Monday, June 09, 2008

On the softer side.

Katie looked out the window the other day and called for me to come take a look. Here's what I saw when I gazed outside.

This is our cat Heidi. She's nineteen years and three months old. Heidi's lived with us since she was a new kitten. We have a kind of love / annoyance relationship these days. The cat reminds me of a spinster aunt who just keeps hanging on. All the girlishness has disappeared from her voice. What's left is the harsh, grating, tones of a demanding attitude. That's Heidi these days. She follows us around, uttering her demands with the most obnoxious tone possible. If she's not in the house, she's demanding to be let in. Then she forgets why she wanted in and demands to be let back outside.

It's hard to even pet her anymore. Despite the fact that we feed her well, Heidi's got the bony frame befitting her hundred and a quarter plus cat years. It feels a little better to scratch her behind the ears or under the chin. Even that's difficult as the cat constantly moves her head all over. She's trying to have that elusive spot scratched. Only thing is, it's so elusive that even she doesn't know where it is so the search never ends.

Nonetheless, she's been a part of the family for nearly a fifth of a century. Gotta love her.

I'd pulled Sophie up under the carport after coming home. Not long after, the cat's curled up next to the rear tire.

Heidi usually prefers to be sleeping under the chair at our computer desk. If she's outside, most of her time is spent snoozing in either a small house I built for her or in the bark dust under the dining room window. The cat's life could be so much more productive if only she could learn to get by on 17 hours sleep! Most of her life is spent looking for a place to sleep. For some reason, Heidi chose to sleep next to the bike this time. That was unusual for her.

Was it the warmth of the tire and engine? Once upon a time she would occasionally jump up onto a bike seat. She's too old for that now. As far as I know, I hadn't run over any small rodents, the smell of which might have attracted her. I've never been known to stash catnip on any of my bikes. There wasn't a reasonable explanation at hand.

I prefer to believe that she just felt closer to me sleeping beside the vehicle that I use so much. Only the cat knows the truth and she doesn't seem inclined to tell!

Miles and smiles,



Bill Sommers said...

Boy, do I ever know that harsh demanding meow tone. Old Pete used to walk around the house yowling and griping at just about the same moment that I was falling asleep. All I had to do was get up from bed, then he'd peel back upstairs and return to his gravelly voiced complaining again. Damn...I miss that old fart.

Have fun,

Bryce said...

And my old friend Thumper did that for years, slept where he wanted and noisy!
Large (22 pounds) male, orange tabby. Died too young after
killing an intruding other critter.
In this case a mid-size possum. Yes, they are getting into Canada, hitching rides on wheeled vehicles.
Cold weather does affec them, Thumper killed this possum, which
tried to fend off the attack to no avail. Thumper died from wounds and infections at 12 years of age. Far too young; and haven't replaced him. That was six years prior
Don't think I could. Once you have an orange cat you don't want another.
Ditto for Heidi..warm tyre, maybe some smells from outside although at her age no sense of smell or taste. When she goes, a sad day for all. Bury her in a place of reverence, and maybe not replace her. You worry about your pets as much as you worry about your own children! Even after they leave home.

SheRidesABeemer said...

She must like the radiant heat from the muffler. For some reason my cat likes to sneak into the garage and just walk around the bikes

Becky said...

Oh yeah. I think you are correct. She probably knows the cycle is your baby and wanted to be close to you, via the bike. Heidi sounds very sweet and amazingly old for a cat. I have an old girl also, she seems more affectionate now than ever in her life. Give her a pet(on the head) and a kiss for me. I love the cats.....


Heinz & Frenchie said...

What a sweet photo. I am sure she was getting close to the heat as cats love warmth. She also probably likes Sophie because it is familiar and part of the family that she knows. We have the cat from hell, but she is family too so we bend over backwards to make her a happy spoiled cat. Not an easy task.

R.G. said...

This doesn't pertain to your post but I would be interested in your opinion as an instructor. I saw an ad on craigslist for motorcycle instruction from "police motorcycle instructors". Just curious if it's legit and if so how it compares to classes you give. the link is

David said...

That is a cute picture. I too have had cats for most of my life. One Siamese cross that had that piercing yowl that only Siamese seem to be equipped with.

However, I'm afraid you've fallen in my esteem. You're the proprietor/builder of a cat house? In OREGON! Fur Shame. LOL I built a dog house when I was in high school, the dog never used it but one of our cats, JJ by name, did love it. Mom refused to let me paint, "JJ's Cathouse" on it. We were in Montana at the time, but had lived in Nevada for a couple years. I thought it would be appropriate.

Dave T.

Earl Thomas said...

I had a cat named "Tux" that used to follow me around the house yowling for no apparent reason. Every now and then I would quiz him by asking, "Tux, what does a cat say?" Every single time, he got the answer right! That cat was a genius.

Dean W said...

R.G.- I'm not Dan, but I've seen that ad popping up here and there around the state.

I believe that anyone claiming to offer any sort of training in operatinging an over-the-road vehicle in Oregon has to be licensed by the state.

I forwarded that particular ad to ODOT's motorcycle training oversight person; we'll see what they say about it (probably tomorrow).

Meanwhile, you can get some of the same training that a lot of Oregon motor officers do get, just up the road from you at Pat's Acres- take a Team Oregon ART. You won't get to do all the fun stuff the cops do, but you'll get the basics.

Dean W said...

As for cats... last summer, we lost Raider, an 8 pound whisp of black fur trimmed in white. She was a little cranky at age 12, but hadn't lost her skill as a huntress, bringing a mouse (or four) or a shrew almost every night. Then one night, she never came home.

The Child Unit's kitten has taken up the role. He's not yet a year old and has worked his way up from mice to the occasional gopher- and he's learned that we prefer he bring us his trophies freshly killed, rather than still kicking.

Our other recent adoption, Mr. Pickles, came to us at nearly 26 pounds, having developed a taste for dog food. Since he's lived here, he's down to a more stylish (and healthy) 16 pounds.

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

We have a picture of a then-outdoor (now indoor) cat sitting in the sidecar, looking for all the world like she's saying "let's go!". Turns out she likes going in the car, too.

Stacy said...

Dave T: LOL!

irondad said...

I remember reading about Pete recently on your blog. Your current perspective reminds me to keep lovin' our cat while I can!

Possums can be pretty fierce. I had one chew through two layers of chicken wire once. Thumper must have been a tough old boy, too. We plan to just let our cat live out her days. She won't be replaced.

Cats do seem to be experts at finding warm places, don't they?

Thanks for backing me up on this! They do seem to want more and more attention as they get older. Heidi's been remarkable healthy and hardy all these years. Maybe she'll live long enough to break some sort of record.

Heinz & Frenchie,
Cat from hell, huh? She's not named something like Diablo, is she?

Pretty much what Dean said. These ads are popping up all over. They aren't recognized by ODOT as far as I know. What's interesting is that they don't seem to really give much information. Be interesting to see if Dean hears back from Michelle. ( She's the head of vehicle safety Dean mentioned )

You should come to ART. Of course, you might have either Dean or I as an instructor. Worse, yet, BOTH of us!

Glad to see you're still reading. Missed you as I hadn't heard from you in a while. How's the trucking business going these days? You think I've fallen in your estimation? The neighbors are REALLY upset! If it's any consolation, we charge a lot for overnight visits. :)

Did you train Tux to answer the question correctly or did he train you to ask the correct question? You know how cats love to play mind games with us.

Thanks for stepping in. I like Dave's question. How do you maintain your bike and surf the web 24/7? By the way, TEAM OREGON is trademarked as all caps. Learned it the hard way as Chair of the BRC Task Force!

Maybe I should take a lesson from Mr. Pickles and cut down on the dog food. Been picking up some extra pounds, lately.

I can just picture that. Haven't seen many cats that like to ride. If only you could have gotten a picture of her with goggles and a leather helmet!

Take care,


irondad said...

Thanks a lot for encouraging Dave to make fun of me! Teasingly written, of course.

Dean W said...

TEAM OREGON, all caps? Has it been around that long that they couldn't afford lower-case letters, too?

Actually, there's at least one other group with that name (dunno about the caps), so I suppose if you have to.

As for maintenance, surely I'm not the only guy with a garage computer, for looking up answers on "I'm working on X, and something isn't right" questions?

It could get worse- I'm thinking about getting a CrackBerry...

Balisada said...

Take an ART class. It's a blast!


Earl Thomas said...

Come to think of it, he also used to sit in the middle of the room and stare at the ceiling until I would finally cave and look up to find that he was looking at nothing, pride will keep me from telling you how many times this has happened, just more than once is all I'll say. He apparently trained me to do that trick, so who knows.