coaster

I can sense an earthquake before it hits. There’s an eerie feeling in the air, and everything grows quiet. The birds stop chirping, the weather is warmer, and oftentimes a dark cloud hovers over the city.

Not sure if that was true of Los Angeles this morning, but I wasn’t there.

As a child, as soon as the floor began to rock and roll, my father would run into the living room and hold onto the crystal vases that lived on top of the bookshelf.

My mother hovered over the parakeet as the bird flapped around the cage panting it’s little heart out.

My sister and I looked on in wild-eyed amazement at the floor until it came to a stop.

I lived through the 1989 earthquake. I was home with my children. The garage door was open and Calvin and I were checking the freezer for dinner when all of a sudden the driveway transformed into a corkscrew roller-coaster track.

Calvin’s fur stood straight up, his ears flapped back, and he bayed. Then he fled into the house.

Calvin says, “I didn’t flee. I hid under the bed covers because I was dizzy.”

beagle

The Roar of the Fog

This is Fergus in the header picture. I’m allowing him top billing for a while. Not too long, mind you, otherwise you’ll forget me, and I couldn’t bear that. So this is his fifteen minutes of fame.

I didn’t think I’d like Fergus when I first met him. To begin with, he was furry. Then there was his pedigree. He didn’t have one. He also was humorless, all business if you know what I mean. I suppose his stint at the pound turned him into a serious dude. But then he struck it rich. He was adopted by a woman with a heart as big as the sky and he’s become almost human. I swear there are times when Fergus is sitting quietly by the window observing the fog rolling in off the ocean that he looks like a university professor.

“Calvin, did you know that fog doesn’t come on little cat feet?” he said one evening puffing on his pipe as we watched the sunset.

“That’s shattering news, dear fellow,” I said. “Here I thought cats donated their paws every evening to produce this stunning effect.” photo168.jpg

“Carl Sandburg would be disappointed at your lack of appreciation for his Fog poem.”

“Did he live in San Francisco?”

“Chicago,” Fergus said moving into the living room, circling twice on the Persian rug, and settling down.

“Then he knows nothing of fog,” I said. “Fog comes rolling in, and it descends from the top down, not the other way around.”

“So how would you describe it if you were a poet?”

I poured myself a brandy and paced the room. Fergus watched me from under his strawberry blond lashes.

I disagree with Carl Sandburg
The fog doesn’t come creeping in on little cat feet
But comes barreling down the hillside
Like a locomotive arriving into a train station.
If cats were involved
The fog would hiss and spit and claw and yowl and make a terrible fuss
Like they do every night under my window.
With arched backs and glowing eyes
They’d move in jerks and fits
Down the mountain
The fog emerging like long strands of paper
From a shredder.

My performance silenced Fergus. He puffed on his pipe and let out plumes of smoke.

I curled up into a neat heap on a silk pillow and waited.

“You live in a noisy world,” Fergus said with a sigh.

“True. What about my poem?” I said.

“It’s clear you don’t like cats.”  beagle

Carry On As Usual

Overheard conversations in the office this week:

“I have a rat in the house I can’t get rid of.”

“Have you tried peanut butter in the trap?”

“Yep. The bugger shook the trap, turned it upside down, and scarfed up the peanut butter.”  cropped-photo134.jpg

“Savvy rat.”

“I heard him in the living room wall while watching TV.”

“Coat the electrical wires from the outlet in peanut butter, and then turn on the lights.”

“I’ll set my house on fire.”

“But you’d get rid of the rat.”

“My cat is still spooked from the move.”

“So re-move him.”

“When the property management for my condo complex finds out we’re looking at other management companies, it will go over like a turd in a punchbowl.”

Calvin says, “I’ll sniff out the rat. I’ll pin it into a corner and bay my guts out. I’ll be so loud, the neighbors will think I’m being murdered.” beagle