Friday Night Cat Blogging: Two Cats and a Bridge

As usual, Friday night is time for our boys to shine.  I also decided to toss in a bonus pick of our Golden Gate Bridge.  I have lived here for 8 years and I never get tired of seeing it.  I hope you enjoy all three pics.

Tito
Tito doing his cute routine. It makes me want to bury my face in his fur.
Kitsune
Kitsune looking like a gentleman in his sweater. Don't let him fool you. He's mad, mad I tell you.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge. The picture was taken in the Presidio and looking toward the North.


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The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: Part 1

One morning we woke up to rain. It’s the rainy season in San Francisco. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but it was enough. We had wanted to get out and walk and so we debated. We suddenly realized that we had not been to the Japanese Tea Garden In Golden Gate Park for quite a while and that the rain would keep the crowds down.

Japanese Tea Garden
Koi

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Two more film greats are gone and one is missing and probably dead

First, the missing. Actor Per Oscarsson and his wife are missing after their home burned in Skara, Sweden. You can read about it here.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1927, Per Oscarsson has been one of Sweden’s most respected actors in film, both on stage and tv.  He won the Cannes Film Festival and National Society of Film Critic’s award for Hunger (1966). He is known more here for his performance in The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest.

Per Oscarsson - Hunger
Per Oscarsson - Hunger

Our heart goes out to the family and we hope they have closure soon.

Anne Francis

A while back I wrote about losing Leslie Neilsen. I had posted a picture from a movie that he starred in called Forbidden Planet. His love interest was Anne Francis.

Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis in The Forbidden Planet
Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis in The Forbidden Planet

Now, both of them are gone. Anne Francis was born in Ossining, New York. She was a model and did soap/radio work early on. By the age of 11, she made her stage debut in Broadway’s “Lady in the Dark”. She had a very busy career and appeared in a great many tv shows and movies. One of her most famous roles was as television’s first female detective in Honey West. She lost her battle against pancreatic cancer on Sunday.

Our condolences to her family, friends, and fans. She will be missed.

Pete Postlethwaite

Pete Postlethwaite has lost a long time battle with cancer.  He was 64.  Born in 1946 to a working class family in Northern England, he developed an interest in acting while in college.  From his beginnings as a drama teacher, he branched out to the theater and then film and television in the 80s.  In 1993, he was nominated for an Oscar for playing the father of Daniel Day-Lewis in “In the Name of the Father”.

Pete Postlethwaite
Pete Postlethwaite

As before, our condolences to his family, friends, and fans. He too will be missed.


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New Category: Boober’s Rainbow Bridge

We have created a category. It’s called Boober’s Rainbow Bridge.

The Rainbow Bridge

Finding The Boober

We had set out to find a talker, a cat who would announce himself, make demands, complaints and proclamations of kitty love in the loudest and yet somewhat ambiguous terms. Absolute clarity isn’t exactly a feline trait.

Unless they’re hungry.

Or bored and require entertainment, immediately.

This might sound a tad masochistic, but then, cat people do enjoy mischief after all… I was particularly looking forward to this, it had been over 20 years since my last cat.

We simply share space, or territory, as opposed to ‘owning’ the beasties, and provide for their needs, which is why many cat lovers consider themselves to be owned by their cats rather than the reverse.

We searched through various local shelters online, although I leaned toward a Siamese or Burmese, or a mix thereof, two breeds I had experience with and have a lot of affection for. I wasn’t holding my breath at first: how could these breeds find themselves in shelters? And there was no question between my wife and I that we would adopt from there.

But as it turned out, I was quite surprised to discover a few Siamese cats up for adoption.

This I took as a sign of an economy going bad, that people would give up their prized companions for adoption. I wasn’t expecting this and was saddened by it.

As far as shelters went, however, the San Francisco SPCA’s was terrific.

Cats were housed in small groups or alone in private rooms, with toys, televisions showing nature videos or fish swimming in their tanks.

After ‘greeting’ a couple kittehs by head butting (bonking), scritching and cooing, my wife pulled me towards the call of Boober.

It was something like an anguished wail, plaintive yet demanding. ‘I want out now’, in other words, the dictator’s call for his servants.

We were let into his area and there was this Burmese cat with huge eyes gauging us.

I reached down to place him in my lap and pet him, just as he reached up and hugged me. As my wife put it, ‘that was all she wrote’, and we took him home an hour later.

Settling down in the forever home

The Boober
Total, complete relaxation

Boober’s early life was a mystery, the vet estimated him to be about 5 years old, and whatever his circumstances were, he did not take well to being in a shelter. We were given pills to stimulate his appetite, but they seemed to help little. The first couple weeks were touch and go and I was afraid we might have to take him back if he did not start eating the way he should. He would also spend time hiding in the closets which we left open for him to take refuge in.

Sexy Beast
Sexy Beast

As the days went on, he began to overcome his anxiety and would spend time on the bed with us and relax as we petted him. My wife also managed to stimulate his appetite by dousing his food with water from tuna cans. Eventually he would spend most nights on the bed with us and showed normal Burmese behavior by jumping on our shoulders and looking smug while using us as transports.

I thought of this as ‘the tigers’ revenge’, this cat riding us the way tiger hunting parties rode elephants…

On the other hand, he would do this at any time of day or night, regardless of whether I’d had my first cup of coffee. He would launch frontal assaults, jumping from the floor and climbing us like trees. Ouch.

Yet when my wife riled him up playing, he always stopped short of biting or clawing, showing us he had not a mean bone in his body. Life was going from good to better, coming home from work, I looked forward to his goofy antics, chasing balled up pieces of paper around the apartment or the 3 a.m. race all over the furniture, from kitchen to living room. He was such wonderful company. He loved my singing to him and would run to me and curl up on my chest before going to sleep.

He would sleep so soundly, outstretched on his back, feeling completely safe, so much so that I felt stress fall away just by watching him.

We all had a great two years.

Changes to an end

One day, when we realized he seemed to develop a bump on his throat, we looked for some external sign like a puncture but could not find anything. The bump did not recede and we took the Boober to the vet. He was scheduled for surgery and a biopsy would be performed on the mass. Even before then I unconsciously felt clouds gathering above us.

And the mass turned out to be caused by lymphoma, likely to return.

We were asked whether we wished to begin chemotherapy on him, and I asked what his chances were: I was afraid that subjecting him to all the prodding, syringe pricks and other ‘manipulations’ would stress him to the point where he would again stop eating and perhaps speed up the disease.

I felt ignorant and grasping at straws: was it possible he might be in remission, now that the tumor had been removed? We were cautioned to not keep our hopes too high. The likelihood was that the disease would reappear at some point as Boober had both an aggressive and a milder more treatable version.

When you hear that a cat is un-pillable, trust me: this means the cat has to be sedated.

We tried every technique, every trick, trying to alter the parameters, like timing, temperature and others. We tried the pill gun, placing the pill in a dissolvable capsule in tuna and other foods, no dice.

We tried the more direct version: forcing it down.

He hid from us in a closet for two days and stopped eating.

That’s when we faced that we had to discontinue the chemo. We’d enjoy him for as long as we could, and did. The Boober carried on for an incredible two more years, until the disease lodged in his chest, causing episodes of respiratory distress. By then, we had introduced Tito to the household, and the younger cat, while no cure, was terrific for our Burmese.

He fought the disease with the economy of a true fighter.

Then there was this bad September weekend when he could not rest, or eat. He barely took in water.

The following Monday, was the final visit to the vet and they were very kind. They placed and taped a tube in his foreleg, and weak though he was, he tried to pace the table, perhaps to jump. My wife told me to sing to him, and I didn’t think I could. But I did, badly, and he relaxed enough for the vet to perform the injection.

We had our hands on him, him facing my wife. She said she saw relief in his eyes, and that has helped me. Because when I felt him go, the dam broke and I started crying violently all the way to the car.

We love you B, forever. Only you know just how much.


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Reflections: The pond at the Palace of Fine Arts

Happy New Year everyone!  I don’t have much for today.  However, I wanted to post a favorite picture of mine.  It was one of the first I took with my camera and I just got very lucky.  The picture, as you see it, is upside down.  It is a reflection in the pond at the Palace of Fine Arts here in San Francisco.  I found the picture to be more interesting upside down, so here it is.

Pond at Palace of Fine Arts
Reflection in the pond at the Palace of Fine Arts - upside down


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Cat Occult: Astral Dejections

Mazuzu
Mazuzu: Loves seafood, loves to dance

The darker side of living with a Sphynx, when the madness courses through his veins and he chases the invisible…
On a couple occasions now, Mazuzu let out a blood-curling growl long and deep enough to make the rest of us look at each other and ask in hushed tones “did you hear that?!?”
That’s a new and a bit unwelcome addition to his ‘klakk-klakking” Predator sounds.
Okay, so we truly do live in the jungle, Jurassic Park-like…
And he does look at times like those small rodent looking dinosaurs who ate Newman from Seinfeld after he got out of his Jeep.
But he doesn’t venture into the valleys, no, he sticks with the high-ground at night, meaning us.
It wouldn’t be so bad if his balance was better, or his weight distribution more even, but as he walks on top of us, his paws dig into the flesh, and he then stands atop a shoulder like some Swiss dude in a Ricola commercial, except for some pathetic moans as though he were cold. But if you try to pull him down under covers, he might stay a minute licking himself making strange sounds…. Fnar- Fnar-Shog-shoggoth, as though reciting to…. Cthulu?!? Before bolting out for round two. Or five.
Oh, and the reason he chases the invisible? Because if he could catch it he would snarf it in one big snort.

Cthulu beware: you’re just calamari to Mazuzu.


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Offbeat comedies: with fruitcakes and assorted nuts

… Which you owe it to yourself to sample, especially during the holidays.
The first one should appeal to the nerd in all of us:

Gentlemen Broncos” – (2009, USA, 90 minutes – PG-13)

Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) is a home schooled teenager living in a small town with his mother Judith (Jennifer Coolidge, also known as Stifler’s mom in the “American pie” comedies).

Continue reading “Offbeat comedies: with fruitcakes and assorted nuts”