Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hello all, this is how I spent my Christmas holiday:

Doesn't that look fun? Good, 'cause it was! I have so many fond memories of Christmases in America at Popo and Gung-Gung's house, because there was always a Christmas tree and lots of present to roll around in, and lots of ribbon to play with, so here's a picture of how I liked to peek up under the tree when Popo lived in Toledo, Ohio:

And here's Gerald playing with Popo and some ribbon when she lived in Harbor Springs, Michigan:
I find myself missing my brother Gerald an awful lot at holiday times like these, because he and I would have special romps around the tree, and we'd bat at the ornaments together, and we always got presents like new toys. But holidays are times to be happy, not sad, so I'm going to enjoy remembering Gerald when he was at his happiest, and for me that will be the best Christmas present ever.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Green vomit

It’s been four weeks now since my brother Gerald died, and why am I still counting the days? I guess it’s because I still think about him all the time and expect him to come bouncing around the corner to try and steal my kitty space, and I miss the fact that he doesn’t, which is why I’m sitting in the dirty laundry today, which used to be one of Gerald’s best kitty spaces.

My tummy didn’t feel well these past few days and I lost my appetite and decided to show my displeasure by vomiting up some watery green stuff (as one does), so guess what? I got to go back to the vet AGAIN and the kitty doctor checked my digestive system and said I had no blockage, and she took my temperature (and you can guess where she put the thermometer!), and she checked my eyes and my ears and my heart, and then she gave me a shot (not fun!) because she said that I might have a touch of gastro from the other medications I had to take this past week, and the shot would relieve any stomach spasms, and she said I had lost a little bit of weight but was otherwise fine. All together, I HATED IT! But when I got home, after a while I got fed some special easily digestible food (called i/d) which I LOVED so I tucked right into it. I’m fine now, and we kitty cats get these kind of tummy upsets every now and then; and I remember a couple years ago I had a tummy upset just like this, and Gerald told me that we kitty cats are the experts at barfing, and I should practice my aim, so when I was sick at that time, I waited till Daddy came home, then I went into the bathroom with the tile floor that’s difficult to clean, and I vomited a huge spray of greenish-brown bile all over the floor, just so Daddy would notice (and he did!). And he took me to the vet that time too, and gave me the special i/d diet back then too, and I got better real fast.

It’s only four more days until Christmas, and tomorrow is the summer solstice here in Australia, which means it’s the longest day and the shortest night of the year, with 14 hours and 47 minutes of daylight here in Melbourne, and I’m not sure whether to be happy or disappointed, since Gerald often told me that kitty cats are night creatures, which is why we sleep during the day and creep about the house at night to peer out the windows and keep the evil spirits away and say hello to any angels that drop by, and it was Gerald who taught me how to look for angels at night, and although I’ve seen more bugs, I have seen a few angels, but I’ll never say which ones, since that’s one of my kitty secrets. So Gerald never liked the summer solstices because it meant the least amount of night time for him to creep around in. But I like the summer solstice because I like looking out into my garden at all the pretty flowers, and I like having more daylight hours to sleep in!

Daddy finally put up a Christmas tree with all his favorite ornaments (many of them from Sesame Street), but my favorite ornament is the sled that says “I Love My Cats,” so here’s some pictures:

I don’t know what Daddy plans to get me for Christmas, but I hope it’s a toy or kitty treats or yummy kibble, or even catnip, and it better not be another trip to that vet!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Glow-in-the-dark Cats?

It’s been just over three weeks now since my brother Gerald died and I feel a little odd about counting the days because it doesn’t really change the fact that he’s not around, and three weeks seems like such a short time and yet it feels like a long time, and being a kitty cat, I enjoy having all the attention to myself and I like being able to be in al my own kitty spaces without having to share them, but I do get lonely sometimes, and I suppose that’s normal.

Uncle Kevin found this news article on-line about some scientists in Korea who are cloning kitties who glow in the dark, and I think to myself, “Leave it to humans to invent cats that they can find in the dark! Don’t they know that cats don’t want to be seen in the dark?”

Visit URL http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071212/ts_afp/healthscienceskoreacloning

It reminds me of the time when we were living in Ann Arbor on Lawrence street, and there was a power failure, and Daddy’s neighbor knocked on the door to borrow a flashlight, and of course when he opened the door, I went out, but nobody saw me, at they didn’t notice I was gone for a whole half hour, and then Daddy and Aunty Beth panicked and grabbed a pair of flashlights and looked for me all around the neighborhood, and Daddy kept saying, “How do you find a black cat in a power failure?”, and they searched for me for over an hour, but of course I was hiding the whole time and I never told anybody where I hid myself, and when I was ready I came back to the front door of our apartment and just waited until Aunty Beth came back and stumbled upon me, and she said, “Oscar! Where have you been?”, and I just grinned, and when I got inside Gerald was very jealous that I got to have such an adventure, because he was always even more adventurous than me (like the many times he snuck into our upstairs neighbors’ apartment in the house on Catherine Street, or the time he hid in Joel’s room in Harbor Springs for over three hours and no one could find him). But if you clone cats so that they glow in the dark, that ruins all the fun! Daddy remembers when he took Gerald to get radiation treatment for his thyroid problem all those years ago, and we joked that Gerald might glow in the dark afterwards, but that was just a joke; but these cloned kitties really do glow in ultraviolet light, and that’s crazy!

And speaking of crazy, I’ve been going a little crazy after Daddy started giving me that yummy kidney diet food, and those antibiotic pills twice a day, because I started getting diarrhea and a very wet poo, so I had to go back to the doctor AGAIN to be poked and prodded, and I was so scared they were going to stick a needle in my bladder again, but they didn’t, but they did give Daddy another yucchy medicine to give me, and this one is for my diarrhea, and I just hate it, but at least I stopped scratching my ear and the infection has started to go away. But Daddy doesn’t give me my favorite kitty treats any more because the pet store can’t get them imported until after the start of the new year, which is making me crazy! Isn’t there an Australian company that can make decent cat treats?

Daddy says that Christmas is less than two weeks away, and I remember lots of Christmases that we used to spend in Toledo, Ohio, or Harbor Springs, Michigan, and Gerald and I used to love sitting under the Christmas tree and playing with any ornaments we could reach and watching the tree lights twinkle on and off, and we would sit in the windowsills and look out at the snow and the ice; but here in Australia it’s so different, since it’s hot and dry at Christmas time, and Daddy hasn’t even put up a tree this year since there’s not enough room for one, but at least Uncle Kevin put up some Christmas decorations and some lights, and here’s a picture of them:

I don’t know what Daddy’s going to get me for Christmas, but you can probably guess what I want—KIBBLE! Or kitty treats, if the pet shop can find them. Or a new feather toy that I can play with. And knowing my luck, I’ll just get a new collar that I won’t even like. Here’s a picture of me and Gerald from a few months ago, and you can see what my old collar looks like:

I'm not saying that I wouldn't mind a new collar, but you know me, I WANT KITTY KIBBLE!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Yucchy Visit to the Vet

Here I am, sitting in the window of our flat, and Uncle Kevin says this picture makes me look like a monkey, but I keep telling him that I’m a kitty, not a monkey! But he thinks I’m adorable, which makes me happy.

It’s been exactly two weeks now since my big brother Gerald passed away, so today Daddy took me to the kitty doctor to check on my general state of health, and I freaked out when he took out the carrier cage because I remember the last time Gerald left the house in his carrier cage and he never came back, so I did NOT want to go into my carrier cage, so Daddy practically had to push me into it, and so I meowed and meowed and meowed and meowed in the hopes that someone would let me out, but then Daddy carried me to the vet and once I was there I did NOT want to be let out. And while I was waiting at the vet, Kofi, the resident kitty cat, came over to sniff me and tell me that everything would be OK, but I wasn’t interested in listening; and a blonde Labrador retriever came out of the examination room, and even though he was very well behaved, I thought to myself, “oh no, not another dog!” and I did NOT want to be let out of my cage. Then finally we went into the examination room, and the kitty doctor pulled me out of my cage, and Daddy helped hold me while the doctor shaved the base of my tail AGAIN to take my blood pressure, and here I had spent all those weeks growing my fur back to hide my “shame,” and now he went and shaved it again! And my blood pressure was quite elevated when he measured it, and wouldn’t yours be if you went through everything I was going through? And then the doctor lifted me to listen to my heartbeat, and I wiggled and tried to say “Let me down!” but I was too nervous to meow. And then he turned the lights off and shined a thing in my eyes to see if the backs of my eyes indicated anything about high blood pressure, and luckily my eyes didn’t look bad, but it wasn’t over yet, since next he looked at my teeth (or what’s left of them, and I started thinking, no, don’t take any more out!), and then he noticed my ears where I’ve been scratching myself a lot lately, like this:

and the kitty doctor saw that I’ve scratched my left ear so much that I got a secondary infection, and he also noticed wax in my ears, so he put a yucchy liquid in my ears, and I HATE having liquid in my ears, so I shook my head and knocked the bottle of liquid off the table, and then I shook my head again when I knew that he was standing right over me, so I aimed that awful liquid right into his eye (serves the doctor right for doing all this stuff to me)! And then he took a needle and gave me a shot of an anti-inflammatory, so I wouldn’t feel like scratching myself more, and I wanted to say, “Are we DONE yet?”, but he wasn’t, because he stuck another needle in my bladder to take a urine sample, and then FINALLY he let me go and I ran into my carrier cage. But the doctor said that my urine was more “diluted” than it was a couple months ago, which might indicate a kidney problem, so he told Daddy to put me on a kidney food diet, and also to give me antibiotics for the next ten days for the infection around my ears. And he said he’d send my urine to the lab for another test, but I wasn’t listening at this point, I just wanted Daddy to take me home! So at long last Daddy took me home and gave me some of the new kidney diet kibble, and I love it! It tastes so great that I scarfed it down, like this:

and I even used my paw to grab the kibble and move it closer to me in my dish! And the antibiotic pills were tasty too, so even though having yucchy stuff in my ears was just awful, at least I got some tasty kibble out of it!

Uncle Kevin sat with me all afternoon while Daddy was at work, and then later they both went to the Emergency Vet Clinic at the airport for one last time, to pick up Gerald’s ashes, since Daddy had hired the Australian Pet Cremation & Burial Service people to cremate Gerald, and they delivered his ashes in a little wooden urn to the clinic where the nurses still had Gerald’s cage and blanket. And Daddy and Uncle Kevin were a little weepy when they brought the ashes home, but then they found a nice place on the shelf for the urn, after they let me approve of it:

Then this evening my doggy friend Asta dropped by with her Mommy Louise, and I’ve seen Asta lots of times, so I just sat down on the floor and stretched out and let Louise tickle my belly, then I walked over to my kibble dish and ignored Asta. Gerald was the one who used to run around with Asta whenever she would visit; but for me, when it comes to dogs, I show my affection for them by ignoring them.

Then I decided to take my evening nap, and where better than some nice clean sweaters?

Uncle Kevin had washed and packed up all his sweaters so that he could store them in the closet during the hot summer, but I said “No, not until I bless them!” and so that’s what I’m doing, since no sweater will store well unless it has come black kitty fur mixed in. That’s another lesson I learned from Gerald, since almost every article of clothing that Daddy owns has some Gerald fur on it!

I miss having Gerald around to share the simple kitty things, like sitting in laundry together, or looking out the window together, or competing for the Kevin Pillow; and as the days turn into weeks and will soon turn into months, I have lots and lots of fun memories to make me feel like Gerald is still close to me. But every time Uncle Kevin or Daddy walks by my kitty tree, I coo at him to remind him that I’m still here to give kitty love, and Gerald would be very happy to know that we’re going on as a happy family.


Friday, November 30, 2007

All About Oscar...

Hello again, Oscar here, and I’ve been lounging in my kitty tree all day. I thought I saw my brother Gerald’s ghost a couple nights ago when a neighborhood kitty came by our window, but it was just Banjo, or at least that’s the name we give him because we don’t know what other people call him. You remember on one of my previous blogs I mentioned Gauguin/Tiberius who was another ginger kitty who used to walk around outside our window but he passed away about two years ago, but then another kitty started coming around and we called him Banjo:

and as you can see he’s what we call a “longhair orange marmalade” kitty whereas Gerald was technically a “shorthair yellow tabby” and Gauguin was also a yellow tabby, so if you ask me, there are far too many ginger cats in this neighborhood and not enough black ones! And because of that fact, I thought I’d devote today’s blog to all the things you don’t know yet about me, Oscar the black kitty.

Did you know that I’m polydactylic? I think that makes me sounds like some kind of dinosaur that flies, but what it really means is that I have extra toes on my front paws, which means I have “mitten paws,” so Gerald used to say that I had big feet which is why I play the feather toy so well since I have a super strong grip on things if I use my thumb. So here’s a picture of mitten paws:

And here’s a picture of me playing feather toy today, although for some reason the camera made me look like a devil cat:

And did you know that I’m technically a “medium hair” kitty? Gerald was a shorthair yellow tabby, and my friend Banjo outdoors is a longhair kitty, but I have “medium hair” which means it’s not long enough to look like I have a moustache, but it is fluffy enough that I shed a lot and when Daddy brushes my fur he manages to take a lot off me. And Uncle Kevin says that he’s always thought my fur was some of the silkiest fur of any kitty he’s known and that was a nice thing for him to say since he knows I’m very vain. And my hair sheds so much in the summer that Daddy sometimes has to feed me cat laxative to make sure that when I groom myself, the hair doesn’t get stuck in my tummy, and I love the taste of the laxative because it tastes just like honey, but Gerald never liked it and Daddy would put globs of laxative on Gerald’s chin or on the roof of his mouth or even on his leg so Gerald would have to lick it off, and of course Gerald always felt so humiliated.

And did you know that I can see in the dark? Actually, all cats have superior night vision, but many are the times when Daddy would wake up in the middle of the night to use the potty and he’d leave the lights off and he’d see me batting something on the floor and he’d ask me, “What are you playing with?” and Daddy would look and look and he couldn’t see anything so he’d turn on the lights and he’d see that I was playing with the tiniest little bug and Daddy would shake his head and wonder how I could possibly see something like that in the dark, but Daddy doesn’t understand that God gave us kitties extra-special vision at night time so we can drive away all the evil spirits and welcome all the angels that come by our house at night.

And I think I told you a few blogs ago about my teeth and how the kitty doctor removed two of my teeth about five weeks ago, but here’s a picture of what my teeth looked before they got removed, and wasn’t my left canine tooth beautiful?

And did you know that Gerald and I are very different lap cats? Even though we both love to sit in people’s laps, Gerald liked to sit on round soft tummies like the Kevin Pillow, and sometimes people would hold him in the crook of their arm lying on his back, so he looked like a little kitten again, and when he was happy he would purr and drool, and many times he drenched the Kevin Pillow in his drool, and if he was especially happy he would nuzzle his nose or the side of his cheeks against the person’s chin, or he would lick and gently bite Uncle Kevin’s beard like this:

But I’m different, and I like to sit on people’s thighs, or on Uncle Kevin’s chest, so I prefer a harder surface to cuddle on, and when I’m happy I knead things with my paws, and even if my paws aren’t touching anything, my little kitty toes will still stretch and wiggle because I’m so happy, and I don’t usually drool or bite things, but I do purr and I wag my tail sometimes.

And did you know that I can sleep with my eyes partly open? That’s another thing that Gerald taught me, since when kitty cats sleep their eyes shouldn’t completely close, just in case a yummy bug or birdy comes running by. Here are some pictures, and can you tell that our eyes are just slightly open?

And did you know that Uncle Kevin wrote a song about me when he first met me? It goes like this:

Oscar the kitty cat
He’s such a kitty kitty
Oscar the kitty cat
He’s such a puddy tat
He’s black and he is fuzzy
He’s goofy and he’s funny
Oscar the kitty cat
He’s such a kitty kitty

and I love it when Uncle Kevin sings the Oscar Song to me, because I’m so vain, and I love the attention; but Kevin never wrote a song for Gerald, and that’s probably because Gerald was so enigmatic and it was hard to capture his personality in a song, whereas I really am black and fuzzy and goofy and funny.

And did you know that I speak German? Or at least Daddy thinks so, because ever since I was little, Daddy would call me his kleines Kätzchen or his süsses Kätzchen or his schwarze Katze and I always knew what he was talking about. But Daddy is weird and sometimes speaks to me in Latin and sometimes in Ancient Greek and sometimes in Italian and even in Russian and I just meow, “Yeah, whatever.” But Daddy remembers learning conversational Russian and one time the teacher asked him a question but Daddy didn’t know what the question meant but thought it had to do with liking something, so he answered in Russian, “I really, really like cats…” and the teacher went, “OK, that’s interesting,” and later Daddy figured out that the teacher was probably asking, “What do you like to eat?” but for weeks Daddy’s favorite phrase in Russian was “I really, really like cats.”

And did you know that Gerald and I were both baptised? It was at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was right across from where Daddy lived with Aunty Beth, and every year on St. Francis of Assisi Day they would have a blessing of the animals, and St. Francis’ feast day is always October 4, and in 1997 when I was 2 ½ years old it was on a Saturday, and that was the day when Uncle Kevin and Daddy took me on my leash to go just across the street and there were all sorts of dogs and cats and other animals gathered on the lawn, and we met a long-haired Persian kitty named Princess Lydia, and the priest took his aspergil and sprinkled holy water on all of us while the people spoke a liturgy, and that’s how I got baptised (or technically, I guess I was blessed). But Gerald had gotten blessed the year before, in 1996 (when St. Francis of Assisi Day was on a Friday), when Gerald was already three years old, but I didn’t get blessed at the same time as Gerald, since I was still a kitten at that time, and I guess they decided it would be too difficult to handle both of us at a blessing. And St. Francis has always been our favorite saint because he preached to the animals, and here’s a stained glass window of St. Francis that Daddy found on the internet, from St. Teilo’s church in Bishopston in the U.K.:

And did you know that there’s a St. Gerald, who was a Frenchman who lived in the late ninth century, and his feast day is October 13, and he’s the patron saint of bachelors and of handicapped and disabled persons. But as far as I know, there’s no Saint Oscar yet, so maybe I can become the first!
And did you know that I’m named after another black cat named Oscar? People often ask Daddy whether I’m named after Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, and Daddy always says no (although at first he was considering naming me Grover, after Grover Monster), but in fact I’m named after a black cat named Oscar that Daddy used to help cat-sit when he was a teenager, and the original Oscar belonged to a Mrs. Manuel who was a friend of Popo. As for Gerald, Daddy says he always liked the name Gerald ever since he read Gone With the Wind which has the character Gerald O’Hara.

Gotta go now because the sun is going down and it’s time for my evening bath where I lick myself all over before my midnight kibble. So I’ll sign off for now and write some more tomorrow.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

When Gerald Was a Kitten

Hi, Oscar here, and I’ve been meowing a lot all this morning because everybody was sleeping late and no one was paying enough attention to me because I wanted a drink of water out of the tub but Uncle Kevin had his orchids in it and so Daddy gave me a drink from the sink but that’s not the same as a drink from the tub so I meowed and pestered until Uncle Kevin finally got up and moved his orchids out of the tub and gave me my drink but then he went outside to get coffee and Daddy was still sleeping and no one in this house has figured out that I’m the master of this house now and it’s not my job to go where Uncle Kevin and Daddy put themselves but it’s their job to put themselves next to me which is what they finally did in the mid-morning, so here I am sitting in my kitty tree ready for my mid-morning nap and Uncle Kevin and Daddy are both sitting next to me working on their computers which means they’re exactly where I want them.

And yesterday evening I meowed a lot because no one was paying enough attention to me since Daddy went into the office this morning and Uncle Kevin went too which left me alone for the morning hours and when Uncle Kevin came home in the afternoon I needed to be served so I meowed and meowed and Uncle Kevin decided to starve the poor little black kitty and waited until Daddy came home at 6:30 p.m. to feed me my dinner and I was about to perish from starvation even though my dish already had leftover kibble in it but that was the morning’s kibble and I wanted new kibble and I especially wanted some of that leftover turkey and when Daddy came home he finally gave me some turkey but then he had a turkey sandwich of his own so of course I had to jump into his lap to get some more turkey but for some strange reason Daddy doesn’t want me to sit on his lap while he’s eating so I had to wait a whole fifteen minutes before Daddy let me lick his plate and I swore I was going to die of hunger again while I was waiting but finally I got my fill and then I meowed for a drink of water from the tub and Daddy was actually listening to me this time so I got a nice drink.

It was Gerald who taught me how to drink from the tub because Gerald always used to drink water from the sink when he was a kitten but he stopped doing it when he got older, and in fact Daddy says there was a lot of kittenish behavior that Gerald grew out of but that I kept doing because I was always the little brother. So for today’s blog I thought I’d remember all the things people have said about what Gerald was like as a kitten before I came around, and I’ve seen the pictures so I guess I have to believe them.

It’s difficult to summarize a kitty cat’s life on a blog because kitty cats don’t have careers like people do, so I can’t say things like Gerald went to school at such and such a place or began his first job at such and such a time or worked for such and such a company or got such and such a promotion or wrote a book or sculpted a sculpture or starred in a film or those kinds of people things; and Gerald never got married and never had children and never even took care of his own parents the way people do. But then I’m a kitty cat writing this blog, so those kinds of things don’t really matter to me, either, since what’s most important in summarizing a kitty cat’s life are the memories of all the joy and laughter he brought to others, and an appreciation of his character, personality and temperament, because Gerald was a very proud cat and very different from me, and the more you can understand how special a cat it, the better.

It was September of 1993 when Daddy went to the Humane Society in Toledo, Ohio, with Aunty Amy to choose Daddy’s very first kitten and he wanted a black kitty like me but there were not black cats there that day and he chose Gerald because he was an adorable ginger kitten that had been picked up as a street cat and Daddy fell in love with him when he first saw him. And they gave Gerald a flea bath at Popo’s house in Toledo then drove to Daddy’s house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and took Gerald to the kitty doctor for his first check-up and the kitty doctor said Gerald’s teeth were about four months old so they counted backwards and decided Gerald’s birthday was May 2 which was easy to remember because it was the same birthday as one of Daddy’ favorite teddy bears named Pebe, who looks like this:

This means that Gerald’s zodiac sign is Taurus, which means he was bull-headed and stubborn, which definitely describes him. And when Gerald first came to Ann Arbor he had ear mites, which is not unusual for kittens that are street cats, so Daddy had to put a yucchy sticky medicine in Gerald’s ears for a few weeks and Gerald always hated it. And Daddy lived with Aunty Beth and Uncle Brian and Aunty Sarah they all spoiled Gerald a lot and loved to play with him, but Gerald always loved to sleep right next to Daddy every night even though Daddy had bought Gerald a special basket to sleep in. And Gerald had his front claws in those days so he had his own scratching post but also loved to scratch the legs of Daddy’s chair and tore the upholstery to shreds. And when Gerald was about six months old they took him to the kitty doctor to get “fixed” but the receptionist at the vet forgot to tell Daddy not to feed Gerald on the morning of his operation, and Daddy did, so when they got to the vet, they said they couldn’t fix Gerald that day because he had eaten, so they had to take Gerald home again and kept saying, “Well, Gerald, you get to keep your nuts for a little longer,” until finally a few days later he went back in and this time he didn’t get fed anything in the morning so he came back from the vet the next day as a castrato.

And Gerald was very naughty as a kitten since one time he knocked over a lamp in Daddy’s room and the porcelain base broke into lots of little pieces and the lamp didn’t even belong to Daddy but it was a really ugly lamp and Gerald had impeccable taste so I say it was a good thing he got rid of that lamp but Daddy wasn’t happy. And Gerald loved to chew on plants but Daddy wasn’t exactly strict about it because he actually bought Gerald his very own fern plant to do with whatever he wanted, and this is what Gerald did:

and the fern only lasted about two years until one day Gerald knocked the whole plant off its place on the refrigerator and that was the end of that fern. And Gerald loved to chew things including the feather toy and Daddy had to be very careful when playing feather toy because Gerald would get the string in his mouth and keep chewing and one time he had almost swallowed the entire string before Daddy noticed. When Gerald was a kitten he liked to explore things so Daddy would sometimes put Gerald on a leash and try taking him for a walk in the back garden or down the street and Gerald would always walk very slowly and sniff out every corner or stop and chew on grass and it wasn’t like walking a dog at all, because dogs will follow their owners and heel, but kitties like Gerald just go wherever they please, and it’s people who heel to their kitties. And Gerald also loved to walk on his leash in the Michigan snow:

One good thing about Gerald was that he didn’t like people food but stuck to eating his dry kitten food and one time Daddy tried feeding Gerald some cooked shrimp but Gerald threw it all up because it was too rich for him. Gerald never really liked catnip either, so Daddy used to joke that Gerald was “saying no to kitty drugs.” So Gerald never really bothered people while they were eating, with the exception of one food that Gerald went bonkers for, and that was onion rye bread from Zingermann’s bakery, and whenever Daddy ate some Gerald would come running from his hiding spot and climb on Daddy’s lap and beg for some bread.

And did you know that Gerald knew how to read? Or at least he tried to read when he was very young, according to this picture:

Yes, Gerald was quite an intellectual kitty, which explains why he always climbed on Daddy’s desk whenever he was trying to study or jumped on Uncle Kevin’s lap whenever he was working on a bunch of papers because of course Gerald wanted to see what everyone else was reading; and he even helped Daddy print things from his computer, because of course Gerald wanted to proofread it first:

And Gerald liked to watch TV too, and one time Daddy had a special video tape for kitty cats which had scenes of squirrels and bugs and mice and fish, and Gerald would sometimes climb on top of the TV and lean his head over the screen and try watching the video upside down, but in the end they played the tape so much that it broke, so Gerald preferred watching cooking shows, and I myself prefer soap operas:

And when Gerald got to be over a year old he stopped a lot of his kittenish behavior and started pretending he was Mr. Independent by hiding in his special kitty spaces all day, and he would disappear for hours and everyone in the house would be looking for him and he’d usually be in Aunty Beth’s closet hiding behind her sweaters or he’d be in the very back of the kitchen cupboards sleeping behind the pots and pans or he’d be behind Uncle Brian’s computer, and a couple times he even got out the door that joined our apartment to a communal laundry room, and he’d run upstairs and get into the neighbors’ apartment, and the neighbors would knock on Daddy’s door and lo and behold they’d have Gerald in their hands.

And one time Gung Gung took Gerald to church because Gung Gung was a minister and one time he was giving a guest sermon at Home Acres Community Church in Toledo, Ohio (which might have been called Home Acres First Church of God back then) and he used Gerald for show-and-tell during the children’s sermon which was all about “bad habits,” but how God forgives us and loves us even if we have bad habits, just like Daddy forgave Gerald if he did something bad. So Gerald sat on a pedestal in the chancel of the church for the whole sermon and was very proud (but it helped that Daddy was holding him by the scruff of the neck so he wouldn’t run around).

And then in May of 1995 Daddy and Aunty Amy went to the Humane Society in Toledo, Ohio, again to try to find a black kitty, and they found me, and the woman who raised me aid I was exactly 2 months old, so they decided my birthday was March 17, which makes my zodiac sign a Pisces, which means I’m supposed to be shy and indecisive and little clueless, and I guess that does describe me, what do you think?

And I’ve told you all about how Gerald taught me everything I know about being a cat, and I sure do miss my brother Gerald because he was always good to me and as soon as I came along he mellowed out and let me be the rascal while he became the responsible older brother, and Daddy says I’ve never stopped being a rascal. But let’s not forget that Gerald was once a rascal, too.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I learned from my brother Gerald

Pardon my sleepy look but it’s been a very long day. Daddy was really sleepy this morning and he didn’t notice that I was pawing him for my first breakfast so it wasn’t until about 4:00 a.m. that I managed to persuade Daddy to get up and feed me and then I decided to wake him up again at 5:00 a.m. for my second breakfast which is earlier than I usually do but he didn’t give me my drink of water out of the sink but I decided he needed his rest so I watched the sun rise about 5:45 then waited for Uncle Kevin to get up at 8:00 and he gave me a drink out of the sink and third breakfast and then a drink out of the tub and then a second drink out of the tub and then I got half an hour on the Kevin Pillow and then I was finally satisfied so I decided to wake up Daddy and when he was finally up and about around 9:15 I meowed for my mid-morning snack and he gave it to me because he said he wanted me to be a good boy today because he had a lot of work to do since he decided not to go into the office today because he still feels very sad after Gerald died and doesn’t feel like talking to anyone yet, but he has a lot of paperwork to finish at home and I get to keep him company all day and if I eat now then I won’t pester him later, and so on, but I said, “Just shut up and feed me!”, and when I finished my snack I licked my paws and got ready for my morning inspection of my garden.

And while I was inspecting my garden, I started thinking about all the things my big brother Gerald taught me, and in my last blog I talked about the night that he passed away, and that was five days ago now, but in this blog I think I’ll talk about what a great teacher my brother Gerald was because he taught me all sorts of important kitty lessons. The first thing Gerald taught me was how to lick my fur all over, or what people call “grooming,” because it’s very important to keep one’s kitty fur feeling tight and comfortable and all in the right place, otherwise we kitties will catch a draft, and I think that’s why when Gerald didn’t lick himself during the last two weeks of his life, that was a sign that he was so ill. Here are some pictures of us licking ourselves:

Gerald taught me how to lick my paw with my tongue and get it all wet and then stroke the back of my head so I can clean the spots I can’t reach with just my tongue, and here’s how Gerald got his paw ready:

but I still could go ahead and use my tongue for fixing my belly and my legs and my tail and my little kitty butt. Daddy says cats look really funny when they lick themselves because they can reach places on their bodies that humans can’t reach on theirs, and I always think, well, how would you like it if your body was covered in fur and you didn’t have movable thumbs and no toilet paper, Daddy? In any case, grooming is one of the most important things for a kitty because it keeps us clean and healthy and means that humans don’t have to bathe us as much as they bathe dogs, but I have to admit sometimes people can catch us unawares:

And then of course brother kitties need to lick each other, because sometimes Gerald could see a part of my fur that wasn’t quite right, so he’d reach the spot that I couldn’t reach:

Another thing Gerald taught me was how to insist on attention from people, and I think I’ve learned that lesson and developed it into an art form because I wake up Daddy at least twice each morning for my breakfasts and he always obeys me. But Gerald explained that meowing doesn’t accomplish very much because people are so used to hearing noises like TVs and alarm clocks and cars and sirens going by and other strange sounds that they tend to ignore kitty cats, especially if they have meows that sound like alarm clocks, so the best way to get attention is to just crawl on a person’s lap or chest, especially when a person is lying in bed trying to sleep or sitting in a chair working on a laptop computer or reading a book or otherwise ignoring us, and if kitty cats are insistent and put themselves right in the peron’s way, then we get noticed:

and if that doesn’t work, we should stick our tail in the person’s face and keep it there for a long time as if to say, “Do you like my furry little kitty ass?” until the person says something like, “OK, cat, you win,” and then we’ll get a massage or a treat. And Gerald said that if the person is stubborn and just makes us get off their lap, then we should sit right next to him, preferably behind him, and tap him on the shoulder with our paw, and it works best if we lick our paw and make it wet and stick our paw on the person’s neck where the clothing doesn’t cover it, or we can sneeze on their neck, or if nothing else works, we can lean forward ever so quietly and bite the person’s earlobe with the gentlest kitty bite, just enough to annoy them, or we can lick the person’s hair with our tongues, or purr really loud and try to act cute and adorable, and that usually makes the person cave in, and this was especially true of the Kevin Pillow, so here’s some pictures of us after we finally managed to get into the Kevin Pillow on some nights when he was resistant (and as all kitties know, resistance is futile):

And Gerald taught me how to sit up like a proud cat which means sitting on our back legs and pulling our front legs up straight so we look very regal, and he called this “the Bastet pose,” and when I asked what that meant, Gerald told me that in ancient times cats lived in Egypt where there was a cat goddess named Bastet who always sat like this, and a proud cat always takes a Bastet pose when he’s thinking deep thoughts, and every once in a while I would have a deep thought and I’d try sitting in the Bastet pose too, but Gerald was better at it than I was:

And Gerald taught me how to sit in the sun and he said that cat fur is designed to sit in hot dry weather because all our ancestors used to live in the burning sands of Egypt where it’s very hot and dry, and there’s nothing more fun than sleeping in a nice warm sunbeam, and that even though my fur is black and gets hot in the sun, I wouldn’t burn because if I groomed myself right then my fur would deflect any bad sunlight and I had no idea what he was talking about but to this day I love sleeping in the sun even though it does make my black fur very hot to the touch. So here are some pictures of Gerald sunbathing:

And Gerald taught me how to take catnaps in all sorts of different places and body positions, but one of my favorites was with my chin on my paw, which was one of the very first he ever taught me, since he said it was good for the air flow to the lungs and the blood circulation and it made us look especially cute:

Gerald taught me how to yawn like a cat, which is different from the way people yawn, because people usually yawn when they’re talking non-stop and they run out of air, or they yawn at night when they’re feeling really sleepy, and so yawning is just something that happens when their bodies are feeling a certain way, but for kitty cats, yawning is another art form, and we yawn to show our superiority and to demonstrate that we haven’t a care in the world, and sometimes we yawn because there’s a moth flying around or a birdie outside the window and we want the moth or birdie to think that we don’t notice them, so we yawn to give the impression that we’re lazy and that makes it easier for us to pounce on them later (but of course I never succeeded in pouncing on birdies because I’m an indoor kitty and I always bonked my head on the glass door whenever I tried to pounce on a birdie that was on the other side of it). So here are some pictures of Gerald and me yawning (before we had our teeth out):

And Gerald taught me how to explore anything and everything that’s new, especially at holiday time when people like to put up decorations, and of course that means ruining our kitty spaces, and Gerald said that people have no idea of how important it is for cats that their kitty spaces remain unchanged, because kitties are creatures of habit, but sure enough people will put a Christmas tree right in a kitty cat’s favorite corner without asking the kitty cat’s permission, and then they’ll start baking turkeys or cookies or other yummy foods for the holidays without thinking about how it will drive us kitties crazy because of course we deserve to sample some. And every year when Daddy or Popo would put up a Christmas tree at their house, Gerald would have to inspect it like this:

and Daddy and Popo learned not to put garlands or breakable ornaments at the bottom of the tree because Gerald and I would always play with them and we were very good at teaching Daddy that there was no point in saying, “Now Gerald and Oscar, don’t you play with the glass ornaments,” because all Gerald and I would ever hear was, “Blah blah Gerald and Oscar, blah blah play with the ornaments.” Because honestly, if people are nice enough to leave toys at the bottom of a tree, of course we’re going to play with them! And one time at Popo’s house in Toledo, Ohio, Gerald grabbed a hold of the garland which Daddy forgot to hang up high, and he held it between his teeth, and he ran as fast as he could and pulled the entire Christmas tree crashing to the floor, and then he let go of the garland and ran as fast as his little paws could carry him up the stairs to the bedroom…or was that me, oh dear, it might have been me that did that, but it was so long ago that my memory is selective…anyway, here’s a picture of Gerald doing something similar in Daddy’s house a long time ago, when Gerald was only 1 ½ years old, and that was even before I was born, but Gerald didn’t pull the tree down:

And here’s a picture of Gerald under the Christmas tree at Popo’s house that same Christmas:

And now it’s time for my dinner and I’ve been such a good kitty cat all afternoon, I didn’t bother Daddy once while he worked and worked at home all day, so now I deserve some of that leftover turkey from the Thanksgiving meal, and if I don’t get any, I might just have to put some of Gerald’s lessons to the test and put my furry little kitty ass in Daddy’s face to get his attention.