A little digression

I started listening to the book Marley and Me in the car on the way to and from work. If you haven’t read it and love animals it is a must read, or in my case listen to. There is a web site marleyandme.com that has more charming stories and a blog on it. The story has me thinking of my own “Marley” who just happens to be a cat.

I had Brandy, my version of the perfect Siamese cat. She talked to me but didn’t scream like many Siamese do. She would live to be 16 years old and was always tiny. The day she picked me out I was sitting on the floor with 11 of her litter mates and she crawled into my lap. I put her on the floor and she climbed right back in. This relationship was meant to be, so I tucked her in my pocket and took her home.

She went through my marriage, divorce and move south. Her distain for the x was obvious; she bit his nose regularly when he whistled in her face. Sleeping meant having her under the covers; head on the pillow paws out stretched to touch me. Traveling never bothered her and there was no question when I moved out she was coming with me. A night in a motel where pets were not welcome and she was snuck in, found her sitting in the motel room window. Not getting thrown out of the motel was a blessing.

She never destroyed anything, ignored the Christmas tree completely and was content to crawl behind pillows, tunneling in, for a nap. This also created moments where she got laid on by accident, her squeak as the weight of my head hit the pillow could be heard in my ear. Her last move was into the house I bought. Illness had set in and she did her best to stick around for me. I was devastated when the vet informed me that her kidneys had given out. This was the beginning of the snowball to my “Marley.”

I had two more cats that I had given homes to after moving south but missing Brandy was just too great. Petfinder.com became a regular visiting spot and I knew sooner or later there would be another addition to the family. Tristan, his big brown eyes pleaded with me from the web site, he needed a home. A Shetland Sheepdog wasn’t exactly a Siamese, ok wasn’t even close to being one, but his beautiful face and sad story tugged at my heart. He was a sheltie rescue dog and he needed me. The first five years of his life had been torturous in a puppy mill and that was about to end.

My new friend from Sheltie rescue asked me to see if the Newfoundland dog at the pound was pure bred. That Saturday morning I ran to the pound, while I was there I looked around. I worked my way over to the cat pen and scratched a few fuzzy heads, being rewarded with a gentle purr and occasional swat. It was time to head back out and I strolled past the wall of cages, glancing in.

There he was, pitiful and mostly starved to death. His feet looked enormous for the size of his legs. He stared at me with big blue eyes and my heart melted on the spot. Monday he would be available for adoption and I needed to be at work, arrangements were made with my new friend to stand in for me at the ticket lottery to adopt him. She called me Monday and I could hear him screaming in her car, “you got him,” she said, “and I don’t think he is all that happy right now. Can you hear him?” I think they could hear him in Alaska. He wasn’t a Siamese, although could be confused for one. He is a Birman, marked like a Siamese with the mask and coloring, with long hair, a big fuzzy tail and huge white feet.

I prepared the guest bathroom for the first part of his stay; he wouldn’t get to run with the cats and the dog until after he had been to the vet for a thorough check up. There was a nest of towels, food and water bowls and a litter box. By the time I finally got him to the vet he had climbed the bathroom shower curtain, leaving tell tale claw marks the entire height. Returning home from work one day I went to open the bathroom door and it stopped. Peering through the small crack between the door and frame I noticed the vanity drawer was open, locking the bathroom door in an almost closed position. Foxie, who by now had a name, was happily swatting at me through the crack and purring. My first thought was don’t panic, as I frantically tried to stick my fingers through the crack and push at the drawer.

I stopped, thought a moment and came up with a plan. Taking a wooden spoon I wrapped masking tape around the end, sticky side out. Jamming it in the door and wedging it against the side of the drawer I slowly managed to push the drawer back into the vanity. There sat Foxie, purring and smug, waiting for his daily dose of pets.

When he was bored at night he had a method of amusing himself that was more than just a little annoying. He would lie on his back on the floor in the bathroom, reach up over his head with a paw and open and let snap shut the vanity door. The thunking nose at 2 AM sounded just like a burglar was rifling through the house. The first time he tried this self amusement left me in a state of panic, in the dark, huddled in bed. Door opening led to drawer opening, which caused midnight shin pain when rising to use the bathroom.

He has filled out in weight and I think grown in size over the past 5 years. Everyone that sees him wants to take this beautiful cat home, little do they know. Foxie’s favorite places are any place high, including the china cabinets that rock, sway and clatter when he leaps on them. He is also fond of closets that he can be trapped in all day, wailing at the first sound of human return to be let back out. Climbing the drop down ladder to the attic to explore, something he is not allowed to do is another favorite.

After returning from our latest vacation I noticed the decorative wreath had taken on a new form. Bits and pieces were lying on the floor and from best guess he had taken a flying leap for it from the floor or a hall cabinet and hung there before letting go, spreading dried floral material all over the wood floor. My cat sitter was befuddled at what could have happened to the wreath until I explained.

Foxie is always checking to be sure that we are ok. When my boyfriend fell asleep on the couch one day, Foxie strolled over, shoved his nose in Mark’s ear and SNIFFED. Mark’s immediate upright position on the couch and sputtering noises reassured Foxie that he was just fine.

My laptop is Foxie’s least favorite thing. To be sure that I do not forget just how detested the laptop is, he strolls across it nightly, his toes popping open windows, creating unknown commands and usually causing an unwanted shut down. At this point he lies down in my lap, sprawled over the keyboard purring and naps.

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