Children of Dune:

Children of Dune:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Misty the Cat: Biter of Mice.

Gerda and I noticed one day that our Misty could no longer leap onto the lowest chairs without two or three determined attempts. We began to lift her gently onto the couch. She would pine if she were not allowed out of doors, but she no longer strayed far from the kitchen door.

Rose Digression:
We have a number of sturdy roses lining the Cascadilla Creek driveway. They are rugosa roses, a primitive rose with a few large soft petals, a large yellow center for the bees, and a "stop and smell the roses" smell. Gerda just loves rugosas, and I quite like them myself.

Misty's favorite spot was under the largest of the bunch, a rose which we call the Frankenrose for its size, energy, and thorns.

There came a time when she had a stroke. We had no idea what was wrong with her, but rushed her up to the veterinary facility at Cornell. They were extremely nice to Misty, and to us. They gave us medicine. They used the dreaded euphemism: quality of life issues. We hoped that she would be able to die in familiar surroundings in reasonable comfort. We were doubtful, but fed her the stuff, and she did get better. It seemed to me as though she enjoyed being brushed and flea-combed more than before. She was very tottery, and her gait was irregular. We began to watch her for signs that she was in pain, or that sort of dull resigned look. After a few weeks, she either regressed or had another stroke. And another. She still wanted to go out, but I never saw her go further than twenty feet or so, to sleep under the Frankenrose, or sit by the carriage house out of the wind.

At this stage in her life in her life, she slept even more than normal; that is, she was either asleep or eliminating. She could no longer get into her cat box, so we laid out a very large area in the same room with a lot of newspapers taped to it. We cleaned a lot. We bought her favorite treat, sardines in olive oil; my son would coax her to eat small bits while lying on her side.

One night we realized that Misty was neither in the house, nor sleeping under the Frankenrose. After a while, Gerda thought to phone the SPCA. They were sympathetic. Neighbors or passers-by had apparently seen a decrepit old cat, and thought that she was a stray. The folks at the SPCA saw after observation that she was in fact dying and put her down. So much for our plan: she ended her life with us where she began.

Perhaps we should have put an explanatory collar on her; though she always hated the things.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Misty the Cat: Biter of Mice.

We owned an apartment building in San Francisco between eleventh street and twelfth street, and between Mission and Howard. Misty tolerated our new child Daniel, because she was a tough but fair cat, and so we did not return her to death row.

As written, she was a large female cat. She would leap impressive distances and land in silence. Because I was under the mistaken impression that the travel time from locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts to some land that we own in Washington Vermont would be less than the travel time from Oakland airport, I took a contract working on an ion implanter at Varian Semiconductor. We I worked there for a while, and Misty aged. She was still able to control our yard, to leap and play, and bite all mice. She didn't seem to age, except for a soft thump when she landed on a table, or the ironing board, or the mantle. She was reasonable with our new sons: David and Samuel, and accompanied us when we left.

When we left, she was an ancient biter of mice

The move to Cape Ann was not a good move for us, and we moved to Ithaca New York, which is where we are now. The joke is: Ithaca is centrally isolated. The city has a large number of local colleges and universities and is drenched in beautiful music of all sorts. We sang in choirs, and it was fun. Our youngest son loved Misty. She would let him use her for a stuffed animal. She could no longer catch any but the oldest mice, let alone a rat, so we descended to traps.

She had become the biter of ancient mice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Misty the Cat: Biter of Mice.

A Cat Story: Misty with Blanks.
(Misty is the cat.)
In the beginning, there was no Misty, only mice, and we lived in San Francisco, California. The mice were loud and nocturnal. They multiplied and ran all over the house. They began to run over our faces as we slept.

I took a pleasant walk over to the SPCA (so called). It was the close to the site of the old San Francisco Baseball stadium. There is still a bar on the corner named Balls. There is a hill leading up to Balls, before one gets to Balls, one finds the SPCA. On the other side of Balls, there was a Chinese restaurant.

A nice woman showed me death row. I walked down the row of cages making mouse noises, sort of an IQ test for mousers, and a large gray female cat with a white front, white paws, and a black nose won the competition for continued life. The name on the cage was Misty. I was given a card with her particulars, and took her home. We tried to make her feel welcome. She adjusted quickly. That night she caught a mouse, (think it was uncle Fred) and played with it for about four hours. The mice became invisible and inaudible to us. We knew they were there, because Misty would leave the occasional body under our pillow for us to enjoy after she ate the head. Good Job Misty!

more later...