Archive for the ‘pet adoption’ Tag

The House of Mars Minus One Mar   6 comments

The population of The House of Mars has decreased by one. Marcos departed this world on February 7, leaving Marcel and Marceau,


and yours truly V. Margaret to return to life as it was before he came to live with us.

He had a brain tumor, or so his veterinarian said. I thought it was canine dementia but whatever it was, it left him disoriented and wandering around to get lost in corners.



If he was truly sixteen when I adopted him, he would be 21. (In case you missed that post, here it is.)

If he was 8 or 9, as the vet suggested at his first check-up, that would make him 13 or 14, which is more likely.

This afternoon he was buried at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.



It wasn’t a new experience for me but it never gets easier. It does give me comfort, though, to know he joins all the pets who came before him.

The first to be buried there was Duke, also known as Dukie-Dog and The Duke. Dukie was actually my brother’s dog, and lived to the ripe old age of 14. My outstanding memory regarding living with The Duke is coming home from school and being greeted by “Shush, the dog is eating.” This meant having to stand statue-still until he finished. You see Dukie was an extremely finicky eater and if he was distracted, the meal was over. My mother wasn’t taking any chances.




O.B. Brat, the O.B. standing for Old Baby was also known as The Obadoodle and Badude. She was my first cat and shared my first apartment in Yonkers.  I adopted her from Bide-a-wee Pet Shelter in Manhattan; a six week old bundle of white who fit my hand. Even at that size, she had a hiss and growl befitting a Bengal tiger.

When I got her home she ran under the bed. That evening I coaxed her out and picked her up, intending to introduce her to her dish in the kitchen. I got all of two steps when she hissed and twisted out of my grip.   “Ooh, you’re such a brat,” I hissed back. Thus, the name.



I became so obsessed with my little Obadoodle that I actually almost stayed home on Friday nights lest she be alone. You notice I said almost. I didn’t but it ruined my fun, knowing she was home alone. What she needed was a friend to hang out with.

I went to the Yonkers Animal Shelter in search of a dainty female kitten and came home with a strapping six month old muscular male. I was passing a cage when a paw reached out and grabbed my sleeve. Imploring me from the cage were the most beautiful green eyes rivaled only by the beautiful black fur surrounding them, shinier than the black patent leather shoes I wore to church when I was so little.

Job E Cat, also known as Joby Cat, Jobinski, Binsk, and Joby Cat the Wonder Dog was a man‘s cat, as in a man’s man. He was rough and ready and loved to wrestle and play soccer, both taught to him by an old boyfriend from England. Soccer consisted of the Englishman soccer kicking a ball of aluminum foil with that odd ankle twist soccer player’s use, and Joby returning it with his own version of a soccer kick, which, now that I think of it, was probably more of a hockey stick move. Back and forth the foil ball would go with the two of them scrambling the entire length of the long living room – until I’d have to put an end to the game.  Dogs pant. Cats shouldn’t.

His full name was Job E Cat and that stems from the patience he showed upon meeting her, for she didn’t tone down her obnoxiousness in the least, even though he was twice her size.  She hissed and growled and left the room, then came back and hissed and growled some more.

I commented “He has the patience of Job.”

 The patience was short-lived however. When it wore off he tried to beat the you-know-what out of her whenever he could. My plan worked – Brat may have hated Joby but she was never lonely.

Joby loved everybody but Brat never let anyone near her …until one evening when I was getting ready to go out. My date had arrived and I went into my bedroom to get something or other and returned to find him leaning over a chair, talking to someone. This was a chair on which Brat had been sitting.
“What are you doing?” I asked, incredulously.

“Petting your cat.” He said. And there she was purring and craning her neck for more.

That was the best character recommendation anyone could give. I married that young man and we all  moved to California.

In California Brat abd Joby devised a sharing scheme – divvying up the rooms in the house and agreeing  to share the yard.

Brat lived to be 14 years, 3 months and Joby died the one year later.  He was one month shy of 15.

Do you think it was mean of me to sentence them to eternity togetherness?                     


Fremont, my California Cat, also known as Huge Biggie. What can I say about Fremont – my 23 pound guardian, the cat for whom I bought The House of Mars before it was The House of Mars? That would have to wait for Marcel and Marceau, the original Martians. But then you’ve read all about Fremont in earlier posts, and if you haven’t I invite you to. Fremont lived to be eleven

And I’ve also written about Niles, sweet gentle Niles. The black and white kitten who grew to be a slightly smaller version of Fremont, a gentler version of Fremont. Fremont recognized his gentleness and took it upon himself to watch over his little Niles. Niles survived life without Fremont for only a year. succumbing to the same cancer as Fremont.

Only the good die young.




And so Marcos joins the beloved crew. When his headstone is ready, it will say “Marcos, Handsome Hunk of Dog.  He was, don’t you think?


Seven Years, Seven Long Years   10 comments

No, I’m only kidding. It’s hard to believe seven years have vanished since The Twin Princes of Silence took up residency in The House of Mars. Come to think of it until they moved in, the house was known only as “my house.” They were the first two Mars.

Marcel and Marceau?

For newcomers to this blog – the cat brothers earned their names on the day we met. September 11, 2005   –  when they rode all the way home from the pet adoption fair in my truck, without uttering a peep (or I guess I should say a meow,)  and this was at least  twenty miles. You cat owners will vouch for me, won’t you – a cat who doesn’t howl, mewl, or cry the minute their placed in a carrier, let alone, the car? How rare is that? And this was two cats!

With no sound to distract me I went through “quiet” names –

Harpo?  No.

Charlie?  No.

Well how about Chaplin? Nah.

I’ve got it – Marcel Marceau. Yes!

Since one look at the two of them nested like spoons in the adoption cage had been all I needed to interpret the “I’m in charge here”  look Marcel shot at me,  he got the first name, and Sweet I’m leaning on my brother Marceau got the second name.

A lot has changed since that day, starting with the mute act.  These two are the most demandingly talkative cats I’ve ever lived with.

Feed me!

Pet Me! Brush me.

No, my turn.

Wake up, I’m hungry

And in case I don’t get the message, Marcel follows up with a head but while Marceau employs a soft but insistent tap with his front paw.

The Twin Princes of Silence?

Then there’s that sub-title, obviously given to them before the stampedes For no discernible reason, one or the other will take off on a wild tear through the house, and whichever one it isn’t  will follow on his heels. Back and forth, room to room, changing directions until Marcos (the canine Mar) lumbers to his feet to investigate. (Thank you Marcos, that always does the trick.) They are still Marceau and Marcel, but the subtitle is now a toss-up – The Wild Horses, or The Twin Princes of Terror.

And in This Corner…….

 Like two old bachelor roommates, The brothers know each other’s every move, and quite often a move that is ignored one minute can spark a rip-roaring,  roll around the floor battle the next. Screeches fill the air; clumps of fur collect on the ground until curious Marcos once again comes to the rescue, separating them with a sniff and a poke of his nose. Whether on riot patrol or referee, duty, Marcos is worth his weight in dog food.

………The Heavyweight

Speaking of weight, the champion  in that category is Marceau.  I’m ashamed to say he tipped the scales at eighteen pounds at his last check-up. But we’re trying – he’s on a non-voluntary diet.  And Marcel helps.   He’s the faster eater, and true to his I’m the bossin charge demeanor, it takes but one nudge to push Marceau away from his food.

Yes, these two are some pair. Inseparable, if not insane. When the fight’s over, the food’s all gone, and they’re plain tuckered out form the chase, there’s nothing like a brother to lean on.

Enough from me. Meet the brothers

Here we are in 2006

I don’t know why I’m on a diet.

Hey, that’s enough, You’re on a diet.

Time for a nap.



Move over, you’re crowding me


No! You move over.


Oh, never mind.

And, just in case you ever forget………….

I’m in charge around here.

Posted September 13, 2012 by virginiafair in Cats, Uncategorized

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Fremont, Gone but……   12 comments

Life without Fremont meant different things to different residents of Fremont’s World. The chipmunks and mice felt safer. The raccoon whom Fremont would invite into the house for water stopped making his midnight raids. And the  groundhog he used to sit with now just waddled on through and disappeared Alice-like into his burrow underneath the deck.

As for Bully, the French bulldog who lived next door, he rejoiced in being able to come and go without being chased home.

Ironically, Niles, about whom I’d worried most, seemed not at all affected. He had Dino.And while Dino never showered him with nightly groomings on the couch like Fremont had, or snuggled up with him on winter nights,at least he stopped his pugnacious ways – most of the time. And so they co-existed peacefully for a year, a year in which Niles accursed lump grew back.

Late in August of 2005, I opened one eye as Dino stomped over me to leap off the bed and jump to the floor. It was 4:15 AM. I know because when I heard the pet door flap closed I looked at the alarm clock and thought Ah, three more hours of sleep. It was the last time I ever saw Dino.

It was the last time four of my neighbors in this community of 26 cottages saw their cats over the next few days as well. Too late I learned a fox had been spotted in the yard next door, and coyotes, well, they are always around. Some cats, like Fremont and Niles are “street  smart.  Dino at just over a year was not.

The timing couldn’t be worse, I had to be a way for a week. After much back and forth I decided I’d leave the pet door unlocked. Niles was accustomed to coming and going as he pleased and to confine him with no company seemed worse than leaving him to his feline instincts. I put it in the hands of  the powers that be, and instructed his pet-sitter to call me if on any of her twice daily visits Niles failed to show up.

Thankfully I received no call, but still I found my heart beating and my stomach tumbling as I drove up my driveway upon my return. Would I find Niles? There wasn’t even a moment of mystery. As soon as I opened the car door a loud mournful cry issued from the woods above, accompanied by the sound of Niles plodding his way down.

He continued the distressed mewling. Was he in pain from the cancer? Was he injured?  A fight wound? I scooped him up and hugged him, examining every inch of him. The lump was indeed bigger but he showed no discomfort when I touched it. Could  it be that he was lonely. Well I was back, that should fix things.

I brought him inside and released him on the kitchen floor. He ran into the living room and ascended the stairs to the loft, his cries accompanying him  and continuing up there. I looked at the clock. Three o’clock. Saturday. The vet’s office closed at one.

As it so happened I recalled having seen in the paper that Hartsdale Pet cemetery was having their annual blessing  of the animals and a pet adoption fair on September 11, the next day. Perhaps that’s what Niles was asking for – a new buddy.

Sunday found Niles still crying, and so I set off for Hartsdale.

I passed by the man entrance and  the  people milling about the canopies providing shade for the lines of cages beneath, and headed up the hillside to Fremont’s resting place.I stood looking down at the headstone

“Dino’s disappeared and Niles needs a friend. Send me to a cat that’s going to be good to your little Niles. Ok?”

I  touched the black stone, and set off on my search, stopping first at a cage containing a black kitten, a female. I knelt down and wiggled my finger through the bars of the cage.I have a soft spot for male cats but maybe a little girl would be better for Niles. Look further something told me.

I passed a couple of dogs then stopped short at ……Fremont and Niles! Well not quite a Fremont, but a mirror image of Niles. This cat’s little smudge of white lay to the right of his nose while Niles’ was on the left. The Fremont look-a-like had more perfect tuxedo markings than Fremont’s.

A volunteer told me they were four month males and had been found wandering with their mother and litter-mates in Mount Vernon.Mount Vernon! That’s all I needed to hear. My brother, Jim, who a month before his death had foreseen Fremont in my life,  taught at Mount Vernon High School for almost twenty years.

And so, although I had set out to find one cat, I returned home with two. And  I named them before we even arrived home.Since they muttered not a peep on the twenty- five mile trip home (anyone familiar with  cats knows this is out of the ordinary) what better than Marcel and Marceau? Their introduction into the house also quelled Niles’ crying. He had company once more.

Unfortunately Niles only had three more months left in his journey, but the brothers stood guard over him on the recliner. Niles curled up on the seat and the brothers on the headrest Sometimes Marcel groomed him  sometimes Marceau. And when  they took to brotherly squabbles over  the headrest, they made sure to miss him when they tumbled to the cushion below.

On December 23 Niles and I the vet for the dreaded “last appointment.” His last moments hit me harder then Fremont’s had. To be so gentle and trusting and to only have five years to show it; I found myself crying quietly and unable to stop. The doctor kept telling me how sorry she was but I could only nod.  She took him off to find a box for his trip to Hartsdale but I just stood there at the examining table in the center of the room, staring at the bulletin board on the opposite wall.

It’s tan cork surface was empty of the usual photos of furry clients.  I noticed that all the red, green and blue push pins were clustered in the center. It took me a while to realize the pins formed two letters. W and F., I frowned in concentration. W F?  Did it mean something? And then with a rush of adrenalin much like when I’d found the stuffed catl in the cemetery, it came to me WF. With Fremont.

Out in the parking lot, I sat at the steering wheel, repeating With Fremont, with Fremont.  As my psyche weren’t shaken, I started up the engine only yo have the old 70’s song by the one hit wonder Five Man Electrical Band blast forth from the radio. “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs, blocking out the scenery, breaking up my mind…”