A disagreement over the cat

pretty kitty
Olive Bear is now an indoor cat.

My husband and I disagree about shaving Olive. She’s a long-haired cat and is shedding like crazy. Our kids are coming to visit us soon. Our son is super allergic. My husband thinks I should take Olive to a groomer and get her a lion cut. That it will help our son’s allergies.

I googled about shaving cats and it’s mostly negative. The sources said you CAN get a cat shaved, but it’s not a great idea.The hair protects cats from heat and cold. Their fur is their natural insulation. Getting shaved is something I know my cat will freak out about.

She’s a scaredy cat and doesn’t like anyone except for me, my husband and my daughter. When people come over, she hides. When we leave for more than a few days, she is boarded. Olive howls the entire few miles drive in the car. She demolished the cardboard carrier I bought at PetSmart with her claws and teeth. The employees in the boarding place were afraid to get her out of her “suite.” when I came to pick her up. I had to do it. Then the cardboard carrier collapsed as I walked to the car. It was a frightening experience for both me and Olive.

So, how do you think Olive will feel driving to a pet groomer, being around strangers and barking dogs to be groomed? Once she gets home I’m sure she’ll hide away for weeks. She’ll be super mad.

I think you can tell who has won the debate on whether or not Olive gets a haircut.

What are your thoughts about getting a cat groomed? Should we or shouldn’t we?

cat walking on window pane
Olive at our old home where she was an indoor outdoor cat.

It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

That time my son tried to give away the cat on FB!

Baby Olive
Olive on her first day with us.

I began writing this blog in 2014, mostly focusing on parenting. Understandably, because that’s what I was doing. Now, in my empty nest, I write more about the little things going on in my life or about what I read in the news.

One of my joys now in my empty nest is our cat Olive. She delights us with her antics wanting us to play chase around the house. I like to watch her watch the quail through the screen door. She wants to sit on my lap every afternoon like clockwork. I remembered that time my son tried to give away the cat with a FB post and how I found out about it. This was one of my very first posts:

Robert’s asthma and allergy appointment–on his first day home from college for his four-week Christmas break–didn’t go well. The doctor said we could get rid of the cat or put Robert up in a hotel for four weeks.

We’ve only had baby Olive for a year. We’re not too attached, but still. She’s a member of our family. We rescued her from a local pet shelter and committed to be her loving family. And she’s Robert’s little sister’s cat. Not mine. I felt before we agreed to give Olive away, we needed to discuss this with little sis. Or, let Olive be an outdoor cat.

I heard that Robert had posted on FB for a new home for Olive. Of course, as his loving mother, I’m filtered from seeing his posts. Grandpa, on the other hand, has full access to Robert’s FB account. He told me about the long and lengthy post about how I love the cat more than my own son. Short and shorter: we needed to get rid of the cat. Several people had said yes to adopt the furry feline.

Am I a terrible mother for not wanting to give away our pretty little kitty, Olive Bear?

Robert said I’m infected with Toxoplasma gondii and I’m in danger of turning into a crazy cat lady. I “googled” the toxo thing. It’s different than cat scratch fever, which can cause chills and a fever. T. gondii is a protein that invades your bloodstream and makes women crazy about cats. Or, it makes men crazy in a wild way. And there’s a link to schizophrenia. It’s why my OB GYN told me not to change the litter box while I was pregnant. However, he said that if I’d been around cats my entire life, most likely I was already infected. Great.

 I know about crazy cat ladies.We had one in my home town. She lived in a house filled with felines and feces. Hundreds of cats. My parents drove me to her house out in the country a few miles from town. The home badly needed paint and had broken floorboards with cats leaping in and out of the foundation. We picked an adorable calico kitten named Pansy to bring home. Pansy died a few weeks later from feline pneumonitis

We had bad luck with cats when I was growing up. I can name the ones we owned when I was young: “Ting, Tack, Tenni-runner, No Name, Thomasina I, Thomasina II, Little Leticia, Bianco, Streshia, OJ Simpson. We lost these cats (in addition to the aforementioned Pansy) by the time I reached first grade, due to an overzealous cat-hater neighbor. He caught them in a wooden trap, dropped them in a gunnysack, then tossed them in the river.

When we moved out to the country, I adopted Saute´ when I was in second grade. I named her for the ballet term “jump.” I had her through high school — although she lost a leg early on sleeping in a truck engine. Coyotes and bears were kinder animals to our kitty than our former neighbor in town.

pretty kitten with wide eyes
Baby Olive in my daughter’s arms.

 I was pregnant with Robert when we adopted Sherman. My son’s allergy doctor told me for years to get rid of Sherman. I didn’t. Robert was allergic to lots more things than cats. Things I couldn’t control, like rye grass and oak trees. Sherman lived from 1992 for 17 years — when the neighbor’s dog jumped a wall and killed him. 

I know it’s terrible not to want to get rid of our cat. I never believed that a cat could be harmful to my child. Now, my son is living in beautiful Santa Barbara, going to college.
He’s only home for visits. Or maybe it is the toxoplasmosis that let’s me rationalize all this.

If you have suggestions on how to keep a cat when you have family members with allergies, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Olive all grown up
Olive cat living the indoor life in Arizona.

“Kittens are angels with whiskers.” — Alexis Flora Hope

We bought an air filter for my son’s room and he’s been able to visit us without getting sick. It’s amazing what an air filter can do — except with the current supply chain issues, I rarely get the replacement hepa filters.

Do you have family members who have cat or dog allergies? Do you think you’d get rid of pets because of them? A doctor friend who is allergic to cats just shook his head when I told him we kept our pets despite of our son’s allergies.

It’s all about simple pleasures

red cardinal in a tree
A cardinal enjoying our backyard.

There have been a few heartwarming and joyful moments the past few days that I captured with my iphone camera.

Several were simply watching our cat Olive. Then I spotted a bright red cardinal sharing a branch in a tree alongside 10 quail. I missed getting that photo, but I did manage to get the cardinal sitting by himself and quail enjoying the bird feed I put down.

pretty kitty staring at me
While I was reading, Olive sat and stared at me.
I never get tired of quail watching.


Nothing big and exciting has happened this week so far. But It’s been a a nice week of walking, reading, writing, ping pong and enjoying the quiet moments with the cat and wildlife.

Ten-year-old Olive is playful with tiny catnip mice. I laugh watching her, especially when they get stuck in her polydactyl claws.

How is your week going? What are your highlights so far?

Look who came back to visit?

What a year!

It’s official. We left California for Arizona one year ago! I can’t believe how quickly our year flew by — and in some respects all long it seemed.

Here’s what I thought about moving one year ago today:

Moving van
The moving van arrived.

Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized their truck was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s small desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.

Yikes! They had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to the storage unit. Of course there weren’t any in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. They said they’d come back the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.

We drove on to Arizona and our new home, minus our stuff. We thankfully packed suitcases and bedding. Our fellow Piranha parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are real friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!

I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways and couldn’t face the four-hour drive. Our daughter was going to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then the state went into lockdown and she didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile her supposed flight was cancelled. It all worked out in the end.

moving boxes in house
Our new living room. So much work to do!

We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. Unpacked what we had and settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. Boy am I glad we decided to buy the casita furniture! If we hadn’t, we’d have slept on the floor.

The moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. the next day and we’ve worked a solid weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.

pink skies at sunset in Arizona
My new backyard as the sun begins to set.

I don’t recommend moving after 28 years after living in one house on anyone. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.

Cactus Arizona sunset
Sunset and saguaros in the neighborhood.

What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle the packing and going through years of stuff? Have you thought of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.

What a week!

I hit the halfway point of my writing challenge at the start of the week.

Actually, not much happened out of the ordinary. But compared to most of my weeks during the past year and a half COVID days, a lot did happen.

Here’s a quick rundown:

I hit my goals for NaNoWriMo this week.

I managed to fit in posting blogs and reading other bloggers worked around my novel writing.

I played lots of ping pong and I sense some improvement.

I went to the Podiatrist and found an In-N-Out only 30 minutes from our house.

I had my first meeting as the official newsletter editor for our HOA. I met three new people who will be working with me to get the newsletter written and produced.

I took Olive the cat to the vet for shots. I had to find a new vet, since she hasn’t been to one in Arizona. I am not a person who regularly takes the cat to the vet. First of all, Olive hates it. She cries incessantly in the car and then she shudders and shakes. She doesn’t need to go to the vet if she’s not sick. But I called the place we boarded her in August to make a reservation for a trip planned in December. They told me one of her shots had expired. We both survived the trip to the vet, barely.

I talked to several of my old friends on long phone conversations after reading the article I posted on the importance of friendships. You can read that HERE if you missed it.

I went to my first NFL game in person.

Today I’m headed to our farmer’s market to get treats for Thanksgiving-week guests and my dad.

cat on a patch of grass in the house
Olive cat on her patch of grass next to pots of cat grass.

Happy Friday!

Have you noticed your weeks getting busier? Is it because we’re leaving COVID behind us? What makes your weeks busier? Or did I just have a one-off week?

If I could only remember

Olive with her cat grass.

I’ve been struggling with the NaNo Prep 101 assignments. I can’t quite find my idea or nail down the characters for the writing challenge I signed up for in November where I’m going to write 50,000 words of a novel in 31 days. I’m weeks away and just not thrilled with anything I’ve come up with.

Here’s a description of the first assignment:

Some people struggle to come up with a novel idea that excites them! Some people are idea machines, but have a hard time committing to one. Tackle this week’s exercise to focus on finding inspiration… and then hone in on a few ideas that spark your creative passion.

https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101#week1

Last week I completed the first assignment. I had some inspiration with my characters but struggled through the next week’s tasks:

Week 2: Create Complex, Believable Characters
(Strong enough to shoulder a novel and hold your interest)
Week 2 Exercise: Character Development and Questionnaires
Characters are the active drivers of your story, and a huge part of a first draft is getting to know the characters you’re creating. Get a head start with this exercise!

Last night I had a vivid dream where it was all laid out. I had five characters. I was filling out their backstories, their ages, appearances, mannerisms, pet peeves, desires. It was all coming together. I made progress on the plot and was so excited to write. I was sitting at my laptop, editing, making changes, completing the exercises.

Morning came. Olive the cat jumped on the bed and woke me up. I struggled in my morning pages trying to remember my characters. They floated away out of my mind’s reach. I wonder if they were any good? Or was it my mind working through the process?

Have you ever problem solved or figured out a creative solution in your dreams? Do you usually remember your dreams or not?