You knew it was going to be kittens, didn’t you?
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You knew it was going to be kittens, didn’t you?
Click on any photo to enlarge all.
After carrying around a pill to prevent migraines for over ten years, I for some reason left it behind when I came to the U.S., so of course this morning, for the first time in ten years, I started to feel a migraine coming on. As usual, it was triggered by a bright light —this time by a split between the blinds that allowed sunlight to reflect off the TV screen. Dizzy with the beginning of the headache, nauseous and a bit blind, I stumbled into bed, pulled a pillow over my head to block the light and lay for about an hour, willing the pain to descend from my forehead to my hands to warm them. When my hands warmed, I then became aware of icy feet and decided to see if I could warm them via migraine energy as well. I fell asleep in the act, but upon awakening six hours later, I am now noticing that my feet are warm as well—more likely due to blankets than to brainpower. Nonetheless, after the first half hour of trying to get myself regulated, this poem came into my head. I knew it would be lost if I didn’t record it and my computer was lying closed on my bed next to me, so I roused myself long enough to jot it down. Can’t control these rhymes even when bigger things are going on in my head. In this case, it started with mentally painting the image of a cat. Then the bowl appeared and he gazed into it. The goldfish came last and the poem grew out of the image. Wish I could paint or draw and I’d try to show you what I saw. Lacking this, here is the poem:
(Goldfish) Bowl Games
I watch them swim in graceful curves,
and though they’d make such fine hors d’oeuvres,
I wait and wait and wait and wait.
They have not served me one to date.
(By the way, this technique for ridding yourself of migraine headaches has worked for me three times now over a twenty year span. Prior to this, I just suffered for up to eight hours. Once I found there was a pill available to take in the first stages, I always carried one, but as noted above, had failed to bring it with me on this trip to the states, so my old mental remedy worked once again.)
Kittens reacting to Morrie and Diego, jealousy barking at the closed gate that separates them from their arch rivals, the cats.
My dear little creatures, I did not expect
that your lives and mine would intersect.
I didn’t know in the hush of my life
your antics would make such a mush of my life.
I spout silly names like “kitty” and “baby.”
Have I gone dotty? I must admit, “Maybe.”
I’m given to lying prone on my bed
letting the boy kitten claw at my head,
combing my hair with his kittenish claws
as his sisters cavort without mercy or pause,
biting my fingers and licking my knees.
I let them assault me wherever they please.
I find them adorable and entertaining.
Besotted with kittens, my interest is waning
in matters less feline. I neglect the dogs.
Leave them to possums and squirrels and frogs.
I feed them and throw an occasional ball,
but lately, obsessions more easily fall
into matters of cat, I’m embarrassed to say
it’s entirely possible one day I may
turn into that cat lady, brunt of those jokes
told by low-lifes in bars and other brash blokes
making fun of those who, although different, perhaps,
get pleasure enough from cats on our laps!!!
The prompt word today is expect.
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The story of the four kittens abandoned on my doorstep 3 1/2 months ago continues. As you can see, they are barely kittens anymore, and once they’d had all their shots and been neutered and spayed, it was time to make their transition outside. I knew there were dangers, but 5 cats inside is just too much for me to handle anymore, let alone for housesitters allergic to cats to handle, so the day came when they were finally let out to the wide world as it existed within my compound walls. I am hoping they won’t be tempted to go over the walls but know it is inevitable. A bigger worry is that they’ll venture into the backyard where Morrie and Diego are accustomed to dealing with animal interlopers in a predictable manner. I’ve kept sliding glass doors open (screens and bars closed) hoping they’ll get used to each other, but the dogs are jealous, curious, and, well, they are dogs. Here are the events as they have unwound over the past week, ending yesterday. All in all, a scary day.
(Click on the first photo to enlarge and read captions.)
Heartsick. When I went out to feed the kittens this morning, only two showed up. I put out the food, which usually brings them out, but Ollie and Kukla never appeared. I called out over and over, opened the garage door, looked outside, nothing. I was sobbing by the time I thought to pen the dogs up and look in the backyard. It was the worst sort of suspense thriller–the kind of movie I hate–as I combed every inch of the backyard, expecting to find their little bodies everywhere I looked. I had heard the dogs take after something last night and a loud screech, and I had brought the dogs in immediately, but the screech was not catlike and when I called out for kittens, no one answered. Now I regretted not looking closer last night.
I looked everywhere again. As I searched behind the studio, both dogs came around the back way as though they were helping me to look, but nothing. I wondered if the cats had gone hunting in the lots across the street because I was a half hour late in feeding them this morning, thanks to my spider poem. Finally, I went back to the house and let the dogs out, then once again combed the plants around the studio. Diego kept running behind a monster pot containing aloe vera on the terrace near my bedroom, and eventually Morrie joined him. Beside it were two other pots too large to move and they were all tangled up in the thunbergia vine that covered the wall, all of the tall plants around the studio and behind my bedroom, and also had grown up the telephone post and along the wires. I tried to pull the pots back but they were too heavy. I finally pulled one smaller palm pot out and searched behind all the pots. Nothing. But, I thought I detected a tiny squeak.
I put the dogs in again and went back and repeatedly called “Kitty, kitty, kitty.” Finally, Ollie jumped down out of the vine tangle and nonchalantly strolled across the patio, looking very closely for dogs. I called again and a few minutes later, Kukla joined us. I was so relieved!!! I carried them around the house as I’d exited through the doggie domain and was not about to carry them through the room occupied by Morrie and Diego. I put them in the front yard, closed both of the barrier gates, let the dogs out and put the two wayfarers into the house so I could feed them separately from their sisters, who had already eaten. When I went out to get a collar to put on Kukla, however, the other cats got in, so I put another dish of food out, got a collar on Roo and Kukla but not Ollie. Fifteen minutes later, Frannie is the only one who has kept hers on for two days. The rest of the collars are lost somewhere out in the cat jungle. Phew. Motherhood.
A few days ago I bought collars with little bells on them for all the kittens. I put the first one on Roo, and it was a disaster! Her eyes went round and she went bucking like a wild bronc all the way across the patio. She tried to claw and scrape and bite the bell off. Then the other kittens joined in the chase and they went careening off into the dense jungle underbrush of the front yard. There was no way I could follow them there, but eventually she bucked her way out of the thicket and I grabbed her and tugged the collar off. Luckily, I had insisted on easy release collars, fearing that they’d get caught up in a tree branch or vine, so it was easy to free her.
It was not so easy to cut the bells off all the collars. It took heavy metal cutters and even at that, I had to twist and twist to get the little bells off, actually cutting them off their soldered link and then had the fun of cutting the sharp metal pieces off the loop still attached to the collar. I’d ordered tags with my phone number to attach to the collars–my guarantee that no one would think they were feral cats once they inevitably climb up the bougainvillea vines and make their way out onto the street side of the wall. I was to pick the tags up a few days later, and since the man who did the engraving insisted I put “recompensa” (reward) on the other side of the tag, I could visualize neighborhood children ringing my doorbell daily, kittens in arms. Ah well. What was a few pesos bribe, anyway? It was a bit like the insurance given to neighborhood thugs in the barrios of NYC in bygone days, and perhaps in the present. At any rate, I eventually got bell-less collars on all of the cats except for Roo, who to this day is a collar virgin. Within minutes, however, the opened collars lay scattered like breadcrumbs across the terrace. Only Frannie retained her collar. I gave up on the rest for the time being.
(Click on first photo to enlarge all.)
Ollie will stand in as spokesmodel for all the rest. Needless to say, he hated his collar with or without a bell. The bells, here seen isolated from their collars, will no doubt be welcome toys if not welcome jewelry for the cats.