The Dowager’s Tail (more apologies to Chaucer)

Now that the baby has told his story and been put in a confined area for a brief time, I, the dowager duchess known as Pear Blossom, will tell you the history of this family.

Before I arrived at age six months, the household was ruled by a handsome male ginger and white with a magisterial presence. His name was Macavity (aka Mac-the-cat). He commanded an excitable blond terrier mix (dog, that is) and four humans–father, mother, son, and daughter.

One day, my litter mate Little Bear and I found ourselves at the end of a cul de sac. He was an adorable and rather stupid ball of fluff. We were hiding in a large rosemary bush at the end of the last driveway. He spotted a human and ran out to greet her! With my more cautious nature, I stayed in the bushes. That was the last I saw of Little Bear for three days.

At that point I had had enough, so I walked around the side of the house. Unbeknownst to me, the mother was on a treadmill that looked out upon the side yard and saw me. Within minutes I was captured and imprisoned in a corner room in the tower. Over the next few days, I met up with my brother; he was adopted by a single woman who lived in the desert and thought he was the cutest kitten ever born; and I was left with Macavity’s family. I was uncertain about him because he was very controlling, and the dog was annoying. I wasn’t yet focused on the humans. They said my tower room smelled very bad, but I don’t know why.

After some loud discussions about how many cats were appropriate for one family to own, I was released from my prison and forced to negotiate an entire house with six other inhabitants. I set up my boundaries, and to my surprise, Mac was not difficult to get along with. Neither was the dog. The humans granted all my requests until they made one mistake. They offered me Science Diet for dinner. I took the opportunity of a briefly opened door and marched down the driveway. I would show them! The mother ran after me and promised she would never make me eat that food again. I came back inside and ate a better meal. It’s now been almost eighteen years that I have been with this family, and they have never brought Science Diet into the house again.

The years while the children were growing up were good. Mac was a benign overlord (although dangerous to touch if he didn’t welcome it), and he had mastered the human language called English by calling our mother “Mom” on many occasions. The human children encouraged him to do so. Then first the boy and then the girl moved away to a faraway place called College. Felix decided to live with us when the girl left. Soon after, Sandy had many health problems and, with my intuitive gifts, I lay beside him when he suffered. Eventually he passed away, and Mac and I forged an even closer bond.

A couple of years later, we all moved to Arizona where Mac and Felix became good friends. Our mother placed three beds on the kitchen counter, and the three of us–Mac, Felix, and I–slept during the day and during the night on those beds, close as the three little kittens. Tiger came to live with us, but she was the odd cat out. We three were a team, and Tiger didn’t fit in. We were never mean to her, though.

Mac was two years older than me, and he began to experience health problems. He was a big boy with a heart defect, and he developed kidney disease and diabetes. Our mother took excellent care of him. She kept his blood sugar down with a special food diet of Weruva chicken. When he eventually died, my grief took me by surprise. I could not eat. The vet told Mother that I would die if she didn’t find a way for me to eat. She cried so hard she saturated the fur on my back with saltwater. I realized that Mother loves me very very much and couldn’t bear to lose me, especially after losing Mac and her human father in the same summer. So I began eating a little Gerber’s chicken and Temptations treats. Those treats have 2 calories a piece, so I was able to get enough nutrition to keep me alive. I rallied and began to want to live. But I was left with a permanent condition of high blood pressure and had to go on medication.

Do you think Mother could wait to get another cat? NO. She brought home Kana. Kana has a similar personality to Mac, so I understand why Mother did that especially because Kana was extremely depressed at the shelter. Nobody wanted an 8 year old big black cat rumored to nibble on people occasionally. So that’s fine, but she needs to leave me alone. Then Sloopy Anne came home, all because she had been at the shelter for two full years and nobody wanted her. Everything was fine until Perry came bouncing into our backyard and one thing led to another. We ended up with a baby living amongst us oldsters.

My life is satisfactory. Mother is very good to me, and I trust her implicitly. Father has an ideal lap when he’s in his chair watching TV. My only complaint is that I have a medical issue that causes some trouble. [Whispering] I get UTIs. They are very painful.

Three years ago, when I was dying from not eating, Mother told me a secret as she slobbered all over me. I will share it with you, but please do not disillusion the other cats by letting them know. She told me that I am her favorite child. She tells everyone who will listen that I have never put my teeth on her in eighteen years.

I suppose that my age and because I was Mac’s companion imbues me with a dignity that commands respect from the others. I accept that respect, although I never abuse it. I am a good roommate. I am also the cat Grandma likes because I curl up in her lap and stay quiet.

Thank you for reading about my family and my life.

Forgive me for using photos you might consider old–I consider them timeless

39 Comments

Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

39 responses to “The Dowager’s Tail (more apologies to Chaucer)

  1. You have something wonderful going here. Keep going! More! More!

  2. Nicely presented life story, Dowager

  3. What a wonderful story! Hope Perry isn’t pestering you too much! I have a grand dame too. I think of her as a benevolent dictator. One question…how many cats are appropriate? I find the answer depends on who needs what.

  4. Aw…I loved this! The first photos is precious. ❤

  5. Ah, precious Pear Blossom! It’s so lovely to hear from you. I’m sure you are having a good effect on that young scamp Perry, even if his behavior doesn’t always show it. Thank you for sharing your story. May you nap undisturbed.

    • The young scamp is sound asleep. He’s learning how to get along, although he does slip at least once or twice a day. I try to model good behavior for him. Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind wish for an undisturbed nap.

  6. Oh she is so a regal and benign dowager! And the photos are just lovely too. Your house must be so much fun to visit Luanne, Siddy would love to come, as long as no-one is mean to him …… And the Science Diet – the only time I offered that to one of my cats on the vets advice, she responded the same way as Pear Blossom. Proof you can’t eat scientifically developed foodstuffs? 🙂

    • Haha, we have a lot of kitty fun here! I’m sure Siddy would have fun chasing and playing with six felines! Nobody would be mean to him, although a couple might be in awe of his awesomeness. Science Diet, yuk. Thank you for thinking she looks regal :). xo

  7. Oh Luanne, this one had a couple of real tender moments. This lady has lived quite the life! Pear Blossom looks like my Bootsie girl. You learn a lot about a family from the cats:) I wonder how many cats are appropriate for one family to own. Was that ever decided? 🙂 keep going! Ready for the next story.

  8. Awwww–this is so sweet, Luanne. I loved reading this from the Dowager. 🙂
    I’ll admit I got a bit teary-eyed.

  9. AW! What great stories she tells! I’m so glad she’s told her tales 🙂
    I am so sorry she tried to give up the life. I’m also sorry her mother tried to feed her icky diet food 😉 But most of all, I’m sorry she gets UTIs. 😦
    Favorite, eh? Precious!

    • Are you talking to Luanne or Pear? This is Luanne. She thinks she’s my favorite, but they are all my favorites (but she’s such a darling that who knows!). Yeah, somebody talked me into the Science Diet, but I learned my lesson!!!

      • Luanne. I can’t talk to other people’s cats 😛

        • Oh, that’s something. I’d never considered that before. When I want to chat with someone else’s cat, I make myself still and accessible and slightly ignore them. They come running, as you know, when you ignore. That’s when I talk to them. Every once in awhile somebody’s nose is too high in the air, though.

          • LOL
            We have some strays at work — pretty sure they’re neighborhood outdoor cats, cause healthy shiny kitties, but I don’t do more than say “Pretty kitty kitty” at them. I’d feel silly talking to not my pets.
            And you’re right, ignoring a cat IS the way. How can my husband have had a cat all his life and never learn that?!?

  10. If we didn’t rent, I would have 6 cats. We donated some things to the Humane Society today. Jackson insisted on seeing all of the animals. They were SO SAD! 😦

  11. That was a wonderful story Pear Blossom, you are the dowager indeed. It’s good to know that you trained your humans well, not to mention the other cats.

  12. Charming, heartwarming and very clever. Chaucer would approve of Pear Blossom’s tale.

  13. What a beautiful, rich saga and tribute from your beloved kitty’s POV! I loved touches like “he was very controlling, and the dog was annoying” (lol!) and the moving “I will share it with you, but please do not disillusion the other cats by letting them know.” Imbuing a cat with empathy, I love it!! Nice job!! Maybe you could publish this with photos as a picture book for kids?!

  14. I truly love this, from the lace collar to the whispered secrets. 18 years! I was so there with her as a kitten, it’s hard to imagine so much time has passed. 🙂 Thanks for letting us in on her story.

  15. I loved this Luanne… delicious stories as told by a mature and observant pussy cat… how lucky they all are to have you, and I hope we can have more feline memories like this from your other beloved residents…

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