October 2010 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Whoa. Instant October, Batman! One minute it’s 94 degrees and the grass is burned brown, the next it’s leaden skies, the rustle of leaves in the driveway, and time for pumpkin pie. Whoo-hoo. Autumn is really the only season I enjoy, though it makes me a bit sad because it makes me homesick for New England.

Hey, I keep meaning to let youse in on my latest kitchen tip. Last month I mentioned that I’ve lost much of the grip strength in my left hand. That makes it very difficult to open jars of stuff, especially spaghetti sauce and salsa, both of which are vital to my diet. The kitchenware stores sell all sorts of gizmos to help get jars open, but they all seem cumbersome and the one I bought a few years ago didn’t really work. The traditional method — of running the jar under hot water and tapping the lid with a knife — at best doesn’t work, and, at worst, may leave you picking glass fragments out of your tongue later in the evening. Then it dawned on me. All you have to do is put on rubber gloves, the kind you wash dishes with. Or even just one glove, on your good hand. Bingo. Effortless. Maybe you all knew this trick, but I came up with it all on my own and I think it’s very cool. Then again, “Easily Amused” is my middle name.


Ladycat, a lady cat.

Onward. This is Ladycat. Ladycat is the feral cat we took in last winter who had nearly frozen to death in our yard and who, upon being thawed, nearly bit my finger off when I tried to pet her. Ladycat has calmed down considerably since then, and lives a quiet life napping in her little pink bed in a clear space I made for her on the bookshelves in my office upstairs.

Ladycat’s name, by the way, has no significance apart from illustrating our complete burnout on inventing names for these critters. Kathy says that “Ladycat” sounds like something Tina Fey would come up with. I think the creative naming well ran dry about the time we settled on Little Girl Cat for one of the arrivals a few years ago. We just call her LGC now.

Now, the truth about cats is that all cats throw up from time to time, differing only in their personal style of delivering the bad news. For instance, Marley (who also lives in my office) will give several warning yowls (mmmwrow mmmwrow mmmwrow wrowwrow) before he vomits, but this does me little good because he invariably then runs out into the hall, jumps up on the banister, and pukes down the stairwell onto the coats hanging on the rack in the front hall. I have reason to believe that Marley has actually won awards from the other cats for this behavior.

Ladycat, however, almost never vomits. I’d say “never,” but I did see her in action the other day, and it explains why I would have said “never” until then. Like Marley, she gave a few “I’m gonna be sick” signals that caught my attention. But what she did next was quite remarkable. As the moment drew near, she trotted over to the covered litter pan in the corner, put her paws up on the entrance, leaned her head into the opening, and upchucked, quite decorously, into the kitty litter pan. Then she climbed in and covered the mess, climbed out, jumped back up on her shelf, and went back to sleep. I swear this actually happened, and if someone has a cheap, practical way to clone cats, I think I may have stumbled onto a gold mine.

Meanwhile, cat food isn’t free, so please subscribe.

Bonus cats-in-love picture:

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