Trauma At La Casa Minkey

hisssssMinkey’s friends, while few and far between, have been memorable. Take Ginger, for instance. (Nicknames, “Gingie”, “Gingivitis”).  This chunky big fellow was one of the many strays my mother adopted (not all at once, thankfully!) (Well, okay… sometimes all at once…)

When my mother was preparing to move several hundred miles away to live out her lifelong romantic dream of log-housing it in the far Northern boreal forests, she had a minor heart attack and was put in hospital for observation. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law arrived with the moving truck to load up furniture and cats.  Whiskas and Lucky both docilely got into their cages, but scenting imprisonment, Gingie made a violent break for it.  I was not even in the room at the time, being busy routing a nest of spiders out of my mother’s spare bedroom closet ceiling.  But when I visited her that evening and admitted we hadn’t been able to pack Ginger off to The Great White North, and that he was still sulking in the shrubbery, she bemoaned that she couldn’t trust me to do ANYTHING right, and promptly had a major heart attack on the spot.

So there I was, while she was in surgery, thinking I Had Killed My Mother.

But as one of her surgeons cheerily put it, “she’s a tough old bird.”  She survived.  And I kept on trying to find Gingie.

The day that (unbeknownst to me) she cheerily turned down the convalescent home in favor of my tiny 500 sq.ft. cabin in the woods and me nursing her 24/7, Gingie strolled calmly into the cat cage. They both took up residence at La Casa Minkey.  I moved onto the couch, and mum got the bedroom, the bed – and the cats.

The friendship did not start out well.  Minkey was clearly both frightened and aggressive.  As the visiting V.O.N. nurse thoughtfully put it, “My, I didn’t realize your Siamese cat’s fangs were that long…”

There was a lot of hissing; all of it from Minkey. Gingie was unfazed.  He adopted a policy of calmly ignoring Minkey.  He was a tough old bird.

Minkey kept trying to sleep on the bed, Gingie kept Willing him off (it worked.) My mother found their little passive-aggressive skirmishes endlessly entertaining, and finally began to recover.

By the end of several weeks, Gingie and Minkey had developed an uneasy truce at best.  The Minkey’s Friends page photo of them both on the attic stairs is the closest they ever got, physically.  Gingie resented being an indoor cat – but there was no way I was going to let him out to give my mother a third heart attack by disappearing again.  In protest, he lustily shredded all my furniture – something Minkey had never done, discreetly preferring to use his special custom deluxe wall-mounted scratching rug.  To my eternal relief, Minkey virtuously refused to participate in such uncouth behavior.

catcageMy mother and Ginger thrived.  Minkey and I quietly began to develop strange nervous habits. I began to choke on food (too tired to swallow), develop high blood pressure and tremble a lot. Minkey began to choke on food, dart haunted, wide-eyed glances continuously over his shoulder, and tremble a lot.

Minkey voluntarily spent a lot of time in Ginger’s cat cage. (I – alas – couldn’t fit…)

Neither of us could eat much.

By the time Mum and Gingie were deposited in their new Northern paradise and I got back home to Minkey, we were both nervous wrecks.  Minkey developed skin problems, which turned out to be (according to the vet) “purely nervous”. Eventually his skin magically cleared up, but to this day, I continue to have high blood pressure and sleep on the couch, since I now can’t sleep more than 2 or 3 hours in a row any more, anyway.  Which Minkey thinks is a good thing.

I managed to replace the most damaged pieces of furniture that Ginger had shredded, and finally eliminate his last left-behind flea.  Gradually, Minkey and I settled down to our old peaceful “indoor cat” routine.  Sort of…

One day I bought Minkey a little fluffy ginger toy cat.

I found it the next morning, drowned in his water dish.

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The Cat Who …

No, this post has nothing to do with Lillian Jackson Braun’s famous series about Koko and Yum-Yum – except that Minkey is a Siamese cat who does very odd things.

For instance, I knew he liked to sit on the 4-inch wide baseboard heater in the bathroom: What I didn’t know was what kept him in there for such long periods at a time. And it wasn’t just the toasty-warm heat.

Minkey apparently likes to read.  I caught him with the newspaper.

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  After all, he is male.

I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t a “How To Murder Your Owner And Get A Better Slave” manual.

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Cats Ahoy, Ye Landlubbers

catsahoyI have a horrible secret. Whenever I see pictures of sad-eyed, neglected animals on TV, I flip the channel instantly. I can’t bear to see them without being able to help – and the sort of help I have to give unfortunately isn’t financial (which is what these organizations inevitably always want.)
However, yesterday saw the launch of a completely different type of cat adoption organization. Cats Ahoy is Canada’s first true mobile adoption agency, based in Calgary, Alberta and serving a much wider area. By the time I’d finished browsing Cats Ahoy’s vibrant, upbeat website – and I read every word – I felt proactive, cheered, excited and enthusiastic. I love the way Cats Ahoy focuses on what it can do – not on what it can’t.

And when it can’t, Cats Ahoy just solves the problem. (Their FAQ page alone is probably the most inspiring “can do” manifest I’ve read in years!)

Like the problem of cats fostered in private homes, through rescue facilities that don’t have a “mortars and bricks” building as a base. Traditionally, these animals have a very slim chance of being viewed by the general public, or ever exposed to more than one or two people at a time. Large rescues with solid budgets (usually in the States) sometimes do use mobile vans to take their cats to community events – but Cats Ahoy is the first fully mobile adoption agency to offer to provide a shared store front for other rescues. It offers pick-up and delivery, sanitary conditions are scrupulous, and the focus is on matching the right pet with the right person and making it happen in the most painless way possible for all concerned.

Cats Ahoy also focuses on maximum reciprocity – everyone walks away a winner: volunteers, donors, owners, rescues – and especially the kitties. (How often do you see an animal adoption organization that has a “fun” section on the website?) They offer .PDF guides you can download covering everything from lists of toxic plants to a “quick start” guide with shopping list for your new pet, knitting patterns, pirate hat instructions. Oh, and there’s Captain Sparrowchaser, their flagship cartoon kitty, of course.

Cats Ahoy is the brainchild of world-renowned young Celtic artist, Cari Buziak. Her work was commissioned by the National Archives. She has designed currency for the Isle of Man. TV and radio interviews, wildly popular workshops, a fireplace for Don Henley of  rock band The Eagles, TV/movie designwork, book and CD illustrations – her distinctive works are too numerous to list. But Buziak was not content to sit on her laurels. An innocent volunteer position, dog-walking, a few years ago led to a second paid career with a Calgary animal shelter and a veterinary clinic. During this time, the idea of Cats Ahoy was born.

As of this date, its website is officially open for business. It is a registered not-for-profit society with the Government of Alberta (waiting for its official “registered charity” approval.) Quoting from the site, “all cats who participate in the Cats Ahoy Mobile Adoption program are spayed or neutered, and many are also microchipped and/or tattooed. Each cat has been given at least their initial vaccinations as well, and all have been thoroughly examined by a vet to do everything we can to make sure they’re happy, healthy and ready to go home.”

So what, you may ask, does this have to do with Minkey? Well, let’s just say that if I ever make good on my threat to put him up for adoption (usually while I’m lying on the floor with a broken plant pot scattered around my head and Minkey looking interestedly down at me)… I now know where to send him.

The Comments Section Is FIXED! YAYYY!

minkeybackSince I started this blog, I haven’t been able to receive any comments.  People who have tried to comment have been receiving error messages.

I like my theme, so I  tried every fix under the sun – nothing.  Nada.  Same old error message.

Today my friend John suggested a simple one-line .php fix – and it worked.  So now Minkey and I are not Alone in the Blogosphere.

And to be fair, I can’t blame Minkey for this problem, since Siamese cats don’t know how to edit .php files.

Or do they?….

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The Object Of Siamese Affections

minkey-meets-wilburMinkey is in love.  The object of his affections is a suede-covered, bobble headed moose named `Traveling Wilbur’.  I bought Wilbur in Thunder Bay, on a visit to my sister.  About once every year or so, I make the 14 hour trek back to visit her.  I always sentimentally take Wilbur, and stick him on the dashboard of my SUV.

The last time I went to Thunder Bay, I was gone for ten days.  I was looking forward to my reunion with Minkey, but wasn’t at all surprised when I got the not-very-convincing “Oh!  Who are YOU?” treatment.  He sat in front of me with his back turned, washing himself elaborately.  You know the drill.  Punishment for my defection.

But then, as I was unpacking, a plaintive Siamese song started up outside the bedroom door.  Pleased to be forgiven so quickly, I opened it.

Minkey rushed right past me, and darted straight to the window – where I had just put Traveling Wilbur back in his every day spot.  It wasn’t me who got an enthusiastic greeting – gummy-rubs, purrs, head bunts and all.  Nope. It was that bobble-headed moose.

When I woke up the next morning, Wilbur was on the floor, and Minkey was curled up around him, fast asleep. I don’t know who is more odd – Minkey for falling in love with a bobble-headed moose… or me for having one.

I guess we are well suited.