Two years ago, I adopted a feral, three-pawed cat that was living in my garage. I put food inside the door into the house, and when the cat came in to eat–it was very thin–I pulled the door shut and trapped it. It was not happy, but there was a lot of designer cat food and clean water and an electric heating pad to sleep on and nobody hassled it–the dogs kind of shrugged and gave it space and I petted it whenever it came near but otherwise, the cat stayed in the back of the house and we lived in the front–so it just settled in. Then it started coming to the door of the bedroom where we were hanging out–me typing, dogs sleeping–and watching us, ignoring me when I patted the bed for it to join us, chowing down on all that cat food and bulking up (it’s a Maine Coon and they are not small by nature). And then one day, it jumped on the bed, curled up beside me, and purred. I called it Emily William, since I had no idea what sex it was, and Emily W. moved into the front bedroom with us and never left.
Emily turned out to be a cuddler. She likes sitting in the bay window during the day, examining the landscape for whatever, but at night she’s right by my side, bumping her forehead into my arm to get an ear scratch, putting her head on my pillow to touch her nose to mine, squirming her way between me and Veronica as we sleep. I’m used to dogs being cuddlers, but a cat cuddler is a new experience for me, a big warm thank you and a soft demand for me to pay attention to this relationship. Happiness is Emily William settling in for the night, and settling me in, too.
Mona Smith was a gift-with-purchase: We fostered her because she was the only other puppy Dachshund Rescue had when we got Lyle and then we couldn’t give her back, we loved her too much.
She was at Dachshund Rescue because some breeder had left her in a grocery bag at the gate to the rescue because she was the runt of the litter and had been born with no kneecaps in her back legs. That didn’t bother Mona much, she still ran wild with the other dogs and cuddled up at night, the sweetest dog that ever lived, and every time she looked at you she was smiling. She died in my arms Sunday night, and while I knew little poodles had a life span of thirteen to sixteen years, I did not see this coming. She looked at me, did this cute little howl twice, and went limp in my arms. It was devastating, but Mona was the best, and I’ll have her memory forever, and that’s some comfort.
I put Rosie in Crazy for You (and called her Katie). I put Wolfie in Faking It (and called him Steve). I put Wolfie and Milton in Dogs and Goddesses (and called them Wolfie and Milton). Mona is in the Riven series (as Muffin). And now, finally, the glamour girl of the bunch is getting her due. Veronica is in Lavender’s Blue (as Veronica). (Veronica was a sort of stand-in for Marlene in Fast Women, except Marlene was brown and a con artist.)
The dogs are pretty small, but the cat is very large, so that constitutes the necessary quorum for a three-dog night as we have finally dipped below freezing. I am tremendously amused by the pile of heat-radiating fur on my bed, all three all curled up together. (My asthma doc is less thrilled, but we’re talking quality of life here.) And of course it reminds me of “Joy to the World” and “Eli’s Coming” and “Easy to be Hard” and “Mama Told Me Not To Come” and . . . well, basically getting high in the seventies. Yes, I’m old.
Or dog. Rescue dogs are excellent, too. But right now, Emily is making me extremely happy. She’d been a stray for two years (I hadn’t noticed her) when my neighbor said, “You don’t want a cat, do you?” and I said, “You know, that would be a good idea.” So she told me about this stray cat that was spending a lot of time in my garage, and it turned out to be a three-pawed Maine Coon who might let you pet hero nce (so not feral) but mostly ran like hell any time I got close. Kathleen had been feeding her, but the neighborhood was a full of foxes and Kathleen worried . . . Continue reading →
I’ve always thought the enemies-to-lovers romance was a kind of bias-to-understanding story, close-mindedness to open, if you will. Which brings me to my bedroom.
A couple of months ago, I adopted a stray cat with only three paws but a lot of attitude (pretty sure she’s a Maine Coon). She was scrawny and wary and she had no idea what a litter box was for, but she needed a home and I had one for her, if I could just convince her to stay (and that the litter box wasn’t her bed).
After trapping her inside (she wasn’t amused) I won her over with expensive cat food and fresh water and a heated cat bed and she had the back bedroom all to herself so life was good. Then Krissie came to visit and the dogs and I had to get out of her bedroom and back into the summer bedroom with Emily. There were a few tense moments, but that’s all behind us now, probably because the dogs are very mellow (well, Mona is mellow) and Emily after months of good eating is now bigger than Mona and roughly the size of Veronica. And now when I sit in bed and look out at the tree tops of my back yard I have three roughly fifteen-pound pets snoring in harmony.
I live with two dogs and a drop-in cat. We all spend a lot of time snoozing. But sometimes the snooze turns into a snuggle, and I’ll wake up to find a poodle or a dachshund curled up against me like a furry hot water bottle, the soft thump of a little heart against my side. It’s the most comforting thing in the world, to gather another living thing to you and be glad that you’re together. I highly recommend sunggling for happiness.
Or cats. Or ferrets. Or goats in the streets. Birds. Bears who are not in my garbage. Pumas in crevasses. Nature cute in tooth and claw.
Hug something warm today. (Actually, it’s Hug an Australian Day today. We could do that. New Zealanders don’t need us, they already lucked out with Jacinda, but Australians have had a helluva year. Hug an Australian animal. We have several here on this blog . . .)