Neither of these guys is the baby, who comes as soon as I fill the feeder, before the bigger squirrels and the birds get here. I think he sits and waits. These two are siblings, two of the four born in the tree this year. Things were not this amicable for long. They kept whacking each other over the head and diving for the best seeds. They did share the feeder without actually chasing each other off, though. A big crow came to watch, but he clearly decided the whole thing was just going to be trouble, so he left. Bella practically lost her mind over the two squirrels, but she was a little intimidated by the size of the crow. So was I.
After the bustle of Edgar Week, hanging with friends, going to events, watching my buddies win awards (and sometimes lose, boo-hoo) it’s back to normal life, or what passes for it around here. This morning, Bella the Cat had to go to the vet.
Nothing’s wrong; it was just her yearly appointment, which was actually scheduled for two weeks ago. However, that day, my technique must have been unsubtle. She caught on to my attempts to stuff her in the carrier, pulled off a daring escape, and sequestered herself under the bed.
So I waited two weeks, during which the carrier was in the living room with a nice dirty towel and some catnip in it. I used a cat-distraction trick, scooped her up, and slipped her into the thing head-first. I got it zipped before she could turn around.
And what a yowling was heard throughout the land! She screamed her head off from the minute I finished zipping until I picked the thing up and slung it over my shoulder.
Then, suddenly, silence. Silence all the way on the 8-block walk to the vet. She peered intently out the front screen and sniffed. She was a feral kitten, was little Bella, and maybe she was getting memory cues of her youth. I don’t know; all I know is, last time we did this the yowling never stopped until she was face-to-face with the vet.
This time, not another peep, even during the exam. When the vet was done she climbed back into the carrier with no complaints, said nothing the whole way home, and contrary to expectations, she seems to have decided I did nothing today for which I need to be held accountable.
Here is Bella the Cat taking a drink. Note the balletic posture, left shoulder up, right paw crossed over and down for balance as she prepares to stick her snout into the H2O. Shocked, you ask yourself: what evil cat owner would make it this difficult for a kitty to get at her hydration?
Well, here’s the thing: this is not her water dish. Her water dish is an ignored object on the kitchen floor. It sits beside her food dish and is refilled every morning with the same fresh water as is in this. THIS is for the plants, to help humidify them. The previous cat, The Late Great Fugazy, never gave it a thought.
But from the moment — three days into her residence here — when Bella finally crawled out from under the bed to explore her surroundings, she found the water in this bowl much tastier than the water in her dish.
In reality, this is what I think is going on: Bella was a foundling. She was adopted as a kitten by some folks who wanted a friend for their aging cat. Bella, though, was too aggressive — in fact she was so pushy they named her after Bella Abzug. (Now that’s a real NY story, huh?) Finally the older cat was so terrorized she stopped eating, and they decided Bella had to go. So she came here. I think she must have survived on the streets until her adoption by a combination of aggression and sneakiness. Even now she doesn’t like to eat while I’m in the kitchen — if I come in while she’s eating she’ll run away. Otherwise she never avoids me (quite the contrary, e.g. she’s on my lap right now) but while she’s eating she wants to be alone. I think this water ballet business also has to do with making sure those other cats whom she used to have to fight for food on the street can’t sneak up on her while she’s stealing water from the out-of-the-way puddle. I also bet that if I put a food dish up there, that would be her dish of choice, too. Too bad that’s not about to happen.
December is here, and just in time for your holiday shopping, so are the 2018 SJ Rozan Calendars! This year there are three: FAKE BIRDS, with some of the year’s best fake bird photos; FOOD, and need I say more? And now, for her many fans, BELLA THE CAT.
I have a cold. My colds go chest to throat to nose, and this one is still in the chest stage. Coughing, wheezing. Went to a dance concert last night, played basketball this morning — I’m of the firm opinion that sweating it out is the best thing, though I didn’t have a lot of oomph and played rather badly — and came home exhausted. But the good part is this: checking my book last night to see whether I could cancel anything I had coming up for the next day or so I saw that I have nothing! From now until Tuesday night, when I teach, my schedule is blank. This never happens, and it especially never happens when I’m sick.
So I finished playing basketball, did a little shopping on the way home, took a hot bath, and will be burrowed in here for the next three days. Today I’m not even going to write. I’m going to clean out some files, finish my taxes (I warn you, say nothing), nap, and make chicken soup. And catch up on some reading, and watch the women’s NCAA Final Four while I eat the chicken soup. I’ll write tomorrow and Tuesday, but nothing more ambitious because more files and more napping. Tuesday evening I’ll emerge, all better (or, with a cold in the nose, which is more likely) but somewhat, I hope, de-stressed.
Bella fans — how weird is this? I took Bella to the vet for her yearly checkup — had a struggle stuffing her into her carry case, had to listen to her curse me out the whole way there (a 7-block walk), but of course at the vet she poured on the charm. He pronounced her a “perfect cat.” Coat glossy, teeth sharp, heartbeat absolutely regular. Fabulous, say I, but I felt a tiny lump under her skin, at her shoulder, could you take a look at that? Says he, it’s probably just her microchip. Says I, this cat has no microchip, she’s an adopted (by me) foundling (by her last people). Oh, the vet says, waving his microchip reader over her shoulder, then where’d she get this? And indeed, someone, somewhere in her first almost-year of life, implanted a microchip in Bella the Cat! For all I know she’s been sending reports back to the mothership all this time.