A Bad Vibe

So, just yesterday I posted that I was visiting the Donkle’s spacious home and getting acquainted with the family. I had met Natasha, their reclusive cat, under the comforter in the master bedroom. I also had run into Jarmila, the maid, who had taken exception to my helping her make a bed, resulting in a lamp being knocked over. I expected to be blamed for this. I met Richard Jr., and his girlfriend, Hallie, and we watched a movie together for a while. Richard Sr., “Donk” as he likes to call himself, decided my name is Sambo. I was just getting ready to leave when I discovered that the patio door where I had entered the house had been closed, so I was deciding what to do next. I was in the kitchen when I overheard Jarmila talking in the hallway. As I have told you, I don’t understand Polish, but I had no doubt that she was talking about her interaction with me and the resultant damage to the lamp shade. I heard the phrase “czarny kot” several times. She uttered the phrase with venomous feeling. She was speaking with Bianca, Donk’s wife, and the two of them headed off to view the scene of the crime. Moments later Donk walked in, Joker trailing behind him. Donk got out a bag of dry dog food and dumped some into a bowl. He looked up and saw me.

“Well, hello, Sambo. Are you still here?” He opened the refrigerator and got out some heavy cream and put it in a bowl for me. I had become a little hungry, so I was grateful for the treat. And what a treat! I never got anything at home that was nearly so wonderful. Bianca came back into the kitchen. She looked at me with suspicion.

“Oh, there he is,” she said.  “Richard, what are you feeding that cat?”

“Just some cream,” he replied. “Cats love the stuff.”

“Don’t feed that cat. Mila told me he knocked over a lamp in  Richie’s room. If you feed him we will never get rid of him.” She cast a disapproving, mildly disgusted look in my direction.

“Sambo is a good cat,” said Donk. “I like him.” Joker came over and wanted to share the cream, so I let her. She was a pleasant, non-aggressive dog. Other dogs and people should be more like Joker.

“Mila was going to use that cream to make a pie,” she said.

“I’ll pick some more up on my way home. I have to go,” said Donk. “Homeowner’s Association meeting tonight.” He grabbed a light jacket from a closet off the foyer and left through the front door.

I had heard Mike and Judy talk about the Homeowner’s Association. A controversy had come up about a plan, instigated by Richard Donkle Sr., to transition Happy Meadows into a gated community. Donk thought that “undesirables” were coming through the neighborhood and putting the residents and their property at risk. He was encountering opposition from many residents, Mike and Judy included, who rightly pointed out that the only police calls to the neighborhood involved the residents themselves. A few noise complaints from residents about  unruly teenagers whose drunken parties spilled out onto the front lawn from time to time, or the periodic calls from the Kings whose domestic disputes sometimes got out of hand. Things like that. There was also nothing in the budget for Donk’s project. He was proposing that the city pay for it, saying that the safety and well-being of the Happy Meadows residents were jeopardized by the riff-raff, thieves, and rapists from outside the bounds of Happy Meadows. So far, the city council had refused to even discuss his request, and no one thought it would happen. So that would mean a special assessment of the residents. No one thought that would happen either. People find things to dispute about that would never interest a cat. But at some level, it comes from a sense of territoriality and personal and community space that people share with the four-leggeds of the world. For cats, it is much less about community space than for dogs or people. We are much more independent and self-contained, generally speaking. But anxiety about safety seems to be an innate characteristic of living things. It makes sense. At some level it is all about survival……eat or be eaten. Even one-celled creatures that can propel themselves have only two options: move towards a stimulus (eat or mate) or away from it (pain or be eaten). It is the basis of all tribal warfare and xenophobia. Fortunately, cats have evolved beyond this primitive way of existing for the most part, but many people remain mired in this destructive nonsense. They even have religious disputes, rivalries, and even wars, completely overlooking the imperative that God has placed on humans to love each other and take care of the world, and especially, to care for cats.

So, there I was, looking like I was going to spend the evening with the Donkles. I groomed myself there in the foyer, because whenever cats are indecisive, we cover it up by appearing to engage in  purposeful activity. The front doorbell rang. Richie opened the door and let in 3 of his friends, 2 girls and a young man. The hair on the back of my neck bristled. I picked up a bad vibe as they came into the house and headed downstairs. I decided to follow them and see what they were up to.

Glupi kot!

So, it’s time to get caught up on a couple of things. It wasn’t that long ago that we had men working on the outside of the house. They tore off the old siding and put up new siding and painted the house. To me it looks just about the way it did before. I don’t know what the point of all that was, but at least it’s quiet and peaceful around here again. Jackson seems to have his business going again quite nicely. Judy has taken to adding Metamucil to our wet food treat, a development that we are all celebrating by passing large moist well-formed poops.The only downside to the addition to the wet food is that if we don’t eat it right away it forms into a gelatinous fish-flavored mass which some people would think is quite disgusting. On the positive side, if someone happens to knock the bowl over as happened the other day, the wet food sticks to the bottom of the bowl and doesn’t slop out onto the floor, carpet, or where ever it happens to be. When Mike was in college the 1st semester in the cafeteria there was something called “the test” that was applied to certain foods. A dish passed the test if you could turn the plate upside down and nothing fell. This happened regularly with desserts, but one day Mike says that the pancakes and syrup passed the test. The beef stew almost passed the test one day, so that was a little messy.I know you will be glad to hear about all of this.

We also need to get caught up on my visit to Dick Donkle’s house. I had started to tell you about this in my post “Veni, Vidi, Vici” from March 26, 2017. So, I walked through his sliding patio door and found myself in a large kitchen. There were a couple of big water bowls on the floor for the dogs as well as some food bowls. The food bowls of course were empty. One of the things I noticed as soon as I entered is that there was a cat that lives in the house. So I started to explore the house looking for the other cat. The Donkle’s house is much bigger than Mike and Judy’s house, so it took a while to check the whole place out. I went upstairs and found a master bedroom. The cat smell was stronger in there. I jumped up on the bed and noticed a cat-shaped lump under the comforter. So I poked my head under the comforter and worked my way towards the  lump until I heard a hiss. I decided not to get any closer. I would try to make friends with this other cat some other time. I looked around some more and walked into another bedroom where there was a woman wearing a housemaid’s uniform. She was doing some dusting and straightening up. She pulled all the linens off of the bed and started remaking it with clean linens. I jumped up on the bed to help her. I do this for Mike and Judy all the time and they seem to appreciate it. They call me their chamber cat. Well, this lady seemed to not appreciate my assistance whatsoever. She seemed quite upset as she tried to shoo me out of the room saying “Wynos sie stad, glupi kot! Dostaniesz swoje czarne wlosy na moje czyste lozko!” (By the way, you may recall that I have already told you that I don’t understand Polish. If you are interested you can find a website that will translate Polish into English. Mike uses Google translate.) So we chased around the room some until she picked up a dustmop and started swatting at me with it. I probably should have just left quietly in the first place, because it wasn’t long before a lamp on a bedside table went flying through the air. The lamp didn’t break but the shade was bent up and pretty well ruined. I’m pretty sure it was the maid who knocked the lamp over with the mop but I was even more sure that I was going to get blamed for it. So I walked out to the hall and immediately stopped and started grooming myself. I wanted her to know that I was getting ready to leave anyway. No problem here! The house was so big that nobody out on the patio could hear the commotion, and no one came running to see what all the fuss was about. Before I left the upstairs I checked on the master bedroom again and verified that the lump was still in position on top of the bed under the comforter.

I went back downstairs, found another stairway, and went down  and found myself in a home theater where Dick Donkle Jr. was watching a movie with his girlfriend. I felt good chemistry with her and jumped into her lap. She was very sweet and scratched me behind the ears and said sweet things to me. It was time for a nap. I’m not sure how much later she nudged me to get up, so I jumped down and sniffed around some more. When I finally got around to leaving, I found that the patio door had slid shut and I was trapped in the house. No worries. If there’s another cat there must be cat food and a litter box, so I knew I would be set; and, there was plenty more to explore.


It wasn’t a nutmeg seed after all.

So, it has been a while since I have made a post, for which I apologize. I realize that I left you all hanging as I was about to walk into Dick Donkle’s house and snoop around. Of course, this is a common literary device, to create some dramatic tension at the end of an episode and then disappear for a while. Speaking of “disappear for a while”, this is the last phrase that anyone ever heard Thomas Merton say. You must know who Thomas Merton was. He was a Trappist priest who was a superlative spiritual writer, and an antiwar activist. He was in Thailand attending a conference of monastics from various religions, and he had given a talk just before a scheduled break. At the end of his talk he is said to have said, “let’s all take a break. I think I’ll have a Coca-Cola and disappear for a while.” During the break he went to his room where he reportedly took a shower, and had the misfortune of both getting a puddle of water on the floor and knocking over an electric fan while he was standing in said  puddle, the result of which is that he met the Lord forthwith. So, his disappearance was more permanent than he had anticipated. Thomas Merton is one of Mike’s heroes. Mike read his autobiography, “The Seven- Storey Mountain”, at a point in his life when he had hit a wall on his own spiritual path, and the book was exactly what he needed at that time to get himself redirected and re-energized spiritually. But I digress.

A lot has gone on which furnishes me with my excuse for why you haven’t heard from me recently. For one thing, Mike and Judy went off for a few days. I don’t know if they needed a vacation or not, but they took one. As I have said before, I need Mike’s help to get my blog out. Michelle came by and scooped, fed, and watered us, and played with us for a while every day. She is very sweet. She would probably have her own cat if she were not so allergic. She has to dose herself and her nose up pretty well in order to tolerate being around us at all. Then, this past weekend Jackson got sick. As you might expect, he waited until late Saturday afternoon when Mike and Judy couldn’t get our regular Dr. Jeff, the Extreme Vet, to see about him. So Jackson started throwing up about 5 in the afternoon and was acting puny. Mike and Judy tried to talk themselves into waiting to see how he was going to be in the morning, but around 11 in the evening  they packed him up and hauled him off to the emergency vet. They diagnosed a fecal impaction and kept him for the rest of the weekend, giving him enemas, laxatives, intravenous fluids, and making him generally miserable. Judy went and got him Monday and brought him over to our beloved Happy Meadows Veterinary Clinic, (known to all the neighborhood pets as the Extreme Vet), where they gave him more enemas and kept him until he pooped, and then sent him home. Was he ever glad to see us all again and to be in his familiar surroundings. He was pretty well cleaned out by the time he got home. Mike and Judy have been keeping him isolated so they can make sure that his digestive tract has become once again functional without extraordinary measures. I hadn’t given it that much thought, but I had noticed that he had been acting a little weird recently, and that when he had passed a stool, he was passing dry spherical poops that looked almost exactly like nutmeg seeds. If you have never seen one, go online and look it up,and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Well, this morning Mike and Judy got up extra early and left the house. I noticed Mike didn’t have his usual coffee and toast. They came back a couple of hours later. Mike was looking for all the world like he had just been on an all-nighter, barely being able to walk in a straight line or keep his eyes open. He made coffee and had some matzot and immediately fell asleep in his chair. I wonder what that was all about. Oh, did I mention that it’s  Passover now? I don’t think so. Mike and Judy had their annual Seder on Monday night this week. The usual suspects attended. They always have a very nice time and eat well. I always like to hear the story of the liberation of the Jewish people and their exodus from Egypt where they had been enslaved. I am all about freedom. An amusing thing happened at the Seder last year. When Michelle opened the door to let Elijah the prophet in, in walked Nevermore, the dog who lives up the street. If you have been reading my blog up until now, you would know about her already. She has a habit of turning up where she’s not wanted. Anyway, she’s a pretty sweet dog and didn’t stay long or cause any trouble. It was just a situation in which her owners had let her out to do her business and she had decided to take a short stroll and sniff around. If somebody opens a door, what else is she going to do but walk in? She told me she really wasn’t looking for the children of Israel. Anyway, she was not interested in sampling the gefilte fish, and she left without much persuasion.

I see I got off track again. So, while Mike dozed off in his chair, and Judy went upstairs to take a nap, Jackson finally got his business working, and passed a perfectly normal, un-nutmeg seed-like poop, and he has been let out of jail with much acclamation. Or maybe this is too much information. Whatever. If you’re not interested in my life, feel free to stop reading about it. (Mike just told me that’s rude and I should take it out, but I’m leaving it in. Nowadays, people seem to be able to say whatever they want to and put it out there for the whole world, whether they’re interested or not or whether it’s true or not. My neighbor, Dick Donkle, regularly sends out tweet-storms about the homeowners association, of which he is president, and about our neighborhood, Happy Meadows. He and I are  alike in that we are both interested in communicating, and we both hope that people read what we say, agree with us, and admire us. Where we differ, is that you can rely on the veracity of what I tell you, and he is a habitual if not pathological liar. But I digress once again.)

I believe today is Good Friday. For Christians, this is a sacred day which commemorates the crucifixion of their Savior. As a cat, I have a lot of respect for religious and spiritual custom and ceremony. We have our own beliefs about where we came from and what God means for us to be and to do. Such things are of extreme importance, and everybody’s beliefs deserve respect. I’m sure I will have more to say about feline spirituality in subsequent blogs. If you are interested, you might want to read my grandfather’s book, “Autobiography of a Georgia Cat.” He goes into this in quite a bit of detail, and in his story he relates two of our most important feline myths. I just love those stories. For Mike, this is the day where every year, once again, he realizes that he has forgotten to put the trash and recyclables out on the previous day, so we get to have it all sit around for an extra week. Lovely.

So, it looks like you’re going to have to hear about Dick Donkle’s house another time. Maybe it’s just as well, because I’m not sure it’s that interesting anyway, certainly not as interesting as the tale of the constipated cat. In the meantime, Mike and Judy and the other four-leggeds and I want to wish you a happy and blessed Passover, Easter, Vernal solstice (a little late, sorry), or whatever makes this time of year special for you. God bless.