Behold upon the sea-foam colored floor,

As sheafs of paper leaf down from above

An inky shadow races through the door

To rain upon the paper licks of love.

She leaps and frolicks in among the drift

Of crisp white envelopes and colored trash;

For her, these piles, and unintended gift

From me, that she might tear, may rip and slash.

Even if I wished to end her play,

Her mournful visage in my mind would move

Me, ‘til my feelings – hard and rigid – sway,

And I refrain from trying to reprove.



A Little Impaired

Tessa is bad at jumping.  Many times, I have watched her take a leap for a ledge, barely succeed, and end up dangling from the edge with her front paws.  I speculate that perhaps she was dropped on her head as a kitten, or perhaps she’s too lazy to make a proper effort.  Maybe Tessa’s eyes are bad and she has wonky depth-perception.  Maybe she has a fear of heights she has never been able to overcome;  because she is a cat, Tessa is forced to face high places daily, and with so many failures in her past, she has developed a self-confidence problem that will forever hold her back from her true potential.  Whatever the reason, I lament it, because Tessa’s jumping impairment has a direct effect on my health and happiness.

Tessa likes to sit in my lap, and 90% of the time I like her to sit in my lap, too, because she is cuddly and furry and adorable.  But every time she jumps on my lap, it’s a gamble.  Will she make it?  Or will she miss and scrabble at my legs with her claws as she tries desperately to save herself from falling?  Probably 25% of the time, it’s the latter, and I must react quickly to catch her before she starts to slide, or risk having my skin shredded.  If I knew why she was so bad at jumping, maybe I could help her.  I could hire a physical therapist for cats, or a psychological therapist for cats, and support her emotionally and financially as she works through whatever-the-issue-is.  But sadly, I do not know, and so I must resign myself to having a cat who sucks at jumping.  When the weather cools off enough to wear jeans instead of shorts, I will feel more at ease, but until then, I am forced to stay vigilant.  Oh my poor, poor legs.

This was a bad idea...

This was a bad idea…


This is one of my common, daily interactions with the Tessa Cat:

I am sitting at my computer in the office, when suddenly Tessa runs in, meowing at me urgently.

“Person Friend!  Let me up, I need to sit on your lap!” (I imagine her saying).

“Ok, Tessa, but why…”

“No questions, Person Friend!  It’s an emergency!” and she promptly hops onto my lap where she sits, facing me.  Then, as though she had been sitting peacefully on my lap all along, she slowly reaches a paw out and places it on my chest while staring soulfully into my eyes.

I look at her, dumbfounded “…but the emergency…?”

“It’s okay, my friend,” she interrupts, blinking slowly.  “Don’t worry, it’s all okay now.  Just pet me and be at peace.”

My cat knows that reaching out a paw and gazing into my eyes will immediately render unnecessary any and all explanations of her actions.  Such adorableness cannot be questioned.  I pet her.

Playing Fetch

Tessa likes to play fetch.  One morning, several months ago, she woke me up by hopping onto my bed and dropping a crumpled piece of paper in my face.  I threw it from the bed, she ran and brought it back, and it’s been a thing ever since.  Usually, I’ll be sitting at my computer when Tessa runs up expectantly with something she wants me to throw.

She's cute when she wants to play ball.

Here’s the thing: I tried out several different kinds of objects to figure out what works best for playing fetch, but we eventually settled on what she originally brought me as the best solution.  However, yesterday there were, shall we say, complications.

Not exactly what I had in mind...

Yes.  She brought me number 3.  And yes, I did my best to throw it for her.  It never went more than about three awkward feet, but I have to admit, it did make some pretty awesome skittering noises when she batted it across the floor.

String: A Feline Manifesto

1. Let it be declared self-evident that all cloth items with visible threads can, and should, be reduced to their most basic element: string.

2. Let it further be declared that all string shall be ingested as soon as physically possible.

3. The reduction of cloth and ingestion of string shall be prioritized above personal health or safety.

4. If the reduction of cloth and ingestion of string should aggravate a caretaker, this shall be considered a desired outcome.

5. Any and all implements may be used to further the pursuit of reducing cloth to string.

6. A tail may, under circumstances of dire deprivation and scarcity, be considered an acceptable and reasonable substitute for string.

Adherents to the String Manifesto shall consider the these principles to be the foundation for life and happiness.

Gandhi Cat, the Gremlin, & Tessa

When Tessa is feeling chill, she is the best cat you’ve ever seen.  She occasionally seems to be channeling the soul of Gandhi.  There are periods of about an hour every day or two when she can be remarkably calm, sweet, and accommodating.  I can pick her up and cuddle her for a very long time, and she loves it.  I can rub her tummy, and she just purrs.  What if I want to trim her claws?  That’s okay, it’s Ghandi Cat!  Or, how about I want to put a harness on her, like for a leash?  She walks a little awkwardly and seems a tad put-out, but otherwise goes about her business as usual.  Medicine, cages, loud noises, all roll off her like water off a duck.  Nothing bothers her.  I want this cat all the times, ever.

Most of the time, however, she’s just Tessa.  A  high-energy, mischievous, attention-craving cat who tries my patience and makes me laugh.  She is a cat whom I adore in spite of, and partially because of, her escapades.

Then, there are times.  There are times when the moon goes dark, and the tides rise in a thundering omen, and the winds howl in the night.  There are times when Tessa becomes . . . the Gremlin.  I am afraid of the Gremlin.  I never know when it might strike.  My limbs, my clothes, my possessions are not safe.  Nothing is safe.  Nothing is sacred.  The Gremlin is claws, and gnashing teeth, and a whirlwind with the power to destroy all it touches.  Fortunately for me, the Gremlin rarely sticks around for more than five minutes, or appears more than a couple of times in one day, and some days doesn’t manifest at all.  Indeed, the frequency of Gremlin appearances has gradually been decreasing.  I have hopes that the Gremlin will disappear entirely, with time.  I have hopes that the Gremlin is an artifact of her youth that, one day, will become no more than a bad dream.

In all truthfulness, even if the Gremlin never goes away for good, it really wouldn’t be a big deal.  Most of the time I have Tessa, or occasionally Ghandi Cat.

I’m cool with that.