Cutest 11 seconds on video: my sweet Perry.
I’m off to be seen by the infectious disease doctor this morning. Fingers crossed.
Here are a few photos of our wacky garden.
I had a couple of requests for a Perry update, so as tough (hahaha) as it is to write about him, here it is.
We’ve moved way beyond the “give me your paw” trick. His next move was to head butt my face and rub against me when I was on the floor to feed him.
Soon after, he indicated he wanted me to scratch his cheeks. Then pet his sides and the length of his tail.
Now he has added in a squishy and slobbery nose rub and even a little kiss-kiss.
He also keeps rolling on his back and trying to get me to pet his stomach, but with those “natural length” claws of his, I am not that stupid. Gotta get those nails trimmed somehow, but I don’t want to spook him and have a setback.
My son and ND (new daughter or, as some would have it, daughter-in-law) gave me the sweetest little instant camera for my birthday. It doesn’t take the place of my iPhone camera, of course, but I can snap a cute pic of a cat and put the photo into a little frame within a minute. Those little pet frames always beg tiny pix, so these are just right at 2″ or so. I’ve been learning how to use it, and Perry is the model.
My first attempt with the instant camera: I had to learn to use the little buttons
Today is the day I have to take Perry’s poo in for the final check in the deworming process. If it’s negative, I plan to be paranoid and do it again in another week or two. That is because the first time I had it checked, it was negative and then look what I’ve gone through because that was just a lull in the worm cycle. Ugh.
If it’s negative, we put the gate up at the bedroom door so the cats can meet. I’ll try to feed him on one side of the gate another couple of cats on the other side–at the same time. Over the gate I will hang a sheet. That is enough for most cats: gate and sheet and they think they are stuck in there.
Kana and Perry did have a little meeting the other night though. The hall outside Perry’s bedroom was so dark I couldn’t see anything and when I opened the door, suddenly there were two cats in the bedroom! I thought I was seeing double. But Perry was running away and Kana was sniffing Perry’s toys. I picked up Kana, and she managed to graze her teeth on my hand because she was unhappy in the extreme to be removed. What a stinker. She is the trouble-maker of the house, for sure. That is why when I go away, she has to go into her bedroom for the duration. That’s ok, it’s my office and it is the nicest room in the house IN MY OPINION.
Since Perry is in the bedroom all the time, I have certain times of the day I spend with him. My daughter shipped me her old laptop so I can get some work done while I’m in with him.
Probably because he is young, Perry loves his dolls. Sometimes his teeth or claws start holes in the dolls and I have to take them away or stitch them, but that is just him loving them ;).
I’m not used to having a cat so young. It’s been many years since 17-year-old Pear was that young! Perry likes to shred tissues and other paper. That ought to be great when he’s got the run of the house with all our business and writing paper lying about (yikes).
I noticed the other day that Perry is now filling out. I suspect that means that the worms are gone and that he is absorbing his food better. He’s going to be a fairly large long-haired cat. And now that I am petting him, I can verify that his fur is super soft!
Perry and an interactive doll:
There was a speck on the lens that shows up in the video. Does anybody know how to remove something like that through Windows Movie Maker?
KIN TYPES IS NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON! Copies should be arriving soon (I hope)!
Sometimes we get so used to the jargon of the field we’re in that we forget it’s a specialized language. And that others don’t always know what in the heck we’re talking about when we use it.
I was thinking the other day that when I say that I wonder if Perry is a feral cat or a stray cat that the nuance between those two types of cats could be lost. A feral cat is so wild that he is not used to humans or civilization and oftentimes cannot be persuaded that we are ok. Unless quite young when the socialization begins, it might not be possible to ever get a feral cat to accept human touch. But I say that with a caveat: every cat must be treated as an individual because you just never know which feral cats can be socialized and which socialized cats will never be lapcats–based on temperament, environment, and so on.
Speaking of Perry, I have been reading him Cindy Rinne’s story in verse Quiet Lantern about a Vietnamese girl named Mai Ly who is on a spiritual quest. The farther I go into the story and the more poetic prowess I discover, the more impressed I am with the book.
Another word I’ve flung around the blog lately is chapbook. Kin Types is a chapbook, rather than a full-length poetry collection like Doll God or like Rinne’s book (which is over 100 pages). But what is a chapbook? Historically, a chapbook was a small pamphlet that was truly around before books as we know them today were invented. The first written fairy tales were chapbooks. They were small. They were a few pages. And they were really roughly printed.
Chapbooks today, though, usually meet these qualifications:
I did enter Kin Types in a few contests, but they are expensive (entry around $15-25 each) and when the manuscript was accepted by Finishing Line Press for publication, I decided to go with them, rather than spend more money on contests. Still, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest and a Highly Commended title in The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.
The only writing I’ve been able to do lately is a poem for my son’s wedding. It’s being framed and will be on a table with photographs of the grandparents (of the bride and groom) who have passed on.
Today is the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth in 1912, two days after the Titanic sank. Her birthday was two weeks after that of my paternal grandmother (though they were born 19 years apart). They were both Aries, as is the Gardener. It’s hard to think of anything that is similar about the three of them, except that they have all been count-on-able.
My maternal grandmother’s name was Lucille Edna, although she was known as Edna. (Luanne is created from Lucille and my mother’s middle name Ann). Edna was Class Historian at graduation (her older sister was Salutatorian the same year) and always wanted to be a writer. She thought of herself as the “Jo March” of her family (like in Little Women).
When she was elderly and ill, she made me promise I would never give up writing. That comment from Grandma found its way into a Kin Types poem.
from Grandma’s graduation scrapbook
Don’t tell my mother, but Perry moved in here Friday evening. She told me once that she didn’t think she should tell anybody I have five cats because it was embarrassing. I know what she would say about six, even if #6 is a foster cat and not for keeps. I simply cannot have another “foster failure,” which is where the person fostering the cat cannot give him/her up and adopts the cat. My five old cats would not forgive me for that.
Since he got here, it’s been exactly four days. This is how he looks now, in his 3 tier cage (identical to the one at the shelter) and in his little cat den.
The room Perry is in is quiet, and he has a window, although he hasn’t seemed to notice it yet. He eats, drinks, and uses the litter box when nobody is looking. He moves between his cat den on the bottom floor and the top shelf which has a little thin blanket around part of it so he feels secure.
Notice how he looked at the shelter. See how his ears were flattened. Now they are raised up more and one of them faces forward and the other partially forward. His whiskers might be a bit more relaxed. When I hold a treat and offer it to him he actually looks as if he is considering it now. Slow baby steps, but I think we’re moving forward.
Most of my time with Perry is spent with me lying on the floor on two big pillows, reading poetry to him. We just finished the March issue of Poetry, which we both enjoyed although two of the poems confounded me (but not him). I also read him a poem Dianne Gray mentioned: “THE TRIANTIWONTIGONGOLOPE” by C. J. Dennis.
Perry doesn’t require a lot of attention, but I try to go in with him every couple of hours or so, if I am home. After all, the way he will become more social and attached is by our interaction.
Closing comments because this was just a little update. Hope your week is a happy and healthy one!
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.
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.
This prolonged heat spell is making me feel as if I am in a liminal state. Between living and dead. Even in the air conditioning I feel drained and sweaty and as if my body continues to swell. What if it never stops and just gets larger and larger?
Liminality is a positive place to be if you are open-minded and ready, but it can lead to negative consequences. The photo is from a HuffPo article about the green tunnel in the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland. Click on the photo, and it will lead you to the article. Needless to say, there are poisonous plants in the poison garden, so you have to be open-minded to the experience and prepared.
I’ve never been to this garden before, so I can’t help but wonder how animals and birds are protected from so much poison in one place. Maybe most of them know better, but they don’t all know better.
Back to the heat: I haven’t been working on the play. I can hardly get the bare minimum of work-work accomplished.
The good news is that Slupe is out and roaming with all the cats, but she paces around restlessly and doesn’t lie down unless she is hanging around the periphery of where the other cats congregate. She is in a liminal space, I guess, waiting to become a full-fledged resident and adopted from the shelter (instead of a foster cat).
Here she is hanging out in the cupboard with my computer printer. Her thought bubble: I hope nobody knows I’m in here. I’m in my liminal space.
Actually Slupe’s liminal space is stressful, not just magical. But maybe there is some anxiety associated with all liminal spaces. What do you think?
On the subject of liminality, I found something I theorized about liminality and poetry when I was up on subjects like liminal space (this was before I had cats):
When a poem is written, creative identity is performed by the poet. This performance always exists in the liminal phase. Imagine a two-dimensional diagram with a point on the left signifying the familiar everyday experience and a point on the right signifying the familiar everyday experience. The straight line connecting the two points is the liminal passage or threshold in which all is unfamiliar. Importantly, the diagram is not circular because the two familiar points are not the same point. The threshold allows the individual to adjust to the new point of familiarity.
Every poem is written somewhere along that line between the familiar points and exists in liminality in a relation to one or both of the points. Some poems may be performed by the poets more in the center of the line, thus farthest away from the points of familiarity–others may be much closer to the familiar. Therefore, from the standpoint of the writer, all poems are liminal, although some are more so than others.
And not just for writers, but for readers, too. What I like about this is how I discovered through studying liminal spaces and anthropology that poetry exists in a liminal space. That’s why it’s so special. When we read a poem we get to visit a liminal space, full of anxiety and magic.
And now back to cat patrol. It’s time for all five of them to eat. Odds are, out of five, somebody is going to throw up their food with or without a hairball. There’s nothing liminal about cat puke.
The year is winding down, and it’s been quite a year for me. I guess it was my turn. You’ve probably had your own years with lots of ups and lots of downs. I feel a post brewing about mine, but I don’t feel up to it today. Maybe I’ll write it for New Year’s Eve.
So I’ll show you some other endings: the sunsets in Arizona have a lot of pink and red in them. I took this one at a truck stop along the 10, and the sky was a vivid burgundy. I wish the color here were more true.
This one is typical of almost every December night. Sometimes there are palm trees silhouetted across the pink and dark blue sky.
OK, those were the endings of the day. Now for the hope of new beginnings!
I know a few “special needs” cuties in Phoenix that need a home for Christmas and beyond.
This is Betty. She was born in 2007 and has lived at the shelter for years. Yes, that says years. She is overweight, although you can’t see that from this glamour shot.
Why is she overweight? Maybe because for a very long time she was confined to a cage without exercise. She now gets to roam free in the cat roaming room with the other cats.
Betty (I think she needs a name change) had gotten a reputation for once in a while biting someone. I haven’t been so honored (yet), but I am trying to figure out what causes her to do so. I think it’s when she gets mad because she is being touched when she does not want to be touched. A volunteer might be petting her for a long time and then starts to forget she’s petting her, which means she is ignoring her. Betty might bite a bit to get her to stop over-stimulating her or to pay her attention. Anyway, several of us brush her and she likes it. When I sit on the floor at the shelter, she crawls into my lap and likes me to pet her and then stop and just let her sit there for as long as she likes.
Betty needs a home with an experienced cat person who wants to give someone who needs a chance THAT CHANCE. Betty will reward that person with loyalty and demonstrative love.
Lisa is a sweet black cat with a wonky left eye. Her vision is fine, but the eye itself is scarred so a bit cloudy-looking. Her official name is Lisa Left Eye, but I refuse to call her that. In this photo, I think she’s praying for a home.
Here is Lisa again:
Finally, here is 4-year-old Slupe, a darling Calico that has been at the shelter since long before I started there (which is now almost a year!!!).
Slupe doesn’t like living in a shelter environment and desperately needs a home of her own. Recently, she has lost fur in a few patches on her body, and I think it’s a reaction to stress. She loves to play in water and hide in boxes. She enjoyed playing with the kitten Scarlet, but Scarlet was just adopted so now Slupe needs a human friend and a home. Slupe is considered special needs because she has not been adopted for so long.
Even if you don’t have the right home for one of these adorables, please share their photos and stories in case you know someone who can! They are available here:
On a cat-related note, I gave my daughter my Homer’s Odyssey book to read. I wrote about it in this post Cat Heroes. Now I see that there is a sequel out about the blind wondercat Homer!
I can’t wait to read about Homer’s life as a celebrity :). Raising Betty, Lisa, or Slupe would be a piece of kibble compared with raising lively blind Homer.
Our shelter’s cat newsletter contained the following very important Christmas tip for cat owners:
This holiday season be careful with all those curling ribbons, tinsels and other Christmas decorations. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, “Cats have barbs on their tongue that point toward the back of their mouth. These barbs are used fo r both grooming and removing the meat from the bones of their prey. These barbs are the reasons cats cannot easily spit items out of their mouth; things get stuck. This is why toys with thread and string can be dangerous if left unattended.” Pam also warns us about real pine needles being toxic to cats as well as the tree water, so you should never let your cat (or dog) drink it. You can use netting or Sticky Paws for Plants over the reservoir to ensure your pets don’t have access to it. To read more about how to deter your cats from nibbling on tree brunches or Christmas lights and more, read Pam Johnson- Bennett’s article here http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-to-keep-your-cat-away-from-the-christmas-tree/
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope yours is full of peace and joy. And for everyone, I wish you much peace and joy in your lives. See you next week!
Did you think that all the time hubby and I have been spending at the shelter playing with the kitties was going to increase our cat count at home?
A lot of people have mentioned that they expected me to bring home more cats.
But nah. I did spring one of the cats, but not for me. My son and his girlfriend saw the photos I had taken of some of the shelter cats and fell in love with an 8 month old kitten called “Precious.” They have a beautiful black velvet cat named Meesker. He’s already two years old–a fact I have trouble processing as it seems he was just a little kitten a couple of months ago. The kids decided they wanted Precious as a little sister to Meesker.
So I sprung the little sweetie two weeks before I would be seeing my son because the cat room had become so crowded at the shelter. We had a lot of new kittens and the anxiety level of the “roaming” cats was fairly high. I decided on the spur of the moment to bring Precious home to my house. She lived in my office.
On Monday, hubby and I drove Precious (now called Lily) from Phoenix to California so that Lily can live at the beach with her new mom and dad and big brother Meesker. Lily traveled in a large dog kennel that belongs to my oldest cat Mac.
Imagine our surprise when we put two very sweet-natured cats together, and they didn’t get along very well. Lily played in Meesker’s favorite toy, his long fabric tunnel, and it made him sad. Lily chased Meesker, and he hid under the bed.
My son is going to get a gate for the bedroom so that the cats can sniff each other without worrying about losing any fur. I’m hoping that my son and his girlfriend will go very slowly in reintroducing the cats to each other. Then they can all live as one happy family.
So, no, I didn’t get a new cat for myself. However, if this works out well for them, there is a sweet black cat at the kennel who has been there far too long. Actually, there are two, but how many will I be able to slip past hubby without him really grasping how many cats live at our house?