Note from Rudha-an: Lastech wrote most of this post. I wrote the bit about Titanescu. It was a joint effort, but he did most of the work. 🙂
Miss Jenny has been picking up an annoying habit lately. Some time at night, she’ll pick up one of her balls with her front paws then toss it or just drop it. The sound of her hard plastic toy with the pieces of tin inside hitting the floor wakes me instantly.
I now hide the toy in question every evening. But that got me thinking about all the odd stuff the pointy eared ones do. Once in a while I’ll find a present on the bed near my pillow. Nothing gross, just odd… Jenny leaves me the occasional wine cork or curiouser yet, the odd potato.
Why? What goes on behind those blue peepers? The Boober had his own eccentricities. Like loving my singing Corsican songs to him. From across the room he’d look up wide eyed then amble over to sit on my chest purring. I couldn’t begin to tell you how we started this routine, he and I, let alone why he only reacted to this particular type of song.
Kitsy the Space Oddity rabbit kicked me the first time I blew raspberries on his gut, but he grew to enjoy the attention. With him, it wasn’t just one odd thing. The way he did everything was strange and entertaining.
Tito likes to spoon water off the fountain with his paw to drink it. And when he begs for food it’s usually for another cat. Go figure…
Rudha-an: Titanescu is still showing us who he really is. His real oddities will shine through at some point.
Why are the pointy eared people so weird at times? The video says it all. 🙂
Waiting for the Pointy Eared people to work out their treaties and other political deadlocks, I look through older photos and forward to the tribe coming together.
So today is part retrospective, part look back to the future…
This is what I want:
Tito does the camouflage very well on this dark shiny blanket, but I think Titan will blend in even better…
… This is what I get:
And a really good thing it is that we “moored” the tower to the bookcase, or it would have been toppled countless times…
This is what I want:
The Boober did have the patience of a saint…
This is what I got:
Meanwhile, next door:
Just under Titan’s stubby tail is a teddy bear. It’s not what it looks like: these are the bears’ eyes and nose.
Maybe in the future we’ll have a cat named Jupiter or Jove, and Titan will moon him, rather easy with that nub of his…
Dedicated to our spectacular dramatis personae Maz Whang and Boober…
Finally, I now realize I blamed the cats unfairly when I couldn’t find my socks… I had no idea!
As anyone who lives with cats knows, they are mischievous, wicked, naughty, thieving little critters. Some, will steal your food like Kitsy used to do. His preference was bacon, but he would settle for pizza. Some are paper shredders. The Boober’s favorite was the paper towel roll. We used to have to hide the rolls in the cupboard.
Tito is the shelf monster. If it’s on the shelf, it won’t be for long. He’s an expert of knocking items off one at a time. This is quite disturbing at 3am. We learned the hard way that breakable items have to be stored away.
This is what Tito is like in action. His nickname should really be Ruprecht. The important part begins at 3:55 minutes in.
Some, like Miss Jenny, love to steal various items from around the house and hide them in bed. She’s a regular pack rat. Trust me, you don’t go to bed in this apartment without going through the bedding looking for all the stray items. A ballpoint pen in the posterior is not my idea of fun.
This is just a small sample of the items found in our bed.
All four of our kittoons here have needed a bit of socializing right from the start. It might seem that Maz Whang didn’t, but his universe was turned upside down when we adopted him, as he’d grown up a full year with Sphynx siblings, and a couple other cats and dog.
To be wrenched from his home was traumatic, and the poor beastie gacked and crapped all over himself in the cat carrier on the way to his new digs.
We had to stop, clean him up and comfort him as best we could before driving on.
Sphynxes are social, but on their own terms, which aren’t always easy to decipher. They really are driven by the two related needs of warmth and sustenance, with much playtime in between.
Just like you test the warmth of a baby bottle prior to feeding, you have to ensure your hands are warm enough before petting Maz or he’ll recoil and dart away in shock and horror. I call this “ghosting” because that’s what his reaction makes me think of. We’ve said he’s been very good for Tito (and vice versa), drawing Tito out of his ‘goth’ period following Boober’s passing.
Finally, Tito was able to chase and play to his heart’s content with the streaker, losing excess weight in the process, and bonding with, well, an alien. Even Miss Jenny finds Mazuzu irresistible: both want to nom on Maz, who’ll leap straight up a couple feet in the air and maybe growl if a tooth racks his spine. Mmmmh. Baby back ribs…
Given Tito and Jenny’s “affection” for shoes, I suspect they enjoy Maz’ gym locker smell when it’s time to give him a bath. That’s usually a signal for us to drag him into the tub, but then they love the new cat smell just as much and are all over him again.
Affection? They have it. Tito tricks us into feeding him and leaves the food for Maz, knowing the alien always needs more. Smart Tito…
Maz grooms both Tito and Jenny when he beds down with either in the basket atop the computer desk, later gacking hairballs and meowing his discontent, but what can you do..? Jenny also grooms both, focusing on Maz’ ears in particular, an unexpected boon for us since Maz and Q-tips don’t mix well.
One of the biggest changes is something Maz started and Jenny continues: helping Tito find his voice. Because he never was very vocal at all, this watchful little thing which grew into a big cat. He now trills and coos and meows, although always in the higher pitch of a kitten. And it may be early yet to tell, but I think Jenny’s going to be the same. They both will always sound like kittens.
This may sound like a sign of arrested development but I prefer to think of it as a display of happiness, along with Tito’s joy at being picked up and carried from room to room for a few minutes, purring and discovering a new perspective on his world with wide eyes, rubbing his chin on our cheek as we do so. And Jenny’s happiness at going to sleep hugging my hand to her head, like a pillow.
Our two little feral rescues no longer have to survive on mean streets, they only have to romp and warm each other and their “cousin” from outer space.
Love is in the air and scarcely displaced by Maz and Jenny’s farts. It’s all good.
We have created a category. It’s called Boober’s 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
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.
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.