The third and last class of John LeMasney’s course in blogging met last night.
It ended the course well, with technical tips for many things I will be trying to practice as I blog on. The course also did what it had promised: brought me (metaphorically screaming and kicking) into WordPress. I’m here, I’m getting comfortable, I’m even getting followers. TypePad will have to wait.
Not surprisingly, there was no homework. But despite all my complaining while posting the fifteen assignments on this blog, I’ve become rather fond of “Learning to Blog.” So how could I just stalk off without another word? Better to slip away slowly….
Fortunately, I have a request from Germany. A visitor has admired my photo of big Sasha and little Sophie in Learning to Blog: 2-4. (S&S are cats, if you haven’t seen the picture.) What a nice visitor. Except that she — I think she’s a she — asked for more cat pictures.
Now I would never call myself a photographer. Or even a cat lady. I’m a woman of many words who just happens to have two cats. But sometimes the man I live with says, “Look how cute they are! Why don’t you take a picture?” Which means I do have some (meaning quite a few) shots of our cats on the computer.
And so, dear walkingthecat ( my visitor’s blogging name), I’m glad to oblige. No repeat performances, though. This is my final go with so much “insert media” business.
The Tale (with photos) of Rudi the Cat
Once upon a time, my daughter-in-law — who is a very sophisticated and accomplished woman — saw a little mouse in the kitchen of the New York apartment in which she was living with my son and their two young children.
“I never knew she could get so upset about anything so small,” said my son. “She’s insisting we get a cat.”
My daughter-in-law has a British mother and a Scottish grandmother and fond memories of British shorthairs. So she didn’t want just any cat.
British shorthairs are housecats, expensive ones. As a rule, they’re not allowed to go out and get lost. My son therefore had to scout for shelter British shorthairs — a breed none of us, except my daughter-in-law, had ever heard of — with the persistence of Churchill. (“We will never give up!”)
And lo and behold a miracle! He found three-year-old Max. I will skip the part about where Max came from, as this is not his story. But let me assure you that no mouse was ever seen in that Park Avenue kitchen again!
When we came from Princeton for a visit and saw Max, the man I live with fell in love. I myself thought Max was somewhat cockeyed looking.
But, hey, that was the individual cat, not the breed. And he was endearing. Friendly, peaceful, quiet. Nice to have around the house now that all our children, the man I live with’s and mine, are grown and gone. Maybe, we thought, we should get our own Max.
We looked and looked. And looked. And finally caved. We called a breeder.
“I want a red kitten,” said the man I live with. (I myself didn’t really care — red, blue, white, whatever.)
“I have a red kitten,” said the breeder.
Her red kitten was Rudi. We named him after Nureyev, because he had such a terrific jump.
But while Rudi was growing old enough to leave his mother, the man I live with looked at many picture books of British shorthairs and decided that perhaps — despite the non-refundable deposit — he had been wrong. The ones called British Blues were the classic British shorthairs.
“Why not get two?” suggested the breeder helpfully. “I have a lovely little blue girl right now. They’re close enough in age to play together!”
The texts in all the picture books said that the best thing you could get your cat was another cat.
The little blue kitten was lovely. We named her Sasha.
Rudi loved Sasha. Sasha didn’t mind Rudi. They explored the house together. They played together. They slept together. Rudi wasn’t as clever as Sasha, but he was beautiful. I loved brushing him. And he loved being brushed. You could get enough hair off him for a whole other cat.
Rudi also loved to eat. Naturally, the more he ate the more he grew. He was big. Not fat. B-i-g. It became difficult for him to fit into any litter boxes that would fit into our bathroom. I have no photos of what used to happen because he didn’t quite fit, but you can imagine.
Despite all that, he remained beautiful. Whenever we were cleaning up bathrooms, or picking up objects he loved to knock down, or vacuuming up hair, we would tell ourselves how beautiful he was.
Sasha, on the other hand, was very smart. (For a cat.) Here she is asleep at my desk, exhausted by intellectual activity. (Watching the cursor on the screen while I surf the web is tiring!)
Then our two cats grew up. They weren’t little kittens any more.
And an awful thing happened.
I will summarize: It was a case of transferred aggression. When he was three years old, Rudi was frightened by a raccoon on the deck. Since a glass door separated him from the enemy, he attacked Sasha instead. After a few days she cautiously forgave him. But the next time something angered him, he did it again. And a month later, with tooth and claw, again. The last time he went after her, he caught her, and she bled.
They had to be kept apart. She was terrified, he was mystified, in between his spurts of rage.
Here they are at this stage of their relationship, in separate rooms.
The vets, all three of them, shook their heads gloomily. Medication wouldn’t really work in such a case. Rudi needed to be — as they put it — “re-homed.”
“Re-homing” means finding your cat another home. Giving him away. Rudi now lives with the mother of a Pennsylvania vet and three other male cats. He gets on with all of them, she says. She’s sent me some photos. He doesn’t look unhappy, does he?
But oh, it was hard to let him go, despite his messes. He was beautiful! I took some pictures to remember him by. Even — don’t laugh! — a picture of his tail. (Bad picture, beautiful tail. I loved brushing that tail!)
Now Sasha was Queen of the House!
Suddenly, she was demanding this and that. It was miaow, miaow, miaow all the time!
The best thing you can get your cat is another cat. Right? Then she won’t always be pestering you.
Enter Sophie. (The price of a new Blue kitten had gone up $300 since Sasha, but what can you do?)
How did it go?
Four days of hissing from Sasha. (No maternal feelings at all!)
Followed by sniffing and smelling and sniffing and smelling.
And then? Wash, wash, wash. Lick, lick, lick.
S & S had become a family.
Apologies to all non-cat-lovers.