Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Riding My Wildhorses   2 comments

I must say, I do come across Walmart displays that stop me short. A few weeks after coming across the dreaded pot holder loom that was the subject of my last post, I stopped short at this pair of foot massagers.

DSCN1826I wasn’t about to buy them but they certainly took me to another place. Allow me to explain, even at the risk of revealing, to those who don’t already know, just how strange I am.

It all goes back to 2005 when the House of Mars was down to one cat. No that’s not right. Technically,there was no House of  Mars, so let’s just say the house without a name was down to one cat, Niles.

Niles had always been a cat who needed feline company, but 24 lb Fremont, who had always looked after him, had died of cancer in 2004,

Niles, left; Fremont, right

Niles, left; Fremont, right

and pugnacious Dino who liked to fight with him went out one morning, never to return.



Oh, I didn’t mention Niles also had cancer, did I? So when he started howling and pacing around the house, my first thought was that the end was near. Always one to seek escapist routes  I also thought  He’s never been alone before. Maybe he’s just lonely. Since it was Saturday evening, a trip to the vet wasn’t possible, but a trip to an adoption fair the next day was – an adoption fair that just happened to be at the pet cemetery where our Fremont rests in peace.

So after a quick stop at Fremont’s grave to solicit his guidance, I found my self walking straight to a cage holding a spooning Marcel and Marceau who were an almost exact copy of Fremont and  Niles.

Marcel, left; Marceau right

Marcel, left; Marceau right

I brought The Brothers Mar home, and after a brief hissy orientation, they took poor sick Niles under wing. Marceau also took to chasing Marcel through the house, and even though they probably weighed all of six pounds each, they sounded like a herd of wild horses thundering across the  hardwood floors. I wish I could say the three of them lived happily ever after, but I do like to think Fremont and Niles are. Niles succumbed to his cancer three months later.

(And since the house now belonged to The Brothers Mar, The House of Mars was born.)

I hear you screaming So what about the cat foot massagers ????? I’m getting to that; but first  –  two more things you need to know.

  1. Of all the cats I’ve had to put to sleep Niles death struck me hardest, as he was only 5 years old and the only truly sweet cat I’ve ever owned. (My apologies to the other eight, past and present).
  2. Since eighth grade, or thereabouts, I’ve found it comforting to link painful experiences to rock and roll songs. Its my process of letting go and accepting.

Not long after Niles’ passing, I happened to be driving to work when the Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses” came on the radio. I share with you the lines that I associate with Niles last three months.

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away

The things Niles wanted were Marcel and Marceau, his own private wild horses. And the last line?

Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day

So when I saw those massaging slippers, all I could think of was me,riding the Brothers Mar like a pair of water skis up in the celestial realm

……But not quite yet. – I hope.

Posted February 5, 2015 by virginiafair in Cats

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It All Started With a Pink Pig   3 comments

I came home one March evening to discover a waiting line at the litter box.DSCN1318

I knew where he had come from but I went upstairs to check, just the same.



These are stuffed animals which a boyfriend used to win for me at festivals, or send as gifts while we were together. They’d been gathering dust and I had been successful at procrastinating over how to dispose of them. By the way, they were neatly arranged against the wall last time I remember being up in the loft. I guess I don’t go up there as often as I should!



Over the next two weeks or so, I’d come home from work to discover that the migration was continuing.



Some didn’t quite make it down the stairs.


Some made it down the stairs, but just barely.


Had word gotten around that I was considering evicting them after all these years, or was something else going on?  I was leaning toward the latter but I had yet to catch him in the act.

As you can see by the look on his face,  Marceau knew but he wasn’t saying.


Aha! Finally. Who else but Marble!


Now that the cat was out of the bag, he showed no restraint


I must say I was impressed. She’s bigger than he is


I decided to experiment. I’d set them up down here and see if he’d get  bored and bring them back upstairs.


A few days later.


He’s moving them. But this isn’t quite what I had in mind.


 I’d do it myself but Marceau seems to have taken a liking to the arrangement. (Look closely!)


Posted April 15, 2014 by virginiafair in Cats

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Be Careful What You Wish For   2 comments

Friday February 7 marked a year since Marcos left the House of Mars for the last time. I can’t say the time flew because his passing really changed the  atmosphere and energy of the house. Speaking of energy, February 5 marked 5 months since Marble took up residence. Only 5 months? It seem like a lifetime and I’m not sure how I mean that.

Although Marcos was an extremely mellow dog, he had his moments when I first rescued him. There was his talent for honing in and snatching up anything on the street with a shelf life of 10 years or less. We had some battles royal as I’d try to wrestle unrecognizable specimens of food from his jaws of steel. I’m amazed no one ever reported me to animal control for abusing a dog. His best stunt was the time he managed to grab an extra-large slice of pizza from a box lying along  the road and swallow it seemingly whole.

I don’t know how many times I commented “you must have been into everything when you were a pup. I wish I knew you then.”

Into everything!That  brings me back to Marble. Looking back, I realize there were signs. When I called the rescue group back in September to inquire about him, I was told he was a “character.” And then, when he had exploratory surgery for an intestinal ailment that was never diagnosed, the vet could not stop marveling about how “bright” he was. Put bright and character together and you get the demon of The House of Mars.

I could go into a gazillion anecdotes but don’t they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

DSCN0991He was uncharacteristically accepting of this post-operative collar he had to wear. Maybe he  knew the surgery cost as much as my second car!

But let’s get to the healthy bright character:


Let’s see, I wished I’d known what a mischievous pup Marcos had been.

Marcos died February 7


Marble was born March 5.


Just saying……….

Be careful what you wish for!

Posted February 10, 2014 by virginiafair in Cats, Uncategorized

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Marble’s Performance Review   4 comments

Today I read that Yahoo is in an uproar due to CEO Marissa Mayer’s somewhat arbitrary requirements for job performance reviews. So seeing as Marble,  the newest resident of the House of Mars, has been on the job for  two months now, I think  it’s time for his performance review. Unlike Ms Mayer,  I. as CEO of The House of Mars will be totally flexible and let you judge. Has he lived up to the expectations based on his  references. Said references being Susan, the representative of Little Orphan Animals the rescue group that had him up for adoption.

He’s quite a character”:

Witness him standing his ground as Marceau tries to move in on his territory:DSCN0880DSCN0881


He certainly loves to play.”

And he doesn’t need any  playmates. He amuses himself:


Witnessing his play solved a mystery too. How all these blankets ended up in the kitchen:


I wonder how Marcos would have rated him had he still been here  to see him dragging his beloved cat toy?




Life Goes On: Part 2   3 comments

Do you remember how Marcos took over my former guest room?



Although I miss him dearly, I had every intention of restoring it to visitor status. But I guess I didn’t work  fast enough. Marcos room has a new tenant.  Meet Marbles, the House of Mars’ newest Mar.



How did this come about? I wish I knew.  On Thursday, August 22, I stopped at Petsmart to get cat food. This, in itself was out of the ordinary since I always run this errand on Saturdays. But I had something else planned for Saturday, so there I was.

Little Orphan Animals, a  local rescue group, had set up cages of kittens outside the entrance. I took a quick peek, again, not my usual habit; I usually put blinders on when passing rescued cats. No problem, though, They were all very young, and at my age, I  didn’t want a kitten. I continued on into the store where I detoured to  venture  into the adoption room; again, something I avoid like the plague. I guess I got over-confident, because there I saw the most exquisitely colored white and black kitten.

Kitten, I pointed out to myself. But isn’t rationalization a wondrous thing? I managed to convince myself that he  wasn’t a young kitten since the sign said he was five months old.

The problem is, his mom and brother were there  too. How could I break up a family? I’d have to take all three. Luckily sanity interrupted my thought process

“Ahem, do you realize that would mean you’d have five cats? And how big is your house.”

“Um, 700 square feet, give or take,”

I decided to think it over, and entrust them to fate. After all, I wouldn’t need cat food until the Saturday of the following week. Anything could happen in that time.  Maybe they’d all be adopted.

And so I returned on Saturday, August 31.  Only one cat remained – the beauty! I quickly jotted down the phone of Susan, who was sponsoring him, and …….the rest is history.

Thursday, September 5

After checking with my veterinarian that I would be a trustworthy cat guardian, Susan delivered BW, whom I promptly renamed. I consigned him to Marcos’s room where he’d be gradually introduced to the Brothers Mar, via  sniffs and paws groping under the door.  He vanished under the bed, not to be seen again for twenty-four hours. I left food, water, and clean litter and checked periodically. Nada, zilch, zero


No Marble sighting in the morning.  But when i returned in the evening he’d decided maybe he’d like a look around.




See why I named him Marble? from every angle, he’s just a swirl of black and white.


Saturday Morning ,

He still hadn’t eaten, but he seemed comfortable with his new digs


Saturday Evening

Uh oh, time for an introduction to the brothers, but Marble wasn’t so sure.


And the brothers, for their part, huddled in the dining room, trying to make some sense of this little newcomer, probably saying “Thank goodness she didn’t bring home a dog like last time.”



Sunday Morning


Marble was raring to go,


but the Brothers split up and fled to higher ground






Sunday evening

Marble’s appetite returned to life.



Notice who finished first!


Monday Morning 

The Brothers are trying a new tactic:  Good Cop Bad Cop, Marcel hissed at him in the morning.  Marble  paid him no mind. Marceau took over the role in the evening.  Again – no reaction.

Oh, those two, they’re such a pair of old fuddy -duddy bachelors, stuck in their ways. Tell me, could you hiss at this face?







Pay Back Time   1 comment

Well, I finally won. Marcel is immunized against rabies for the next three years. He’s also minus eleven teeth! He beat his brother Marceau. Marceau  only had eight pulled when it was his turn two years ago. Over all, Marcel is  actually minus a few more since the vet said he’d already lost a few on his own. The poor boy is down to one fang – the upper right one. If you have any kittens, I advise you to have their teeth cleaned regularly – or brush them, whichever works for you.  Unlike the residents of the House of Mars, they’ll keep their teeth and you will keep your paycheck.

I used the brushing Marceau ploy that I mentioned in my last post. Of course that brought Marcel charging over  over, and his signature head-butting which always gets on my nerves absolved me of any guilt  I might have felt at nabbing him.

If you recall the reason they are named Marcel and Marceau is that the day I adopted them, they rode in complete silence for the forty-five minute drive home. Fellow cat owners will back me up when I say this goes against one of the cardinal  rules in the guide of feline etiquette. Well, he followed the prescribed rule last Tuesday. First of all he was thrashing about so much that  I had to hold on to the carrier with two hands as I took it out to the car.  And as for the sounds coming out of that carrier, let’s just say if he had been a child, I’d have been pulled over on suspicion of child abuse.

Surprisingly enough, he held no grudges when I brought him home that evening. He did dash off to safety under the bed upon being sprung from the carrier  but a few minutes later I looked up to see he’d ventured back.


As for Marceau, who’d been at home alone for the first time in his life, he was curious about the carrier…..


…..and he displayed none of the hissing that his brother showered on him when he was the one coming home  from the vet with hospital smells clinging to his fur. (But then we all know who’s the nice brother.)


Well, Marcel was just biding his time, conspiring with his brother. Saturday was payback time. They tried to give me a heart attack.  Act One was the warm up and if we were playing the game of Clue, I’d say “Marceau in the dining room with the screen door”.  Screen doors, being screen doors, one tends to let them close on their own. However this one is in a heavy frame so I always have to check it to make sure it’s securely closed since the brothers are indoor cats. Saturday morning I didn’t.


And of course, this was Marceau’s cue to stand up against it and stretch. The  door opened and closed  quickly. I don’t know who was more startled – he or I? He dashed back inside and, luckily I was just outside the door on the patio, having my morning coffee.  I jumped up from the table to close it. What was actually happening was that Marceau was assuming the role of a picador, those cruel clown-like characters who poke a bull to get him all riled up prior to a bullfight. And guess who was the bull?

I (El Toro) soon left to meet a friend for more coffee at my favorite “coffee-ing  hole”– The Peekskill Coffee House. When I returned three hours later, Marcel had managed to squeeze under the window to sun himself between said window and  the screen.  Although he doesn’t have the girth of his brother, who would think he could squeeze under an opening like this?


Well, he had and my coming home startled him,  and now he was having trouble squeezing back under the window. In Clue language (“Marcel in the dining room with the window screen.”) Recognizing his mounting panic, and doubting the stability of the screen. I rushed past ,and into the living room to assess the situation. Could he get back in on his own? I peeked  back into the dining room. It didn’t look like it.  He didn’t have enough room to maneuver. Could I go back and raise the window without him rearing back against the screen?  There was only one way to find out.

Bottom line  – yes, I could. But the whole episode left my heart pounding. (NO attack, but a workout.)  The first thing I did –

lower the window,


And  check the door.


There’s Still Time to Place Your Bets   1 comment

The match of the year is about to take place. Once again, I will attempt to bring Marcel to the veterinarian for his rabies shot. So far he’s the unbeaten champion, having eluded me year after year. Usually I’m so traumatized I  just give up and another year goes by, but I’m determined this time. I’ve been training for a month:


Usually he runs at first sight of the carrier. So I snuck it in one afternoon in June while he was sleeping . The method to my madness? Maybe he’d get used to it and start hanging out in it.  He did actually go in it – once. I think that’s in my favor, don’t you?

The other thing in my favor, although I hesitate to phrase it that way, is that Marcos is no longer around. Marcos foiled an attempt that seemed to be going my way last time.  I’d thought it out and fashioned a perfect plan of action. I made the appointment for 11:30 on a Saturday morning, knowing  that Marcel usually took a late morning nap on one of the dining room chairs. I’d have a cup of coffee out on the patio, reading  the  newspaper like I always do on weekend mornings; everything nice and normal so not to get in the way of his routine, or raise any suspicions. Then I’d mosey on in at about 11, and innocently sit on the chair next to him; just me, humming nonchalantly and reading my paper. And when I’d worked up enough nerve, I’d scoop him up in an instant and plop him into the carrier.

What I didn’t count on was Marcos. Just one second before I was about to make my move, he decided to wake up from his own nap.


In he came and situated himself between me and Marcel. If my target had been Marceau it would have been fine. It would be a welcome distraction since Marceau loved nothing better than headbutting the dog.


But Marcel?  Marcel’s goal in life was to keep as much distance as possible between himself and the dog,


But he always did it with cat class and cat style, so after a hiss, and a graceful leap, he was in the living room.  I lunged  for him…….and missed, which didn’t make things any better.

Up he went:


Aha  – no place to go. I had him………

………..Until I didn’t. On the way down the stairs, he twisted out of my hold like a greased slinky.  The race was on again!

And once more,  he chose higher ground.


And that was when the fat lady sang. No way was I going to kill myself over a rabies shot – whether I was breaking the law or not.

The appointment was in ten minutes. I didn’t want to have to break it and possibly incur a no show fee.  And that was when curiosity killed the cat, so to speak.  Marceau moseyed on in to see what the ruckus was about.

And the next thing he was on the vet’s examining table being diagnosed with a condition – obesity.


For that I paid good money?

Tomorrow morning will find me with a new scheme. They both grow ecstatic while being brushed. Ah-ha, need I say more?

The appointment is tomorrow morning at 9 AM, so there’s still time for you to place your bet.  Me? or Marcel? Odds are……..

No, on second thought, you know what the odds are

Posted July 22, 2013 by virginiafair in Cats

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