Friday, March 20, 2009


I've been visiting and feeding a cat called Big Baby when his owner goes out of town each week.

I usually visit at night, and can hear him mewing when I come up the stairs.

When I open the door, he rubs against my legs and then rolls over so I can pet him on the belly.

After filling the food and whatnot, we play for awhile, and then I brush him. He's crazy about the brush; just can't stop rubbing his face on it.

Just before leaving, I give him a few cat-snacks.

I try to run out when he's still eating him.

* * *

Then I head over to my place. On Tuesday afternoon, when it was warm, I heard mewing sounds as I approached my building. They were coming from the tiny Juliette balcony on the first floor. I looked up and saw a big orange and white cat, who was standing on the postage stamp-size balcony and could not get back inside the apartment. It was hard to tell how long he'd been standing there, mewing. He looked quite distressed.

It was worrisome, because the occupant of that apartment had not been picking up her newspaper, which the other tenants bring upstairs and leave outside her door.

And his mews were so plainitive, it broke the heart.

So when I got home, Little Miss Busybody called the landlord and told him what was up. The landlord, a cat fan who used to feed the stray Big Baby before our friend took him in, was also concerned, and said he'd call the tenant. He thought she was out of town, visiting family. He didn't think she'd replaced her old cat when it died, but you never know.....

The next morning, the pile of newspapers was still there - but the cat was gone.

That night, the cat was back on the balcony, mewing. It made motions like it wanted to jump down. Then it curled into a ball and lay down.

All night I worried about that cat.

The next morning it was gone.

* * *

When I get home, I usually call for Kirby - who may or may not come, depending on his mood.

I don't pet him that much, because it always ends with him biting me.

I don't brush him that much, because it always ends with him biting me.

I don't give him that many treats, except as a reward (for allowing me to clip his nails or brush him).

But we do like to sit quietly together, or hang out in the same room.

And he really loves it when I sit still, or do savasana.

(He hates sun salutations - which are another excuse to bite me).

He also likes a chase game that WrongWay invented, called Sheep and Shepherd.

And he loooves the new apartment - he runs back and forth down the 14-foot hallway to the yoga room, where he slides on the floor and plays. He has hiding places here that I don't even know about.

* * *

I've been meaning to get a new scratching post for Kirby ever since the brother exclaimed, "You moved that f*cking piece of sh*t to the new place?" WrongWay and his former consort bought the scratching post for Kirby when they took care of him during my first trip to India, and it is indeed trashed. So I started shopping for a new one.

The one at PetSmart seemed OK. It's taller, and doesn't have carpeting on it. More like jute or something.

But I remembered a really special one that had belonged to Fritzka. We'd gotten it at a local no-kill shelter that takes sick, injured and abused strays (which is where we'd gotten her and her littermate, Snarfee). It had cost a lot, but it was made by someone they knew and was virtually indestructible (although I'd managed to destroy it during one of those fits of rage I used to have before I discovered yoga. [I was also known for putting the fist through walls and windshields, among other things. Yoga cured all that. Really]).

So I went to the shelter. Sure enough, they had a super-fabulous one, called The Ultimate Scratching Post. It was much bigger than the one we'd gotten in the 80s - and cost twice as much. I couldn't really afford it (Who am I kidding? I can't afford health insurance! Or to take the cat to the vet! Or to live in Lakeview!). But I figured it was worth it. Kirby deserved it.

When I was assembling it, I saw that it was made in China. So much for supporting a real, live person, I thought. But at least the inflated price will help support the poor sick, injured and abused kitties.

Kirby had other ideas.

When I put it in the place of his old scratching post, he looked frightened, and gave it a wide berth.

I put his favorite toy, a beat-up old stuffed weasel, on it.

He still wouldn't come near.

I made scratching motions, and encouraged him to join me.


I left it there a day, and for a day he walked around it and would not even sniff it.

So I took it back today, and put the old one back in its place.

He happily scratched on it right away.

As I explained to Bo, we are not posh people.


  1. Have you spoken to the balcony cat's caregiver? Perhaps this kitty loves the balcony so much she whines to get out onto it and then whines to get back in (like Sissy).

    We sold our deluxe scratcher when we moved to India. And miss it.

    Are we posh people?

  2. I did knock on the balcony cat lady's door a few times before calling the landlord, but no one answered.

    To me, what separates the posh from the non-posh are:

    -Dishwasher (human or machine)
    -Parking space
    -Washing machine in unit
    -Control of thermostat

    Posh people have these things.

    The rest of us do not.

  3. cant the landlord let him in and feed the poor thing. ive known a few stupid people whom leave their cats outside to fend for themselves when they leave town. sometimes i really hate people.

  4. so the idiot just left their cat outside when they were gone?

    uh, yeah I know that's judgmental...but I put my Jack the Yogi Cat to sleep after 17 years and taking care of his diabetes for 10 years. and I'm still getting over his trip to the Bardo.

  5. 'Hate' and 'idiot' are rather strong words to be bandied about so lightly and hurled at a stranger.

    I should have mentioned that the neighbor is elderly and on oxygen and can barely make it up and down the stairs; that's why we bring up her newspaper (and mail) for her.

    Also we do not know if the cat is hers or not. Or how long it was outside. It could have been five minutes.

  6. More things that separate the posh from the non-posh:

    24/7 electricity

    24/7 hot and cold running water