Showing posts with label Mr. L. Gatto Cat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mr. L. Gatto Cat. Show all posts

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Pink Sky to End the Year

It's not that I don't have something in mind to write about. I do. Lots. But, work words must be written first. So, for today, I give you photos of a pink sky on the last evening of 2011.  Until Monday, dear readers.

The Husband and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. As we wandered we wondered
if we would come across Mr. L. Gatto Cat in one of his favorite hang outs. We were quite
surprised to see him hanging out on the fence when we got home. (This was two nights before
he left our lives forever.)

Such an amazing sky, don't you think? Hollister, California, that's where we live.
Nope. I'm not talking about that silly store.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mr. L. Gatto Cat: The End

The tale of Mr. Cat ends today.  For the earlier segments, please go here:
1. The prequel   2. Mr. Cat's first appearance   3. So says Mr. Cat
   4. Seeking Mr. Cat

It has almost been a month since Mr. Cat was part of our lives. In all, Mr. Cat was with us for six weeks, from just before Thanksgiving to right after New Year's Day. We really couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift than his presence.

Okay, I won't leave you hanging about the half-naked man with which I ended the story last Thursday. Unlike fictional stories that would introduce such a minor character, nothing happened. Short and simple, the true scene played out as such. "Is that your cat?" I asked, pointing to grey cat beneath the bushes. "Yes," he said, nonplussed, as if every morning he opened the door shirtless to answer an old lady about his cat. That cat which, by the way, quickly ran into his house. "Sorry," I said, thinking that I would not be riding my bicycle down that street for awhile.

Go ahead, laugh. I do. The husband does. In particular, we laugh at the image of me, an old, chunky lady pedaling her pink bicycle through the neighborhood shouting, "Mr. Cat! Mr. Cat...Kit, Kit!....Meow, Meow!" It is  hilarious, if not sometimes pathetic. Actually, the whole tale of Mr. Cat is once you know how it finally ends.

On the ninth day of Mr. Cat's disappearance, the husband and I finally forced ourselves out of the house to do errands. As I swung the car out of the driveway, I noticed neighbors standing on the corner across the street who I had yet to ask. Among them was the blonde-haired woman who once upon-a-time we had seen Mr. Cat follow down the street.

"Excuse me," I called from the car. "Have you seen a grey cat with a tiny white spot on his chest?"

"That's my cat," said the blonde-haired woman in surprise.

"Is he with you?"


I felt relief instantly, followed by disappointment.

"He had been hanging out at our house. When he stopped showing up, we got worried."

"So that's where he had been," she said laughing.

The night Mr. Cat disappeared was the night that she moved from the neighborhood. We had no idea she had been still living on the street.

So, there you go.

Ah, Mr. Cat, such a con artist. We love him anyway. 

It was a good thing we hadn't had the chance to take him to the vet to get neutered.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Mr. Cat! Mr. Cat!!"

This is the fourth installment of the tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat,
"our" cat for a very brief while.  If you wish to read the
earlier segments, please go here:
The prequel
Mr. Cat's first appearance
So says Mr. Cat
On the evening of January 2, Mr. L. Gatto Cat mewed loudly at the front door. It was only 8 p.m. He had left the house only a couple hours ago.

"What are you doing here so early?" I asked as I opened the door. It was only luck that I happened to be walking by the door. Otherwise, I would not have heard him over the Mama's TV in the living room and the husband washing dishes in the kitchen.

"Meow. Meow. Meow," Mr. Cat said, rubbing my legs, then rubbing the bottom of the door. He stood inside the door, looking out.

"Do you want to come in or not?" I asked, holding the door open. "It's cold."


"In or out? Out or in? Make up your mind," I leaned over to pet him.

"Meow." Purrrrr.

He slipped outside. "Have fun," I said. "See you later."

As I closed the door, I saw him jump into the rose bushes.

The Husband and I took turns opening the back door later that night to let him in. We went to bed with high hopes of finding him asleep on his chair in the living room, as usual.

He was not there. He did not show up at any of his usual times. He was no where to be seen on our street. Cat friends told us not to worry. He'll come back when he's good and ready.

I could not wait. I got on my bicycle and pedaled around the block. Cat experts on the Web stated that cats generally hang within a short radius.

"Have you seen a grey cat with a tiny white spot on his chest?" I asked of anyone and everyone I saw.

"Yes," said a middle-aged man who lived on the next block. "A grey cat comes around here all the time. I feed him."

Instant relief.

"He was probably here last night with a lot of other cats," said the man. "My cat has been in heat. I've had to keep her inside."

His young daughter told me that the cats usually hang out in the flower beds along their house or in the bushes across the street. For the next nine days, the Husband and I drove by slowly, keeping our eyes open for Mr. Cat. One afternoon, I saw a grey cat crossing the street to their yard, but it was not Mr. Cat.

Later on that first day of Mr. Cat's disappearance, the Husband and I went to the local animal shelter to look in its stray-cat room. The moment we entered the door, five or six cats came to the front of their cages instantly. They meowed insistently. Each seemed to plead, "Please take me home."  We visited the shelter a week later to find only two cats in the room. Neither was Mr. Cat.

The husband and I are night owls, which is the reason Mr. Cat could count on one of us opening the door as late as 2:30 a.m. I see the sunrise when I've worked through the night. I get up before 8 a.m. only if I need to be somewhere early. On the third morning of Mr. Cat's disappearance, I wanted to get out there while rodents and birds were still morning prey for cats. This time, I decided to widen my search of the neighborhood. I imagined that I was a cat being chased away from the house where the cat-in-heat lived. Where would I run? How far would I run before I stopped?

So, that third morning, I put on my ratty-tatty, but warm, orange jacket; strapped on my bicycle helmet; and took off on my aging pink cruiser bicycle, with a container full of Mr. Cat's favorite dried cat food in my wicker basket. I wondered if Mr. Cat would be willing to ride in the basket home.

As I pedaled up and down the streets, I called out: "Mr. Cat! Mr. Cat!" 

I also projected the Mama's name for Mr. Cat, "Kit! Kit!"

And, yes, this nearly 60 year-old, chub-chub lady followed both calls with "Meowwwwwww. Meowwwwwww."

On the last street, the farthest away from our house, just as I was telling myself Mr. Cat wouldn't be here, I saw a grey cat race up a lawn. He cowered beneath the bushes near the front door, when I called, as calm as I could, from the sidewalk, "Mr. Cat! Mr. Cat!"

He looked at me, afraid. Would scared cats not know their humans?

As I was about to walk up to the cat, an old man came out of the house next door. "Excuse me," I said. "I live on the other side of the neighborhood. Does your neighbor own a grey cat?"

"No comprendo," he said. "No hablo Inglais."

Great. I only speak textbook Spanish and most of that skill has disappeared from my brain. I pointed next door, wondering what the Spanish word for neighbor was. Sigh

"El gente tiene un gato?" The crowd have a cat?

Fortunately, the man understood. At least I thought he understood, because I understood him to say that a lot of cats hang out on their street.

I thanked him, and walked next door. The cat was still under the bushes. I stood on the porch and talked to him. "Hello, Mr. Cat. Are you Mr. Cat? Come here, Mr. Cat. Come here." At one point, the grey cat took a step towards me. But, he thought better of it and stepped back.

Except for the bushy tail, the cat looked like Mr. Cat. I had to know. I knocked on the door. No answer. I knocked again.

The door opened. A young muscular man with beautiful hazel eyes stood before me. And how did I know he was muscular? He was half naked.

The tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat continues and ends next Monday. I promise.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

So Sayeth Mr. L. Gatto Cat. Perhaps.

Last week, I began the tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat, "our" cat for a very brief while.  Here are the links to  the prequel and Mr. Cat's first appearance.

I was just minding my own business. In the late afternoon, I liked to hang out under the old lady's rose bushes to grab some of the last of the sun's bubbles before it scooted over the rooftops. The old lady had a very pleasant and tidy garden. No leaves to muss me up. No rocks to dig into my body. The plants and her house protected me from the wind. And, best of all, the birds flocked to the bird feeders on the tree in the middle of the yard.

It was only right that I politely said "Thanks" whenever the old lady, the bushy-haired tall guy, or the younger old lady walked by. The guy always petted me and said kind things to me. I didn't get much of human talk until evening. As for the women—they ignored me. I think the old lady was hard  of hearing.  The younger old lady sometimes glanced at me and said rather firmly, "Stay away from the birds." Or, "You better not be pooping there." Honestly, I didn't. At least, not after she mentioned it.

The days were getting shorter—and cooler—when it all of a sudden happened. My relationship with those three humans changed.  I had just stretched myself out of a nap. Sitting on the old lady's walkway, I was pondering where I might find a morsel. The front door creaked open and the old lady walked out. She held a piece of chicken. Of course, I walked towards her, but I stopped a few feet away. She put the food on the cement and walked back to the steps. It was delicious!

The next day, it happened again around the same time. The day after that, I came by earlier, and she came out with food. Then one day, I found a plate full of human food. It was okay. You had to be hungry to like it. I ate a little bit to be polite. After awhile, I noticed the younger old lady sometimes put food out for me. She still said, "Stay away from the birds." But in a nice, friendly way. She also began to pet me.

I came by another day and found a bed on the front stoop. It was a towel on a piece of cardboard, which was replaced by a blanket tucked into a cardboard box a few days later. I went to sleep there before dawn and wouldn't you know it when the front door opened a few hours after sunset, the old lady had breakfast for me.

Eventually, the younger old lady moved the bed and my food dish and drinking bowl into the backyard. She also hung out with me. At first, it was for a very short while. I had to teach her not to leave so quickly. She actually let me sit on her lap. I learned that I could not swipe at her with my claws. She didn't like that at all. She also didn't like me to jump up on the table where they kept the canned and boxed food for me.

Yes, I was finally allowed inside the house. They brought my meal dishes into the house because the other cats were eating from them. "You can hang out here," the younger old lady said. "But, don't bring other cats here." One evening, I even chased a buddy away because he was freaking her out.

It was a great life I had with the three of them. They had made me a little shelter that kept me quite warm during the chilly nights. Indoors, I had my own chair with a warm pillow to sleep on. Sometimes, the old lady laid on the couch next to my chair and she let me nap alongside her.

The old lady didn't like me to leave. When it was time for me to go, I asked the guy or the younger old lady to let me out. Usually, I found them upstairs working in their office. Going upstairs was like walking through a mine field in the dark. The stairs, the hallways, and their office were lined with piles of books, papers, boxes, and stuff. I would've enjoyed exploring their territory but it was not my place to do so.

With each day, I was going over to their house more often and staying longer each time. The last few weeks, I got into a pattern of heading over there at 10 or 11 a.m. I slept for an hour or so, left, came back around 2 or 3 p.m., and slept until 5 or 6 p.m.  I found myself heading to my shelter anywhere between midnight and 3 a.m. just so I could be there when the old lady opened the sliding door in the morning.

One especially cold night, the sliding door opened, and the young old lady stuck her head out and invited me indoors. I ate a little then flopped onto my chair. She and the guy sat next to me and took turns petting me until I had almost fallen asleep. I say "almost" because I heard them try to quietly get up and walk away. From that night onward, I slept in the house. It didn't matter what time I returned, she was there to open the door and they were there to lull me to sleep.


I really didn't want to leave them.

The tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat continues on Thursday.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mr. Cat Makes Himself Known

Although Mr. L. Gatto Cat was "our" cat for a very brief while, he made quite an impact in all of our lives—the Mama's, the Husband's, and mine. Click here if you would like to first read the prequel to the Tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat.

"Hello. My name is Susie. I live up the street. Are you missing a cat?"

It was a warm April evening. The husband and I were walking up and down our block, looking for the house where a young, friendly grey cat might belong. That morning, at breakfast time, the cat had sauntered up to our screen door and mewed as if to say, "Let me in."

"Go away," I said through the screen door. "You don't belong here."

"Meow, meow," it answered.

A couple hours later, the husband went to fetch the mail. The  cat came out from under the rose bushes. He petted the cat. On the way back from the mailbox, the husband stopped and petted him again. Yes. I have been told that I married a man who was pure of heart.

Lunch time came. The cat was still hanging out in the front yard. I went out and shooed him away. So I thought.

"The cat acts like it belongs here," I said.

"He's a cute cat," said the Husband. "He's very friendly."

"I wonder where he lives," said the Mama.

Several hours later, the Mama was looking out the screen door at the grey visitor. "The poor cat. He must be hungry."

Sigh. I asked the Husband, "What do you feed cats?"

"I don't know," he answered. He had never owned a cat. "Milk."

The cat lapped up a saucer of lactose-free milk, which I placed on the driveway, far away from the front door. The Husband cooed and petted it. I ignored it, while holding the carton of milk. A middle-aged woman and a little boy I'd never seen before walked by. "Hello," I said, hopefully. "Is this your cat?"

No, it was not. She also let me know she had two friendly cats at home. (Like I really cared.) They were visiting a friend, the woman told me. (I haven't seen her since that day). Then she proceeded to ask questions about the Mama and the Brother, both of whom she claimed she knew. (The mama had no clue who she was.)  Later that night, the Husband and I wondered if she had abandoned the cat on our street and had come around to see that it was okay. It's always good to be wary of strangers.

As the cat drank more milk, the Husband and I quietly walked away. I really hoped that with its belly full, it would go away.


After dinner, I opened the front door.



Out the door, the husband and I went. "Come on, cat. Let's find where you live."

Surprisingly, it followed us down the driveway. At the sidewalk, we stopped and waited to see which way he would go. It waited to see which way we would go.

He followed us down to the corner, then turned around with us to walk to the other corner. As the husband waited with the cat on the sidewalk, I  knocked at doors. I finally learned names of a couple of neighbors and met one that had moved in recently. I thank the cat for that.

No one looked at me as if I was a lunatic. But, then, a couple of neighbors knew me from the previous Christmas knocking on their door with two bags full of gifts. "Uhm, someone named 'so and so' left these gifts on our front porch by mistake. Are they yours?" No one was missing gifts. That spring evening no one was missing a cat. (FYI: The Brother had left the gifts.)

It was kind of nice walking around with the Husband and a cat on a spring evening. The cat seemed to enjoy scampering alongside us, veering now and then to explore something exciting. At one point, it met one of the feral cats in the neighborhood. I felt like chasing the feral cat away. I didn't like the idea of the young cat living a wild life. He was obviously someone's pet. Not soon after meeting the feral cat, the grey cat melted into the shadows.

As we closed the front door, the Mama asked, "Did you find its home?"

"Where will it sleep?" she asked, worriedly, when we said it disappeared.

"It'll be fine," the Husband said. "It'll find a safe place to sleep."

I was kind of worried, too. The Mama said what was on my mind, "We should've let him in."

The next morning I opened the front door. No meow. I was disappointed.

To be continued on Monday.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Tale of Mr. L. Gatto Cat: The Prequel

This is what the Husband, the Mama, and I wrote on our 2011 Christmas letter (Yep. We're that kind of people.): The gang of. . .<our address> has expanded to four. Mr. Cat, aka Mr. L. Gatto Cat, aka Mr. Lionel G. Cat adopted us around Thanksgiving Day. A stray budding YA kitty, he suckered us with his cuteness and friendliness.

Mr. L. Gatto Cat left as suddenly as he arrived into our lives. It was almost like he had been on vacation and we had been his vacation destination. He was given a winter shelter. He was fed topnotch food—no grain fillers. And, he had attentive humans to pet and play with him when he was not sleeping. Mr. Cat cat slept a lot, I tell you what. I never knew that cats sleep so much.

We had cats when I was a kid. Lots of cats. There were always at least three or four of them wandering outside in the backyard.  During the winter, they slept in the garage. Almost daily, they liked to slip into the house when anyone went through the door to the garage. I was constantly chasing cats and putting them back outside.

I like cats but I don't consider myself a cat person. If they happen to come up to me, I'll put out my hand and wait and see if they want to be petted. Yeah, I can be just as reserved as a cat.

Once in the early 1980s, I brought home a stray cat that came up to me in a restaurant parking lot. It was a momentarily lapse of judgement. I was also toasted on lunch-time wine and heavily influenced by surrounding co-workers who all had cats.

That '80s cat was your everyday alley cat. Grey. Striped. Independent. His name was Lionel. Truly, I had no business being a cat caregiver back then. I worked long hours most days, and until Lionel came home with me, I lived alone. Poor Lionel roamed the apartment by himself most of the week. On weekends, I sometimes found his constant being around me annoying, so I closed myself up in the bedroom to get some alone time. Lionel gave me an hour before impatiently meowing for attention from the other side of the door.

At the time, I lived in a third floor funky flat in foggy San Francisco. Lionel came from the big, open outdoors of bright and sunny Hayward in the East Bay. The small living room window of my apartment overlooked the rooftop of the next building. Every work day, I left the window partially opened so Lionel could have fresh air. Lionel, being smart and adventurous, jumped through the window to the rooftop. The buildings were literally inches apart, so dear readers, there was no danger of him falling to the ground.

I discovered that Lionel hung out on the rooftop when one day I came home before the sun had set. As I walked down my street, I heard a cat meowing from above. The cat's call became more insistent as I approached my apartment building. A dread came to my heart. I looked up. Lionel was looking at me from the rooftop of the next-door building.  What the heck?

Up the three flights of my building I sped and quickly unlocked the front door. "Meow," greeted Lionel, as I opened it.

This became a regular thing with Lionel. This was also an unacceptable thing in the neighborhood. A couple of months later, an animal shelter guy knocked on my door. "We've gotten reports that a cat stuck on the roof next door. Have you seen or heard it?"

"Uh, that's my cat. He likes to go out there when I'm at work." The animal shelter guy wasn't sure how to deal with it. I promised not to let Lionel out anymore.

Lionel needed to live where he could roam freely. My solution was to have him live with the Mama where Lionel would be able to wander in her backyard and in the field behind her house if he so desired. There was also the added factor being able to play with the cats that she cared for in the backyard.

That '80s cat lived with the Mama for about six months. Lionel liked roaming up on high. He figured how to get up on the roof of the Mama's house, but not how to get back down. The Mama was still working and getting used to being a widow. She did not need the additional stress of climbing a ladder after work to rescue a meowing city cat from her roof. So, in the end, a new home was found for Lionel.

After Lionel, that '80s cat, scampered out of my life, I figured that was the end of any intimate relationship with cats. Until. . . December 16, 2011: I'm falling in love with a cat.

To be continued on Thursday.

© 2012 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.