Monday, March 16, 2009

Reflections of Feline Friends

So I got to thinking about a roommate Spouse and I had a few years back. Before Son. We were renting an old, old house by Lake Minnetonka. That was when we had B.J.Honeycat and Baby Boy. That made me think about some of the cats I have known through my life.

Pletta was a kitten who was with me just a short time. She was mostly black, with white paws. She was with me when I lived with my sister, Lynahr. But my nephew was allergic and Pletta had to go right off. I still recall how she used to lay on my stomach or back (whichever was facing up at the time), kneed my skin with her claws and go to sleep. For an entire month I had perpetual scratches on both sides of my body from this routine.

BJ was probably the funniest cat I've ever known, although he wasn't the most fun. When we were living by the lake, he always wanted to go outside. He would try to dart past us when we opened the door. But he was such a coward we feared he would get scared and run into the fifteen acres of undeveloped land and be taken by one of the owls which hunted in the trees. So I came up with the clever idea of using a cat harness.

We had to buy three harnesses, because the first two were too big. BJ looked bigger than he was. All that long hair. Eventually, we got a harness that fit and put it on him. He was not keen about this at all. I snapped the leash onto the harness and began to walk. He resisted, but followed, walking in a strange, hunch over way, that made Spouse, Roommate, and me laugh. Then he would stop, fall over like Artie Johnson from an old Laugh-In episode and let himself be pulled along the carpet. So we never used it outside. Well, once we tried, but we got the same result. Eventually, our solution was to purchase $300 octagon screen house and set it up on the patio with a carpet under it. We put the cat stations in it and let BJ and Baby Boy roam there. They loved it.

Anyway, one evening we had guests for supper. It was a young couple I worked with. We had a nice evening and then they saw BJ trying to sneak by them on his way to his food dish. Someone, I don't remember who, thought it would be funny to show our guests exactly how BJ walkin the harness. We did. BJ took three steps, stopped, and fell over. End of walk. Everyone laughed.

Except BJ didn't think this was funny.

He had allowed it when it was just us who lived in the house. But he wasn't keen at having been embarrassed before strangers. It was three days before he would allow himself to be held by any of us. Try as we did to make up to him, he was p*ssed off, and he let us know about it.

Good ole BJ. He was probably the softess thing I've ever held. His fur was like down. And he had a nice, soft purr. (When he wasn't ticked off.) He didn't like the harness, though. Baby Boy didn't mind it. But we didn't think it was fair to have him outside while BJ had to watch. That's why we came up with the screenhouse solution. BJ loved the screenhouse. The wild birds would fly right to it. And the dogs couldn't reach him. Not that the dogs bothered him. He had whopped them when they were pups so, even as adults, the dogs were afraid of him.

We don't have the harness any longer, which is just as well. Knowing Firestar as I do, there would be no point in trying to put one on him. He would bite the entire time. And once on, he would bite the leash. There is no way he would tolerate a leash. But he's not nearly so keen on going outside. That's good, since we no longer have the screen house either. That went when we had the big sale a few years ago. He's content to watch through windows and screen doors. Much, much easier. And cheaper.
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4 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

We had harnesses for Bonnie and Rufus when they were little to get them used to the garden. They're allowed out now, even though that's scary for us. They come and go as they please through their cat flap. I don't think I could live with Rufus if he had to stay in: he'd be unbearable!

Bevie said...

That's the way BJ and Baby Boy were. They would pester and pester. So we gave them their screen house. It was a summer thing, though. They were both smart enough to want to stay inside when the weather was cold.

Firestar's not like that at all. At the same time, he doesn't get underfoot (much). What he likes to do is watch Son play. He does that for hours.

spyscribbler said...

Ohmigosh, Bevie, that's so funny! How did you get the screen house so that they don't go under the screen? Our cats would LOVE that.

BJ is adorable! And I know that embarrassment! My one cat got really upset when three of us laughed at her. She's very dignified, and she was not at all pleased.

Bevie said...

The screen house was meant to be staked into the ground. We put it at the patio corner so we could stake down some sides, and used bricks to hold down the rest. Since the screens were black mesh it gave them shade while allowing fresh breezes to blow over them. They would sit outside for hours, then cry to let us know it was time for them to come back inside.

Firestar might like a setup like that, but those screenhouses are over $400 now.

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Amelia - Nickname 'Bratelia' since she gets into every draw, cabinet that she can put her paws in.
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“She’s got tuna. I know she’s got tuna.”

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“Oh, yeah? And isn’t it you, my dear stripy sister Aliera, who keeps pushing the FEED button on the printer and waiting for tuna to come out?”

“That was when I was much younger. Anyway, she’s at the computer—yes, eating tuna casserole—so we can go into the bedroom and see if we can knock the window screen out.”
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“Will you GET OVER that fixation on her wristwatch?”

“I like the feel of the Velcro on my paws. Hey! That reminds me. We’ve been declawed. How are we going to survive as outdoor cats?”

“New plan coming up….”

“What’s the big deal about being outside cats? Even StalkerCat, who used to hang around and chat us up, is a house cat now and loving it. We’ve got it made—food, petting, toys, valet service for the litter box, and we get to sleep on her bed twenty hours a day. And we can stick our noses up to the window and smell anything interesting going on outside. Why ruin a perfect situation?”

“Sethra, have you no sense of adventure? No curiosity? No cattitude? We were meant to live wild and free, to stalk and slay our prey, to be mistresses of the night!”

“Look, we’re cats. We were meant to rule the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to WORK at it. You can if you want, but I don’t need to. After all, I’M beautiful!

“Did I mention she’s got tuna?”

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