Loaner now

Loaner is all I have now. She sleeps most of the day and I think not at all at night. She can’t get up on the bed with me, and it is a ritual that I pick her up each night and deposit her there. I know she misses our lemon tree, under which she drowsed away the days.

I miss having a kitten. The sheer exuberance and joy of kitten hood is a big lack in my life. Mojo would be out most of the day, checking in now and then with me by uttering a meow as he came through the pet door. And he and Bijou were the best fly ball catchers anybody ever saw. I would pitch and they would leap up and snag it smoothly as you please. Any one of their toys sufficed.

Ah, sweet babies. I long to cuddle you so.



People tell me they won’t have another pet after losing one. That they can’t go through another wrenching event of loss. I could agree, except that I love cats (and all animals) and would be willing to invest again in one or two.

I mourn little all-black Bijou who was hit by a car, and Tango and Mojo who didn’t come home. They loved the outdoors so who am I to deprive them of it?

The memories persist. Bijou liked to sleep under my chin, which inhibited me from reaching for the light switch. Mojo always uttered a meow whenever he came in. Tango always laid himself on my hand in bed for ten minutes before he went to eat. In his grave manner, he observed the rituals of love.

If these traits aren’t close to being human, then I resign from the human race.

Kitty love bites

Now that he is joining Loaner and me on the bed, which he had avoided before, he heads straight for my neck and settles down there. This somewhat constrains my movements because Loaner is at my left hip as well. Still, the effect of so much family closeness sends me straight to dreamland.

But there is one other matter to contend with. Bijou will reach up now and then and bite me on the chin or cheek or nose. Are they love bites? Those of my readers who know kittens, what do you think? In the morning I give myself a fright at the mirror at seeing blood tracks on my face. I don’t know what else to do to discourage him except by tapping him on the nose and saying BIJOU! sharply.

He gets pretty wild scampering up and down the bed until Loaner, at the end of her patience, goes WAAH! whacks him and manages to do what I can’t. It is Mojo all over again. That boy would go berserkers then suddenly cuddle, eyes closed, with melting sweetness. When he was really little he kneaded my shoulder, uttering meows of contentment. People try to lessen the sorrow of losing him by telling me he might be living with someone else. Compared to the image of him being mauled by a predator, I can almost hope that is the case, even if I don’t care for him wanting to be with anyone else. Complicated, isn’t it?

Photo: Bijou is behind the rose bush

Are all kittens….

….like this one? Each morning Mojo the Terrorist reduces my desk to a shambles. He pays particular attention to the USB ports behind my iMac and my notes, already piled haphazardly to the left of my keyboard, are now well scrambled. I might as well break a couple of eggs over them to complete the confusion.

He has drunk from my water glass and upset it despite my fractured vigilance while I attempt to do some work. And the keyboard, Ah! the keyboard, trampled as though by a cattle drive and flashing sundry apps on my desktop and losing me any files I am working on. I set him on the floor but in a minute he is back again by means of launching himself at my lap then vaulting to the desk. His launching pad–my thighs–are a network of scratches that sting almost as much as the wounds on my hands and fingers.

I must rescue him many times a day; once his cries brought me to him hanging from the lattice blinds, another time when his paw was caught in the cat door. His big sister Loaner has taken to hiding in the spare bedroom, but Mojo follows her right in and it does something to my heart when I find them both on the bed arranged like a pair of odd-sized commas as they nap. He follows her about and grooms himself whenever she does. I am counting on her to teach him the niceties of cat hood for he couldn’t have a sweeter role model for life.

But when his energy flags and he must sleep he nestles on my arm and I gather him close as he, purring, slumbers for a good hour as I work one handed. He is getting heavier each day and I am considering devising a sling for my arm.
When I read in bed the two of them lie with me, Loaner at my side and Mojo on my shoulder under my chin. My reading matter perforce must be slim enough to manage with one hand, and I really no longer care, in the warmth of these two companions.

My nephew comments via email that I must be absorbed in the new kitten. He has no idea.

Cat elevator

In Shanghai we put up our mosquito nets at the start of summer, and also tried, fruitlessly, to keep our cat from our bedrooms at night. But Shmooky was too clever; he could never be found when it came time to move him into a room with doors. And so we lay in bed wondering which one of us was going to—

There he was! Happy sappy cat running up and down and up my net, tearing holes everywhere until finally ending stranded on top. One got a chair and tried to grab Shmooky, who while wailing that he needed rescue would still dodge attempts to achieve same. Taken down at last, he was content to go to sleep in my bed, while I slapped at mosquitos that swarmed through the holes. In time, there were more patches than net and what we had was almost solid curtain and very little net.

How is Mojo doing? The little guy is up to two lbs and can now climb up my bedskirts. Between Loaner at my left hip and Mojo asleep under my chin, I am effectively immobilized long past my rising hour. And I am afraid Loaner is putting on weight because I cannot keep her from pirating Mojo’s high-fat kitty kibble. He goes back to the vet Tuesday for a further check for worms. I think he can still travel in my tote bag instead of the carrier–I hope.

Beguiling fish name: oblique-banded sweetlips, Komodo Reef, Indonesia.


10/03–A neighbor rescued three kittens he found at his place of work. He bathed the very dirty mites and plucked fleas for two hours. Finally, he posted a message on our neighborhood network offering them out for adoption.

Can this little thing exploring and hiding in every crevice my home has to offer, be real? No larger than the space bar on my keyboard, Squirt shows enterprise and a frightening appetite. I must remove the bowl or Squirt’s little belly might burst, so much like a hard round tennis ball it is. Being so hungry, without a mother to care for him/her will do that.

So far s/he has spent one night here and I find myself operating on two hours’ sleep. Loaner at first was only curious; now she is outraged at the little one’s encroachment. But my girl, true to character, does not attempt to hurt Squirt. I hope they will eventually bond; Squirt needs to cuddle.

This morning at 6:17 I arose to serve breakfast to Loaner and her brother whom I call Au Au for his tiny squeaks. Whenever he drops up from his home I must serve them separately. Today I had to run three positions. But I have good news from the neighbor: they will be keeping both of the Squirt’s siblings.

l0/07–Friends tell me Squirt must be examined by the vet for worms and I will do that.

10/11– It’s a boy! I have named him Mojo for Power and already he is bigger by 25%. At about six weeks he looks about right. The painfully bony spine and ribs are nicely covered and his galloping around the house is so comical he is a source of amusement I didn’t expect to find. And I looked over the edge of my bed at Loaner in her bed as I often do — and saw Mojo in there with her.  Nooow we’re talking!