Siamese Cartoon Time


My friend Abi and I concocted this cartoon, back when Minkey and Elli were going through their terrible twos.

13 years later… Now we know: It’s permanent.

Minkey’s Artistic Day (Not For The Squeamish)

art1A few years ago, I went through art college and managed to land a Fine Arts Advanced degree With Honors.  I have to admit, however, that Minkey is a more creative artist than I’ll ever be.  I came home from school one day to discover that Minkey had somehow got a sheet of paper I’d been using to make a charcoal transfer from, and had Adapted it into his own interpretive piece of artwork. 

He seemed to be busy smudging it. I was hugely entertained – till I saw the focal point of his piece de resistance

A tiny fieldmouse, dead. I didn’t know whether to be more horrified that a mouse had made it in from the winter snows, or amazed because Minkey was doing a Salvador Dali.

I sent several photos of his antics to my drawing teacher, who didn’t deign to reply.

Personally, I think he was just  jealous.


Valentine To A Yowling Siamese, 4 a.m.

angelI wrote this on a Valentine’s day years ago, after Minkey tried to wake me up at 4 a.m. by dropping tinfoil balls on my chest and screaming affectionately in my ear….

Valentine For A Yowling Siamese Cat, 4:00 a.m.

pawprintRomeo and Juliet
would not have died,
had they a pet.

A puppy to be fed and brushed
would not have left them
quite so crushed.

And if not that, at least a cat
to occupy and plain distract
from morbid thoughts of death and gloom
—A Siamese would leave no room,
its plaintive love-song not denied
by man or beast (lord, how I’ve tried!)

A Siamese — cannot ignore it —
just expects you to adore it.

Copyright 1997, M.F.Miller


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.

Antisocial Behavior: Siamese Cats Or Siamese Owners?

blurSiamese are perverse creatures. They love to do the opposite of what fits best with their owners’ lifestyles and personalities.  Some might call this `antisocial behavior’.

Take my friend Abi, who bred Minkey from her wonderful seal-point, Chika. The best way to describe Abi would be… think NCIS, the TV show. Think Goth lab tech down in the basement who plays heavy metal music at decibel levels that would drown out jet engines. Abi’s favorite method of Siamese communication: Screaming cheerfully:  “SHADDDUPPPP, you two!!”

Naturally, after being bombarded with everything from Alice Cooper to Deathtongue or whatever the latest metal band is, as well as sharing their space with eight other pets, Abi’s two Siameasles Chika and Ellie (Minkey’s mother and sister) have turned out to be the most mellow pair imaginable.

(If you stop to think of it, this could be the ultimate expression of Siamese antisocial behavior.)

Then there’s me, Miss Fluffy, Pink an’ Gentle. Occasionally breaking the peaceful silence of my woodland cottage with soft strains of New Age music – yes, the sort with the tell-tale word “relaxation” somewhere on the CD cover.  Practices Reiki, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong from my wheelchair.  Loves quiet cups of tea and sunny peaceful mornings.  Plays gentle, reflective tunes on her little Celtic lap harp.  Has never lavished Minkey with anything but love, attention, patience and kindness.

We’re all about the Harmony here, at La Casa Minkey.

Well, SOME of us are.

Oh the irony – I end up with a cat who ricochets joyously off  visitors’ heads; has stunning and inexplicable kitty fits all over the walls, floor and ceiling; sings at the top of his lungs non-stop (especially after midnight); loves putting fresh holes in all my t-shirts and blouses (preferably when I’m IN them) and practices bazooka-barfing at the most inconvenient moments. Usually when I’m meditating.  Or trying to.

Perhaps it’s the soothing music.  Perhaps it’s too soothing.   Perhaps it’s actually causing antisocial behavior.  (At least, that’s what Abi says…)

Perhaps I ought to just buy him his own little set of Metallica DVDs.

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The Siamese Cat Song – Minkey Style

singgggMinkey’s versions of the famed Siamese cat song are never ending and always unique.  However, one particular sound never varies: the one he makes during our morning  Mingggg ceremony…

It’s simple – I take my pills, and Minkey hops up onto the kitchen bar stool and yowls “MINGGGG!” at the top of his lungs. I take a cat treat out of its little pouch and roll it along the floor for him.  Then he kills it and crunches it to pieces.  (I suspect it just tastes better if you have to catch it.)

This evolved directly from my efforts to discourage any interest in the Great Outdoors.  Whenever I would leave the house during his kittenhood, I’d roll a cat treat along the floor to distract him.  It worked every time.  He’d race away from the door, more interested in the treat than in escaping.  I don’t know if it was him or I who began to call treats “minggggs“, but I have no problem figuring out exactly what he wants, when he gargles in that distinctive, long-drawn-out way. It’s more than just a sound, and the syllables I write can’t possibly convey it – it’s become his ultimate wailing, gargling, Siamese cat song.

One morning about five years ago, he was watching me take my morning pills.  I dropped one, and the little round hard pellet rolled and skittered just like one of his treats.  Minkey promptly put two and two together and decided I must be giving myself a treat.  He hopped up onto the kitchen bar stool – yup, the same one he’s sitting on in the “About” page – and yelled “MINGGGG”, exactly as he does when he sees me get ready to go out the door.

Now every morning, he rushes to the kitchen, hops up onto the bar stool, starts to sing – and we have our morning Mingggs together before I even make coffee.

Two things I’ve decided about this particular ritual: A Siamese Mingggg Alarm is fractionally less irritating than the original movie Siamese Cat Song.

And it’s a great way never to forget to take your morning pills.

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Siameasles: The Result Of Very Bad Siamese Cat Behavior

Freddy Kruger nailsMinkey’s white, lilac tipped fur soon morphed into pure chocolate-point adult markings. More impressively, his paw pads stayed pink but grew to the size of a heavy-metal rockers’ gauntlets. Which has encouraged him to indulge in some very bad Siamese cat behavior.

Let’s just say his (frequently-trimmed) claws would intimidate Freddy Kruger. Minkey has never learned to retract these. Which is a good thing (for him), because his favourite hobby is taking a flying leap from somewhere across the room, and skid-landing on my left shoulder. (Think “supersonic jet coming in for a rubber-band landing on an aircraft carrier in the North Atlantic”, and you’ve got it.)

Since he is cross-eyed, he often misses, with the result that I am chronically scarred all over. A cornfield has less furrows than I do. Whenever someone asks me what all the little red scratches and holes are, I tell them: “Siameasles.” It sounds more interesting than “just yer average demonstration of affectionate Siamese cat behavior.” And it usually stops any further questions cold.

Whenever I look in the mirror, I remind myself of that Gary Larson cartoon; the one where two ripped and shredded people sit looking shell-shocked in a hospital Emergency room. The caption reads “Typical Siamese Owners”.

Gary Larson must be an expert in Siamese cat behavior.

Either that, or he has obviously met Minkey…

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