The Necessities

National Novel Writing Month update!

Words written:  19,899

Words behind schedule:  11,767 (yikes)

But at least I’ve got my noveling necessities:

necsessities (Tea with kitty, please.  Thanks to Tennessee Smoky Mountain honey and my baby Dagny for all their support.)

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Starry Night with Kitteh

There an artistic trend about that I have just discovered that combines two of my FAVORITE (non-ballet) things: 

Art and Wine.

The idea is that anyone can be an artist, and anyone who wants to be an artist should be able to consume alcohol whilst exercising their creative muscles.  Studios have cropped up where painters instruct a group of non-artsy of age adults to recreate simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) works of art.  Think of it as a fancy paint by numbers.  With wine!

There are no fewer that 5 of these such studios in my immediate area, and I got to partake for the first time the past week.  And it’s FABULOUS.  Our theme for the evening was a pared down version of Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night.”  I decided to put my own (feline) spin on the work.  I call the result “Starry Night with Kitteh.”

 

Image (by yours truly, KitTeaCat)

If you have one of these studios in your area, I highly recommend it.  Even if you have never touched a paintbrush.  Especially if you’ve never touched a paintbrush.  Because everyone should have at least one piece of art on their wall that is self-made.  Happy painting!

Happy Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday!

If you haven’t, go hug your fur baby! You’ll lower your blood pressure, lessen your stress, and live longer! (Seriously. Look it up.)

If you don’t have a fur baby, hug your neighbor’s! (But ask permission first. Don’t be the weird neighbor who hugs animals without asking.)

Right Meow

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Perhaps this scenario is familiar to you fellow cat owners out here:

Picture this.  You are attempting to do some sort of activity.  But you can’t.  Because a kitty is demanding attention.  Right now.  Right meow.

Tonight, this is Dagny.

I tried cooking dinner – Dagny winding incessantly through my legs.  I tried sitting down to eat dinner – Dagny decides it is Mama lap time.  I tried to change clothes – Dagny has to nap on whatever articles of clothing I want to wear.  I sat down in bed to watch some TV – Dagny needs petting.  I checked the blog-o-sphere for new posts – Dagny wants to lay on my tablet.

So I give up.  Kitty cuddles it is.  You win, Dagny.

Oh, and did I mention she has stolen and devoured at least 3 potato chips??

Happy Birthday Dagny!

Today, my baby girl turns 10.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I present to you: the Story of Dagny.

Image (What’s better than Hallmark?  Kittehs!)

I was in college when my then boyfriend and I decided to get a cat.  On a warm July day, we headed down to our local Humane Society to check out the adoptions.  Honestly, I did not expect to take home a pet that day.  I thought we’d browse, think about it, and decide after weighing all the options.  I didn’t even take my purse in to pay the adoption fee.

This particular Humane Society had their cats in small kennels similar to dog runs, with chain link doors separating the people from the animals.  There were a couple cats in each one, most mewing to get some attention.  One kitten, a little grey male, was so obnoxiously loud that we had to stop and look at him.  He immediately started climbing the chain links to get nearer to use, crying all the while.

“Not that one,” my boyfriend said, turning quickly away.  “He’d drive us crazy.”

But behind the grey kitten, sitting quietly, was another cat.  A calico.  I think she was the only cat in the room not begging for attention.  As I’d find out later, this is not an animal that begs for anything, let alone attention.  She demands.

But I couldn’t look away from her.  And she was on my lap, headed for her forever home, about fifteen minutes later.

Image (Snuggling with her puppies)

Our new girl was christened Dagny, after the main character in my favorite novel.

As it turns out, we chose one of the worst times ever to adopt a kitten.  My boyfriend and I were both working a summer theatre through my college, and our days consisted of about 15 hours of rehearsals and building sets.  Unfortunately, that schedule did not leave nearly enough time for adequate kitten cuddles.  My sister was enlisted as Kitty Sitter to help get Dagny accustomed to our house.

The Kitty Sitter left one lasting impression on Dagny – the conviction that glasses of people water are far superior to dishes of kitty water.  To this day, Dagny insists on drinking from my glass and refuses to touch the dog and cat water dishes.  She will, however, make an exception for the direct source and demand the water faucet be turned on if I am in the bathroom with her.

Our baby girl quickly become accustomed to life in her new home.  She discovered the joys of napping in the lap of a reading Mama, fighting with the “kitty” in the full length mirror, and unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.

Image (That. Face.)

Dagny is a unique animal.  Some of my favorite Dagny traits:

  • She has always been super playful.  Of course, all kittens are playful.  But Dagny still plays as an adult.  She has favorite toys and favorite games.  She will initiate a game of Chasey-Chasey with my husband or me by slapping our ankles, running away, and then turning to check and see if we are following.  She prefers to play with the humans and not the other animals, probably because she is so much smaller than the rest of the crew at under 8 pounds.
  • She is the most athletic animal I have ever encountered.  She can leap five feet in the air from a stand-still.  She can jump across incredible spans and land on the slimmest of ledges.  She is the cat you see in internet photos sleeping on the top of door jambs and on closet rods.  She out-maneuvers all the cats and dogs in the house when they attempt to play with her.  Watching her move is truly amazing to me.
  • She has incredible survival skills.  Of course, all cats are natural hunters.  But Dagny is the one I am certain could survive in the wild, even though she has been declawed on her front feet (Side Note:  Please, please do not declaw your cats.  Ever.  For any reason.).
  • She is smart.  She problem solves and analyzes.  She has the humans pretty well trained as a result.
  • She will always let you know what she is thinking.  This cat is an incredible communicator.  She somehow manages to convey her contentment, displeasure, hunger, playfulness, boredom, nervousness, and cabin fever without a single word meow.

Image (Keeping Mama’s shoes warm. Or possible preventing Mama from leaving the house.)

Time passed from Dagny’s first home.  When my boyfriend and I went our separate ways, it was just understood that Dagny would be going with me. And since then, she has traveled everywhere with me.

We’ve been through several states, numerous houses, and lots and lots of cardboard boxes.  She has even flown on a plane with me.  When I lived in my first apartment alone, Dagny was my company.

As a result of all this moving, Dagny has become extremely territorial.  Most female cats do tend to be somewhat territorial compared to their male counterparts.  But Dagny excels at everything, and her territorial nature is no exception.  She is very nervous when suitcases and boxes come out.  She does not welcome new animals to the house.  She hates when any furniture is rearranged.

My favorite story of Dagny’s territorial nature occurred when I first started dating my husband, many moons ago.  She was not overly enthusiastic when he started coming to the apartment.  Her apartment.  She would allow him to scratch her ears, when it suited her – but that was the extent of their relationship.  On the first evening that he stayed overnight in the apartment, he happened to hang his coat on a chair.  In the morning, my husband put on his coat, stuck his hands in his pockets, and immediately cringed.  Somehow, Dagny had managed to pee IN THE POCKET of his coat while it hung on the chair.  At the time, this was hardly funny.  But looking back, it is quite amusing to remember the lengths Dagny went to to express herself.

Now my husband and Dagny get along wonderfully.  She even sits in his lap when she thinks no one is watching.  It took a couple years for her to realize he was around to stay.

Image (Napping is an excellent use of 18 hours a day.)
A few of Dagny’s favorite things:
  • Loving the dogs, even though she pretends not to
  • Being higher up than anyone else
  • Napping on the current book on my bedside table
  • Tuna
  • Sitting next to the bedroom door so she can see what is going on in 3 rooms at once
  • Sleeping in clean laundry
  • Finding hiding places the other cats never think of
  • Drinking the milk in the bottom of cereal bowls
  • Sneaking outside to roll around on the porch and eat fresh grass
  • Her tiger toy
  • Drinking form the bathroom faucet
  • Salmon flavored treats
  • Boxes, bags, and any other small places she can hide in

Image (Just being a silly kitty.)

Happy birthday to my baby girl.  I hope in another 10 years, I have many more Dagny stories to tell!

A Cure for the Common Headache

Ever have one of those headaches that hangs on all day?

That was me today.  I tried Aleve, soothing music, silence, taking a nap, drinking tea, and taking more Aleve.  No luck.  I just lay down on my bed after work and accepted that I would have a nagging pain in my head all night.  Then something magical happened.

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My baby Loki jumped up and snuggled next to me, falling instantly asleep.  And before long, issuing from said kitty were the most adorable little kitten snores ever.  All breathy, soft, and comforting.  Almost purr-like.  And my headache started to disappear.

Kitten snores.  They cure headaches, apparently.  Bottle. It. Up.

Creative Use of Couch

People who have never lived with a pit bull generally have misguided views about them.  No, I am not about to launch into a sermon about how misunderstood pits are, or the idiocy of judging an entire breed, or even a nature versus nurture rant. 

This about the fact that pit bulls are weirdos, and you just don’t realize it until you’ve got one or two in the house.

Seriously, my dogs are two of the weirdest animals ever.  Of course, you could make the argument that my husband and I just raised them that way.  (And honestly, our cats would be strong evidence to support that theory!)  But every pit I’ve ever met has certain characteristics that make me think it is just part of who they are.  They are tenacious, and loyal, and energetic . . . and weird.

My personal favorite of these weird qualities is the fact that when pit bulls lounge around, they have some of the strangest “relaxing” positions I’ve ever seen.  People say that cats are connoisseurs of comfort.  No matter where a cat chooses to bed down, it always looks inexplicably comfortable and cozy.  And I have reached the conclusion that pit bulls are the exact opposite.  Every time I see Maddox or Deacon napping, I want to sneakily adjust them.  Limbs bent at freakishly odd angles, head hanging off the bed, laying on their backs with legs straight in the air, even choosing and using specific pillows and blankets – you name it, I’ve seen it in my two.

There is a photo series on my phone of Deacon that I affectionately refer to as “Creative Use of Couch.”  He tends to find very interesting napping positions on furniture.  Today was no exception:

Image

He chilled on that chair – in that position – for about an hour.  I love my little weirdo.