Tag Archives: pet

1948. That was a close call

There was nothing particularly singular about Janice and Branwell. They lived in a suburb. They had a cat and a dog. The grandchildren would visit quite often.

Usually they took turns in walking the dog, although Branwell had the task of feeding it. Janice was in charge of feeding the cat.

One sunny afternoon the cat was particularly vocal which usually meant she wanted some milk. Janice poured milk into a saucer and placed it on the kitchen floor next to the oven. The dog barged in, which he usually didn’t do, pushed the cat aside and lapped up the cat’s milk. Janice shooed them both outside.

A few minutes later Branwell appeared in the kitchen.

“I just heard the strangest thing,” he said. “I heard it as clear as a bell. The cat spoke to the dog. She said, ‘You shouldn’t do that. You know it’s my milk’.” The dog responded by saying, “Your English gets better by the day.”

“You’re hearing things,” said Janice. The cat’s been complaining all morning.”

“It was perfectly articulated,” said Branwell, “but, yes, I guess I was hearing things.”

“Exactly right,” said Janice.

The cat and the dog sat outside in the shade. “That was a close call,” they said one to the other – but in French.

1923. My beautiful Bubble

Everyone’s dog is special. And so is mine! Yesterday Bubble died. He was three weeks short of his fourth birthday.

In late February he began to have epileptic seizures. Medication began and was readjusted during the following months. Yesterday morning at 2.30 am he threw a fit. Fortunately he landed from his chair onto the piano, so it woke me up! Over the next ten hours he had forty or so epileptic fits. Medication provided no relief. If you’ve never seen a dog have an epileptic fit, DON’T!

He died around midday. We buried him on the lawn where he loved to sit and watch the world go by!

Below are two pictures. One is of Bubble and his best friend, the cat. The other was taken a few hours before the first of his final series of seizures, sitting at the wide-open front door in the winter sun letting those of us in the house freeze!

1806. Alleluia! the cat

Christina and Florrie lived in the same house and shared a pet cat. They called their cat “Alleluia!” because it brought such joy. The exclamation mark in the Alleluia! is an important part of the name, Florrie told the vet. Our cat is not simply “Alleluia” but “Alleluia!”

There were many other things that Christina and Florrie shared besides the cat. They shared cooking and meals, for example, and cleaning the house. They shared a glass of wine before the evening meal. They shared the rent. They had shared like this for thirty-two years. It was not only companionship; it saved money. How much cheaper it is to heat a single house rather than two.

Every day the cat would curl up at wine-time on the mat between Florrie and Christina’s armchairs. It was part of the daily ritual. Alleluia! was now seventeen years old, as far as they knew. It had adopted Florrie and Christiana. They had no idea where it came from. They advertised with photographs but no one came forward. Alleluia! was there to stay.

And then, very suddenly, just as they were one evening pouring a wine, Christina had a stroke and died. Florrie had to make all the arrangements for Christiana’s funeral, while she herself was devastated. Admittedly it gave something for Florrie to do, something to occupy her mind, but she never imagined that such feelings of grief were possible.

When all was over, Florrie still had Alleluia! It was a connection, a support. The cat was a living link. In fact, Alleluia! had taken over Christiana’s armchair in the evenings. It might sound silly, but Alleluia! was always there for Florrie to talk to.

And then Alleluia! took ill and Florrie had to have it put down.

1791. Trip of a life time

(This will be the first of two postings today because I’m fixing up the numbering system and having two postings on one day is the easiest way to do it! Sorry about that – I usually have a personal rule of only one posting a day!)

Philippa’s parents went overseas on the trip of a life time. What to do with seven year old Philippa? I know, said Philippa’s mother, she can stay with Aunt Sylvia.

Aunt Sylvia can she stay for around two months? And can she bring her cat?

My apartment is very small but of course she can bring her cat. I have a cat myself. They will be company for each other.

Philippa’s cat is very young; barely out of the kitten stage.

After two weeks she was pregnant. Not Philippa, silly. Not Aunt Sylvia; she was seventy-two. The cat! Within two months the cat had three kittens. They were so cute! One of them looked remarkably like Aunt Sylvia’s cat – which was impossible because Mephistopholes had been neutered.

One day, after several weeks, while Philippa was at school, Aunt Sylvia took the kittens to the pet shop. But the pet shop was overcrowded as were all the other places that cared for cats. Aunt Sylvia took them to the veterinarian. Vets always cost the earth.

Philippa came home from school. Oh! cried Aunt Sylvia. She was very upset. The cat must have been too young to produce enough milk. Shall we bury them in the garden and plant some flowers?

They did that, and the following week Aunt Sylvia was so relieved when Philippa’s parents came home from their trip of a life time.

Poem 93: Yet another poem about a dead cat

My cat woke me at four each morning.
She would jump on the bed and claw the pillow
right next to my eyes.
I would wake, fearful for my sight.
Would I never again see the day slip over the hill?
Would I never again see the moon slip over the hill
or the barley field wave in the wind?
Perhaps by patting the cat I could doze a little longer.
Bloody cat.

Fourteen years ago,
on a night I could not sleep,
I rose from bed at four and fed the cat.
Breakfast at four became her rite, her right.
Bloody cat.

Last year she was sick.
The veterinarian said
“That’ll be one hundred and thirty dollars please.”
I gave up wine and stuff for a month to pay for it.
That bloody cat was more of a nuisance than I ever imagined.

Last week she died.
If she came back I’d let her scratch out my eyes.

1753. Brindle Petal

It had been a long time coming, but at last it had arrived. For over three years Melinda had pestered her parents for a pet guinea pig. Over that time she had used many ingenious arguments as to why she should get a guinea pig as a pet. The clincher came when she promised she’d let her horrible little brother chose a name for it. At last Melinda was acting kindly towards her little brother.

Melinda already had a hutch in preparation for the possibility of a guinea pig one day turning up. The hutch used to belong to her good friend Meghan, but Meghan’s pet bunny had died so she had no further use for a hutch.

It was Melinda’s birthday and, miracle of miracles, a guinea pig arrived. It was cuddled, and pulled, and pushed, and shoved and squeezed. It was fed warm milk from a bottle with a baby’s teat. It was put in its hutch, and taken out of its hutch.

And what should Melinda’s little brother name it? He said, “It shall be called Brindle”. And indeed the guinea pig was a sort of brindle. Melinda didn’t like it. “It’s a horrible name,” she said. “Pick another.”

“What about Quincy?” suggested Melinda’s horrible little brother. Melinda didn’t like it. “It’s a horrible name,” she said. “Pick another.”

“Then it should be called Penguin,” said Melinda’s horrible little brother.

“Since you can’t decide on a name,” announced Melinda, “it shall be called Petal.”

“But the guinea pig is a boy,” said Melinda’s horrible little brother. “You can’t name a boy Petal.”

“I can do what I like,” said Melinda.

Anyway, within a month Melinda had lost interest in Petal. Her horrible little brother took over its care and named it Brindle.

Repeat of Story 209: Angora rabbit

(This is the fifth story in a week or so of repeats. “Angora rabbit” first appeared on this blog on 7 May 2014.)

Anton had a cat. The neighbour had a beautiful white angora rabbit. The rabbit was in its hutch. The cat was free.

One day the neighbour was at work, and Anton’s cat turned up on Anton’s doorstep with the rabbit. It was dead. The rabbit was larger than the cat. The cat had dragged the rabbit through the mud.

Anton panicked. He washed the dead rabbit’s angora fur thoroughly; hair shampoo and all. He dried it with a hair dryer. The rabbit looked as good as new, but dead. Anton crept over to the neighbour’s place, and put the dead rabbit back in its hutch.

Several days later, Anton chattered to the neighbour over the fence. This was the dreaded moment.

“You wouldn’t believe it,” said the neighbour. “My rabbit died.”

“Did it?” said Anton, feigning surprise.

“I buried it in the garden,” said the neighbour.

“Poor thing,” said Anton. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“That’s not all,” said the neighbour. “After I buried it, I came home from work and it was lying dead back in its hutch.”

1658. Feral Coal

(Thanks to Chris for giving the opening sentence).

Secretly, they had known all along that the cat could never have been tamed. It was a feral cat. It lived in the woodshed and had little tunnels so it could hide safely in the depths of the haphazard pile of firewood.

And then it had kittens; six in all. After a few weeks they would venture out into the sunshine to play. Little Lottie, who was seven years old, would take a saucer of milk and leave it on the concrete path leading to the woodshed. The kittens would form a circle around the saucer and lap up the milk.

The prettiest kitten was a black one with a little white bib and a little white paw. Lottie called it Coal. She wanted to catch it and keep it as a pet. Her father helped her make a drop trap. They set up a small cage held upside down with a stick tied to a string. When the black kitten went beneath the cage, they would pull the string and the cage would fall down entrapping the kitten. And they caught it! Coal was caught!

There was no way Lottie or her father could reach into the cage to pick up the kitten. Even at that young age the kitten would have scratched the threatening hand. They had to let the snarling kitten go. It would be forever wild.

Later that week a man came and caught all six kittens and their mother in a cage. He took them away. For Christmas that year Lottie got a kitten. It was black with a little white bib and a little white paw. It wasn’t quite the same but it almost was. It was a girl, so Lottie didn’t call it Coal; she called it Coalette instead.

1613. A cat called Mopsie

You see that back door? It’s got a hole in it for a cat door. That was for Old Nanny Higginbotham’s cat. As you can see, she doesn’t live there anymore – Old Nanny Higginbotham – she moved out when the house half burned down and was bulldozed except for the kitchen and backdoor. I have no idea why they didn’t finish the job.

The cat’s dead, one suspects.

No one can remember when and why they started calling her Old Nanny Higginbotham. It began maybe fifty years ago when she was neither old nor a grandmother. She must be well into her eighties now. She called her cat Mopsie.

Mopsie was a tabby cat. It seems like it was always part of Old Nanny Higginbotham’s life although cats don’t live that long; fifteen years or so if you’re lucky. That cat was the only friend the old lady had. She seemed to have no family. Neighbours regarded her as cold and aloof. She wasn’t born for friendship that’s for sure; unless you’re thinking of her Mopsie. Mopsie certainly was her life.

The old lady milked a few goats. That might be why she was called Nanny. Even in her eighties she was out there milking her little herd. The goats were taken away after the fire, and Old Nanny Higginbotham was put into a retirement village. She didn’t want to leave her goats and farm of course, but the government welfare agency insisted. The retirement village wouldn’t let her bring the cat.

One afternoon (it was quite against the retirement village’s rules and regulations) Old Nanny Higginbotham took a taxi to her old bulldozed house. She called over and over: “Here kitty kitty kitty! Here pussy cat! Mopsie! Mopsie!” There was no answer. She put some cat food next to where the cat door had been. “Here kitty kitty kitty! Mopsie! Mopsie!”

Hours later, when it was dark, they found her still sitting on the backdoor step. Crying.

1611. Marvin’s darling Affenpinscher

Marvin loved his dog. It was an Affenpinscher with a touch of some other breed. Marvin called it Tip. Marvin and Tip were inseparable. Tip would go with Marvin absolutely everywhere; except of course where he wasn’t allowed to go, such as the pub and the barber and the bakery.

“I think you love that dog more than you love me,” declared Japonica, Marvin’s wife.

“That’s definitely true,” said Marvin. “You and I have drifted apart over the years, and that dog is my sole consolation and interest in life.”

“The only fear I have,” continued Marvin, “is that when I die the dog will pine away. Dogs do that when they are particularly loved. They stop eating and fade away.”

Well! It so happened! Marvin passed away while taking the dog for a walk. The dog went on its merry way, and upon arriving home carried on as normal. In the meantime Marvin was lying dead as a doornail somewhere on the side of the road.

After the funeral, Japonica the wife dished up the usual dog food and Tip the Affenpinscher ate every morsel. Not once did the dog utter a heart-rending whine of grief, which was a shame because Marvin in his will had bequeathed everything to the mutt.