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Posts tagged: Cats

Today’s holiday rerun about a cat

We pre-paid all the fees and the kitten got adopted by a nice woman who sent us pictures. She told us she had named the cat Noelle.

She became an indoor cat, but she and the two other felines at that home had access to a big screened-in back porch area.

If you had to pick Coen brothers or cats

Which would you choose?

If you do not want to have to make that choice, do not listen to this half-hour interview. I would not call it riveting radio, but the moviemakers do reveal that they are utterly oblivious to the charms of felines. Amazingly so. The host mentions that she has a recurring nightmare about her own cat running away and one of the brothers suggests she, the host, would be better off.

Of course, it could be that you are able to separate the art from the artist and do not require than you like everything about the artist's personality. 

Today’s cat story

“My mother bought a bargain cat food from the now defunct Low Cost grocery store,” wrote Mike Storms. “When she opened up a can of it, wow, did it stink! Mom said it may smell bad to us but the cat would like it. When we put it in a dish and set it outside for the cat, the cat took one sniff of the food and buried it.”

Smart cats

Let's pick up where today's print column left off.

“My cat, Ed, was smart enough and fast enough to figure out how to catch a hummingbird last summer,” wrote Karen Mobley. “Unfortunately, it got stuck and I had to do the Heimlich to get the beak out before he choked to death.”

Let that be a lesson to you, Ed. Stop killing birds.

“Several years ago, I had a cat with an injured leg,” wrote Cathy McCoy. “We babied and fussed over that cat for several days until, one day, we noticed that she was limping on the wrong leg. Of course, if she had been truly smart she would have been limping on the leg that had been injured.”

Maybe she thought switching legs would earn her even better treatment.

“Every morning I get up and do some exercises which include bending over and touching the floor,” wrote Ken Otteman. “Mittens the cat comes from wherever she is in the house and stretches and rolls over each time I touch the floor. If I do not rub her back she gives me a look and a mew. When I get down on the floor to do roll-ups and push-ups she is right there waiting for her back, chin and ear rub. How many people have an exercise coach cat?”

Usually their role as personal trainers involves demonstrating how to take power naps.

“Lilly knocks on doors when she wants in,” wrote Becky Rainer.

And she knocks on her humans when she wants out.

“I think my cat should be considered the smartest cat ever just for the fact that she lived for 23 years,” wrote Marilyn Frei. “I finally had to put Kev down earlier this year after she had a spinal stroke. She spent the first 11 years of her life on a farm where she had to outsmart coyotes, cattle, tractors and trucks. After moving to Spokane she had to learn how to be a city (mostly indoor) cat. Kev had a unique instinct to be a comforter and companion for me following several surgeries and during any illness or injury. At these times she would stay by my side all day and all night, sleeping on my bed or snuggling with me on the couch or in a chair. Other times she was aloof and kept to herself. I miss her.”

That's not the first time I have heard that some felines seem to know when they are needed.

“Our cat Lisette is 13 years old,” wrote Michelle Batten. “Every evening while we are watching TV she wakes up and comes into the room and jumps up on the arm of the sofa beside my husband. She puts both paws on his shoulder and then strokes his face with her right paw until he gets up and gives her some wet food. She has been doing this for several years. She is good.”

Sounds like she has her routine down pat.

“Our cat Maow is smart because he is curious, knows when it's time to eat, and when to rest up for his next adventure,” said Steve Powers.

Sounds like a pretty good schedule.

“Hairy, one of two resident cats, is smart enough,” wrote Ellen Sherriffs. “He's smart enough to have a position with excellent benefits and a better retirement package than my own. All he has to do is smell like a cat to deter the garden mice from moving in. The balance of his day is spent sleeping on his face.”

Another good schedule.

“My 17-year-old kitty could retrieve the ball and meow with the ball in her mouth,” wrote Gale O'Connor. “She also could walk with us down to the lake and back up with us, which was about one mile. Many sweet memories of her.”

Back in the early 1980s, Mae Greenwood once walked door-to-door at night, soliciting donations for a charity. Her husband had to stay home with an infant. So Mae took her dog on a leash.

“At the second or third home I noticed that my cat, Smokey, was walking along with us. Many neighbors commented on my protectors and were amazed that Smokey sat and waited on their porch and then walked off with the dog and me to the next house. He was a very smart and devoted cat.”

Marilyn Courrier's cat, Shadow, once went inside the neighbor's house, which also has a pet door. The guy who lived there noticed Shadow in his kitchen. “Our neighbor says the cat looked at him, looked at the closed cat door, looked at him and bounded to the cat door, nudged the door up with his nose and leaped through the flap to freedom.”

So do cats form the thought, “I'm bustin' outta here”?

Perhaps with a bit of keyboarding help, a cat named Grady sent an email to The Slice noting that he was smart enough to adopt John and Ruth Williams after a previous owner dumped him beside a dirt road. “Today I live the Life Riley,” said Grady.

If only all pets were so lucky..

Announcing their presence

Unlike Deputy Barney Fife, I cannot claim to understand bird-speak.

But I have a hunch about what some of them are saying at this time of year.

“Don't rake your leaves.”

I'm guessing this because I noticed something the other night. Cats lose their stealth when moving through a yard covered with dry leaves.

And if I have noticed that, I would imagine the birds have, too.

Normally silent felines create crunching and rustling that all but blares “Here comes trouble!”

At least that's how I imagine a bird would view it.

What’s your cat like when high on catnip?

My dental hygienist enjoys telling me about her cats.

I encourage this. In fact, I've written about her pets a time or two. Once it was about her older cat's ability to outsmart the automatic feeder. That contraption, intended for use when the human is away from home for a few days, is supposed to dispense just one serving of cat food every 12 hours. But Howie the cat figured out how to reach in and trigger additional releases of food. He pretty much viewed the whole thing as a self-serve setup.

Well, yesterday, the hygienist told me about how her felines react to the catnip she has been growing.

That's when she made me laugh.

She said, “Howie's sort of a mean drunk.”

When the first-line editor is a feline

You have been right all these years. That scene early in “The Godfather” definitely wasn't Marlon Brando's first encounter with a cat.

Have felines perfected this technology?

How else would you explain your neighbor's cat being able to get in your house without you noticing?

Feline endorses Chinese dissident

Of course, this isn't much of a shocker as that appears to be one of artist Ai Weiwei's own cats.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Tough cats: After we asked what local house cat could go 15 rounds with a coyote, we heard from Sheri Hatley in Thornton, Wash. “We have a cat named Mama (not the nurturing kind) who likes to chase our dog, Curly, a cocker/shepherd mix,” she wrote.

Mama hisses and swats at Curly during the pursuit.

“She also won't let any of the other cats eat until she is finished,” added Hatley. “She's downright mean.”

Colville's Phyllis Hyatt told about a battled-scarred cat named Big Al. He won't back down from anything.

And Valleyford's Ann Bowers reported  that her cat, Chip, has gone toe-to-toe with coyotes and lived to tell about it.

Spokane’s most common cat coloring?

I've always thought it's gray and white, but I could be wrong.

Pay no attention to the fact this feline is actually in New Hampshire. 

Having a feline as a backseat driver

On my way home this afternoon, before I even got out of downtown, I saw another cyclist.

She looked like she might be in the 18-21 age range. She wasn't wearing a helmet but she had on a backpack.

Inside the backpack was an adult cat. Only the head of this gray and white pet was visible out of the top of the pack. My first reaction was a silently disapproving “That's not a good idea.”

But as I studied the scene from a distance, I realized the cat seemed perfectly calm. Maybe he or she has been riding with that girl since kittenhood.

Wonder what sort of backseat driver that cat is. What does it say to the girl as they cruise along?

“If you see a tuna stand, be sure to pull over.” 

Good cats, bad cats and one great cat

Tuesday's Slice column looking at the differences between a “good kitty” and a “bad kitty” prompted a fair amount of feedback.

Here's a small sampling.

“I enjoyed your article,” wrote Steve Judy of Spokane. “However, isn't the whole 'good kitty' vs. 'bad kitty' kind of subjective? I have a 16-year-old cat — he throws up on everything. The vet has written 'CAUTION' across his file in big red letters. This cat is a terror. He actually has to be gassed down so the vet can examine him. He won't put up with it otherwise. However, in my book, he is still a 'good kitty.' I may be a fool, but I love that furry little demon.”

A North Idaho feline named Spanky (who, I'm guessing, got some typing help from Karen Botker) echoed that point.

“To be a 'Good Kitty' one must embrace the entirety of one's character,” said, uh, Spanky. “This includes many traits that you have listed under the BK category.”

Others told stories about their pets, many of which made me smile.

And then there was a note from my friend Tara Leininger, a cat lover who said she enjoyed Tuesday's column.

“The sad news is that Monday afternoon I had to take Alma for her last trip to the vet. She was 18 yrs., 5 months, 6 days. Her health in the past few months had been declining. Physically, she was much more slow and stiff, not jumping around as much and having difficulty because of the arthritis. Last check-up, the blood work said that kidney problems were starting.

“The last week saw a radical decline. On Sunday she tried to jump onto her favorite nap spot on the chair and fell. She was now walking in great distress.

“The vet was due the next day — we have a mobile vet in our remote area once a week. I was able to make her comfortable for the night.”

Then it was time to see the vet.

“Her hip bone had been cracked/broken in several places. Surgery would not make things any better and there was nothing left to do. A quick sedative had made her comfortable on my lap, and after a little while and some goodbyes, the last injection freed her from pain.”

Now Alma would live on as a memory.

“We miss her presence in the house and our routine and the spaces of the house where she reigned seem very empty. Only a few days and I miss her curling up with me as I read in bed at night and waking me up before 5 a.m. for breakfast. I now have to set the alarm clock.”    

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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