Saturday Surprise — Guest Post by Colette!!!

Happy Saturday Surprise, Friends!!!  Last week, I asked (shamelessly begged) readers to volunteer to do a guest post this week, as several of the suggestions when I first started this feature included making it a more interactive feature.  Friend Colette generously offered to write a true and funny story for our enjoyment today.  It is a win-win … I am getting a bit of a break, and we are all getting a great story!!!  Many thanks, Colette, for your contribution!


‘Animal Magic’

A visit to Cat Hell 😾

The ad was innocent: ‘Mad Cat Lady,’ requires house sitter for one dog, one indoor cat and approximately nineteen outdoor cats and a few strays. And the email to my husband and me asked if we were available? The house looked nice enough on photos and although we didn’t know the location, it was only about 40 minute drive from Malaga Airport. We said ‘yes.’

We got stopped by La Guardia just outside the nearest village and the two officers demanded all our papers and passports and then grilled us for 20 minutes about where we lived in Spain (so they could charge us with incorrect documentation) and eventually asked where we were going? As soon as we mentioned the destination, they decided that we were indeed, as claimed, British tourists. They had rolled their eyes at the mention of the address…Mad Cat lady also ran a B&B. But it was not a successful one…it was remote (more so than advertised) and a long way from any tourist area.

Arriving twenty minutes late, and just a little harried, our host opened up the gates for us and then closed them behind us.

As my husband got out of the car, three cats immediately jumped in and started rummaging through our stuff, causing him to duck back in again to root them out. His bum greeted our host, Mad Cat Lady.

A muscular Spanish Water dog bounded up as I exited the car, and growled. Looking at me with wild eyes, he jumped up and caught my free bare arm in his mouth, and chomped away excitedly on his new toy (me). I pushed him away with a hand up “Off!” My command had no effect…he just launched himself at my other bare arm. Our host said, (laughing nervously), “he’ll be alright in a minute, he just gets over excited.” My arms sprouted capillaries of minuscule blood flow. I frowned “I’d rather you called him off now!”

I should have known at this point that we were entering into pet sitting hell, but I have a real soft spot for all animals and so I smiled at Mad Cat Lady.

“I can’t,” she said apologetically. “I’ve had three different trainers, and no one can do anything with Badger.” Her eyes sparkled, “but he was rescued and he is such a charmer…he speaks you know?” Mad Cat Lady had a wistful adoration in her eyes, as her monster dog chewed his way through what was left of my skin.

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Badger

I later found out that Badger’s conversations (usually initiated by him) occurred when he would jump on to the table where one sat to drink tea. He would stare at you face to face, growling and generally showing his superiority as he tried to make you ‘blink first. Then, mission accomplished, he’d lay down and proceed to chew his paws, his wagging tail threatening to remove your teacup from the table! The Mad Cat Lady always laughed adoringly!

My husband soon banned Badger from our separate  accommodation in a Casita, after Badger had upset all the contents on a coffee table and smashed my husband’s phone to the floor, breaking the back off it. Mad Cat Lady had said, “but Badger must have company,” so now I had to stay in the main house on my own for much of the day with Badger.

It was only day one, and my husband didn’t want anything more to do with the ‘pets.’ He couldn’t abide going into the house. Only 29 days to go then!

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Clary

Badger was only the tip of a big iceberg…Clary, was the owners tiny black house cat. Tiny, yes, pretty? No. She was slightly cross-eyed, covered in scabs and looked suspiciously like a vampire with a temperament that went with the image. The rest of the cats were feral…and untrained, but they didn’t stay outside at all! Nineteen feral cats came and went in the house that always had an open door. They did exactly as they pleased twenty four hours a day. The house was a nightmare.

Clary_2.JPGEverything inside the house had the strange mixed odour of  cat pee and something resembling cockroach spray. Diatomaceous earth filled the air when ever I sat on the couch, or walked over the living room carpet (supposedly controlling ticks and fleas). Mad Cat Lady lived holistically, organically, and without any apparent need to clean. Cats roamed in dark corners and glared at me with glowing green eyes before raising hackles and backing into cupboards.

It was an interesting mix of The Adams Family meets The Fockers!

The worst room was without question, the kitchen. I almost gagged at the awful odour when I walked in to a small room full of mewling cats to learn from our host, what I needed to know about feeding her brood who now sat atop of the counters, shelves, and the wooden table in the centre of the kitchen. The table legs looked in danger of collapse as they had become favourite scratching posts and were perilously worn away.

Badger’s food was easy (except that I was warned he might refuse to eat), the rest of the gang had a complicated schedule. I had to know each and every one of the cats by name, so that I didn’t get their diet mixed up. Most of them ate two different special meals (as well as dry food that was put down in the kitchen, an ensuite bathroom and a disgusting laundry room filled with ants and pillows infused with the dainty aroma of cat pee and hair balls).

The refrigerator and freezer were filled with containers full of liquidized raw liver (a gut-wrenching smell), gazillions of prawns, and a range of weird meaty bits for Badger.IMG_20171015_140037_628.jpgI was given a menu for each kitty and strict instructions on how to feed “this one liver, and a bit of packet meat n’ gray, and that one prawns only, and stop that one coming back for seconds (this particular Ginger, was identical to her two sisters and a brother looked very similar – so impossible to know if I’d fed her or a sibling). This little girl, ‘Blondie,’ needs extras, as of course does Clary. And the latest addition, six-month old Dora, will eat everything but liver and will usually throw it up again. Be careful of George (the blonde son of an old Siamese called Maisie) he will steal prawns,”…I learned quickly that he has sharp claws indeed. He was a beautiful cat though.

The instructions went on for an hour as we tracked down each cat to feed them ….”Throw Dek a prawn… he won’t come near enough to take it. Cuckoo will have two prawns, don’t give him the heads…he’ll choke. Fez has double helpings of liver, and Maisy has one plus half a packet of moist cat food…” I scribbled notes furiously on a piece of paper next to each name and tried (in vain) to memorise the appearance of each feline menace who either tried to snatch the food from me or run like hell for cover. It was a bit like trying to pet piranha fish! And just as frantic. ‘Chaos’ doesn’t really describe it!IMG_20171015_140230_930.jpgAs I placed two prawns (shelled and cut up) in front of a fiesty male Siamese called ‘Majesty,’ I noticed a ragged ear and a firmly attached tick. ‘Majesty’ indeed. He looked like an ancient warrior king of a feline dominion; ‘Planet of the Cats.’

We drove Mad Cat Lady, and her sister, to the airport in her car (ours was much too small). I inadvertently sat on a warm wet patch… fresh cat pee. I squirmed! The whole car stank. On our return, my husband opened the five doors on her vehicle, vacuumed out all the filth, removed everything loose and then turned a water hose on and blasted all the upholstery, the floor, the ceiling…everything…. It really was that bad! It took a week to dry out (windows cracked open so that the cats couldn’t get in).

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Badger & Majesty

Our month turned into a steady routine of me doing all the pet work and my husband doing the gardening. He cleared drainpipes, dug out clogged outside shower trays and repaired broken stuff. We both cleaned vigorously. He transformed the laundry room while I bleached the kitchen into a sanitised condition (only to have an anonymous cat redecorate the kitchen counters when I wasn’t looking)!Badger on table.jpgBadger soon got used to the new routine. A steady use of training treats (never leave home without them), stopped him attacking and biting my feet on stairwells (a particularly aggressive act), and aided in the abolition of ‘growling’ conversations. He began to behave normally and trotted after me happily as I made my rounds of the feral brood. I became quite fond of him. I could not touch his feet though…he would really go for me. However, I was able to brush him (something that Mad Cat Lady said he didn’t like). And he ate his meals. When Mad Cat Lady’s ex showed up to make sure that we hadn’t run off with the family silver, he was amazed that Badger stuck to my side and wouldn’t engage in the ‘growling’ conversation of old nor jump up at him. In fact, Badger ignored him altogether. This man was Badger’s rescuer??? But Badger came and put his head in my lap and then lay at my feet ignoring his former buddy!

Badger’s walks were quite short by necessity. We were positioned between two farms, both with aggressive packs of dogs. The mangy dogs in each pack outnumbered Badger at least 6 to one. He would have been torn to pieces (as might I). However, there was enough space for a short 20 minute constitutional, and yes, more feeding of other ferals along the way. One of them, a shy grey Tabby, was pregnant. She would come when I called,  and then gobble the food madly so that she could run when the other, territorial moggies showed up! Mad Cat Lady went through at least two 20kg sacks of dry kibble a week.IMG_20171015_135453_305.jpgI got used to days filled with removing ticks, coaxing, feeding and playing with the brood. They were not the healthiest animals though, and would eat all wildlife that moved (despite the spoiling by Mad Cat Lady). I came across lots of dismembered bodies everywhere. One morning, I found Dora with a huge gash in her side…claws had made four neat holes where blood oozed. I patched her up and put her on a clean blanket to sleep. I guessed that one of the Gingers had caught her…they were always chasing her. She was a quick getaway, but obviously one of them had outwitted her and taught her a lesson. I nursed her back to health and she started to attach herself to me… I felt bad that I would leave and it wouldn’t be fair, but it was unavoidable. She needed to heal up, and I had to protect her from the Gingers. She became my shadow. She and a few of the others would be waiting by the Casita door first thing. Badger would be waiting too on the other side of the terrace gate and he no longer jumped or growled. He would sit happily waiting for his morning treat and then follow me and all the others into the kitchen for breakfast.

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Dora

When Mad Cat Lady came home, all the old behaviours came back in the brood (including, alas Badger) except for one. Tiny Dora had lost her heart to me. She ate properly now, no longer threw up everywhere and as we packed our car, she tried to get in with us. As we drove through the open gates, that one lone little cat watched us go and tried to follow. I felt such a lump in my throat as we watched her figure fade in the rear view mirror.

Cat Hell was gone…or was it Cat Heaven? I felt a real pang at having to leave tiny Dora. Poor little bullied girl! 😿

Brought to you by …

  • Badger (Spanish Water Dog)
  • Dora (a tiny calico)
  • Clary (a tiny black vampire)
  • Ant & Dek (wild Tiger cats)
  • Fez (black with a white feather)
  • Maisie (long hair Siamese)
  • Majesty (Medium hair Siamese)
  • George (Blond mix Siamese)

FAMILY …

  • Cuckoo (Large Black)
  • Sharon, Sherri, Sharma, Sugar (The Four Gingers) SIBLINGS
  • Blonde (Blonde, Ginger mix)
  • Big Tom (Large Tabby)
  • Little Tom (Small Tabby)
  • Milo (Ginger and White)
  • Micky (Black & White)
  • Monkey (Black & White)

BROTHERS

  • Grey Ghost (Light Grey Tabby)

Many thanks, Colette, for sharing this story!  And congratulations for surviving you Cat Hell or Heaven … a little bit of both, I think!

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend doing fun things!  Happy Saturday!!!

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A Guest Post by My Friend Herb …

A little over a year ago, I asked my friend Herb to contribute to this blog on occasion.  At the time, although he considered it fleetingly, he had some things going on in his own life and ultimately declined.  Now he is giving it a second thought, and today I would like to share a piece he wrote back in September of 2014.  Herb is an anthropologist and far less political-minded than me, so he brings a different perspective, which I see as a plus.  He is less a politico, but a far better observer of human nature than I. And he injects humour into his writing far better than I.  Although he gave me permission to edit his words, I made no changes.  Please take a few minutes to read Herb’s work and help me talk him into joining the WordPress community!


More musings on the state of American Culture from the kitchen counter of an Armchair Anthropologistby Herb Brown – 13 September 2014armchair-2.jpg“WE NO POLK, WE NO POLK”, the Chinese dude hostilely barked. Not only did this Chinese restaurant not sell sweet and sour pork, pretty much a staple of Chinese restaurants everywhere, this guy wanted nothing to do with swine flesh of any sort. He resented the fact that I would dare ask for it and was letting me know. ‘Hmmm, Muslim thing?’, I wondered to myself, noticing a star and crescent flag standing near a kitchen counter back near the woks. I perused the menu some more noticing there was no pork of any kind on the menu. I finally ordered some Hunan Beef, extra spicy. Probably be cat, but I don’t care, long as they spice it up enough. The Chinese guy kinda let out a faint grin, nodded, and bellowed out something in Chinese, I assume, to his kitchen staff, “他媽的愚蠢的美國人毒死他”, but he could have been yelling at me with his back turned. Not sure if it was just my order, or something personal. I’ll never know.

 

Now, I really don’t give a rat’s ass if people worship Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha or a freaking golden calf statue. As long as they’re nice. And I certainly don’t give a damn what people will or will not eat because of their religious beliefs. So sorghum based food is the work of Satan? Fine! I’m okay with that! Really! I can certainly understand your not wanting to be turned into a pillar of salt or whatever. But if you own a restaurant…..just sayin’….

But we’ve got a real problem on our hands these days, my dear listeners, all three of you. The world has of late taken a left turn straight to hell in a major way, and the United States seems to be directing traffic…right toward us!

Which brings me to ISIS. Where the F did these guys come from? A couple of months ago nobody’s ever heard of them, and all of a sudden they’re trying to take over the world, beheading innocents left and right and promising to rid the world of infidels (that would be us, my humble pupils). I just don’t get it.

President “I bet they’re really scared now” Obama gave a speech the other night stating, “we will degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIS through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy” (whatever the F that is) and “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” (except maybe in certain Chinese restaurants that don’t have sweet and sour pork…pssst, they’re there Mr. President)

So I guess we are now in the 10th Crusade. Yes, there have been at least nine so far, depending on who’s counting. These Christian versus Muslim wars have been erupting every so often since the middle ages, the first in the year 1095, folks, and apparently we ain’t done yet…cause the first nine just didn’t take.

And we no longer have chivalrous knights with cool names like Godfrey of Bouillon, Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionheart, or John the Fearless to lead this latest phase of the ongoing struggle between good (us) and evil (everyone else). They used to make saints out of such folk back in good old medieval times. They’re all gone now.

We have a fine military, granted, with many brave men and women who will happily smite the scimitar-swinging dark forces if given the go-ahead…without political protocol and “good manners” style warfare rules getting in the way. Just let’em go in and kick ass is what I say.

I’m just not sure we have the right kind of ruthless leaders we need in charge of our gallant crusaders. We could really use a Ghengis Khan or a Vlad the Impaler or even a Sauron type as Generalissimo in these troubled times. Screw the “oh let’s talk about this” diplomacy crap. We’re past that. These are barbaric heathens that smoke opium and cut off people’s heads…for fun! They’re not gonna join hands and sing “Kumbaya”!

We really need to take off the kid gloves. If they cut off one head of ours, we cut off a thousand of theirs. 1000 to 1 ratio. Simple math. Game over.

Gonna eat my Hunan Cat now, extra spicy…