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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A New Generation

Funny how a day can pass. Today I found myself sorting through the many harnesses in a rainbow of colors, changing tags and reassigning them to my present cats. Each one holds a memory so precious, so far from my reach. A tear came to my eye as I set Rainbow’s aside, unable to reassign it.

The reason for this sorting evolved from a biography, of sorts, that I am writing about Mewdy Blue. As I typed in his age, 15, I realized sadly that someone has to step up and take over his activities. He is a local celebrity in that he started as a show cat early in life doing very well and developing into quite an accomplished cat.

Mewdy Blue
Eventually he moved into the agility ring and won the regional award. With his partner, Lady Butterfly, he became a pet therapy cat visiting youth shelters, adult day care and long-term care facilities to help brighten the day of many people. He has appeared on television, in newspapers and in person many times. He even acted as a guinea pig for veterinary students learning to do physical exams as well as giving demonstrations of his tricks and agility skills.

So now that Mewdy Blue is ready to retire from the limelight who can possibly fill in for him?

I planned to visit my mother in her assisted living apartment so I packed up Gooseberry, his new (reassigned) harness, leash and carrier and headed out. The first part of the day Goose talked and talked and talked about the situation (I know he’s got some Siamese in him) and looked everywhere for the perfect hiding place. When he’d finally settled down a bit I put on the leash and took him out into the hallway for a walk.
Gooseberry, ready for anything

You know that boy actually walked on the leash?! I’m not saying that cats don’t walk on leashes just that he has never done so before. The couple of times I’ve taken him outside to judge his reaction he panicked and raced for the door. Remembering that experience I had thought that an inner hallway might be easier on him. His first outing no other people were in the hallway but we could hear their “noises” from behind closed doors.

Goose was nervous but he did a great job of following me down the hallway. If he balked a little I simply pointed up ahead and he followed my finger. A simple stroking of his head was all the reward he needed. It wasn’t until we turned a corner and saw an air conditioner sitting on a cart that he decided he’d had enough. He took one look at that contraption and told me in no uncertain terms that we were going back to the apartment. No mechanical monsters for him!
Goose, packing for his first show

I left him in the apartment with my mother for a couple of hours then we went down for the obligatory early supper (who eats at 4:30 anyway??). Afterwards I took Goose out for another hallway carousing. This time other people appeared from out of the elevator and he decided it wasn’t fun anymore. He seemed comfortable as long as I held him in my arms so he got a little experience around other people that way.

So my little buddy, Gooseberry, is on his way to learning how to be a pet therapy cat. I’m sure with a little more exposure to different environments, other people and more leash-walking he’ll be up to the challenge. Who knows? It might even improve his chances at cat shows. And the day that started with a tear turned out to be rewarding.


  1. That last picture is amazing! how do you ever do that?

    1. I think on that one I simply held his toy up above him. He is incredibly toy focused. That's a good thing for an agility cat.

  2. I'm so glad to hear about these healing experiences. And no matter how many cats we have, and we swear we love them all the same, there is always one who is not part of the general milieu. Glad you and Gooseberry and your mom had a good visit, and I hope Gooseberry learns to enjoy it.

    1. Thanks so much Bernadette, you are right. I've finally come to accept that. We just can't help it, we're only human.

  3. Good luck in your therapy training, Gooseberry. We kinda agree with you about weird mechanical thinglies, though. For all we know, that machine is designed to shave cats or something.

    You're a gorgeous kittie, by the way.

    1. Gooseberry decided to answer this comment:

      I been shaved before - don't need that again. I was worried it was even more dangerous than that though. It might have swallowed me.

      Thanks for the compliment. I am awfully handsome aren't I?

  4. PS: Andrea, if you are going to moderate comments, there is no reason to have that 'lovely' CAPTCHA turned on. A lot of people have trouble fighting through that, so turning deCAPTCHA off would make it easier for commenters. FWIW

    1. Thanks! I didn't know that was an option. Hopefully I've taken care of that now.