Zen moment: Once-feral cat sleeping peacefully

February 16, 2022

Her name is Xena. Born in New York City, now residing in Dallas, Texas.

On Twitter, this photo is, “Once-feral cat sleeping, totally at ease and fearing no predator.”

Xena came to us a couple years ago, rescued from the alleys of New York City by our daughter-in-law and our son. A small cat abandoned by her mother, she was preyed upon by every tomcat and larger cat in the neighborhood.

When the cat rescuers brought her in, got her doctored up and neutered, she refused to go back outside. So she was transplanted.

Now she sleeps peacefully, doesn’t fight for food — often shares. She provides great companionship for the humans here, too.

Does a black cat know that it’s black?

August 21, 2013

Looking for the main cat, Luna Lovegood.*  Couldn’t find her.  Cats are like that.  They hide in wonderfully difficult-to-find places, and they resist entreaties to come out, even for dinner.  Luna wasn’t coming when called . . .

In the bedroom, looking around, calling, to no avail . . . 25th call (or thereabouts), a black plastic bag on the bed sorta came alive.  Luna opened her eyes, and outed herself.

Hiding in plain sight: Luna Lovegood remained invisible to me, until she opened her eyes.

Hiding in plain sight: Luna Lovegood remained invisible to me, until she opened her eyes.

Do black cats know that they are black cats?  I think they take advantage of their mono-color camouflage, and that they do it knowingly.

I also think they do it because they think its funny we can’t see them.

Does a black cat know she's a black cat?  Closing her eyes, she disappears.

Does a black cat know she’s a black cat? Closing her eyes, she disappears.


* We adopted her from the pound, through Pet Medical Center of Duncanville.  As a black cat, she wasn’t much adoptable, and had spent six months waiting for a home.  She was named by the pound, or the vet.  Since she answered to the name, she kept it.

Living with a pirate cat: Cap’n Jack

July 14, 2013

A true story.  I know the woman who wrote it.

Cap'n Jack Sparrow, the pirate cat

Cap’n Jack Sparrow, the pirate cat. Note the hole in his right ear, no doubt left from when he wore an earring. This photo was in the vet’s office, the day he got his cone of shame off, after his tail stub had healed sufficiently.

From the Animal Rescue Site, back in April:

I was walking to my truck at the commuter rail parking lot when I heard a cat crying loudly. He was under the truck. I knelt down and held my hand out and he came over for scratches. Of course I scooped him up — no way was I leaving him in that parking lot on a cold December evening. He sat next to me the 8 miles home purring loudly while I petted him. He was a small, very dirty black kitty with a hole in one ear, a terrible wound all the way around his tail, scratches on his face, worms and fleas — he was a mess. The vet had to amputate his tail, now a little nub. We weren’t going to name him, because we already had an elderly dog and older cat and didn’t want more animals, so we figured to find him a good home and let the new owner name him. The vet had other ideas. She looked at the hole in his ear, announced his name as Captain Jack Sparrow and we just HAD to keep him because he was such a love sponge. We thought he was a kitten because of his size, but she said the worms had stunted his growth and he was actually a young adult. Four months later he is a healthy, very finky force to be reckoned with — tearing around the house, tormenting the older cat and dog. But when he puts his paws around my neck, purring and rubbing my face, all is forgiven. The name really does fit him — he’s a fierce little pirate who knows the way to your heart.

Dallas, TX


Big cats and laser pointers?

September 20, 2011

Oh, yeah, we know what you teachers do with your fancy laser pointers in the off-hours.  When you’re not torturing your students with Death by PowerPoint, highlighting the vocabulary words, pointing out the routes on the maps, and generally making your students a little jealous of your tools, you take the lasers home to torture your kitties.

If you’re a teacher with a science bent, you might even do a little experimentation:  Do cats chase green lasers, too?  Blue ones?  What about those filters that make starbursts, do they drive cat’s wild?

Ah, but teachers with a science bent, and access to some really big cats . . .

From Big Cat Rescue:

Q: Do Tigers, Leopards & Lions chase laser pointers like domestic cats? Big Cat Rescue decided to find out! …

Do BIG CATS like catnip?? Check out the video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tklx3j7kgJY

For more info about BIG CAT RESCUE visit: http://www.bigcatrescue.org
Find us on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Cat-Rescue-Tampa-FL/122174836956?ref=sgm
MYSPACE: http://www.myspace.com/1bigcatrescue
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue
DONATE: http://bigcatrescue.com/donate/


If you text TIGER to 20222 *A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Standard messaging/data rates may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the Big Cat Rescue by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at http://www.mobilecommons.com/t/. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; HELP to 20222 for help.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Meow Meow, 19

December 27, 2008

Meow, reminding her humans that paying attention to the cat is always more important than reading Dilbert - June 24, 2008

Meow, reminding her humans that paying attention to the cat is always more important than reading Dilbert - June 24, 2008 (photo copyright 2008, Ed Darrell)

It was a dark and stormy night.  A meow rang out.

That’s how she came to adopt us.  Kay Lawrence was out walking, before the storm blew in.  The wind was picking up.  50 yards from home, she found a sad scene:  A kitten dead on the pavement.  Kay got a bag to hold the body.  As she was scooping it off the road, she heard a loud meowing from the bushes.

It was the sister of the dead kitten, probably.  Alone in any case.  Kay knew that Kathryn had studied how to save kittens, and having a large golden retriever, she thought better of taking the kitten to her own home.

With the first flashes of lightning, before the rain, there was Kay Lawrence at our door holding a remarkably flea-ridden kitten, wide-eyed and making enough noise for a litter of 12.

“We’ll find a good home for her,” Kathryn said as Kay dashed back home before the rain.  I suspected the kitten had already found that home, though Kathryn was still at least mildly allergic to cats.*

That was more than 19 years ago.

We learned from Meow that cats show joy with their tails, express love by blinking, and that each one has a different personality.  Some cats can ignore catnip, for example.   She liked to join us in reading newspapers — or perhaps more accurately, she liked to prevent us from reading newspapers, telling us that paying attention to a cat was a better use of time.

Meow would occasionally become seriously agitated when a peanut butter jar was opened, making a ruckus until she got a half-teaspoonful of the stuff for herself.  She wasn’t concerned at how silly a cat looks trying to get peanut butter off the roof of her mouth.

Meow left us this morning. For the past couple of weeks her eyesight was failing much faster — she had cataracts.  For a week she bravely tried to learn how to navigate the house blind, mastering a lot very quickly.

Something else happened, though.  One veterinarian said it was brain — stroke?  Tumor?  We don’t know.  For much of the last week she was walking circles through the house, sometimes bumping into things, sometimes walking over things she shouldn’t.  And in the last couple of days, the circles she walked grew smaller.  She’d circle until she couldn’t, then collapse in the middle of the floor and sleep.

On the way to the vet this morning, the clouds rolled in.  It grew dark.  Lightning flashed, and the rain came furiously.  It was a dark and stormy morning, very similar to the night she found us.  Meow passed very quickly.  The clouds disappeared, and the sun shines.

Down at the end of the path past the big live oak, Meow now rests with others in our departed menagerie, Maggie and Rufus the dogs, Sweetie the rat, and Katie, the other brave, one-eyed road kitten (from a different, later rescue).

We miss her. We started the year with two dogs and three cats.  Now we’re down to one cat, with the two dogs.  It’s a lot quieter.

Meow, winking for the camera, 2008 - photo copyright 2008, Ed Darrell

Meow, winking for the camera, 2008 - photo copyright 2008, Ed Darrell

*  A book we had Natural Cat, had a recipe for a food supplement for cats which, the author claimed, would alter the cat dander so it would not trigger allergic reactions.  What can I say?  It worked like a charm.  We stopped feeding the supplement to the cats 15 years ago.  Kathryn’s allergic  reaction, to our cats, has not returned.


December 9, 2007


[This was written by our 18-year old.  She generally putters around the kitchen and avoids the laptop when it’s there; occasionally she takes a few stabs at the keyboard of the desktop.  But never before has she shown any interest in actually writing anything.  Last night she said she was hungry, and she was plainly irritated that I was doing nothing to get her dinner to her.  When I answered the telephone, she took the opportunity to write her own little headline and a short line for the body of the post.  I’m posting it as revenge.

Did I say she is 18?  You expect more?

Did I mention Meow is a cat?]

Our cat, Smokey, made famous

September 22, 2007

Can’t figure out how to embed this in WordPress (there’s gotta be a way).  You need to see it, especially if you are owned by a cat like our Smokey.  Fortunately, Smokey hasn’t found the baseball bat, but she plays mantle hockey with anything and everything.  Plus, she’s fond of shredding paper — books, magazines, bills to pay — knowing that such noise usually gets us out of bed.

It’s a production from an English group.  Big money, no doubt — could we ever hope to find such productions for classroom use?

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