What they didn’t say was that Mocha is no ordinary cat, not by any means.
Never have I seen a kitten jump so high, or run so fast. Never have I encountered such a keen intellect in a cat his age. He is only three months old but reads at a sixth grade level.
He is witty and charming but has a bit of a temper. And whatever you do, don’t trust him with your marbles as he is bound to steal them and put them in your shoes for you to discover later.
I don’t know who his mother was exactly. The adoption agency won’t tell me. I have a feeling she was born of noble blood and so was Mocha by the size of his ego and of his bank account. I didn’t know that kittens came with their own stock portfolio’s but apparently this one does. Once we took him home he immediately got on the phone and called his broker and then his accountant. I didn’t know cats had accountants.
I have a feeling that Mocha is money obsessed and it’s not good for him. He is a bit artificial and frankly snobby with the other cats that have come by and welcomed him to the neighborhood.
And he keeps buying things! Like fancy pet furniture and cases of canned Mackerel. I don’t know where to put it all.
He goes down everyday to Starbucks and gets himself the Vente size Java Chip at Starbucks, he loves it there. And they love him! They have named a drink after him, just shows how persuasive he is!
In fact he is paying me to write this fascinating and favorable post about him. Money does talk and since I am temporarily unemployed the money comes in handy. So watch for more stories about his antics. Maybe next time we can find out how he got such a silly name.
Adventures in Mocha
The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.
The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top
This is a scene from the upcoming musical remake of the Science Fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It features an all-star all cat cast and is directed by and stars my famous feline Mario. I know what you are thinking: How can a cat direct a movie? I thought that myself at first but when he explained to me that he had attended “directoring school” in one of his previous nine lives and that he was, and I quote, “Golden” I felt he may be onto something. I mean he isn’t famous for nothing.
I had the impression from him that this would be easy but it has been anything but easy. Cats never do what you want them to do, even the so called “professionals”. They are demanding and picky. The cast members would send me out for tuna sandwiches and almost every single time they were dissatisfied with the quality of the fish and would meow mercilessly until I returned to the restaurant and demanded better. Half the delis in town thought I was a nut.
These actor types, what prima donnas…and the director himself you ask? What a hot head. He was driven by some sort of vision but what that vision was, I had no idea.
Mario had no sympathy for me and no time. Whenever I tried to talk any reason with him he would suddenly get up from his easy chair and utter in his heavily accented husky voice: “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore, goodbye” and sashay out.
The power has gone to his head I tell you. ( He’s gone quite mad you know)
Mario would stay up late at night practicing his dance moves and sing old bawdy sailor tunes from his past life as a ship’s cat. My goodness, those songs can get raunchy. The neighbors complained. The police have been out several times due to the loud music and the gang of mewing groupie cats that sit outside on the front lawn at all hours stupefied on what I think was very potent catnip.
Seriously I had my doubts. I mean the whole thing was filmed in our backyard and most of the sets were imaginary. I was never allowed back there during filming. I would go to the side gate and leave the tuna sandwiches. I had no idea…but it just goes to show why my Mario is as famous as he is…
The advance reviews have been “stellar”. I don’t get it, but the critics loved it. I hear it is a “tour de farce” and a “cinematicmeowsterpiece”. I can’t believe it but my cat’s movie will premier at the Canne Film Festival.
It’s just goes to show that you never know and don’t doubt the dreamer until you see the fruition of a dream.
“I’m already crazy. I’m a fearless person. I think it creeps up on you. I don’t think it can be stopped. If my destiny is to lose my mind because of fame, then that’s my destiny. But my passion still means more than anything.” ~Lady Gaga
My famous cat Mario is beside himself. He fears his fame is fleeting and soon he’ll be forgotten. I was shocked. My cat never talks this way; he has been always a positive force, what happened to his great lion-like confidence?
Apparently he’d noticed his page-rankings were down. He had Googled himself multiple times over the past few weeks and had been disappointed by the results. I laughed and cited his numerous accomplishments, awards and medals.
In a light hissy tone he ranted on and on about link analysis algorithms and numerical weighting. He then he spewed out formulas and equations. Honestly I was lost there.
He complained that his new book “Napping for the Sophisticated” hasn’t been selling and that he’s sick of “playing some fool human’s pet in tawdry pet food commercials.”
Mario confided in me that his secret dream is to be the star of his own talk show. He wants to bring back the glamour and as he put it: “The Va va va voom of old downtown Burbank back into late night T.V. just like his idol Johnny Carson. He said he needed to “create a stir online to garner support and create a buzz”.
I offered to write a blog post about him and he laughed at me with disdain for suggesting such a thing. He brought up the fact that my readers are few, a devoted few( thanks guys) but a few nonetheless.
He said we need to hire a production team to make an overly dramatic and wildly expensive but tasteful You tube video about his napping habits. He showed me this pic of him I took last summer. He called it “golden” and asked how could anyone human or cat “resist this cuteness?”
He also wants a publicist “that knows what they’re doing” and a secretary to keep all his projects together for him. He demanded money to pay these “over-priced but well worth it professionals”.
He went so far as to suggest he could pull a wild stunt possibly involving himself and that other cat Spotsy who he calls White Fang in some sort of well-documented and digitally enhanced posturing incident where Mario wins a place atop all the furniture ( yeah right) while The Fang is delegated outside.
In a fit of hysteria he told the tale about the cat down the street who flushed the toilet all day long while his human servants were off “working”. Eventually he become so famous for this one simple act a news crew showed up and filmed him.
“He now has his own pilot coming out this fall on NBC.” Mario wailed in a mournful and pathetic mew.
Like I said, I had never seen Mario like this. My poor loving and faithful friend was reduced to a sad and desperate victim of that bitch goddess, fame.
Follow your bliss Mario, I said in no uncertain terms, he rolled his eyes knowing it was just me quoting Joseph Campbell again. There is a reason I do this. I brought up the fact that his true love is music, which it is and that if he diligently and deliberately pursued this love, all that he desired will come to him. As some of you may or may not know, Mario is a fabulous vocalist. He has the soul of Cat Stevens with all the pizzazz of a young Catty Purry. His lack of confidence holds him back, it’s something we share, that and pure laziness.
Your family loves you and that’s all that really matters Mario, I told him. Fame is supposed to be fleeting, love is not.
We spoke on throughout the afternoon. Mario entertained us with a medley of his favorite show tunes and we twittered away the rest of the day lost in a sweet and legal marijuana haze his musician friends contributed to the packed room of neighborhood cats and trippy neighborhood people. We drank tea and enjoyed the music and that is what it’s all about.
“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.” ~Tom Robbins
(UPDATE: Mario will soon be coming out with a new album. A bluesy reggae pop sound he’s been working on. I’ll keep you all posted)
The morning sun shines in stripes through the slats in the blinds and onto the wooden floor. There is a golden hue to the light at this time of year. I see a squirrel bounding across the yard looking around for a nut or two to store away for the quickly approaching winter but you wouldn’t know it from today’s weather. There is a slight chill to the air but the sun feels warm and welcoming. I step out onto the front porch, plastic bag in my hand. I pick a few peanuts (in the shell, unsalted of course) and toss them high in the air and onto the walkway that leads to the sidewalk. Immediately a black crow swoops down to the neighbor’s tree. It waits until I am inside then it swoops down again but this time it is right on the walkaway. It goes right for a nut and so does it’s partner. They both get a good grip with their beaks then it’s off to parts unknown across the street and behind the neighbors house.
I throw a few more nuts and the fun continues. We are joined by a pair of Scrub Jays. One squawks high atop the ornamental cherry tree broadcasting it’s new-found bounty. It hops down and captures a nut or two before the crows return. It is more timid and unsure of itself but is the first to see the three nuts I left on the step. It scores all three. Right on! I am impressed. In fact I am impressed with Corvids in general.
The Corvid Family of birds include Nutcrackers, Jackdaws, Ravens, Crows, Jays, and Magpies.
Corvids are the most intelligent of all birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. They have a strong sense of organization and community. Most such as Crows typically mate for life. They live in family units where members of an extended family care for all the babies collectively. They are also protective of all the others in the family pod. They readily accept other adult and baby crows into the group. They form bonds and attachments. Crows are even known to visit their parents years after they leave the nest.
Crows like most successful animals are adaptable. They have excellent memories and problem solving skills. They can remember a face years after an encounter. Which can be good or bad considering the encounter.
Crows are agile learners like all Corvids. Some have even been known to make simple tools and pass on their knowledge to others of their kind through observation and imitation. Great apes are the only other animals besides Man known to use tools in such a fashion.
Crows are large, noisy, and social, and they’re not so shy in the presence of people. They have a sense of humor; they play pranks, tease other animals, and engage in aerial acrobatics for fun. They live alongside us and have found many ways to exploit our kindness and curiosity. They also give back and have been known to reward their benefactors with gifts.
They are seen as pests by farmers and city dwellers alike and a harbinger of bad things by others. They are impressive: They are loud and brassy and can be aggressive if threatened. They exhibit dramatic behavior. We find them in folklore, legends, literature and variety of artistic expressions. Their voices are used to accompany dramatic images associated with bad situations. Crows are frequently used as a symbol of death . A flock of them is called a Murder.
If any bird has a bad rap it’s this one. I think though that crows aren’t given their due when it comes to the positives of this magnificent animal.
I admire their pluck and tenacity and their intelligence. They are the ultimate survivors. They live alongside us in our cities. They thrive where others do not. They are misunderstood, underdog, misfits and considering all of this, of course I want to befriend a crow or two. I know this may sound crazy but may not not surprise you. My only concern was if the crows would want to befriend me too, hence the peanuts. This has been a natural progression of adoration for me; the more I learn about them the more I am drawn to know more.
I feed them sporadically. I don’t want them to grow dependent on my help too much I suppose; a few times a week at most. It’s the same pair. I recognize them by their trust of me not by appearance, they all do look pretty alike to my ignorant eyes. I have not given them names although I reserve the right to do so if a flight of whimsy suggests it.
I think I am well on my way to befriending these two; My friends the crows I call them. They seem to know me and we have become pretty close. The bolder one has hopped up onto the porch a foot away and looked at me before securing a peanut and flying off to stash it near the rosebush; burying it under a few leaves with it’s beak.
I feel good with this Befriending of Crows. I like to watch them. It’s better than TV to me. My daughter has recently joined me in this bird watching which has added to the enjoyment.
We are all connected and it feels wonderful! This becomes more clear as time passes: you and I, the crow, the peanut, the earth, the sea. Everything. I stand on the front porch pondering this and watching the crows, I wonder if they feel this connection too…
It happened so quickly: a flutter of wings, a white flash..and then I saw them…two cavorting butterflies, cabbage whites, I think. Fluttering all around me; my head and legs, coming so close I can feel the gentle breeze on my face created by the fritterings of their little wings. I sit as still as I can and take in this surreal and glorious moment. Then just as abruptly as they appear they flutter off together into the blue October sky. It was quite a moment and strange as it sounds I got the idea they were thanking me for something. A place to cavort perhaps. A resting place amid the growing greenness in this nondescript urban oasis that is my backyard. A wildish place of ordered chaos. A pesticide-free zone with a little bit for everyone. Native plants and more. Providing nectar and seeds and shelter and safe spots to forage with berries and tomatoes and lots of tasty bugs and worms.
A respite from the lifeless urban jungle of hard concrete and indifference.
These moments bring me such joy; my encounters with the urban wildlife that visit my garden. There are the squirrels who compete for nuts with the squawky jays. They are beautifully blue and like to fly from rooftop to rooftop swooping down in the yard hunting and catching insects.
Along with the white butterflies, there are bees galore, buzzing from here to there, intermixed with hover-flies which seem to defy gravity. These beneficial insects love the sweet asylum that seeds itself freely and grows every summer against the southern wall that borders the driveway. This once barren slab of cement now teems with exuberant life. The other side is filled with a hodgepodge of annuals and perennials.
It resembles more of a science experiment than a tidy yard. I’ve never been a very tidy person but the urban fauna doesn’t seem to mind.
And as the season progresses and as October turns to November my time in the garden has decreased in fact admittedly, it has been nearly a week since I have been back here. I take advantage of a much needed sunny day and plan to spend some time working and appreciating. All the work I do know will pay off next Spring.
Of course I leave much of the wildness for the urban wildlife who will winter here.
All the remain of the once vibrant yellow Susans are the jet black seed pods which the chickadees and finches have been devouring with a flourish.
I am always reflective this time of year and I do much of my reflecting back here. The fuchsia is still blooming and the Pineapple Sage is in it’s full glory. It’s scarlet spires provide nectar to the hummingbirds which still visit as the season progresses and progresses it does. The leaves have changed and many have fallen to the ground. I can hear them crunch under my feet. My mind goes back to the white butterflies and my brief encounter with them just a couple weeks ago. I haven’t seen any since. Our next meeting will have to wait for Spring when they return. And so will the Canada Geese that I hear flying overhead, their distinct honking flooding the sky with such riotous sound. This brings me back to Autumn’s past. It is these living harbingers of winter who make me sit and pause and reflect upon life and time. It will be the Geese again who will prompt the same reflection upon their return.
And now it is my turn to say thank you to the fantastic world around us. From the smallest proton to the largest supernova…from the tiny microbe in the soil to the hummingbird to the black and white house cat to the awestruck and humbled human. We are all connected and what a beautiful thing is that.
Have a fantastic day!
“…Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
The air is clear and slightly cold, just chill enough to notice. A layer of glittery dew covers the grass. I stand on the back porch my eyes closed, face to the rising October sun. I feel a slight warmth on my eyelids and this makes me smile.
The birds are in riotous glory; I listen to their songs intently; trying to make out as many distinct songs as I can. I recognize the song of the chickadees accompanied by the expectant cluck of the chickens next door. I hear the caws of the crows in the distance; calling to each other from neighboring trees. At once they all take flight, flying high into the deep blue sky circling the tall pines and calling out to each other. I can feel their hurried energy as I do the squirrel’s. I think I hear one rustling in the large bush in the back, or at least what I presume is a squirrel. My imagination comes up with ” interesting scenarios” as to the identity of this “mysterious” creature when Jay, the Scrub Jay, bursts out of the very same bush and scares the zen-like serenity right out of me. He lets out a distinctiveSQUAWK, swoops down across the yard in perfect form and lands right on top of the roof.
A-ha! He then spots the peanuts “some kind human” has set out. I watch with delight as he goes from the roof down to the top of the fence. He picks up a nut in his beak, tips his head back, the nut rolls into place and then he’s off with his prize…off to one of a half-a-dozen stash places located in the surrounding tree canopy. Every time he dives down he squawks and this sound reverberates all over. I watch as he checks the ground for any missing nuts. He lets out one last flurry of distinctive calls then takes off somewhere beyond the neighbors Maple tree.
My listening has not ended as I try to make out as many sounds as I can; city intertwined with nature. The purr of lawn mower and the edgy beep beep of traffic noise and mixes with the sweet innocence of birds. I hear the other neighbors goat, yes goat. A child’s laugh is drowned out by the roar of a jet engine high in the sky, leaving a white trail behind it.
I am distracted once again, this time by a real squirrel. It has come to the fence and found the nuts gone. Again, taken by that dashing blue bandit. The squirrel scolds me; staring at me and barking. Its fluffy tail adding to the drama, twitching and and going in circular motions. I laugh knowing it will soon be checking the bird feeder out front and gorging itself on mixed seeds. All the while eyeing me out of the corner of its eye.
I can’t help but smile.
This is a spectacular time of the year. The exquisiteness of the season deepens with every passing day. I feel intoxicated with the thrill of life as I live from moment to moment each changing from one to another like the seasons, deepening and becoming more and more beautiful.
Life is good!
The ground we walk on, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations – each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony.
A while back in a previous post I touched briefly on my uncanny almost supernatural power over cats; it is a part of me that I am just now officially sharing with the world. Since bringing it up in “I Speak for the Cats” I have been inundated with endless queries as to the specifics of this power. I don’t know why I’ve been reluctant about sharing the story about this “gift’ I have. I am quite proud of it. I mean…
…it IS about cats.
Ever since I remember cats have had a thing about me and I have had a thing about them… And I’ve always had a cat, or should I say the cat had me. They’ve always been there and can I let you in on a little secret?
I’m their favorite human of all the humans–I hate to break it to you but yes, it’s me!
I know what you are thinking…
How did I get this fantastic power and and where can you get it?
I know how you feel and I wish I knew. It seems I was born this way. Of course I am pleased by this; to be adored by such an adoring animal is one of the best feelings in the world!
It could be that I speak their language. It was difficult to learn. Did you know there are 34 different mews for the word “nap”?
I do understand them and I really like them. I am an obedient human in many ways; I keep the Friskies coming with a few treats on the side. I can give a good chin rub but beyond all that I am not anything special. Honestly, I don’t know why cats like me so much. I wish I could take credit for it but really, it is just dumb luck.
My yard, of course is the hip hangout for all the popular and “with it” cats of the neighborhood. They like to nap in the back bushes or follow me around while I work in the garden. It was strange at first but I enjoy the company. And my cat Mario seems okay with it all..in fact he seems quite proud.
But there is something else… I have heard the talk of late; the whispered purrs and silent meows….their ringleader…the one they call Spotsy, often looks in my window. I get the feeling he wants something….it’s the same look I get from MM around dinnertime but even more so…
I do want to mention despite how strange and wonderful this whole thing sounds it is not all fun and laughs and signing autographs. Some of these cats can get quite insistent and a way only cats can. I sometimes find them inside my house, having snuck in the backdoor. They wander around and then leave. We have gotten used to this including my son who has woken up a few times with a strange cat in his room just staring at him.
I often take walks through my neighborhood. I like to walk. I like it so much that I take walks in other neighborhoods too. No matter where I am cats will come out of nowhere running to me and in most cases mewing up a storm. Some roll onto their backs, others purr…all want to be petted and I am careful not to encourage them too much lest they follow me home.
I used to think this sort of thing happened to everyone but over the years I have seen some surprised reactions. I was once accused of “hiding tuna in my pocket to excite cats just to freak everyone out”.
Honestly, if I were to hide any sort of foodstuff in my pocket it would be chocolate. Anyone who knows me knows that.
And anyone with a cat who knows me knows that their cat likes me better. This happens time and time again whenever I go over to someone’s house and meet their cat. It’s just like that and it is embarrassing for all. Cats can be overwhelmingly affectionate especially the ones whose owners have deemed unfriendly. It’s these sorts of cats that are the most love-starved. Whatever the case, it is known immediately that the cat prefers me and that is made clear in no uncertain terms.
I once was presented with a live mouse at a dinner party of a co-worker whose cat thought it a loving tribute.
I did too….and it was delicious. The dinner I mean. The mouse? I don’t know what the mouse thought, the cat took off with it out the back door after it’s mistress screamed at the poor thing.
Well…I confess I made up the part about the mouse but the rest of it is true. Ask MM. He has witnessed my power over cats many times. Whenever it happens he shakes his head and doesn’t say a word. It’s a good thing he puts up with me and all my eccentricities.
Me and my endless ideas that don’t make a dime; I am thinking of starting a group. A performing acrobatic troupe comprised of…you guessed it, cats.
We would train very hard, the cats and I. Then months from now…you will be watching a well-known cable variety program and you’ll see us and you will say “Wow! How did she get this wonderful troupe of performing cats and where can I get one?
I know what you are really thinking… This poor fool is primed to become one of those cat ladies who live with like 50 cats…the ones that you see on the news from time to time….
I want to assure you while I am Cat Woman I am not a cat lady. The cats of course will live in their own homes and I will pay them for their performances. Whatever the going rate is for cats. I may be nuts but I am not crazy…
And so I hope this answers some of the questions about my power of cats. Yes, it is a great responsibility but the rewards are well worth it….