Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Cat-Blogging.

I get irritated at C when he calls Tuesday my day off, because I think of it as my one day "on." I can't do much of anything on days when I work, except a little business (a few quick emails, the occasional lunch time conference call, or evening meeting), so Tuesday is the day for writing and I feel a lot of pressure to make it productive.

I made some progress on a song today. No real writing, but more like list-making, which is how I usually start lyrics, just a list of lines, ideas, thoughts that I then push around the page until they tell the story I want to tell. Today was just lists.

Now it's almost 3 and my brain hurts, so I'm hoping a bit of blogging will loosen things up.

C called me a cat lady last week. Not literally a cat lady. He was talking about my recent obsessive posting of pictures of the sky and clouds, like some people post and blog about their cats.

But, years ago, I was an actual cat lady. Before the internet. Well, not literally before the internet, but before the era of cats on the internet. Though I haven't had cats now for many years, I think of myself as a cat person. I identify as a cat person. After Gravity died, the last of them, in 2001, I more or less decided that I wouldn't get another cat. Not only did I want to enjoy the freedom of not having to always consider the cats when moving or traveling or whatever, I'd said goodbye to 4 in about 4 years and I was wrung out from cat death. (I also said at one time that I would never fall in love again, so.)

I love seeing my friends' cat photos on facebook. I feel a little left out because I never got to blog about my cats. If I had cats now I'd totally be blogging about them every day.

Better late than never.

This is Honey. He was about 2 months old when I found him cowering on the steps of a building on Pitt Street between Rivington and Stanton. I guess this was 1984. I had just moved there, alone, after breaking up with Eduardo. It was raining and his face was splattered with tar. I took him home. We got to know each other over the next several days while he sat in my lap and I picked the tar off his face gently one speck at a time. He was my friend and companion for 15 years, longer than I've been with any man. I still miss him a lot.


He was always thirsty. After all these years, I still compulsively put down the toilet seat cover to keep him from drinking out of it. We found out later that the reason he was thirsty is that he was diabetic and that's what killed him. That's not true,  J and I had him euthanized when we went into diabetic shock. He probably could have been saved and kept alive by giving him injections twice a day for the rest of his life but we decided against that.

This is Jimmy. She was little and black. We got her from a couple of friends who'd adopted her from a shelter but then, I can't remember why, couldn't keep her. Her papers said she was a boy, so we gave her a boy's name. A few months later when she went into heat (we thought she was losing her mind) we took her to the vet and found that her papers also said she was a dog.

This is the apartment in Ft. Greene where I lived with B. He had a cat, Sparky, who I'm holding, who was killed by the landlord's Rottweiler who lived in the backyard. He ran out of our apartment and into the back yard during a party. We and the few party guests who stayed watched him die from our second floor window.

Okay, it's not just cats. This is Karen. We found her at the North Shore Animal League. Is she not the most adorable puppy you've ever seen? Good thing she was cute, because she was a hot mess. Totally neurotic.


Here's Honey again. He liked to sit on his butt like a human.

Jimmy was a little freaked out by Karen. She took to peeing on the floor. We tried a million different remedies, including cat Prozac, none of which worked. She peed on the floor every day for months, years, I don't remember how long it was, but it was rough.

Honey was never bothered by anything, really.

Once I took Karen for a long walk to Prospect Park. Just inside the park, she dove face-first into a big pile of homeless-person shit and rolled around in it. I was so angry I thought I would literally explode. She couldn't have been more pleased with herself or more perplexed as to why we were going home already when we just got there. I gave her about 25 baths and I swear I could smell it on her for months.

But I was so in love with that dog. After I told B that I was going to leave him, and before I actually moved out, for weeks I curled up on the bed with Karen every night while B was at work and cried into her fur.

B took Karen and I took Honey and Jimmy.

Three years later, when I moved in with J, he had 2 cats of his own. Gravity, who was a dead ringer for Sparky -- grey tabby, friendly but opinionated -- and in fact for years Sparky was the name that came to mind first when I called him. 

And Natasha, a Siamese mix and completely bonkers. With no warning, she would become possessed by a demon, start yowling and running up and down the curtains.

When I cooked, I had to use my wits and my elbows to keep Honey and Gravity out of the pan. They worked as a team. They didn't care how hot it was, if I looked away for a second one of them would grab a chicken breast or a piece of fish out of the skillet and run as fast they could. Once J and I sat down to eat, sometimes I'd give in and let them lick the pan.

We lived in a small studio apartment with those 4 cats. Looking back it seems crazy but we and they were all pretty happy with the arrangement.

This is a weird double-exposure but it's the only photo I have of all 4 of them together. Look at Jimmy (the black one). She liked to sit next to Honey and push her face into his fur. She'd stay like that as long as he'd let her, and he was so imperturbable it could last for half an hour sometimes.

And this is my favorite picture of Honey. We have it framed on the living room bookshelf. Oh, those eyes.

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