27 December 2008

a response from kim murphy, l.a. times:

our mom got furry hacked off after reading about the womanbean who found her kitty after 9 weeks trapped in the window seat, which zoolatry, karl an' skeezy made known to us inna bloggysphere. so she wroted this to the bean:

YOU feel blessed? You darn well oughta feel ashamed. BESS is the one who is blessed, and NOT by you, but by G*d. It would be a sin if you EVER get another pet. They're not just "things" that "come and go", to be "picked up". They're living beings with minds and feelings who live, feel happiness, and suffer--just like humans.

The thing that sticks in my craw is that you wrote this in an attempt at levity. I can hardly think of anything more pitiful.

Irately (still, two days after first reading the article),

Cheryl C. Pierce
Springfield, MO

well, by golly, here is her response:

Hi Cheryl,

I think a lot of people were similarly upset by my story (though thankfully, many also saw through to what was originally intended, a testimonial to the amazing spirit and power of one Small Cat.)

I am pasting below a response I wrote up to help explain things a little bit more than my story did.

Also, let me give you an update: Bess has recovered nearly all of her eyesight, and most of her old spunk. She is racing around the kitchen and pouncing on her catnip mouse, and resuming her old habit of burying her face in the crook of my elbow when she wants to wind down. (I wish I had an elbow sometimes...) I think she's going to be fine.


Here's what I wrote yesterday:

I have gotten many wonderful emails from people about my story of Bess, and a whole lot from readers who were shocked at what happened to Bess, and my lousy record of pet ownership.
I am sending this out in an attempt to explain what happened, and why I wrote the story as I did.
Many of you will dismiss this as a sorry attempt to make excuses. Well, it is.
Let me start by saying that none of these reactions came as a surprise to me. As a lifelong cat lover (I find I am someone who likes animals better than people in many ways) there is no way I would have put all that in the story without knowing how many people (such as myself) would react.
I can tell you that none of the horrors that have gone through your mind can match those that have inhabited mine. Why didn't Bess meow? I've gone through it a million times. Did she leap in there while someone was getting a blanket out and then get hit on the head as the door was closing? Did she run quickly out of oxygen and go into a semi-comatose state? Did one of the children at the barbecue accidentally close her in a door or step on her, and then hide her in the cabinet because they were afraid to admit what happened? (I can tell you that while I described these as "blowout" parties in the story, they were not as many of you seem to imagine alcohol-fueled orgies. They were big dinner parties with lots of laughter and kids and Van Morrison on the iPod, the kind of events where the cats usually get cuddled and played with and which one would hardly expect would be a menacing event.
Why in the hell didn't I look in the windowseat? I went on every possible lost cat website, and every one of them told you to search your own house and outbuildings immediately. We looked under beds, in closets, in the kitchen cabinets, and called her name all over the house. We open the windowseat perhaps twice a year. It just never occurred to me that she could possibly be in there, particularly since she had been seen the night of the barbecue. I was simply SURE she had escaped the house, because of the open window in the guest room, and I knew those coyotes were in the woods very nearby.
As far as my history with cats, I have no appetite for making excuses, other than to tell you that I have always been a loving and careful steward of my cats. Amanda's foray hiding behind the dryer happened at the home of my friend while I was gone on vacation, and of course she was none the worse for her period of seclusion. Mario was locked out on the balcony by my husband, after I had already gone down to the car. We had an iron-clad rule in the house not to leave the balcony door open when the cats were roaming free in the house, and my husband violated that rule one evening when I was at the office, thinking Peter was asleep in my daughter's room. We got screens the next day--miserably, lamely, a day too late. Marie was closed in the dryer by my idiot Russian housekeeper, again, while I was at work (she, too, was OK despite it.) Katya was allowed to go outside and did escape our yard and got hit by a bus, and I am single-handedly responsible for this. I shouldn't have let her go outside. I let her and Kolya out in our garden in London because they literally begged at the door, and seemed gloriously happy when they were let out, miserable when they were not. Nonetheless, I made a decision after that to never again let my cats go outside.
I included the litany of cat tragedies in my story about Bess as a means of full disclosure. If I was going to write about what happened to Bess--which happened in my house, to my cat, and which ultimately, like all of it, was MY FAULT--then I needed to face up to what had happened in the past. I didn't include it to minimize the tragedies that had befallen our cats in the past, every one of which brought unending tears to my family, I can't even tell you how many, though I wrote about it in a glosssed-over way for purposes of this Christmas story. I needed to include evidence of our family's past sins, I think, to show just how big a miracle happened to us. We deserved the grace of Bess's survival less than anyone I know. And yet it happened. I am humbled and awed and deeply, deeply thankful.


it doesn't make us any happier to know the back-story, but we rejoice to know that bess is better, and that the bean realizes that this WAS a big deal, not a witty story. yes, we is bloody-minded an' inflexible when it comes to stupidity, neglect, an' cruelty that results in critters suffering. we happily admits it, an' will nefur change.

26 December 2008

catsmas pressies!!

we all got our furry own nip toys: nitro got a rainbow, ed got the nanner, an' xing got the seegar. you can see how much we enjoyed 'em--ed was so blissed-out, he rolled away from the nanner an' nefur even noticed!

a proud cocoa finally got her squirrel!
daddy got some socks
an' if we had "smell-o-blogging", you would know that mom gots some gucci an' opium perfumes. daddy sez she allus was a spendy date;-)

boxing day!

it's NOT an empie box, mom--i'm innit!!

24 December 2008


Merry Christmas, Dear Furriends!!

23 December 2008

hey! santa's watchin' you two!!!

an' whattaheck?! our sidebar's back!! we din't do nuthin' to it!!
was it on vacation?

22 December 2008

i can has tato chips!

i can has tato chips!, originally uploaded by olrebbie.

if his daddy is eatin' it, HE's gonna try some!

21 December 2008

a blood-freezin' deer tale!!!

if there is any lingering question on the vishusness of deers, let this put it to rest. it is a blood-curdlin' story sent by aunty marilyn to our mom--written by a bean who has a farm in kansas. we suspects it must be a true story acause--well, GOSH! it was onna innernets. WE're onna innernets, an' WE're true!!

!!!!yung, joosy kats and those wif week stummicks need read no furrther!!!!

I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregated at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up -- 3 of them.

I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold. The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation.

I took a step towards it... it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope and received an education.

The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope. That deer EXPLODED.

The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope with some dignity. A deer, no chance.

That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I originally imagined.

The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many animals. A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head.

At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope. I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in, so I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand . . . kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite? They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head -- almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective. It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it.

While I kept it busy tearing the bejeebers out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose. That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day. Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp.

I learned a long time ago that when an animal like a horse strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise, and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run.

The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head. I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away.