You Rock My World!

It’s laundry day #2, and I’m tackling the bedding in my bedroom.  As usual, my two faithful helpers have been ever-present, inspecting every detail and nuance of the process.  In stripping the pillowcases and sheets, and separating the down comforter from its cover to wash it, I had several typical cat reactions from Toby and Timba. The natives were restless indeed! Toby hopped from spot to spot on the bed to evade the “dangers” of me pulling and wadding sheets. Like a faithful “tree” kitty as opposed to a “bush” kitty, he hopped on the top bookshelf for a “safe” view of the ordeal.  Timba, on the other hand, was fully participative, white whiskers prominently displayed and pink nose at every turn. When I returned to my room from putting the bedding in the washer, Timba was sitting on the bare bed with the most bewildered expression on his face.

At this point I laughed, a good hearty one too, because Timba’s face said it all: You rocked my world!  And how true is it? The most minute changes cannot escape the attention of a cat.  And let’s face it, change is not something any cat is keen on. Environmental change can be intriguing at best and devastating at worst.  From the small things like changing the sheets, opening mail, bringing in groceries or new items in boxes, to the big changes like a trip to the vet and that ominous car ride, or moving apartments or homes altogether. Cats … do … not … like … change. It rocks their world!

But you know what? As much as we can rock the world of a cat in big and small ways alike, they also can rock our world.  Having once lived with a roommate where we peaked at 8 cats together, I have had plenty of time and opportunity to observe “cat nature” at its finest. It’s the little things that amuse me, the little things that delight me: the “eye blink” (or cat “I love you”) for example.  Now that I know that this is how cats communicate affection or acceptance, Timba and I regularly exchange affection in this endearing way. Or Timba’s paw bump to say “hey”, or tapping a paw from my side or behind me to say “gimme some love mom”, or Toby’s odd meow that is more like a prolonged “meh”, or Timba’s “Mike Tyson” high-pitched meow elicited from that big brutish body. From Toby’s sophisticated paw drinking method to Timba’s subtle eye and ear signals that say “you’re pissing me off human” (which I do intentionally quite often because it’s so darn cute and amusing), they rock my world.

The big things do as well, like the fact that I seriously considered getting rid of Toby to spare him from Timba’s early harassment phase.  Or the time that Timba chased a paper wad over the side of the bed facing the wall and suddenly went quiet.  He had gotten stuck upside down. I knew something was wrong, called his name, heard him struggle, and just as I lunged to rescue him he came struggling back up the bed and literally gasped for air for the longest minute or two ever. I can never forget that day, and about tear up just writing this. It was such a scare, rocking my world so bad that even a few months later when he flies over that side of the bed to chase Toby or toys I tense up and listen for signs that he’s moving on elsewhere, despite now keeping the bed a safe distance from the wall.

I love my two cats. I really do – they rock my world and have changed me. Life is better, my perspective is better, my heart is better. I’m so glad I can rock their world too, because the ways in which they react to it rock my world in turn, giving me moments of laughter I will forever cherish.

 

The Sweetness of Closeness

I must have really awesome feet, because the tootsies are Timba’s latest go-to spot. He used to sleep on the pillow beside me by my head, but for some reason he’s taken a fancy to the feet. He’s never done this before, and I’m curious about the switch up. Cats are enigmas though, so I basically better give up the motive analysis as far as that is concerned. I can only imagine that his motive is to be close, but still, my feet? It’s not like my toes have superior chin rubbing skills, and it’s not like the bony ankle area is the most comfortable spot to rest his face. I guess I shall have to ever wonder and be content with the sweetness of him being close.

The part I do wonder about, however, is the way it makes me feel when Timba does his little one-turn ritual before settling his warm body against my feet and stretching his chin or a paw across them. It warms my heart, perhaps more so than any other cuddling besides against or in the crook of my legs.  What is it about feet that is so touching and intimate? They’re feet! They’re often dirty or stinky (which mine aren’t, they are cozy and rosy according to Timba), and they are among the basest of body parts, literally and figuratively (I’m thinking foot in mouth syndrome here).

In early Christian tradition as well as cultures in that era, foot washing was practiced as a way to humbly serve guests. Sandals were the ‘in thing’ and dirt was in abundance, so it was an honoring gesture to offer water to a guest, have a servant do the deed, or more so to be the one to tend to the guest. In earlier Chinese culture, though not many generations away, foot binding was practiced.  If you’re not aware of this, than bite your lip in anticipation of this mental image: from an early age Chinese girls had their feet broken and bound, then broken and rebound, repeating the process to inhibit the foot’s growth so that the desired approximate 4 inches would remain her foot size for life.  Due to the stench of rot from the binding, perfumes were applied.  The scent of exotic perfume combined with the delicate manner of walking with malformed feet was considered erotic to men and highly desirable.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have my feet washed no matter how humbling that may be. And humbling it is, to have someone care for your feet. It’s amazing how many women are self-conscious or dissatisfied with their feet. Again I say, they’re feet! Maybe it’s intimate because it is humble? The sense that someone would touch your base and possibly smelly feet in such a tender or loving manner. That someone would care enough about you to figuratively stoop to the ground and humbly help you or declare their affection for you.

Maybe that’s what Timba is doing. In two years he’s never cuddled with my feet.  Maybe his sense of affection and loyalty has grown to that point. Or maybe I’m grasping at straws because it’s not like a cat can conceptualize the ‘humble factor’ of feet! Either way, it’s incredibly sweet, not to mention warm.  And a bit risky. He’s mellowing with age and growing in sweetness, but he still has the capacity to dole out a love bite now and then. And controlling my response to the tender tootsies having a sudden sharp pain would be a feat difficult to control.  A reflexive maneuver sending dear kitty flying might make him less prone to cuddle my feet in the future, and I’d hate to miss out on the sweetness of his closeness.

 

5 Careers My Cats Would Thrive In

Let’s face it – people who love their animals tend to anthropomorphize them.  We ascribe human characteristics and personality traits to our pets.  Maybe it’s a reflection of our inherent nature to connect and identify with the world around us, to see a part of ourselves in something other than ourselves. I’ve discussed this in a few of my posts, but most recently in my post Cats Mimic Their Owners. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t have some kind of anthropomorphic thought going through my head. I will see Toby or Timba do something or portray a facial expression and in my head or out loud I will say what I think they are thinking or saying. This tendency of ours is taking off in social media in the form of putting captions to photos and sending them off into cyberland to go viral.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my cats do and what they’re good at.  Pouncing on me and picking at the door when I’m not in the bedroom are at the top of the list, but number one is just being cute. Hey, I have to exercise a little bias every now and then! It didn’t take long to realize that, in true anthropomorphic form, there are several professions and occupations in which Toby and Timba would absolutely thrive if they were human.

1.  Masseuse: I used to have a cat named Grace who was hands down – or paws down – the best kneading cat ever. Minus the drool, massages from Grace were heavenly.  She was declawed so there were no unpleasant acupuncture surprises.  She would knead me several times a day, as much as I’d let her. The plus side? She knew how to spend time on her clients.  Sadly though, I had to find Grace another home.  Toby has never kneaded me or anything in his life, but some time after Grace was gone, it was as though he felt a need to fulfill that role. Now he employs himself regularly as my personal masseuse, and I have to say, he’s not too bad.  He’s no Grace, due in large part to his kitty ADHD. Just as I am beginning to enjoy the bliss side of Toby paws, he stops and lays down on me or springs from my body (aka his personal trampoline) and bemuses himself with something else. Sigh. Toby, if you want to succeed in life, you’ve got to not only focus on quality but quantity.

2.  Surgeon:  Toby would also be the surgeon in my little fur family. Well over 10 years ago a doctor diagnosed me as having a lipoma in my left side. It is a benign tumor of fatty tissue and feels like a big knot.  Oddly it seems to feel larger than at other times, and I think this has to do with intestinal pressure perhaps making it more protuberant. At any rate, Toby seems to have an affinity for locating this mass, and he faithfully encounters it when he’s occupied being my little masseuse. He takes his tiny paws, otherwise knows as drill bits, and digs them into the spot directly or sometimes around the edges of it. I could swear he’s trying to get that thing out of me. It is by far one of the most painful nerve pains I’ve ever encountered whenever he hones in on it. I’d love if my cat were a well-paid surgeon bringing home the big bucks for mama, but I just have one tiny suggestion for improvement: Can a cat mom get a little anesthesia before you dive in, Toby? Thanks! 

3.  Sumo Wrestler: This is where my big boy thrives. When Timba was younger he was a hellion to be around, that is, if you are a cat. To get the full picture of just what a piss-n-vinegar rascal he was, take some time after this to read My Cat, The Bully. He has mellowed out with a little age and probably with a lot of help from what we sensitively refer to as “the surgery” (aka neutering).  Timba now playfully interacts with Toby instead of harassing him into an all out Fur Fest. Timba has also gained weight, but he has a large frame so he doesn’t necessarily look fat, just large. So the times he tactically seeks out Toby, or the times that Toby foolishly seeks some fun with his now-only playmate, it’s more of a wrestling competition instead of a badgering boxing match replete with four sets of switchblades (when I don’t clip the nails, that is).  So if you were to visit me, it would not be an uncommon thing to see my sumo wrestler pinning my Tiny Toby, rolling around the bed or floor and squashing the “oomph” out of him.  Timba may have Thai roots as a Siamese cat, but he’s all Japanese warrior at heart!

4.  Detective:  While Toby exhibits the usual amount of kitty curiosity, Timba would be the official detective of my fur family.  Absolutely nothing escapes his attention. When something new enters the home, or when a noise makes itself known, Timba is on it like white on mice.  He’s also subtle, and this is a strategy necessary to thrive as a detective.  Timba moves slowly, not because of his size, but because of intent. It’s his best offensive trait and it wins him the prize he seeks, or a bunch of laughter from me.  I have a feeling that if I lived in the country where I’d feel safe letting him be an indoor and outdoor cat, I’d have more than the typical share of “presents” at my doorstep due to his sleuthful expertise. The downside to his investigative skill would be that he will inevitably find what he isn’t suppose to find and put it in his mouth.  I have managed to eliminate the rubber band and twist tie household risks, but God forbid I drop a pill or a piece of garlic when he’s watching.  It is a race to see who will get there first!

5:  Interior Decorator:  Both of my cats would definitely thrive at interior design.  They are creative in how they approach their environment and very astute observers.  Like I said, when something new comes into the home, enter kitty paws and noses for a full tactile inspection.  They move things around on me, and often for the worst.  At least in my opinion. I’m sure when the shelf they jump on (to window watch from) topples over they merely shrug and wonder when I’m going to put it back up for them. When the cat post tips over as they play ring around the rosy around my bed they just use my body as a post or springboard.  They also like to re-arrange the placement of their toys, which secures the accrual of new toys.  Five minutes after purchasing a pack of mice and balls they are all under the bed, where mama cannot and will not go.  I do delight in one particular arrangement, however.  Whenever I’m gone for a while, I come home to a pile of toys on my bed.  It always makes me smile to think my fur babies missed me and were wanting me to play with them.  And let us last but not least forget the one accentuation that all cat owners must endure: hairballs and spews.  Why, Toby, do you have to spew from the cat perch where it splatters so inconveniently?  Perhaps he’s a burgeoning artist?

So there you have it! What careers or occupations do you think your cat (or dog) would thrive in? Comments are open and welcome 🙂

 

My Two Cats Reached A Milestone

Whew! I got a little WordPress “trophy” in my inbox stating that My Two Cats has reached 100 follows. Whew! Why do I “whew?” Because it’s been a year and four months, and that seems like a small number for that stretch of time. But let me say, it’s actually a large number. I had blogged years before with only 1 follower and that person was my roommate! I gave it up because it felt so invalidating and I didn’t know how to attract readers. Maybe I still don’t.  Maybe Toby and Timba are my little magnets to gain the 100 of you who have so kindly bestowed upon me a little click of your mouse in the upper left hand side, or who have tolerated email messages from that crazy cat lady blogger.

So if my cats could talk, they’d be saying with me a big hearty Thank You! I have no idea how long it takes to build a followership and I can only hope that those of you who follow My Two Cats not only read posts but enjoy them.  That is the whole point. It may be “all about the paws baby”, but the heart of this blog is to reach people on some level and to connect with them.  To make people smile, laugh, resonate with antics, stories, and personal/life content.  I also hope that little “trophy” is something each of you have seen, no matter the number it applauds, because it lets you know, as it does me, that something is right. Somehow you and I have not only become writers who are read, but writers who are actually enjoyed by other human beings.

So hats off to you, my first 100! Hopefully when I reach another 100 and write another little celebration post you can stick your tongue out and say “ha ha, we were the first!”

I regard cats as one of the great joys in the world. I see them as a gift of highest order.” – Trisha McCagh

Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we’re here.” – Trisha McCagh, Stories from the Animal Whisperer: What Your Pet Is Thinking and Trying to Tell You

 

Cats Never ‘Get Old’

It’s Easter and I find what shouldn’t be happening on a day like today actually happening.  Easter is a fun day for some and a spiritually refreshing day for others, but regardless of either I find myself absolutely winded.  I don’t mean physically. I tend to be like my cats in this area and stick to a fairly sedentary lifestyle. I’m just bushed and drained in a way I can’t define.  Maybe Toby or Timba squished the oomph out of me too much while I was sleeping last night and it’s trickling down to deeper levels. Maybe forces unknown are interfering with me experiencing this fun and joyful holiday.

Either way I find myself tired and not ready to tackle the week, a sort of pre-Monday blues chords lazily making their way down the halls of my soul. It feels like another round of ‘things are getting old’ is about to hit.  Unemployment and fruitless efforts to find a job have lasted so much longer than I ever would have thought. I don’t want to look tomorrow. I don’t want to graze through endless results on websites and throw my energy and hope into filling out applications that will be tossed aside according to the norm so far. But I’m sick of the alternative.

So maybe I’m getting depressed … the sense of blah that overwhelms me and the tiresomeness of life’s daily grind and pleasures alike has cast their nets and snagged me good. I was even unable to fully engage with others tonight, and driving home I hit the fast forward button on my music a record number of times. Been there done that.  Same old song literally and figuratively. It’s a total sickness and I wish I could declare war on it, but the nature of this beast is to sap so thoroughly that the sense of defeat is good and ingrained.

I made it home but to flop almost immediately on my bed. With my cats.

Cats seem to never tire of the routine of daily life do they? Sleeping up to 18 hours a day never gets old.  Window watching, chasing toys and each other, jumping in and out of their one laundry basket, even being in the same room they need to be in for this life season of mine – none of it seems to get old to them. Greeting me every day never ages, never becomes boring and bereft of enthusiasm. Toby climbs up me every day, several times a day, and sighs that beautiful sigh of contentment as if it were new, as if it weren’t a drudgery he’s resigned himself to. And Timba gets on the bed and lumbers towards me, gently and slowly laying down near me, and sticks his paw out to touch me.

Things like these would get so old with people. That’s why marriages and relationships stagnate. What was once exciting and romantic loses it’s luster in the repetition. And yet, here is a repetition I surprisingly find not monotonous. This routine of my cats and with my cats is refreshing and sustaining. On good days it’s delightful and on bad days it’s comforting. I don’t know how I’d do life without them now. Hard seasons have had my number for years, and my two cats have been there with me in ways that people haven’t.  In softness and quietness, in playfulness and quirkiness, in waking or sleeping they are here with me.

Call me corny or a crazy cat lady, but they really are like best friends, like children.  They dwell in the part of my heart and soul where tiredness and drudgery cannot touch, where moods and circumstances and unknown forces cannot come in to steal the joy, peace, and comfort these simple little creatures impart.

I wonder if other people experience this with their pets? I hope so. Life can be a real boogar sometimes, and the best of inner and outer resources can fall short of provision in times of need.

So to Monday and another week of looking for a job I say “Bring it on. I may not have a set of boxing gloves to get back in the fight, but I do have two sets of paws.”

My Two Cats Gets A Face Lift

My Two Cats got a face lift the other day – a little cosmetic improvement courtesy of the new ability to adjust font and colors.  I like the new look I have, but feedback is welcome. If you follow me, you’ll see that I’ll play with the font and color from time to time, perhaps around seasonal times or significant things.  For example, April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, and it is represented by the color orange. I went “orange” on Facebook, but I’ll withhold it here as the month is nearly gone!

Other improvements which I hope are on the horizon include writing and content changes, such as being more relevant and consistent.  I apologize for my slump and gaps between posts.  Unemployment and a long season of financial struggle, whether employed or not, has really “had my number”.  I’ve joined the 2 week WordPress 201 class to learn how to be a better blogger, and I’m hoping that the experience will be a positive outcome for me and readers alike.  I love WordPress and the community feel to it.  I’ve tried other blog sites and they just don’t compare.

I’ve had more success so to speak through WordPress and the two blogs I have here.  I can’t say if it’s the timing, the content, or any number of factors.  However, I can say that the interaction between bloggers, and the support and involvement of WordPress employees definitely plays a role in how My Two Cats (and Coffee With Jesus) are viewed and received. It’s a great place to “hang out”, meet new people of an amazing variety of beliefs and interests, and a great place to share my two wonderful furbabies and life with them.

So I hope the new look is fun and inviting, and I hope that the changes that will unfold in time will come together to make a more enjoyable place for readers to visit and interact. I will also be updating pictures and pages, so be on the lookout for recent pictures of the lovely boys that inspire me and inspired the birth of My Two Cats!

Cheers to face lifts and growth on the inside and out!

Happy Grooming 🙂

Sara

Cats Mimic Their Owners

Type in the phrase “do cats (or pets) reflect their owners’ personalities” and you’ll get a number of articles that discuss that yes, they do.  I think about this every now and then when I catch my cats doing something that reminds me of myself.  For example, I like music and particularly rhythm.  One day I tuned in to Toby’s water drinking rhythm and found that it wasn’t the typical metronome of a lap. Nope. Toby was licking the water in triplets, which if you aren’t familiar, are in a rhythmic timing that sounds just like the word.  Tap your leg steadily, and for each tap say the word “trip-l-et”.  That’s the rhythm Toby always drinks to, humorously more pronounced on the pulse, or beat 1.

Crazy!

Another quirky similarity I see is in Timba, who is younger than Toby by a year and a half. I got Timba as a kitten and he was all piss and vinegar, truly a feisty Flame Point who prowled the apartment like a lion searching out who or what he could ‘burn’ with his flaming personality. In essence, he was, and still is an instigator.  Sibling rivalry exists because of Timba.  That is strikingly resemblant to my own childhood. I used to instigate my older brother and then run to my mother when he retaliated, thereby getting him in trouble. I was a little snot in that regard, just as I’m sure that this is the way Toby heavily regarded Timba, and may sometimes still do.

Another odd thing I notice with Toby is that he has strict preference on his snuggling posture.  When he climbs up me to rest in my arms, he always does so facing the left. He never sits in my arms facing to the right.  If I put him that way he squirms and protests until I switch him around facing the left, eliciting his cute little sigh that say “yes, all is right with the world now.”  In a similar fashion, I only lay on my right side when I rest.  I can hardly be on my left side for more than a few minutes until all is not right with my world, so I flip to the right and do my own little sigh.

While all cats seem to have an appreciation for subtlety, Timba has a much more pronounced interest in it.  I also appreciate subtlety and notice minute details and changes in the people or environment around me.  Timba is highly attuned to the slightest of changes.  One of my favorite things to do with him is to take his fishing pole rod toy and move it painstakingly slowly across the bed.  I watch him stare at it, eyes dilated and ears back, ready to pounce. If I scoot it across the bed quickly he hardly gives it a second glance. But throw subtle movement in and he’s intrigued to the nth degree, just like me.

So what habits or personality traits of yours do you see your cats or dogs reflecting? Please feel free to comment and share! Research shows there is a correlation, and personal experience for me does as well.  I’d love to hear your own humorous stories of how your fur-babies “take after you”!