Posts Tagged ‘cats’

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Recently I was asked if I was ready for another cat, and I have to say that I’m not quite there yet. My memories still fill the house with cat-shaped holes. I see Neko around corners, on the stairs, by the patio doors.

So, not yet. But someday.

* * *

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Did we think about building an elevator for our elderly and arthritic cat? Of course we did! Here’s someone who actually pulled it off:

* Note: Our elevator design would have required an indoor vertical lift with weight-sensitive call functionality, so a little different. Still fun to think about though!

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Things we no longer need:

  • hangers on doorknobs so the cat isn’t trapped in a room
  • the scratching post in my office
  • the cat tree in the living room
  • the cardboard boxes strategically positioned in all the best kitty spots
  • the blanket on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed
  • the half-empty bottle of anti-inflammatories
  • the half-empty bag of food
  • to make sure we close the laundry room door
  • the chair by the best people-watching window 
  • to worry if I drop a bit of the brownies I made for the vet and don’t immediately pick it up
  • to mute the TV any time a crying baby appears
  • the cat bed by the fire

It’s sad not to have the cat here. That’s not so great.

But also? We had a friend over for lunch for the first time since the pandemic began. It was a fantastic festival of vaccinated friendship and exactly what we needed today. 

* * *

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

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One Final Gift

One fine summer day in 2006 Mr. Man came home from work and showed me a picture of an adorably tiny grey and white kitten.

Neko in 2006, in one of her rare down moments.

“You remember K, who lives on a farm?” 

I did.

“Their neighbor has a cat she hasn’t spayed, and a dog that likes to eat kittens.”

Well, that’s awful. What can we do?

“They’re forcing the neighbor to fix the cat so it won’t be a problem in the future, but she needs to find homes for a litter of kittens.”

I was pretty sure I knew where this was going. Mr. Man batted his eyelashes at me.

“Look at that sweet face.”

He was right, the kitten was adorable, bright, charming and full of energy.

Tintin could use some company, don’t you think?”

Neko and Tintin

We brought her home a few days later. Tintin was not quite as happy about the company as we had hoped, but we were right about her energy and intelligence. 

Neko was a catch-and-release hunter who never met a mourning dove she didn’t want to bring home to play, a fierce protector who growled at unexpected visitors, and while never a cuddler, she always wanted to be close. 

Was she smart? Oh yes. She led us to problems like leaking basement pipes and trained us to open the patio door on command, to build cardboard palaces, and to carry her up and down the stairs when they got to be too much for her to manage. 

The garden queen in her domain, 2013.

Last month we learned she had lung cancer, along with a rare complication called lung-digit syndrome that made it hard to walk as well as breathe. We consulted an oncologist, got new meds, gave her treats, and generally did what we could to keep her comfortable. We watched her energy and appetite wane. She lost weight. Stairs became a draining once-a-day event. Two days ago she stopped taking her meds.

* * *

For fifteen years we made her hunting blinds so comfortable she couldn’t be bothered to actually hunt, decorated rooms with blankets and fleece beds, and made sure we fed the birds year round so that there was always something entertaining out the windows. Whatever we could to make her life better.

Sometimes the only thing left is to make the end as painless as possible.

So today, we did that too.

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Let’s be honest, a lot of adulting is actually pretty ok.


Mr. Man: “Hey honey, want to have breakfast for dinner tonight followed by ice cream?”

Me: “Yes, yes I do.”

But other parts are not as much fun. 


Dr. Vet: “I’m so sorry, but it looks like your cat has about two months to live.”


Time to make sure those two months are as close to breakfast for dinner as possible.

Because that’s something else adults can do.

* * *

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I spend a lot of time online for non-writing-related work, and on the way to serious business I run across a lot of interesting things. It’s Monday, so here’s a calming fascinating visualization of The Internet and its growth from 1997 to 2021. (Actually, you know what? This isn’t calming at all. I updated the wording but now I’m worried this is going to give small children nightmares. Or maybe me. Still interesting though.)

For more on this, visit THE INTERNET — Opte

Look closely enough and you might see sledding pandas and cat videos and recipes and sales and news and art and perhaps even yours truly.

* * * 

Parts of the internet are pure entertainment and too many are just awful but others include useful lessons on How to Do Better.

You may remember my motto, A Posse Ad Esse.* I don’t always achieve this goal, but I spend a non-zero amount of time trying to Do Better. Find ways to be more productive, to end the day feeling like I crossed off, if not everything, then the most important things on my list. 

That’s been a challenge the past year or, hmm, so. That’s partly why I’m going back to writer’s guides like Swain. It’s also why when I run across articles about grit or new research on how to accomplish more, I take a minute and peruse.

Lately, I’ve found this recent research in Applied Psychology: An International Review helpful. (Ok, fine, I found this article and its summary of those results helpful. I don’t have access to that journal and honestly, reading every interesting scientific study would cut into my cat video time**;)

What did they find? That when working to accomplish something, it’s useful to ask yourself a few specific questions:

  • What’s my goal?
  • How would a person who is good at this achieve the goal?
  • How will I feel if I don’t do this?
  • What is the first (or next) thing I need to do?

It helps to take a brief break, a couple of times a day, to step back and revisit what you’re trying to do and what needs to happen next. And as “with advertising, repeated exposure was key.” So asking these questions a couple of times a day can help prompt a quick moment of self-reflection that (here’s the useful bit) actually leads to action. I have my Calendar app set to pop up these questions first thing in the morning. So far it’s been helpful.

Let’s try it:

  • What’s my goal? Write this post. 
  • How would a person who is good at this achieve the goal? Probably stop procrastinating and start writing, so that’s what I’ll do.
  • How will I feel if I don’t do this? Lame.
  • What do I need to do next? Open a file and start writing.

And look, here we are! Now I get to cross this off my list and go have lunch. Have fun getting things done today!

* * *

“A majority of life’s errors are caused by forgetting what one is really trying to do.”

— Charlie Munger

* * *

* My Latin is 110% terrible so this may not be exactly right, but it gets the point across.

** I don’t actually watch cat videos much, but it’s nice to know that I could.

* * *

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Maximum Dragon

Mr Man needed some distancing and max occupancy signs, so I had a little fun. Here are a few examples:

Moose, yes, dragon, yes, cat, heck yes, but two dinosaurs in one lab? What was I thinking?

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Catus Dyspepticus

Between staying up late and errands and a dyspeptic cat,* I’m behind schedule today. Hmm. A writer with no time to write. Must be time for a cat picture!

I love cats, and have since my very first. This is me with Oliver, a.k.a. Cat Number One(-ish, he’s the first I remember with any clarity). He was black as night and could jump from the floor to the top of a swinging door.

* * *

* She lost her lunch… everywhere.

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Cuddly Cozy Pew Pew!

Today seems like a cat sort of a day. We finally got a quality snowfall this weekend and have spent a decent amount of time inside by the fire. The cat approves. I’d include a picture if I could find her, but here’s a comic from xkcd for you instead.

Better hide the laser pointer;)

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