Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bottle Cap

I was born dirt poor on a farm in rural East Tennessee. When I was rescued from the shelter I was taken to an office where I spent the first seven years of my life. Lots of human activities, but since this office housed of a bunch of business consultants they kept the place looking professional. Image was everything. Cat toys scattered everywhere was not the image.

Kitty toys were kept to a minimum. I had to make do. I learned to play with paperclips, staple guns and the occasional fanny on the copier. Not your normal cat toys, but more than I would have had if life kept me on the farm. I'm not complaining, too much.

Goddess feels compelled to remind me of my humble beginnings. One way she does this is to give me "make-do" cat toys. You know, not really cat toys. For instance, here she is giving me and my homie, Phoenix, a bottle cap. Sure they can rattle around on a hardwood floor. Ooooh, exciting (NOT). And they can take off in a shot, which is really oooooh exciting (NOT). But a bottle cap is no substitute for a fluffy felt duck, if you know what I mean.

Have you ever held a bottle cap between your front paws and rubbed your face on it? Cold, hard plastic. It's just not the same as a soft plush chew toy soaked with cat spit. Sink your teeth into that cap and you'll be sitting in the dentist chair come morning.

I oblige her by taking a few tentative pats at the cap(Yawn.) Phoenix will chase it and entertains herself with the stupid thing, but me, I'd rather sit in the window and watch birds. Or run away.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Side Of the Story

Once you bite a human, you’re marked for life. Once you attack a human, you are cursed to go to hell. Thus my name, Diablo.

I am a sweetheart of a kitty. Full of spunk. No fear. That happens when you’re an office cat. High volume of people in your life, you get use to the attention and the crazy things people do. Add to that I was carted back and forth from office to house almost every night and I got use to most things, including the typical rural Tennessee road block complete with German Sheppard. I’d growl at those dogs and believe it or not, they didn’t know what to think. They’d sniff around the Jeep while I prowled window to window making my presence clearly known. I can be tough when I got sheet metal and glass between me and Fido.

Anyway, you could say I was a bit concerned with defending my territory. At the office, there was Phoenix and at the house, just me. I considered both my place.

The house sat on a lake, surrounded by deep forests. Quiet, secluded. Goddess liked the privacy as much as I did. On sultry summer nights, she’d go to bed stark naked. (I'll keep this rate PG) Some nights it was dead still, except for the peepers carrying on in the reeds. What little breeze the lake offered was captured in the thick pine boughs. She’d stretch out under the circulating ceiling. Nobody around but the moon. From the opened windows I kept watch over anything that lurked in the inky shadows. Mostly stupid possum, a few cantankerous raccoons and lots of squirrels. The squirrels drove me crazy.

Every once in a while another cat would come prowl around, never with any good intentions. Whenever that happened, I’d go nuts. First I’d get a few deep growls to rumble up from the depth of hell. Very primal. Sounds most house cats don’t even make. The fur on my nape would bristle. A porcupine couldn’t even imitate this. I’d hunker down low, cocked and loaded. My eyes widened like a pair of headlights on a rainy dark night. I could feel my heart pound deep inside my ribs and my breathing evolved into snorts, similar to a feral pig.

I confess, I’d flip out. And the Goddess knew it. I wasn’t Diablo anymore, but a possessed demon. The domesticated house cat vanished.

One night a prowling intruder of the feline type came snooping around the deck. Goddess heard me getting all worked up. Try as she might to calm me down I wasn’t having any of it. She spotted the intruder on the deck and made an attempt to scare him off. She leaned over to the window and she growled.

I went over the edge, berserk. Mind you she is naked as a jaybird. I leapt up and sank all four canines into her ass, while latching on to the back of her thigh with my front claws. The back two feet kicking away at the flesh. All 110 pounds of her came crashing to the floor. This is how a lion brings down a water buffalo. A vicious attack.

The next thing I remember we were eye-ball to eye-ball. She was as shocked as I was confused. I could tell she was scared. I could see it in her eyes. The fear, but she remained calm, not provoking another attack. This would have been even worse because like I said we were face to face. Got to give her credit for keeping her wits as she faced down a demonic furball.

I growled and snorted. Blood was everywhere. Yet she maintained her composure. No panic. Good thing, because any sudden movement or sound would have netted another assault.

She spoke soothingly while she inched slowly away. Once out of immediate range of tooth and fang she got up. Never stopped talking and never took her eyes off me, but never looked me directly in the eyes either. All the while I’m guarded, snarling and snorting. She ended up locked in the bedroom. I crouched down at the door where I watched her watch me under the door. No threshold. A few hours drifted by and I came out of my trance, as lovable as my old self.

I’ve done this a few times. I’ve gone to the point of actually stalking her with the same fierce attitude. Once she had to jump up on the kitchen counters to escape. Could be why she joined the Peace Corps and ran away for two years.

No vet or cat expert has an explanation. Bad kitty trip. And yet, she still loves me. That’s why I got to get to Hawaii.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Marooned on Captiva

I have a little time on my paws tonight. I’ll make road entry number 37. (You haven’t gotten to read every one). Presently, I am marooned on Cabbage Island on the Intracoastal Water Marker 60, N. It is all because I learned of this restaurant that has like the best hamburgers this side of Cornudus, TX. (If you don’t know where Cornudus is you will.) Following my weakness for a scrumptious patty the size of my own head (hold the jokes) I wandered westward into the Gulf of Mexico.

Seeing how I just scampered over all the keys down to the southernmost point buoy in the continental US, I thought I had this island hopping thing down to a scientific theory…cats hate water, cats stay on bridges. Except, the only way to get to the Cabbage Island Restaurant was by boat. I had to find a boat.

Offer a couple of guys a bottle of beer and they’ll take a cat anywhere. I realized I ran a great risk with this proposition. But the two young men were harmless creatures, already too wasted by 10 am to consider the evil tossing of a feline overboard and then watching the poor thing swim for its life. I know, I know…stupid of me.

Well, unreliable transportation in the early afternoon, results in no transportation by evening. These two mooncalves were no where to be found after I had my fill of cheeseburgers in paradise.

I tried to hop a small skiff with three young college girls on spring break, but they looked like the types who would have put me in a box and taken me home. My luck, I’d find myself sitting in a small cage at the vets in the morning waiting for a check up and shot regime. My new name Snookem’s or something equally disgusting. (If there is a Snookem’s out there, and not of the Muppet sort, I apologize, but really…Snookem’s?)

Since I had to spend the night here, I decided to pay the campers a visit. Discovered a little campground nearby with camp fire rings. I guess this gives the campers a sense of the real wilds of Florida, mosquitoes and all. After hanging around the perimeter of the campfire, I learned two things. People get a little jumpy when they see glowing eyes in the dark. They think ‘gator. Then they get all big and tough and throw things. I’m not talking marsh mellows either.

The other night I slept curled up in an abandoned crab trap, so I know there are far worse places to be, but not much worse. I’ll be patient and wait out the night. There are boats shuttling back and forth all day. I’ll find something.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Florida Hospitality

Whew. The other night I lounged in the pool house, entranced by the swirling lights and bubbles jetting up from the Jacuzzi. The soothing sounds of bubbles. Soon I was peaceful dozing. After logging 1400 miles, fighting fearsome blizzards, crossing a huge ass bridge/tunnel, being held hostage by a bag lady, threatened by thugs on a ferry, and tromping through every Podunk little town in rural Alabama, I made it to Florida. The challenges became no less. I had to avoid Gators of the meat eating type and crazy Greeks in Tarpon Springs who want nothing more than to marry a Goddess who owns a very smart cat. But finally, after a two months odyssey I relaxed with a belly full of tuna in the company of my good pal, TooncesCat.

I had to use the code to gain secret entry. The human of the house was expecting one filthy ragtag fur pile in need of a bath. Why she thought that a bath would be necessary I couldn’t imagine. Sure, I’ve tromped through my share of swamps across the state, but I’m just like any other cat, meticulous about grooming. I ain't no off the street stray.

Not to be a rude guest, I brought a little gift and left it on the front steps. I tried not to leave too much cat spit on the bird when I took the head off. My presentation superb. Two little feet sticking straight up in the air. The only thing missing were two exs on the glazed-over eyes. Why the humans sigh in appreciation I’ll never understand?

Not to be disturbed Toonces locked us into the pool house. After ordering room service and downing a six pack of tuna, Toonces and I settled back and to talk story. Indeed I had a few and this is one I shared with him.

I grew up a traveling cat, shuttled back and forth from the office to the house for a good number of years before she decided to take off and join the Peace Corps. That left me and Phoenix with the guys in the office. They did their best to take care of us, but did not provide the same high quality care to which we had grown accustom. Even though she had left detailed instructions, they fed us more than we should have eaten. When the Goddess returned, we were two very fat cats. I mean fat. I couldn’t jump on a counter top to save my life, much less to steal a chicken bone.

Being a bit of a health nut, she immediately put us on strict diets. That’s when life changed drastically. We were moved out of the office and relocated to a studio apartment. It was just big enough to turn around in and find your own tail. While we were now on a starvation diets, Goddess remodeled the kitchen and completed her book. Fortunately, we were not there long. We set off on a traveling adventure, a book tour.

Little did I know that the studio apartment would be huge in comparison to the nineteen foot RV she packed us into. I took it in stride, but Phoenix was bound and determined to break out of that moving prison.

One day we stopped in a busy shopping mall on Cape Cod. While Goddess paid a visit to a book store, Phoenix clawed at the sliding screen. That cat managed to get it open just enough for me to slip my now skinny body through. When she got back and saw the window was open, she gasped in horror. Imagine busy parking lot, zooming cars, strange people walking by and acres of trees around the perimeter. And of course, I had no clue as to where I was.

Inside she found Phoenix, but I was gone. She came outside and looked around the RV. She stared at the nearby woods. The scrub pine left the ground covering all brown. Brown cat, brown ground. She’d never find me. And no telling how long I had been gone.

She sat on the ground near the RV and began to cry. Rats. I felt so sorry for her. Even though she was hauling us around the country in that stupid RV, I couldn’t leave her. So when she looked up, there I was. Right beside her. Talk about hugs and kisses. I think she was a little miffed at Phoenix for opening the window and all, but she never let on. She got out a roll of duct tape and taped every screen shut. That’s when Phoenix started messing with the door! But that is another story.

You see, I figure she will be so happy to see me when I get to Hawaii.