Piglet, aka Pig Cat

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Piglet Chilling in the Portal

As some of you know, I recently lost my tabby cat, Cricket. She was the last of a whole passel of critters I adopted back in about 2001. Except for my cat Sid…he was with me even longer than that.

Around the time Cricket had died, another tabby cat showed up on my porch. At first, I thought he was part of the TNR cat group I’d been seeing around. He was clearly not feral, and soon became a regular visitor. A very noisy, talkative visitor, who settled into my porch area from time to time, sleeping on my chair, and tolerating my petting him and playing with him. After he warmed up to me, I noticed that he was (unfortunately) un-neutered.

Santa Fe Animal Control said they didn’t really come out on cat calls, so I was at a loss at what to do for Piglet. Especially since I was already head-over-heels for the little guy. It was hard for me not to feel that it was fate–given that he was a tabby, and he’d shown up just when I’d lost Cricket (one year after I lost my other senior kitty, Lettuce). I wanted to take him in, instantly, but I knew I didn’t have the funds to take care of another animal. I knew how much pets cost, having just cared for 13 animals all the way through their end-of-life care. But I didn’t want him running around, unneutered and making more babies. Nobody seemed to know whose cat he was, either.

Finally, I reached out a local cat organization, Felines & Friends, who oversees a pool of fosters for cats. I felt so guilty and selfish when I told them I couldn’t foster sweet Piglet, because I didn’t have the money, and also if I did foster him, given my current emotional state and still grieving and vulnerable, I knew wouldn’t be able to let him go when and if someone wanted to adopt him. In spite of that, Felines & Friends still offered to take the little guy and get him neutered and move him into their adoption pool.

He was easy to catch and transport to Felines & Friends main center.  But I cried the whole way there, and then cried in the car, sitting next to him in the trap. He’d only been coming around a couple of weeks, but I had already gotten so attached. I wanted more than anything to be his forever home. But the responsible long-time animal rescue volunteer/shelter side of me knew I couldn’t manage it, and it would be so irresponsible to take him in, when I couldn’t afford to provide him with the care he would need throughout his life–at least until I would be able to get out of student loan debt and off food stamps, etc.

And now, I owed a whole other kind of debt to the amazing Felines & Friends for not only helping out the wonderful Piglet with a second chance, giving him safety and security, and a chance at a forever home, but also helping me out, with my big heart but empty wallet. Someone who just wanted the best life for sweet Piglet.

So, this blog is a big thank you to Felines & Friends for all their support and caring. Please, if you’re local to New Mexico, you can find Piglet and lots of other amazing cats available for adoption at their Petfinder web page: https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelter_id=NM38. They also need fosters, so if you have the room, please consider joining their foster program. In addition to adult cats needing a foster home, it’s kitten season, so short-term fosters are also needed for a plethora of kittens and even mom cats nursing kittens. They can provide some supplies and other items needed to foster the cats, but donations of cash and cat supplies are always welcome!

Remember, ADOPT DON’T SHOP! And have your pet spayed or neutered to reduce pet overpopulation in shelters.

The Way Home?

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Cricket helping her mom copy-edit.

Last Tuesday, my cat Cricket died. She was about 20 or so years old. I got to be with her all day and into the evening, at least. My little Queen Bee.

She was the last of 12 (13?) critters in my animal family. I kinda lost count of how many critters I had, because, well, I can’t count too good. *wry laugh* I started doing rescue work, and ended up with a lot of new animal friends. (<—sucker).

Cats: Sid, Nancy, Forest aka Loki, Lettuce, Smelly Cat, Cricket. Rabbits: Rowan and Charlotte, plus a guinea pig named Bubble Piggy, and an (also adopted) hamster named Russia. And some fish and a couple of captive-bred leopard geckos I got from a herp expo. I’ve got a gazillion pictures I could post, and about that many more on actual film. Want to see? Nope? Fair enough. (Maybe just one more?).

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Cricket and (Diva!) Lettuce.

Care to hear about the million and one things that made them all the best critter companions ever? I didn’t think so.

It goes without saying that I miss them so much. All of them. Even Smelly Cat, the old stray who showed up on my doorstep crying pitifully, being outrageously skinny, and in the end stages of renal failure. (And, yes, he looked just his more famous counterpart!)

Cricket had to be everywhere I was in the house, so not having her around is just beyond comprehension. About half the time, I don’t even believe that she’s gone.

I always made a joke of the fact that my livespace belonged to my animals, not me. One of my animal rescue colleagues came over one day, and told me that when she died, she wanted to be reincarnated as one of my pets. But, with all of them gone now, I realize that my living in a house was a lot more than just making sure that my animal friends had a plethora of toys, litter boxes, gourmet food, comfy beds, hidey-holes, playpens (for the rabbits and guinea pigs), and the majority of  my own bed space.

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Cricket hiding out until her mom came home.

 

Any house, apartment, etc.  was, and is, expressly for my animal family. Now I’m sitting here in this current too-empty house, and wondering what the point is of living in one place, surrounded by four walls. It’s basically a fancy container to hold all my stuff. Even after all the downsizing I’ve been doing, I still have so much crap. I can’t bear to donate all of their cat beds and toys and food bowls and kitty crates for travelling.

A long time ago, I dreamt of my beloved cat Sid…one of those cats that’s almost like a soulmate…and he was waiting for me by the ocean.

I think of that spot all the time now. In my quiet house as I stare at all my crap I can’t bring myself to get rid of, but at the same time, wish I could just set fire to.

I stare at one of my pictures by Landon Richmond. The one of a little girl in a red-and-black scorched apocalyptic-looking world, using a phone booth. The text in the print says “Can I come home now?”

And I want so badly to go home. But I don’t have anybody to call. Or anyplace to go. Or any money, for that matter. So, every night, right before I go to sleep, I visit that spot by that grey, stormy ocean, with a garden and a forest and lots of magic and magical creatures and definitely some wild horses. And Sid there, still waiting, by the salt-frosted roses.

And everybody else warm and happy and fat and non-smelly in the dappled-sun garden.

I didn’t want to make this into a blog about how much I miss all my critter babies.

I just wanted to put out into the universe somehow that I hope to see them all again. Even in this disjointed blog entry. To finally have a place that feels real. A place that’s safe, where everything makes sense, and a place that I actually belong. I just want that place to exist, somewhere, in some dimension out there.

I’m waiting, too.

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Cricket waiting patiently for the toy mouse to pop out of the cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Love of Animals and Trees…

 

Professor X: [voiceover] Either way, it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. (X-Men 2)

As I get older (officially middle-aged, though it feels a lot older), I am plagued with this odd sort of remembrance. I am remembering a lot of things about my girl self that got shoved aside in hopes of becoming somebody loved, worthwhile, hire-able, successful, popular, pretty, rich–all of which, of course, never happened (yet, anyway). So I put away a lot of stuff that made me, me, because society taught me to be ashamed of who I was (and I believed them). Though it was always still sorta there, and it would escape from time to time, as I got involved in environmental causes and animal rights causes and human rights causes. I even majored in environmental science, once upon a time, even though I really wanted to be a marine biologist, but the school I ended up at didn’t offer it. But, math didn’t really come naturally to me, so I let that dissuade me from a career in science.

I was that girl who hated to see animals hurt, even in movies, where they (purportedly) said that the animals weren’t really hurt–it was all for show. I didn’t even like to kill bugs, and tried to fight against the use of pesticides even in my small world of the family home. Even though it was “Nature’s way”, I still had a hard time seeing animals hurt or eaten by other animals. I still feel guilty over the high school dissections I performed in the 80s. I try not to even kill bugs, and feel terrible if I accidentally kill bugs, or fall back into a certain callousness to insects just because I’m tired and it’s been a long day of struggling with too-vivid dreams and depression and anxiety and worry and stress and allergies and workplace hell and I just want to make dinner and go to bed.

The point is; I am realizing what’s really important to me, after all these years. I don’t want to live in a world without animals and trees and wildness in nature. It kills me that the price of having a comfortable life as a human is yet another species going extinct or getting on the endangered list. Animals losing their homes. Trees being murdered. Rampant, unchecked, local-politician-supported-against-all-protective-laws destroying my beloved swamps and ecosystems in my home state of Florida (for example). That the trafficking of endangered species is more widespread than I could even imagine. Just to end up on a dinner plate, for vanity (decoration) or to spend life in captivity as someone’s trophy pet.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade

https://www.fws.gov/international/wildlife-trafficking/

So, maybe it’s partial selfishness as I enter into this transition #437–trying to figure out who I am and what kind of life I want to lead going forward. Sometimes it feels frustratingly slow, especially for someone as proactive as I am, coupled with seeing the clock run down for so many non-human lifeforms that we share (or not share) this planet with. It kills me that I’m just sitting here while non-human lifeforms are suffering and dying all around the world, because of us humans.

The takeaway? Who wants to live on a world stripped of trees and plants and birds and snakes and bugs and all the other wonderful diversity of life? Do we really want that on our conscience that we were part of an entire world destruction just because we want our Starbucks coffee and our designer clothes and diamonds and furs so that we know we are loved. What about loving other lifeforms, instead? What about appreciating and protecting the beauty that we already have? Who cares how beautiful we look in the mirror if we live in an ugly, desolate, plastic-bubble, sterile world?

 

So, take steps today. Make choices for the planet and not just for ourselves. Give up meat, even dairy. Buy organic and non-GMO foods. Start an urban garden. Adopt animals from a shelter instead of buying (inbred/puppy mill) breed animals. have your pets spayed/and neutered and keep cats indoor-only. Have yourself (the human equivalent) of spay/neuter–the world has plenty of adoptable children who need homes, too, right here on U.S. soil. Don’t wear fur or leather. Volunteer for animal rights causes. Stop using harmful pesticides and Round-up–learn about xeriscaping instead. Downsize your possessions. Reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t buy new–shop at thrift stores and purchase/remodel an older home rather than a brand-new (cheaply built) home/residence (do you really need six bedrooms and five bathrooms?).

I know I don’t want an entire planetary destruction on my conscience. So, my life going forward will be finding more ways to save the planet, outside of my usual armchair activist activities. Because I don’t want to be alone with just other humans for company. Even though I’m just one person, I want to change. And make change happen.

 

 

 

End of a Very Long Week…

 

I planned to write something on Wednesday, but my usual muse-in-my-dreams hasn’t been making an appearance lately. And, truthfully, I’ve been a little too weary and introspective to cultivate contact. (I miss you, my talisman…)

Tuesday: I kept getting a little shock that it was only Tuesday. It felt like days and days had gone by. And it was not even Hump Day.

But, Groundhog Day!!! It’s one of my fav holidays, after Halloween. It’s on my bucket list to go here (Damn you, Andie McDowell and Bill Murray! LOL)

I got called into school a lot for work, which was awesome! I’m dreading the upcoming bills with their resultant sticker shock, due to some unexpected expenses, but hopefully I get enough sub jobs to cover it.

I’m still trying to work out the details of my poetry book for publication. Been going back and forth between publishing with CreateSpace and bookbaby. Think I’m falling on the bookbaby side. Seems a lot less complex and more straightforward, especially since it’s “just” a book of poetry.

Still working out the cover art deal.

A WONDERFUL physics/science teacher at the schools I sub at was nice enough to give me feedback on the physics terms I’m using to set the theme of my poems. Here’s a shout out to you, even though I can’t list you by name for confidentiality reasons. Hopefully things will work out so I can give you credit in my poetry book when it gets published. A big thanks from the Chaos Realm!

I was very excited to receive permission within a day or two of submitting my permission request from the wonderful staffer over at the University of Chicago Press to use their definitions from the Glossary of Astronomy and Astrophysics in my poetry book.  I’ve always loved the University of Chicago Press’ publications, but now I’m officially a fan!

Thursday: I had to go to the dreaded dentist. But, since I have the best, most patient, and gentle dentist(s) in the whole world, it was a survivable experience. No cavities! Yay for me!

Still hoping for some exciting new opportunities on the job front.

Oh, and *drum roll* I FOUND JEANS THAT FIT. They do not gap at the waist, and they don’t reveal my Wonder Woman underroos/butt crack when I’m trying to look my age on the outside. (Well, actually, I knew about them already, but they were on sale and they fit my little-waist-but-junk-in-the-trunk body.) Whee!

Check them out via the J. Peterman company here.

I still haven’t done my edits for my mystery novel. Bad writer.

Oh, and for Valentine’s Day, why not consider giving love to a shelter animal in need of a home? Petfinder makes it easy to search for pets in your area!