Till Death Due Us Part

On the wings of the WordPress class awhile back I find myself doing the exact opposite of the class goals: posting infrequently and irregularly. I really respect those of you who commit to regular blogging regardless of what life brings your way. If you’ve read My Two Cats recently, you’ve seen that unemployment has had my number and has been a source of irregular posting. I tried to change it, and right when it was taking a turn for the better, life happened again. Or rather, death.

My stepdad passed away in mid-May, and writing became insignificant in the light of that. Instead, I walked through grief with my mother and reflected on the ‘writing’ of the life I’d known for 22 years; on a marriage that lasted until ‘death due us part.’ It is a rare thing these days – commitment.  Relationships of any kind are under attack by culture. We’re a throw-away society.  We upgrade things and upgrade people. We downgrade people. We remove them from our lives because we’ve succumbed to the rhetoric of positivity.  If they can’t serve the purpose of fluffing our ‘happy place’ pillow, if they make us uncomfortable by expressing the hardness of what they may be going through, then we cut loose the strings.

People miss out on people that way.  People miss out on the richness of life and getting to really know someone. If they only knew  how much they are short-changing themselves because of their premature disconnect. Life is messy and so are people. But I say ‘look longer’.  ‘Dig deeper’.  You don’t stand in a museum and hastily move from picture to picture. You don’t find gold by scratching the surface of the dirt. And you get neither the life transformation nor the treasure if you walk away too early.  Commitment, perseverance, determination … these are what yield the true nature of a thing, the obscured value.

I guess that’s why I love my cats so much.  I’ve taken the time to observe them. I’ve persevered through Timba’s terrible biting phase when most people would’ve tossed him to the shelter. He is my cat ‘soul mate’ now, and I would’ve missed out on the gift of who he is had I reacted the way society shapes us to react. I also could have missed out on the gift of Toby. I thought of getting rid of him due to Timba’s early harassment phase.  I thought Toby was so lovable he’d get a great home, but Timba such a hellion that he’d die in a shelter. I honestly considered keeping the difficult cat to spare him, and painfully parting with the well-behaved cat to likewise spare him. But I stuck that out as well, and for over a year now they have become the best of pals and would grieve the loss of each other probably as much as the loss of me.

Commitment. It doesn’t make me cringe. It makes me smile, because it is worth it. I smile that I’ll have my cats until death do us part. I smile that my mother had her husband until then. I hope you smile at the ones in your life you’ve committed to keeping around for the long haul. And I hope that reading this in some way strengthens your own sense of ’till death due us part’, whatever your connections and relationships may be.

Advertisements

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

 

Yay, A New Blog Award!

Thanks to Playful Kitty http://playfulkitty.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for The Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  I have read that it’s a combination of the Very Inspiring Blogger and the Versatile Blogger awards.  To be honest, the best part about receiving this award is that I’ve discovered a great blog in Playful Kitty, along with a bunch of other cat related blog connections!  I can’t wait to dive through some of these blogs she follows and see what other cat lovers are meowing about 😉

The Rules of Receiving Award:

Display Award Certificate

Announce Your Win With A Link to Whoever Nominated You

Present 15 Or So Others With the Award & Comment On Their Site You Have Done So

Post 7 Interesting Things About Yourself

So in following the rules of the award, here are some blogs I really enjoy (in no particular order) and think they deserve an expansive readership:

In a S(k)nit http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/47893707/

horseofthesun http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/57300882/

Voices In His Head http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/36745882/

Post-It Happiness http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/43985573/

The War In My Brain http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/42477402/

All Those Small Things http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/30222809/

The World’s Top Ten of Anything http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/44388558/

7 Things About Mwa:

  1. I love African music and culture and cherish my friendships with them
  2. Hence, I love the African djembe and will someday buy another one and NOT sell it in a bind, and continue with local workshop drum fun!
  3. Ok, so I love all cultures and wish I had money to travel, but I have the gift of having many international friends and acquaintances here in the U.S.
  4. I have another blog called Coffee With Jesus http://neonfish76.wordpress.com/ that is on the more serious side but hopefully as enjoyable to others as My Two Cats
  5. I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY which is probably why waterfalls are one of my most favorite things in all of nature
  6. I hope to someday be a published author
  7. My top two “love languages” are “words of affirmation” and “quality time.”

There ya go friends! Thanks again to Playful Kitty’s nomination and to all of you who enjoy My Two Cats.

Love to ya;)

Getting Back To The Good

Remember the blanket I referenced a few posts ago … the soft $7 throw blanket that screams “me” that has cats lounging in front of a bookshelf?  Well, said blanket is of course the property of my two cats.  While all new things entered into a home (from groceries to shopping items to the bags and boxes they came in) are fair game for immediate cat inspection, it is anything soft, fuzzy, and warm which becomes the express object of and sole use for cats.  I may as well have bought it for them rather than for me, because their day and night nap spot at the end of the bed is on this folded up heavenly cloth.

If some of you know me, or have read my early posts, you know that I once lived in a 6 – 8 cat home with a friend.  Grace was the oldest, at 5 years of age, and was the designated kneader of the cat clan.  Having moved to a new location with my two cats, eventually Toby fell into the position of household kneader.  To be honest, I’ve only witnessed kittens and middle to older aged cats knead.  It’s as though the first few years of life are so busy living cat life that the early days of meditative flexing of the paws went forgone and lie dormant.  So at age 2 to 2 and a half, Toby has remembered this luxury of long ago and several times a day finds himself zoning out on my side while giving my cushioned tummy a thankfully-light-on-the-claws massage.

I have yet to see Timba reach back into his youth and display this precious feline behavior.  Until now.  Until the uber soft throw from Walmart.  For the past week I have caught him pawing at the blanket in a unique way.  He is tentative and hesitant, like a wobbly baby taking first steps, or someone trying to walk for the first time after a long period of injury induced muscle atrophy.  It is the cutest thing.  There is a look in his eyes, an expression on his face, that is searching.  Little kitty wheels of memory spin furiously and if he could talk I know he’d be saying “I know there’s something I’m supposed to do with these paws.  Something I used to do a long time ago, but I can’t quite remember. I know it was good for sure, but, hmmm… kind of nice when I flex and squeeze on this squishy thing.”

Yes, Timba is in the beginning stages, at the age of 1 year, of remembering days gone by.  His blissful youth spent kneading his warm fuzzy mama and drinking the milk that only mama made best, are starting to resurface.  He hasn’t fully engaged in kneading yet, which is fine by me.  His rediscovery is so comical and endearing that I hope he continues to paw cutely at the blanket with that perplexed expression on his face for awhile.  Also, while he is my youngest, he is definitely the biggest.  He is a big boy indeed, and him on my side digging those weighted paws into my stomach and ribs would be more like a brutal beating than a sweet massage.

The thing I love about the act of kneading is that it takes a cat back to the good old days.  They zone out and sometimes drool in this blissful state of nostalgia and enter a state of complete comfort and relaxation.  I think it’s good to get back to the good.  People do it all the time when they reflect on good days gone by.  Remembering people and experiences of the past bring our hearts warmth and affection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if pleasant reminiscing has the same biological effect as exercise does with its endorphins.

So the moral of the story is, go ahead and get your blankey, cuddle up on it, and flex your paws in remembrance of something good in your past.  There’s so much going on in life, both good and bad, that we forget the wealth of good tucked away in the far corners of our mind.  Bring a few treasures out this week and let them love on you and give you good cheer as you navigate the now.  Take it from a cat, it is definitely a worthwhile exercise.

A Round of Apaws

I had a happy surprise the other day.  A fellow blogger gave me a round of apaws and nominated me for the Inspiring Blogger Award.  A huge thanks to OwlMcCloud for giving me such a positive form of feedback and validation.  Thanks to all of you who read my blog and a special thanks to those of you who follow my blog.  I hope to inspire people with laughter, life, and love through writing about life with cats.

I’d love for you all to visit another inspirational blog, the one who nominated me: http://ourcloudlounge.com/. With gorgeous nature pics, quotes, and uplifting content, you’ll see why Cloud Lounge is a great place on WordPress to hang out.  Thanks again, and without further ado I honor the process of this Award and let you know about other wonderfully inspiring bloggers in this happy little community.

Inspiring Blog Award

Blog Award Rules

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

 Seven Things About Me:

  1. I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY, hence my love of waterfalls and water in general.
  2. My favorite season is Autumn, for its beauty, inspiration, and time of reflection.
  3. My first childhood kitten was a gray cat I named Todd.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to get rid of him.  Now I have my gray cat named Toby, whom I’ve had since he was a kitten.
  4. My greatest fear is not death, but life without lasting purpose.
  5. I love 80’s music, which is why I have had keyboards and synthesizers over the years.  I am currently without one, but the next one will be a Korg Workstation so I can record songs and burn CD’s for my loved ones.
  6. My favorite musician is the legendary Blues man Taj Mahal.  Seeing him in concert was my first Bucket List item, which I savored every minute of in October 2012.
  7. If I had the means to travel, it would be along the entire western U.S. coastline, to Ireland, and of course to Africa.

Nomination of Other Bloggers:

  1. http://thephoenixaria.wordpress.com/(A true inspiration chronicling the journey of surviving and even thriving through abuse)
  2. http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ (A blog that has other awards posted, and for obvious reasons!)
  3. http://beasone.org/ (A sweet spirited lady with versatile blog content)
  4. http://allthosesmallthings.wordpress.com/ (An international youth’s blog with enjoyable outlook and insight)
  5. http://mistergkids.com/ (An incredibly talented cartoonist’s blog, who’s love of teaching children is the adorable core content of his art)
  6. http://theverybesttop10.com/ (The first blog I followed and still one of my favorites, this man posts Top 10 lists on anything and everything.  I always walk away with a laugh or a smile or a sense of amazement)
  7. http://aldrinray.wordpress.com/ (Positively incredible photography blog, this man has an incredible and unique eye for capturing life)
  8. http://espirational.com/ (A blog dedicated to inspiring through short blog entries, quotes, and more)
  9. http://hikingphoto.com/ (Another amazing photography blog capturing some of the most amazing places, selling of prints available)
  10. http://urbanwallart.wordpress.com/ (An amazing art blog, there are just no other words)
  11. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ (If you want to learn how to let go and live life, go here. This lady is living 100% and chronicles her travels and adventures with words and photos)
  12. http://idolanuel.com/ (Having an inspirational, very insightful blog himself, I nominate this last one because he was my first “like” on my first post of this new blogging journey.  It inspired me that someone actually liked what I had to read, so I kept writing!) 

As I’m new to blogging I am 3 nominations shy of the rules.  Dolly Parton said if you obey all the rules you miss out on the fun.  I’ve got a lot more fun in store on WordPress and can’t wait to discover more blogs and connect with some fabulous peeps.  Until then, it’s time to grab a book, find the kitties, and give them some celebration treats 🙂

Five Reasons I Love Cats

Anyone who loves cats could think of an enormous list as to why they are so lovable. Cat nature + cat quirks + cat individuality = a whole lot to love and enjoy.  As I sit here writing this, Timba is faithfully propped in front of me, his warm body a barrier between my chest and the keyboard.  He does this everyday, and is now starting to do this with my new roommate.  So I’ll kick this post off with reason number one.

  1. Cats are constant companions:  Wherever you are, there they will be. The kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom.  On a couch, in a chair, at the computer. Making breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Always when you’re opening a can of tuna, and always when you’re reading a book.  I love that Toby and Timba sleep with me every night, alternating who gets the best spot.  I laugh when they follow me to the bathroom to strut all over the place, grab a drink at the tub, or chase the TP when I drop it.  If  I close the bathroom door they still need to be with me, even if it’s only their nose and whiskers or their disembodied paw under the crack.  And when I am outside on the patio, at least one of my cats sits bewildered at the glass door wondering why he can’t reach me.
  2. Cats know how to “be”:  Many years ago I had an epiphany that I have since embraced, and occasionally must remind myself about. We scurry about life always doing things.  When we’re not doing things, we’re either worrying about doing things or planning about doing things.  One day I realized that “doing” is not really our primary function in life.  If it were, we’d be called “human doings.”  Instead, we are called “human beings.” To me this is a phenomenal life shaping concept. My greatest joys revolve around the simplicity of being.  Just being with a friend fills my heart, the beauty of enjoying each other’s presence and interaction without the distraction of task or entertainment.  My best relationships are those that I spend much of our time together just being. Cats are pretty much the same.  They do like to play, but the majority of their time is spent sitting, lying, or sleeping with each other or their humans.  They know how to enjoy being by themselves and with others. Long before I ever thought about “being”, cats had it down to a tee.
  3. Cats have no agenda:  Cats have a relaxed posture towards life.  They are easy-going and take life in stride one day at a time .  When a cat wakes up, there is no agenda for the day.  Whatever comes a cat’s way is what a cat does. Spontaneity reigns over structure and routine, which thankfully isn’t detrimental for them.  Unlike people, cats also don’t dictate matters or relationships.  They have no pet peeves, pedestals or soap boxes. They aren’t agenda focused, whereas people sometimes push their agendas so much that they leave little room for anything or anyone else.  I’d rather drop agendas and not miss out on life, love and happiness.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have beliefs and convictions, or that I’m not passionate about certain issues.  It just means that I’m not an agenda advocate, placing a topic, issue, or circumstance above the value of the lives in front of me.
  4. Cats love pleasure:  There’s probably not a being or creature on earth that doesn’t love pleasure.  It’s a God-given gift that our brains were wired to derive pleasure from a variety of senses.  What I like about cats, however, is that they interact with what gives pleasure.  Pleasure is a reciprocal thing with cats.  When you pet them they bump and lean into your hand, they rub your leg, or whatever object is in your hand.  Books are a favorite for the cats that I’ve had.  You would think that the sharp corner of a book was the most divine sensation ever according to my cats.  Even paperbacks seem luscious and satisfying.  Everywhere they go they find something to rub against for the sheer pleasure of it.  Yes, they are marking their scent, but much of this is done to explore and experience new textures and sensations.  Although they use their whole bodies in search of delight, cats most often use the sides of their face.  I absolutely love to cup a cat’s face in my hands and rub their fur backward, stretching their skin in the process. Every single cat I do this to loves it, and every one of them looks ten times cuter.  I can’t say the same for humans, and if I tried this on people I’m sure I’d find myself in a sterile padded room experiencing a cat’s worst nightmare: sensory deprivation.
  5. Cats bring laughter & healing:  All cats are funny, and none are more comical than when they are kittens.  I love to raise a cat from kittenhood to get the most out of their antics and histrionics.  I also love seeing those same things resurface later on in a cat’s life, because I love the reminder of youth.  There are hordes of toys on the market to help our feline friends remain frisky, entertaining us even as they are entertained.  But it’s not necessarily the toys.  It’s how cats respond to toys, or anything in their environment.  Timba is cheap when it comes to thrills.  His favorite toy is a paper wad, which he fetches like a dog.  He also pants like a dog, which gets me rolling.  A quirk about Toby is how he runs ahead of me in anticipation of being petted in my bedroom.  The way he darts his scrawny little body with his tail straight in the air, curved at the tip like a question mark, tugs on my heart-strings and tickles my funny bone. I have to laugh out loud as I imagine his thoughts in the process: “Run ahead of her, stop, wait.  Look to see if she’s coming.  Run ahead of her, stop, wait.  Look to see if she’s coming.” I laugh so much with cats in my life.  If laughter is the best medicine, I am definitely on the road to wellness.  I have read several articles on how the companionship of cats is therapeutic.  I’ve also read articles that purring is speculated to stimulate bone growth and getting well, which is why cats sometimes purr when they’re sick.  I have often thought about the soothing effect of petting a purring feline, and I think the speculators may be on to something.  Whatever it is, my life and my outlook on life has been enriched because of cats.

Come Out of Hiding

At the start of my blogging journey I wrote on New Beginnings, as I’d recently moved into a transitional arrangement while waiting for my new apartment to become available. Alas the time has come and gone. Moving weekend was this past weekend, and boy what an exhausting endeavor.  I pushed my limited body to limits I may not have experienced since my 20’s. 

After about four hours of moving on Friday, and nine grueling hours on Saturday, I packed up the kitties in their respective crates and took them and the litter boxes last.  This time Toby was the quiet one on the ride over and Timba meowed that deeper sorrowful-sounding meow that only car rides can evoke.

They both were somewhat prepared due to the hustle and bustle that occured over the weekend.  Cats always notice when something in their home is new or out of order, and there was a lot of shifting of items on the weekend.  On Saturday they both hid under the kitchen cabinets as more and more things disappeared, maybe knowing that they somehow would also disappear.

Hardly able to bend anymore after moving, I stooped to get Timba and crated him without trouble. However, I didn’t realize how big he’d gotten since he was last in the crate. Actually it’s a pink bag – perhaps an affront to male kitties, but better for me than the leopard one or the expensive one.  With Timba looking like Shaq stuffed into a Prius, a la Paris Hilton, I turned to stoop for Toby. I had to use his tail to help gather him because he’d lodged himself in the farthest corner of the shelf possible.

He made nary a sound as I stood up  holding him. I had to laugh at his fear-induced submissive posture. Not only was his tail tucked completely under, but his entire body had curled in such a way that no matter how long I held him there he stayed firmly in the shape of a large grey “C”.  Poor poor Tobias.  My scared little guy, fearful of change.

I must remark that he has adapted better to this move than the temporary move a month ago. He actually came out of my bedroom Saturday evening and a little on Sunday. However, Sunday was a bit of a push on my part, as I closed all the doors so he would have to remain in the living room. That may have been premature, because he has since then been in hiding, last seen darting under the couch.

Toby didn’t sleep with me last night even though I kept my bedroom door open. This morning he was nowhere to be found, so I tried coaxing him out with a cheerful “treat, treat!” but to no avail. I was, and still am worried. My darker side and imagination have given me a case of the “what ifs”. Did he run out when no one was looking? Is he sick and unable to move? Will I assume for a few days that he’s under the couch, only to have my heart sink perilously at death’s first odor?

How I wish Toby weren’t hiding again. I was so happy to see him acting normal Saturday night, being himself. My heart delighted in each trip to my bedroom, for there was Toby eager to greet me, jumping on the bed, belting meows, beseeching me for affection. Yet how sad I am since he’s been in hiding. I love my Toby Bear, I miss his precious being, who and how he is. And here is where I began to think and feel deeper, about the topic of hiddenness.

I was once in hiding, on the inside. After 32 years of life and gradual coming out of myself, I exited hiddenness fully when I opened my heart to God. How delighted he was that I was out in the open, out of the dark cabinets, corners and couches of my inner world. He who loves my being – who and how I am – was happy to see me in the open being who I am. Not hiding, but shining, sharing, blooming, and becoming.

I know that I’ve hidden off and on since that experience, and I also know that God cheerfully calls me out just as I called “treat, treat!” for Toby. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Isolation and self-inversion are fear-based, protective behaviors. But when we overcome hiddenness, not only do we experience being known, loved, and enjoyed, but we get to make others happy simply by being who we are.

So if you know what I’m talking about, if you’re maybe in a season of isolation, may I say to you “come out of hiding”. Be who you are out in the open, because you make life better, you are missed by someone who really enjoys the pleasure of your company.