Yesterday I read this blog post by Cristian Mihai: and I left this comment: “My contribution (to blogging advice) is: Inspiration is everywhere, literally. Use it.” So after ruminating on it overnight and this morning I decided to take my own advice and use daily inspiration to create more varied blog postings.
My wife and I are pet people, we have 3 cats and 3 dogs, we also take a 4-mile walk in the morning 6 days a week. We get out at 6:00 AM to beat the oppressive Houston heat and humidity, never an easy proposition during the summer. Early on in our walks, we started noticing all the different stray/outdoor cats in our neighborhood, so we started counting them (The Cat Census), the next logical step was to start naming them, and finally making up stories about their little cat lives.
The only downside to all this is that we may see cats for weeks, then they vanish without a trace, never to be seen again. No doubt, most of those MIA have been killed by cars, since I doubt that they were rescued by human Cat Angels. This is dedicated to all of the outside cats in the world.
The cat group that got us started was a group of 3 black and one gray cat that congregated at a corner house every morning. Eventually, we named them, Blackie 1, 2, and 3, the gray cat became Big Boy. Then, one morning we noticed some movement in the front garden, it was 4 tiny, gray tabby kittens. Talk about a population explosion.
But, all good things come to an end, eventually the 3 black cats became two, Big Boy has not been seen for several weeks, probably locked up for non-payment of kitten support, and the kitten population is down to one, we hope the other 3 found good homes. The remaining black cats also mosey two houses down the street to eat at a home we have dubbed The Breakfast Buffet. The owner sets to food each morning, just not as early as the cats would like, but begging cats cannot be too choosy.
Up the street, a bit is a lovely tuxedo cat we have dubbed Trash Cat. No, the cat his-self is not trashy, but the family that he owns is. In our neighborhood we have “heavy” trash pickup on Monday, along with regular trash and recycle, but, there are some rules for heavy trash and the owners do not comply with any of them, so their heavy trash stays on the curb until the homeowners association gets on them. Hence the name, Trash Cat.
Lest the dog lovers think we are totally ignoring them, I will include a few notes about them. Across the street from Trash Cat lives Suki (although we initially called her Farley). Suki is a Golden Retreiver, her master (Pop) drives her out to a park for a walk every morning, as they drive away from the house Suki has her head out the back passenger window, a big smile on her face and her tongue hanging out. What a life.
Heading down the street and around the corner, we come to a catless home. The owners are Vietnamese, and they have created a beautiful front yard, but the Garden of Eden is in the back. Once when we were talking to them on a morning walk, they invited us into their back yard and we walked into a garden of delight, they grow as many of the fruits and vegetables from their homeland as possible. Beans and squashes grow up A-Frame trellises, papaya, lime, grapefruit, and mango trees abound, and a eucalyptus tree grows near the back of the house. If I dreamed of a garden for my back yard, this is it.
There are reasons why human encounters when walking are almost always good while encounters driving are generally not so good.
But, I digress, onward to more of the local cats. At the end of the block from the garden home is the Casa de Checkers, checkers being the Lady of the Manor She is a mostly white, tri-color cat, whose orange and black areas look to be in small, almost checkerboard patterns. The naming of street cats, not an exact science.
As we near home I have to mention one more dog that we have only seen once, but what he did he was worthy of notice and noting. We have not named him, but we did watch him with amusement. Walking by we heard a loud barking that seemed to come from inside a house, as we looked around we see this large german shepherd mix dog balancing on the window sill. Ok, we often see cats in windows frequently, but what appeared to be a 60-pound dog, not so often. And, he was vigorously barking and dancing in the window. Some dog.
We round out our journey at our next-door neighbor’s house. They have, had actually, two stray cats that they fed and watered on their front porch. Whitey and Blackie. Blackie showed up about 6 months ago as a small kitten, a rambunctious boy kitten. Whitey is an older female and not much for dealing with the bother of a growing kitten. But she tolerated him as needed. But Blackie, unusual for a stray, was not shy or untrusting, in fact, he was downright social, when I would be in the front yard talking to the neighbors he would just saunter over and rub against your leg, or flop on his side at your feet wanting to be petted. He was the kind of cat that my wife would take in a second, but we have 3 already. A few weeks ago we noticed that he was not coming around as usual. He was an un-altered male so we were used to him being gone for a few days at a time. Not this time. I can only hope that he rubbed up against the leg of someone that just could not resist bringing him into their home, forever. That is my story and I am sticking with it. He was a good cat.
Well, I have rambled on about our morning rambles enough for one day, but do check back if the spirit moves you. Chow. For now.