Is She Really Writing About Cats Again? (Hint: She Is)

Most days I’ve been visiting Perry at the shelter. He’s not a happy boy at all. Look at how he’s keeping his ears flattened now!

Yes, that’s a litter box he’s sitting in. One with little poos in it.

Rather than acclimating to the shelter environment, Perry is getting more upset and unhappy. When he hears a dog bark (and they do sound like out-of-control maniacs) he shrinks down further.  Yesterday I stayed a little longer than usual and added whispering to him on top of the reading and singing. He liked being whispered to, especially because he recognized the conspiratorial aspect when I let him in on a plan that I am hatching.

There are two choices. Either we can assume the vet that neutered him was wrong and he is a feral cat OR we can figure out a way to give him another chance to prove he can live with humans. We have zero foster families that will take a possibly feral cat. The only option is if WE do it. And I can’t bring him in with my other cats with their age and health issues. The stress would drive them into sickness.

So we can isolate him, but with my lymphedema (and the danger of cat scratches and bites) I can’t let him loose in a room where I could potentially never catch him again.

I ordered a 3 tier cage. I know, I know, it’s a cage. But if he’s going to prove he can be civilized (poor little Huck, I mean Perry), it’s our only option. So we will set up the cage when it comes, trap him in a cat den (that I also ordered) for minimal stress and bring him here to the new cage. We will put it by a window that looks out on the bunnies and birds and lizards (and if he sees a coyote or bobcat he will know that they can’t get to him). I will read, sing, and talk to him at least every two hours that I am home and awake. I will try to play with him with a string-type toy. I will keep setting little toys near him and try to get closer and closer to him without setting him off.

And we will see.

If he truly is feral and unwilling to be civilized we will have to find a place he can go and live an outdoor life.

At the shelter, we’ve got other cats in need, too. Two big litters of kittens are going like hotcakes, but the older cats wait. And new ones come in. Yesterday I witnessed a young couple surrender a gorgeous cat to us. The man didn’t speak and kept his sunglasses on, and the woman didn’t shed a tear and said they were moving and couldn’t keep the cat. Guess who probably insisted on GETTING RID OF THE CAT? What do they think will happen to their cat? She, at least, is probably telling herself that it’s a no-kill shelter, so the cat will be fine. What they don’t realize is that surrendered cats sometimes have to go through more than one more owner before they find a forever home. And will it be a good home? No way to know.

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To think about something besides cats, the gardener and I went to see Bullets Over Broadway at Phoenix Theatre. Funny show–and very well done! The acting and costumes were fabulous, as was the dancing. This show was written by Woody Allen and played on Broadway for 100 performances a few years ago.  I love the LIMINAL passage to the theatre–that threshold as one passes from the real world to the world of the stage.

No hummingbird nests yet this year, but in a big flower pot somebody created a “scrape nest,” which is a nest where the bird scrapes the dirt and forms a little hollow to receive her eggs. There is one speckled egg, but she has not come back to lay more. Birds like Gambel Quail do lay their eggs one at a time like that, but I think the time for her to come back has passed. The egg seems a little large for a quail, but I can’t think of another bird that could have made this nest. A mourning dove laid her eggs in a hanging pot, but I didn’t take a pic because it would have disturbed her. It’s bad enough that the gardener has to water the plant or it will die, and the bird will lose the green drapery she likes.

Today is my paternal grandmother’s birthday. She was born in 1893, and she is featured in at least one poem in Kin Types. She was the head fitter at the 28 Shop at Marshall Field’s department store in downtown Chicago for many years and raised three children by herself.

What must it have been like to work in such elegant surroundings and go home to children you could barely afford to feed?

Only 3 weeks left to pre-order Kin Types and have it count toward publication. You can order it here. The book contains poetry, prose, and a women’s history.



Filed under Arizona, Art and Music, Cats and Other Animals, Family history, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, History, Kin Types, Liminality, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

77 responses to “Is She Really Writing About Cats Again? (Hint: She Is)

  1. Perry is so lucky to have been discovered by you, Luanne. Loved your most recent post – including the play, your environment and book promo. I’m launching my Shakespeare contest once again, and it will continue through April. Hint: no rule that says you can’t win more than once. There are two “Shakespeare Papers” to be awarded and no two are alike.
    So, once again, brush up on your Shakespeare…Start quoting him now.
    A very good day (and month) to you!

    • Elaine, I feel like a piggie if I enter the contest. Are you sure? Why don’t I post the contest on my FB page? Did I tweet it? I think so, but let me go see if I can do it again. A good month to you, too!!! xo

  2. I adopted our cats from the humane society – I have a monster timid tom named Pete who was so large at 6 months that no one adopted him and it took several weeks to coax him out in the open. I have a middle aged cranky tortie who has little tolerance for Pete but intense adoration of my daughter. Now they are both aging and sick (one with kidney disease and the other with a yet unidentified pancreatic issue). This is the hardest time – seeing them through to the ends of their lives. I have to avoid shelters, because I want to take all the animals home. Apparently you have the same issue!

    • Oh, Pete sounds so adorable. I love those big sweet old boys. And I love torties and calicos that so many people think are pains in the tush. So hard to see them get older and have health problems! It breaks my heart to see my cats get old and their health deteriorate, but OTOH I am so happy they are safe and happy with us. Moi? You think I can’t stop from bringing cats home? I don’t know what you are talking about! hahaha

  3. Many cats do not do well in noisy shelters. I have no patience for people who surrender older pets. Would they do that to their children when they stopped being playful and cute? Fortunately there are people like you (but not near enough) to help out. I hope Perry feels safe at your place and is on his way to a forever home. BTW I don’t think I would adopt a kitten again. Too many other needy cats — older or with disabilities. An older pet really has a lot going for it but people don’t get it. It’s past the “damage” stage and your house doesn’t have toys laying around from one end to another waiting to trip you. 🙂

    • Surrendering an older pet is sick. Listen to this story. This is truly insane. One of our techs told me yesterday that people surrendered a dog because, get this, they are GETTING A PUPPY. Sorry, I had to shout. I couldn’t help it. I mean, really?!!!! Now they will ruin another dog’s life. Gah. It’s beyond. I agree about adopting older pets. So much easier and so so so rewarding. That said, I know Perry is going to be a lot of work and I am not adopting a 6th cat, no matter what. But I want to see if he can become adoptable!

      • That happens a lot. A dear friend of mine who thinks of herself as a “pet friendly” person gave up her 4 year old cat because she wanted to get a puppy when she retired. I was outraged. The only good ending is that she found a retired woman who was looking for a cat. Her cat is a lap cat, extremely friendly, pretty and declawed. He got a better home with the new mom.

        • It seriously makes me wonder about a person who can give up an animal like that because how could you not feel an attachment?

          • I don’t know. I understand better when kids move out from the family home leaving the pet because that really is the pet’s home but unless someone is incapacitated or moves to a nursing home, I don’t know how you do it. I didn’t date guys who weren’t pet friendly. It was a deal killer for me. Different strokes.

            • You and me both. I am SO glad that the gardener loves cats. In fact, he didn’t know he even liked them until daughter and I foisted one into his life haha. All those years ago. And now look at him!

  4. This breaks my heart and I am so grateful that you are doing this for Perry. Thank you.

  5. I will never understand people who give up their pets because they’re moving. Would you give up your toddler if you were moving and the place didn’t accept kids? People like that should never have pets in the first place.

    • Exactly! I wrote above that a tech told me that some people surrendered a dog the other day because they are GETTING A PUPPY. enough said, huh?

      • ARRRGGHH! That shouldn’t be allowed. Tells you something about the kind of people they are! Yech!

        • Unfortunately, they go from shelter to shelter to breeder to pet store, you know? We won’t let just anybody adopt. Unfortunately, we always have a few cats at PetSmart (dogs are only brought in on Saturdays and with shelter volunteers), and the PetSmart employees are not so careful!

          • There should be posters put up in the stores and shelters with mug shots of those people. (Of course we can’t do that, but … in a world where I make the rules, I might consider it.)

            • I was telling my pet sitter about your idea today. She came over to meet Perry who is now here :). There needs to be a system like the police have for mug shots, etc. It goes out to all shelters, pet stores, etc. And everybody abides by it. These creeps can’t find anywhere to adopt or buy animals! Good idea, Anneli.

  6. There are so many cats in this country loitering around…people are no cat lovers here😂

  7. I am ever hopeful for Perry, and so amazed by your determination.

  8. Oh I’ll keep everything crossed that it goes well with Perry, he’s so lucky to have someone like you to not give up on him Luanne.

    • Andrea, thank you for all your crossed limbs and digits! He needs all the crossing he can get! I am just going to be patient with him and hope for the best!

  9. That is so heartbreaking about Perry. I hope it all works out, Luanne. It makes me so sad. And people who surrender their pets like that! I can understand that only in a situation where maybe someone had to go into a nursing home or something. Still tragic. I can’t imagine giving up my little guys.

    That liminal space to the theater–so cool!

    The old departments stores were amazing. Some of the buildings still exist in Philadelphia–the Lits Brothers Building and Gimbels– but I think the only one that is still a department store is the old, original Wanamaker’s Store (now Macy’s). It also has a pipe organ that is supposedly the largest, still functioning one in the world. It must have been strange for your grandmother. I wonder if she had an employee discount that helped at all.

    • We do get plenty of animals surrendered by older people but the majority of them are shady types, although I will say they always look normal, which is really scary. I also hate to see children and grandchildren turn in the animals of seniors who go into care. Why can’t they at least keep an old cat in a bedroom if need be, knowing it was loved by their elder? Ugh.
      I LOVE the old department stores. I fell in love in part because of my grandmother’s job and in part because of reading Sister Carrie and The Maimie Papers and books like that about young women working those sales jobs 100 years ago. Have you ever read The Maimie Papers, by the way? Actual letters might be interesting to the historian in you. I was absolutely in love with them when I read them. It was an extra assignment by a lit prof and I went into class without reading what was assigned because I couldn’t put down the Maimie Papers. Since I was passionate about the book I was forgiven for not reading what I was supposed to read ;).

  10. What? You give up your pet because you’re moving…they don’t deserve to be pet owners. This post made me sad, Luanne. You’re a good cat mommie. xo

    • And we don’t want to give these people a hard time because they will just drop off their pets anywhere in that case. Better with us than abandoned nowhere. Ugh. Thanks for following Perry’s saga, Jill! xo

  11. Luanne, my heart goes out to you and Perry… I think it’s wonderful that you are trying to find a way to make life work for him… and the time you give him is so precious.. you must be getting so many golden stars in heaven !!!
    I feel I want to thank you on behalf of all cats who need love and comfort… so far away here i New Zealand, and we do have our own quotas of unloved unwanted cats of course… I have a big rubbish bag full of old sheepskins and towels to take to the nearest cat shelter on our way into town the next time we go !!!

    • Valerie, thank you for helping the cats! Does New Zealand have both kill shelters where they euthanize cats and dogs because of overpopulation and also no-kill shelters like the one I volunteer at? Please keep your fingers crossed for dear Perry. Right now he thinks his life is just horrible. I hope he can see that it can be good with humans once he’s with us.

  12. You’ve got a lot going on there. You are really trying to help Perry make it in the human-cat world. I wish you the best of luck with that and everything else. You are one busy lady!!

    • Thanks, WJ. Yes, I must be nuts to take on Perry at this point with everything else going on. But I can’t leave him there to languish. He’s so miserable. And if we hadn’t trapped him and neutered him he wouldn’t be in “prison.” He could be dead or maimed, but not in prison. Ugh. I honestly think the dogs and the hubbub are what bother him. Over here he won’t have either.

  13. Aww…poor Perry. Thank goodness he has you. And yes, what on earth? We’ve moved with our cats and we Take.Them.With.Us. Always. I’m glad you wrote about cats, I love your updates Luanne…even though as you know, I’m in bits over the loss of Maisy…still can’t believe she’s gone. So glad when I think of her long, happy and safe life, our true companion and all the love and affection. How can someone just hand back a cat like that? We had Maisy for 15 years. I brought her back with us when we moved to the UK, under the Pet Passport Scheme so no quarantine. No way was I going to leave her behind, I promised the kids that. We had to leave behinid our Lab Monty though, which was awful. I’m going to order Kin types, so much want to read it. And the egg looks similar to our Chinese Button Quail eggs, but bigger. Maybe it is a quail egg? Just to say too, I bombed on 2 competitions, short memoir, got nowhere in either. But on reflection, I think what I submitted was more personal narrative than actual memoir. It was about my dad’s last 5 days. Maybe I was too close…I lost all confidence in my writing recently but I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I’m going to sign off my blog in a few days to finish my memoir as I’ve come to the point of no return. I simply can’t get it done while blogging and I can’t focus on pulling it all together. With so much going on behind the scenes right now…and then losing Maisy…something snapped in me over the weekend. I just thought I need to do this now or never. So what if I bombed in those competitions? I started to doubt everything I’ve ever written and realised how futile that kind of thinking is. Now I feel more spurred on than ever, mad even. I’m not going to quit! I’ll put up a post to let everyone know. I’ll miss blogging but I know my limitations right now. And I will be back. And we’ll keep in touch one way or another… xoxoxox

    • I’m so so sorry about Maisy. What a sad loss. I know how you loved her. Thank you so much about Kin Types! If you have trouble, let me know and I’ll contact the publisher for you. As far as the competitions go, I know it feels like crap, but the odds are so stacked against us that placing in a competition is more of a surprise really than anything else.And always a bit arbitrary. I say this from a writing perspective and from what I’ve seen of the performing arts, too. I hate to see you leave blogging for now, but I understand that you need to focus. DON’T BE A STRANGER THOUGH. You know where to find me:). xoxoxoxo

      • Aww Luanne…thank you so much, and I’m so sorry it’s taken me this long to reply to you. Yikes…crazy times with a possible house move too. I’ve yet to put up my sign off blog post, but I will definitely be back as soon as possible, and definitely won’t be a stranger. You can count on it…and yes, I do know where find you…thanks so much my friend. I am managing to work on finishing up my memoir in snatches, which is my 100% writing focus right now. Yes, it was so very sad to lose Maisy,we still miss her so much and always will. V has taken it very hard, Maisy was a true friend and companion, 15 years as part of our family. You know how it is…from one kitty lover to another <3 And yes, I will get Kin Types, I just haven't had a minute but I will, I promise! My head is spinning right now arrgh! I will check in with you as often as I can…I won't go far…I miss you already! Thanks for your wise words about competitions…I've got over it now, but I can see more and more how subjective they are. It's weird, because it's made me even more determined to finish my memoir! I'll see you very soon…promise! Huge hugs… xoxoxo <3

  14. Aw, poor Perry, being so miserable. His cage life at your house sounds promising, if only to give him a respite from the shelter that he dislikes. Love your commitment to pet issues. Adopting an older pet: my brother and his wife adopted Martin, an older dog with bladder problems, from the Humane Society, which paid for his bladder surgery. Painful recovery for him though, and then he only lived a year longer. They gave him a wonderful last year of life, as he was quite attached to them, happily following them everywhere, always needing/enjoying tummy rubs and cuddles. Though it was a difficult year (more surgeries, more medical problems), at least he knew he was loved and fully cared for before he departed this world.

    • I’m looking forward to being able to provide him with some peace and quiet. Also, instead of just reading him picture books, I think I will stack some poetry books next to his cage and read him poetry every day. That way I am getting something out of it, as well as Mr. Perry. What you describe with your brother’s dog is what I always hope for the old and the sick animals: that the end of their lives can be made happy, even in the midst of their pain. They truly just want someone to care about them and be nice to them.

      • I almost want to write a poem about you reading poetry to Perry! What a beautiful image. I think I sent you some photos of their dog Martin a long time ago. He had a sweet personality, and due to being abandoned, he never got over his separation anxiety, so he was right beside either my brother or his wife at every moment. I miss him! Acey never got to meet him. :/

        • You did send me photos of Martin! How sad for what he went through but how wonderful that he was able to have a happy last year with your wonderful relatives! I’m sure Acey would have loved his cousin, but I know they had Martin a short period of time. I would LOVE if you wrote a poem about Perry being read to!

  15. I think this is almost a mission for you, Luanne. What a blessing to Perry! I feel you could almost go into a lovely “Zen” space in your reading, singing and whispering to him. I believe he will come around. My old friend, Bill, and I found a tiny shaking kitty and slowly for three months would feed her (calico and we called her Phoebe since we often called her Baby.) We bought a house from the Amish for her, I put my sweater and his socks inside it. I visited once a week so I was her stepmama. She eventually would come to our fire circle in the cold Autumn evenings and in the snowy winter went into the cat house. One morning my third shift friend saw her exiting the house due to leaving his front porch light on! The last part of this is, every spring she lets him put a flea collar on, and now every winter she comes into his house! 🙂 Patience with such a long process of “taming the kitty” brought Bill a happy ending. <3 Goods luck and if possible let me know about your dear Mom. . . You can write "she is. . ." if you want private message. xo

    • What a sweet story, Robin! I love the sweater and socks touch! I was thinking of doing that for Perry when I get him here. Phoebe is such a cute name. Robin, make sure that the flea collars he uses are ok. Most of them are dangerous to cats, even if they are made for them. Research? I can tell you about mom. She has to have open heart surgery in the next month or two. She hasn’t met with the surgeon yet, so I don’t have any details. She refuses to come to Phoenix to have it done and will have it in Kalamazoo, I’m pretty sure. I can let you know more in a week or so! Thank you so much for asking! xoxoxo

  16. Poor sweet Perry! Those poor dogs barking, not their fault but it must drive the kitties nuts! So sad. Again, I commend you for all you are doing for Perry and others!!! You have such a big warm heart!! Here’s a lil one for you: <3

    • I talked to a cat rescue expert (been doing it for a long time and has been in the paper) today who said that Perry needs to have it in his record that he can’t be ever put with dogs. She said it’s very bad when a cat that afraid of dogs gets around them after they are adopted. 🙁 Thank you for the heart, Ellie! xo

  17. People are moving and they cannot take one cat with them????????? Maybe if they were moving to a place that didn’t allow cats (or pets of any kind) but who the hell would want to live there??????? I fret about trying to move with our three cats and their neurotic dynamics, but I would never leave them behind. It’s not an option, not for me or my husband.

    • And the big tipoff was that there were no tears, no remorse, no sadness. A hard, cold young woman, that one. The guy was hiding his eyes behind sunglasses. He’s going to regret this so much.
      I often feel a little regret that it would be hard to find a condo to move to with all our cats, but then the gardener loves to, well, garden!

      • Any bets on how long that relationship will last? By the way, I’ll be emailing you a draft of our post in a few minutes 😉

        • Less than a year? That’s what I am guessing. She is going to be off with someone else at the bar anyway, but then he will start to realize that he gave up the best cat ever for this sorry excuse for womanhood.

          • Hey, maybe they break up and he come back and reclaim his cat. I gave up two cats to a shelter a very long time ago (I was essentially homeless … long story) and I’ve never really forgiven myself.

            • I’ve had hopes he would do it soon, but he probably won’t wise up for a year or two. That’s so sad, what happened to you and the cats. We have had a few of those. Because we’re a small non-profit shelter (and not a big county one), we try to at least brainstorm (for the cats at least, and that is all I know about for sure) ideas how someone can keep a cat they want to keep. We’ve fostered cats for people and we’ve also taken cats into the shelter with the idea that someone is coming back in two months when he gets on his feet. I wish someone had done that for you! I think most animal lovers have some regrets in their past. One of mine was declawing my first cat–completely declawing, all four feet. I still can’t forgive myself for it, although it was out of ignorance and encouraged by a vet I trusted.

              • Back in the day, declawing was the thing to do and nobody thought it was bad for the cat, as long as it was kept indoors. A couple of years ago, a friend considered declawing a cat she had taken in because the cat was scratching her furniture. I don’t know if our friendship would have survived that because she was so adamant about it and I, obviously, value a cat’s comfort over furniture (yes, my cats have pretty destroyed our couches). Fortunately, she heard an episode of “Calling All Pets” on NPR where they discussed exactly what happens when a cat is declawed. She backed down then, but I have to admit, I don’t trust her with animals as much as I used to.

              • People don’t always want to know how bad declawing is, but at least it’s starting to be discussed more among veterinary professionals.
                You know what has worked good for my furniture? I will mention this stuff in case it helps anybody–you probably know it all anyway. That two-face tape they sell for that purpose. It’s easy on the furniture (unlike regular tape) and the cats get so used to it being on there that when you finally take it off they usually don’t go there. I also clip nails often (the groomer next to the shelter does cats for $5 for the ones I can’t do myself). And if I see somebody starting to claw something I chastise them with that VOICE that makes them realize that I think so much more of them than that hahahaha. Oh, and the other thing is that I have a scratching post that is 36″. If they aren’t that tall, the post is kind of worthless because they like to go up high to scratch, stretching out their full bodies.

              • I’ve tried the tape but too late. We have scratching posts all over the place which they do use a lot. Unfortunately, all three of them like to misbehave at times … and they also know it’s a sure way to get our attention 😉

  18. Oh, and how wonderful you are to give Perry a chance! You have such a big heart and I bet he does well in the cage. He will probably feel safer in there than let loose about your house.

  19. Oh my goodness, what a sweetheart. Poor Perry! I sure hope he responds to all your love! Thank you for all you do for these animals! ❤

  20. Luanne, thank you for the update on Perry! So sorry to hear about him. Keeping good thoughts for him and you-all! gorgeous photo of your grandmother’s workplace. How unusual to have a grandmother who worked as a professional in that era! My own grandmother was a secretary, come to think of it, and the story my father told me was that she was the secretary for the President of the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1950s. Have a great day!

    • Theresa, wow, that is quite a job for a woman in those days! A big deal! Yes, my grandmother was forced to do so as she raised her 3 kids completely by herself. But she was lucky in that she was a very gifted seamstress and tailor. Perry is with us now, and he at least isn’t being scared by dogs. It will take some time to rehabilitate him, I think.

      • Goodness, your grandmother sounds amazing.
        And, thank you for updating us on Perry. I think of him when I see our cats who started out as feral rescue too. We just had a vet who does house calls come and give them a physical and couple of booster shots, and wow, it was so much less stressful. They were still unhappy but at least we avoided the strange-smelling waiting room and ride-in-the-car stress! :). Keeping fingers crossed for Perry!

        • I would love to have a good vet who does house calls! I mean, I have a good vet, and she has come a couple of times for my oldest cat because of her blood pressure, but she doesn’t do house calls as a regular things so I still need to bring all my cats in. Some of them would be SO happy with a house vet! We have one in the area I used once for something, but it was disastrous. Thank you so much re Perry. He’s here now and seemingly happier.

          • I think veterinary house calls are terrific. This particular vet came to us when we were at end-of-life for our 19-year-old cat Carnation, and our regular vet had suggested the house-call vet to help with that. But, he also does exams and basic immunizations, so we just had him here for that. (Unfortunately, he told us he’s retiring at the end of the summer and doesn’t really have any recommendations.)
            But, I think this is a potential market niche for vets – in my opinion! I have a family member who has been a veterinarian (in another state) for 30 years, and their biggest business challenge seems to be personnel issues (staff and hired drs.). Personnel issues are difficult in any small business! And, if you’re a house call vet, then it eliminates the personnel aspect of the business. I suppose it may be hard to make a business case, with door-to-door travel, etc. Large animal vets do it, though! Hah!

            • I don’t know why more don’t do it, although I am sure there are costs and lots of limitations. I would think it would be fun for an older vet who is sick of the office thing, and then they have a good office that they refer to for more indepth/difficult tests and treatments. Large animal vets do do it, but they are a different species hahahaha.

  21. It’s absolutely wonderful what you are doing for Perry, Luanne – you’re an angel xxxx

  22. Luanne I could not work in the shelter because I would take them all home. I have four cats and told my husband to never bring any more home from the dairy. As soon as I see a neglected kitten/cat I can’t resist cleaning them up. Now that we have moved from the dairy this won’t happen any more. One of my cats can go quite feral at times and I wonder if their parents were feral do they still carry a bit of wild in them. I hope he finds a good home, maybe a farm shed cat if he is too wild. Good luck.

    • I am hoping to be able to touch Perry eventually. It might take some time. But we will see. The real problem with letting him be a barn cat is that he is terrified of dogs. I talked to my vet about Perry when I brought in another of my cats, and she was concerned that that would mean he could never go back outside. So we’ll see . . . . So many worries. And, yes, it’s hard to work at the shelter, but it’s so rewarding when good things happen! This months already we’ve adopted out 11 cats and 10 kittens!!!

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