…what lessons have you learned from the felines?

25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

The Holy Bible, New International Version, Genesis 1:25 & 31, 1973, 1978, Zondervan Publishing Corporation

By now, if you are familiar with this blog, you must be acquainted with our daughter’s two cats. Meatball and Spaghetti. Both have black fur and are American Shorthairs. Spaghetti is most easily identifiable because when she “found us” she was sadly missing all but about 3 inches of her tail. (Which has finally healed. Hurray!)

These two wonder cats have set up school in our household. Here’s some of the things Meatball and Spaghetti have taught us. (Lessons in no particular order.)

Photo by KAV. Edited by dfav using PhotoGrid.

CATS ARE INDEPENDENT ANIMALS. It is true, cats are independent animals. In the wild they fend for themselves. As people we’ve domesticated certain animals to be “pets”. Initially though, in the beginning of existence they were wild. Their DNA is hardwired for self-preservation without humans doing the job. Nothing wrong with that, being who and what they are meant to be. We as humans forget that way to often, but cats will remind you. (Humans will too but that’s a subject for another days blogging.)

THEIR NAILS ARE ALWAYS SHARP: Meatball will kind of, maybe, sort of tolerate a very quick mani/pedi. My job is to do the actual snipping. Never too far up the nail. Never while Meatball is still moving. Our daughter holds the cat, captures and recaptures paws and gently positions each nail so I can clip it.

Forget those electronic “grinders” though. At the sound of one she will rip your internal organs out through your mouth. Seriously, do not think I am over-exaggerating. To accomodate Meatball’s preference (cough, cough) we clip.

As for Spaghetti, she was accustom to outside living when she came to us. Living 20 feet from a very busy road along with some other safety issues for her, she resides on our back screened in porch. (Which is larger than our daughter’s bedroom.) One of us brings her in when the outside temperature drops or bad storms roll in.

However, needed or not, none of us are brave (or insane enough) to clip Spaghetti’s nails. They resemble talons, embed in the carpet when she tries to walk on it and she has known great pain at someone or something else’s will. (Her tail didn’t naturally fall off.)

Because their nails are always sharp, they can accidently scratch you. Cats play too and will play with you. If you do something to them that frightens, threatens or hurts them though, their claws and their teeth will make their presence known.

THEY HAVE A UNIQUE LANGUAGE: I promise you if cats have curse words in their language then Meatball and Spaghetti will put the foulest mouth to shame. There are times when our cats get along beautifully. They are playing together or curled up, even grooming one another and then the fight is on. They hiss, they screech, they yell.

IT IS TRUE, THEY DO NOT LIKE WATER: Because of that the feline bath spa is not open for clients here. Spaghetti has, however, been subjected to one bath since her arrival. It was only because she had been injured. Two adults and four hands were little match for one cat, her teeth and four paws with razors on them.

Once though when Spaghetti was in the bathroom while my husband showered she did stalk the shower curtain. Just at the edge of the floor (its a roll-in, wheelchair accessible shower) he could see her walking one end to the other. Amazed, I guess, that anyone would willingly enter a “room” where it poured rain.

CATS DO NOT SUBMIT WELL TO LEASHES. Our daughter has tried, starting especially with Meatball when she was younger, to train both cats on being on a leash. Guess what? Cats are not dogs. Cats have instincts that refuse to submit to being on a leash and “walked”.

Owner:  "Look Spaghetti and Meatball.  See?  Other cats can be walked on a leash."
Cats: "If all the other cats jumped off a cliff, do you want us to jump?"
Owner: "Of course not.  Other owners have taught their cats to walk on a leash is all I am pointing out."
Cats: "Ah.  Well, you are not those other owners, now are you?"

Meatball simply sits or lays down and stares at you like you have grown two heads, maybe three. Instead of walking while you hold the leash, this one lifts up on her tippity toes and refuses to move, or allows you to pull her along.

Spaghetti? In a split second she can get out of a harness and be gone before you put her on the ground. (Hence her runaway gig a bit ago.) She’s a harness and leash Houdini.

CATS ARE NOT QUIET ALL THE TIME. Our felines are like kids in that when you do not hear or see them, you should jump up to investigate because they are into something. Recently my husband and I were in our room doing our own thing. Outside it is cold, and rainy so both cats were in our daughter’s room. Our daughter is at work. Then my senses hear the silence.

Me:  "Honey, what are the cats doing?"
Husband: "Oh, I'm sure they are fine, probably having a cat nap."

Splat! Something or some feline is greeting the wall in a personal way. Crash! There goes whatever they’ve managed to knock off or over. Bang! Hiss! Crunch! Louder hiss. Crash! Again with something bouncing off the wall.

By the time my husband reached the bedroom it was too late. Food and water bowls empty, contents everywhere, water mixing with the food and some litter into a truly disgusting sight. Litter box close to empty of all unused litter. Items from our daughters shelves laying helter-skelter in her floor. Cat condo knocked over. Toys scattered. Dirty clothes have been thrown out of the clothes basket. It was a mess. So cats are not always quiet and they are not neat and tidy.

CATS TREAT YOU LIKE YOU TREAT THEM. If you are kind to a cat, you have a much higher chance that the feline will be nice to you. If you aren’t chasing it, pulling its tail, or bullying in some way cats aren’t likely go to return the attention. Rough housing has its place but it isn’t with an animal (even one with talon claws and vampire looking teeth). Its one thing to play with your pet and another to bully.



Photo by KAV, edited using Photogrid by -dfav,

On August 30 of this year our home also became the home of our daughter’s black American Shorthaired cat named Meatball. We all have come to love this furry creature. She’s an indoor cat, except when she goes on little adventures, like a youth football game. Imagine my surprise when out from underneath our car last Friday came a black American Shorthaired cat. How had Meatball managed to escape?

My husband was now holding the cat and I was vocalizing my surprise when he said, “This is that cat that’s been hanging around where our daughter works.”

Sure enough when he turned the cat so I could see her rear end she was missing all but a couple inches of her tail.

We both were sure our daughter had brought the cat home because the maintenance man had threatened to take the cat home with him and skin her.

But, she’d been off for three days and we hadn’t seen the cat when we had been outside. We’ve tossed several ideas of how the new cat came to be at our house.

Our daughter is adament she hadn’t brought the cat home and couldn’t believe it had managed to slip into the car then out without her noticing.

My idea that since where our daughter worked was only a mile and a half away maybe the cat managed to follow the car home was met with eyerolls.

Had she stored away on the engine block?

We’ve never heard of a cat “tracking” someone down and how could she have tracked the car?

Regardless of how she came to be living on our back porch she is here now. It’s clear by her actions she’s accustom to being an inside cat but we’ve got to have her in with the vet before I will entertain the idea of her joining Meatball inside.

A vet visit is even more important now that we know her tail nub is infected. I’d suggest we have her fixed while she’s there but how much trauma would be for her? We already know that infected tail has been an issue for at least a month and a half, as that was the time she showed up at our daughter’s job.

Meanwhile, the “new cat” seems okay with her current living arrangement. And our daughter has given her a name. What goes with Meatball better than Spaghetti?

Photos by KAV, edited on PhotoGrid by -dfav.

While I was thinking of Velvet or Midnight, in the face of her logic what could I say? Spaghetti it is.

Spaghetti seems content with living here, except she clearly wants to be inside” but Meatball is not that happy with the situation. That’s going to be a big issue if I relent about Spaghetti coming inside.

Have I conveyed how much I love our daughter? In two months I’ve gone from “no animals in the house” to an indoor cat, that I too, am attached to. Plus, I’ve agreed to the addition of an outdoor cat. Trust me, this is a huge deal for me. Aside from going against my parental upbringing the presence of cats and mice trigger a very painful, traumatic and life changing event in my life. Yes, only the deepest of love can smooth the way for one cat, much less two, in my life.

I’m also concerned about how close we live to the highway, as in it’s twenty feet from our front door. Our backyard is fenced in but a chainlink fence is no deterrent to a cat.

Will Spaghetti join Meatball inside? Will Meatball agree to the addition? How did Spaghetti get here? Will both cats learn to be on a leash?

I guess my therapist and I have something else to talk about.

However I have a strange yearning for spaghetti and meatballs for supper. (The pasta and tomato sauce based meal. No cat will be harmed in this house.)


…did you give them something to talk about?

Funny you should ask that question. If you’ve read my blog before I hope you read “What crazy, unbelievable thing have you done for love”? (9/15/2020) In it I introduced our daughter’s cat named Meatball. An American Short-Haired cat. A black cat. Like the black cat people used to cross the road to get away from or refer to as a Halloween cat.

In many ways Meatball is a therapy animal for our daughter. She calms her anxiety and has certainly made her happier. When we went to a youth football game that our great-nephew was playing in and his sister was cheering for his team at. Meatball went with us.

Have you ever seen a cat at a football game? No? No one here ever had either!

From the reactions we got I can safely say a cat in the stadium gets a lot of attention. Kids wanted to pet her (and I must also say they all asked before they petted Meatball). Adults did double takes. Adults also made those just out of ear shot comments. “A cat? Who brings a cat to a football game?” (Do people really believe you can’t hear those snide remarks?)

Us, that’s who. We’re the people who bring a cat to a football game.

Meatball, is a very sensitive cat and didn’t find the game amusing at all. Our daughter is training her cat to be comfortable with being on a leash. If you picture a black cat walking regally out front of us, think again.

Meatball doesn’t yet grasp the idea that she can walk ahead or beside of one of us. Instead she rises up on the very tips of her claws and if they were metal, you’d see sparks coming off the asphalt. Carrying Meatball is still a better option if you don’t want people to think you’re abusing a cat.

The leash does keep her from disappearing when she decides to attempt to skirt away. Many of Meatball’s skirting away moments occurred each time a referee blew their whistles, or the crowd cheered and shouted. A leash only let her get so far.

Her anxiety level combined with the chill in the air caused her to tremble. Cat Mommy went to get a blanket from the car. I held her while trying to avoid her instinctive action to dig her claws into me preparing to climb around my head and launch off my back.

This one football game experience seemed to disturb her appetite too. She had no interest in anything that anyone had in their hands to eat. At home she will sit and stare at you, begging for a bite. Not at a football game no matter how cute our very youngest great-niece looked offering her a nibble.

Photo by dfav.

The longest period of time Meatball was absolutely calm and still was when Cat Mommy had our youngest niece and the cat in her lap sitting on the asphalt. Meatball and Maddie were nearly lulled into a nap but then the whistle was blown and the crowd was noisy. Maddie went toddling off to Mommy and Meatball tried to escape under the bleachers.

The rain started to dribble and drip and we decided to leave since loading and unloading my manual wheelchair takes extra time. (The game was called while we were getting in the car.) Meatball, it appeared, was much happier back in her carrier in the car.

Will we take Meatball back to a football game? Absolutely. If she’s going to be a therapy cat she has to be able to be calmer around crowds and even whistles. Besides, it gave people something to talk about!


P.S. No animals were hurt in the event described. 🙂

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