I Bow To The Master

Our cat Sam as a kitten sitting atop a scratching post about to fall asleep at our house in Portland, Oregon on December 27, 2007. Original: _MG_6572.cr2

This picture of Sam is from his first week with us when he was still quarantined from Scout. He was too tired to play, but wanted to play too much to go to sleep. When he got like this, I’d lay down on the bed and then he’d climb into my lap and fall asleep, but then I couldn’t get anything done as moving would disturb him.

He reminded me of our dear departed Templeton. Sometimes when we were playing Crinkle Bag (his favorite game), Templeton would be so tired that he literally wobbled on his legs as he tried to stay upright, his head bobbing as he tried to keep his eyes open.

Sam seems to have at least one other of Templeton’s traits, as several times I’ve seen Sam climb into my chair if I get up to go get something. Templeton was the true artist when it came to chair stealing, often going so far as to lure me out of the chair in the first place and then doubling back to hop up into the seat and take my place, looking at me with the purest innocence.

At first I thought he preferred the one chair over the other in my office, but he’d do it with both chairs. Then I thought he just wanted the one I had warmed up, and perhaps there is some truth in that. Sometimes, though, I think he just wanted to prove who was the master.

As if I needed the reminder.

Happy Birthday Miss Scout!

Mountain climber

The queen of the house turned seven years old yesterday (March 25th). Her mother was feral and Scout and her siblings were born under the house of a friend of ours. She’s slept me on me just about every night since we brought her home. We definitely got the pick of the litter!

This picture of her is from May of 2001, her first month with us. I had a hard time photographing her at this age since she didn’t want to leave my lap when we were playing, but the scratching post gave me a good opportunity. I’d put a little furry mouse on the top and she’d come flying across the room and jump to the top to grab it. On this occasion she knocked the mouse off with her flying attack so it’s not in the picture.

A Moment of Grief

Our cats Scout, Sam, and Emma near our back porch on Sam and Emma's first time outside in our backyard

I had President’s Day off a couple of weeks ago and the weather was unusually warm, so after heading up to Ridgefield in the morning and working outside in the afternoon, I cleaned out the inside of the Civic and prepared to wash the outside. Realizing I had forgotten to replace the broken hose in the front of the house and with it too late to go hiking, I decided to let the cats out into the backyard for a little bit.

Scout is an old hand at backyard time, but it was the first time for Sam and Emma. I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to keep a close enough eye on both the kittens to make sure they understood that they were to stay in the yard, so I gathered them up and dropped them inside while I let Scout stay out a bit longer.

Turning from the door and seeing Scout alone in the yard I was overwhelmed with the thought that Templeton wasn’t there. A sudden wave of grief hit me and I was thankful Scout didn’t want to stay out long. The grief passed quickly, but it was so strong and so unexpected that I felt it physically long after. Every day during the warmer months, we’d go out back when I came home from work, so we spent a lot of time together there. Back inside, I was unable to concentrate on anything and eventually went up to take a bath and not think about anything.

The cats came up when they heard the tub filling up, they always look at me like I’m half-insane for intentionally submerging myself in water. They took turns sitting outside the bathroom door and sitting beside the tub, waiting for me to come to my senses and get up out of the water.

Emma and Her Bib

Our cat Emma with her mangled bib draped over her front legs, taken in February 2008. Original: _MG_9893.cr2

Back when we first discovered some bumps on Emma’s chest, she was rewarded with a trip to the vet and got the affected area shaved so we could treat it. She was also awarded this lovely bib to make sure she didn’t aggravate the area. This is what the bib looked like after two weeks, as you can see Emma didn’t think it quite the state of high fashion and often removed it on her own (the picture there shows the bib when new). I didn’t photograph the underside, even though it looked much worse, as some of that damage was done by Sam during their roughhousing.

Emma has been a rather shy subject so I’ve ended up with more pictures of Sam than of her. The only way I got her to sit still long enough for me to drape the bib over her legs was to play String with her (you can see the shoestring under her foot and trailing out of the bottom left corner of the picture). She stopped for a moment trying to figure out why the string had stopped moving while I moved the bib and snapped her picture. You can also see part of the shaved area on her chest.

The bumps went away with treatment and now we’re in the slow process of waiting for her fur to grow back.