Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Cats I Have Known

A painting I did of my cat Chigger. She was a black and orange tortoise-shell cat with lots of personality. She loved to sit on the laps of visitors, especially if they were allergic to cats, as was my old friend and co-worker Charlie. 

          “I’m curious. Period. I find everything interesting. Real life. Fake Life. Flowers. Cats. But mostly people. If you keep your eyes open and your mind open, everything can be interesting.” Agnes Varda

Morning Chat

          I grew up with dogs and thought I didn’t like cats. That feeling was confirmed when my nine-year-old daughter, Deborah, brought home a black cat that she said had followed her home from school. Maybe, maybe not.

The cat across the way who prompted me to write this blog. — Photo by Pat Bean

She named her Mai Ling, and she was the nastiest meanest cat I have ever known. She hid under the couch and scratched people’s ankles as they passed by – and she jumped on people in the middle of the night.

But my daughter loved her and so the cat stayed – until she adopted another home down the street. My daughter brought her back a couple of times but she always went back. I think our home was one she simply adopted temporarily after she tired of her home before ours.

Meanwhile, my kids – I had five of them – were always bringing home stray dogs, which we took in until we could find a home for them. One day, however, they brought in this skinny, bedraggled, ugly cat. I knew before we could find it a home, we would have to fatten it up a bit. But by the week’s end, the whole family had fallen in love with this cat, and we kept her.

After a few more weeks, just as the ugly duckling turned into a swam, our ugly cat turned into a beautiful calico that lived with us for many years. We named her Kitirick, after the Houston TV Channel 13 KTRK’s mascot Kitirick. The sexy, black-cat dressed mascot was played by Wanda Louise Orsak.

A collage of cats from one of my art journals.c

The next cat I came to love was a 17-pound, cross-eyed Siamese with an overbite. He was the first family animal that liked me best, and his favorite sleeping spot was my pillow — right next to my head. We named him Emperor Sock-It-To-Me in honor of the TV show >Laugh In.” But we just called him Imp.

The last cat in my life came into my life on Christmas Eve in 1982. My son, Lewis, was on leave from the Army and had found a tiny kitten abandoned on a snowy canyon road. He dropped her into my lap and said, “Merry Christmas Mom.

She was tiny and cute, and I thought of naming her something sweet and pretty, like Crystal or Tiffany. I went to bed thinking about what her name should be; I had a lot of waking time to think because she wanted to play all night. By morning, I knew her name was going to be Chigger, because nothing is peskier than chiggers.

I had her until she died in 1999, leaving my then canine companion, Peaches, depressed. While in the company of humans, Peaches pretended the cat didn’t exist. But after Peaches became deaf, I would often come home from work and find the two animals curled up together on my bed.

So why am I writing about cats this morning? Because I’m staring at one in a window across from my balcony.

Bean Pat: To all the people out there who take good care of their cats, and other pets as well. Not much makes my blood boil hotter than someone who abuses animals.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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 “I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” — Bill Dana


Chigger, as I saw and painted her back about 1996.

It was Christmas Eve,  1982, a time when my life was in the middle of major changes.  I was temporarily living in a small, quaint apartment in Utah that I would soon be leaving to accept a new job as regional editor at the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Literally blowing in through my door on this cold, snowy night came my son, Lewis, who was on leave from the Army. He was driving down through Sardine Canyon in Northern Utah after visiting friends when he spotted a tiny kitten that had carelessly been set adrift in the snow by some heartless person.

He did what any of my children, who had been taught to love and respect all animals, would have done. He rescued the bit of cold fluff. And now, his cheeks still red with the cold, he dumped her into my lap and said, “Merry Christmas, Mom.” The kitten immediately snuggled herself deep in my heart.

I named her “Chigger,” because later that night, at about 3 a.m., she decided she wanted to play while I wanted to sleep. Since nothing is peskier than chiggers, I decided the name fit her.

She was my companion for the next 18 years.

Bean Pat: The Chase http://tinyurl.com/oavqocr Enjoy fox watching from your armchair. I did. Onion flowers http://tinyurl.com/lt6jy86 Something to think about.


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            “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  — Lao Tzu

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which was always my favorite game piece.

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which is always my favorite game piece.

Change is Inevitable

            I recently learned that a cat token had replaced Monopoly’s iron token. I don’t know about you but I think it was about time.

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

My iron went out with the first days of wash and wear. Before that, which was way back when I had growing children, by the time I got to the bottom of the basket that held clothes to be ironed, my children had outgrown them.

The change to Monopoly – a game I played for endless hours when I was a child – was a result of a popular vote to eliminate one icon and replace it with another.

It seems logical to me why the iron was displaced, but why not something more new age, like a computer or a space station, as the new token?

It gives us something to think about. So what token would you have replaced, what would your choice have been for a new icon, and which one do you like as your game piece?

I always play with the dog.

But I can’t think of a better choice than a cat for the new token.  If you own the right cat, or  more likely it owns you, as I have three out of four times, I found them to be almost as companionable as a dog. It’s OK Pepper. I said almost.

Change, I’ve come to learn in my old-broad wisdom, is often neither good or bad. It just is. And it’s inevitable.      

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

      Bean Pat: Worthy of Attention http://tinyurl.com/k8qbk8d  We all like compliments. And this blog reminds me to be freer with mine.

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“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

It was supposed to be 30 cats. -- Pat Bean

It was supposed to be 30 cats. — Pat Bean

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

The Goal to Not Take Art so Seriously

Before I became a writer — which I accept that I I was at the age of 25 forward, but didn’t acknowledge until I thought I was skilled enough at the age of 50  — I also wanted to be an artist.

A voice inside me said you can’t do both – silly voice. Occasionally over the years I ignored the voice and did a few paintings, most of which I threw away or which ended hanging up in the homes of children, whom I assumed only said they liked them because they loved me.

002          And that’s probably true. Although I have to admit, I do know viewing art is like reading. What one person loves another can just as easily hate. Neither writing nor art is like math, in which two and two always add up to four.

Recently I’ve had the urge to keep an illustrated journal just as I do a daily written one. To that end I was reading Carla Sonheim’s “Drawing Lab,” which is about making art fun. The first exercise was to get in bed and draw 30 cats.

I got bored after six, which is how my journal page “Six Cats” evolved. I do so love color and I had to fill the page with something.

The next page in my daily art journal is a collage. My three youngest grandchildren made me large homemade cards for my birthday. I adored them, but really didn’t want to begin cluttering up my small apartment with this kind of thing.

I didn’t have the heart, however, to throw them away. So I snipped bits and pieces from all three of the cards and created the collage you see here. I added the photo of J.J. because he gave it to me on my birthday.

Since it took me 25 years of writing before I could call myself a writer, I’m certainly not ready to call myself an artist – and might never be.

But I am having fun.        

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

    Bean’s Pat: An old tale  http://tinyurl.com/ajhdxkw More is not always best.

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“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou

Mind Triggers

The sight that greeted me when I looked up from the computer. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The sight that greeted me when I looked up from the computer. — Photo by Pat Bean

            I was just completing yesterday’s blog about Willie Nelson, when I looked up from the computer and saw my canine companion, Pepper, grinning from ear-to-ear as she sat in the middle of a devastated stuffed cat.

The dead cat. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The dead cat. — Photo by Pat Bean

I couldn’t do anything but smile. The toy had been on sale at PetSmart, and I had bought it for her, knowing full-well I would pay the clean-up consequences.            And then Willie’s quote about bigoted people not being his friend popped into my wondering-wandering mind, and I laughed, and continued laughing as I picked up the stuffing from every room in my small apartment.

Pepper is not prejudiced against cats. She’s also destroyed a big stuffed dog, a bear, a raccoon, and several ducks. She even took a bite out of my daughter’s Great Dane’s indestructible dinosaur.

Indestructible was the word my daughter used, even after I warned her that Pepper didn’t know the meaning of the word.

They look so innocent when they're asleep. -- Photo by Pat Bean

They look so innocent when they’re asleep. — Photo by Pat Bean

During Pepper and my first month together, she destroyed three pillows and their pillow cases, two pens (the stain of one which can still be seen on the rug in my RV) a computer cord, half a dozen pairs of socks, two of my daughter-in-law’s flip-flops and just about anything else she could get her teeth into.            Fortunately, she finally learned the difference between things that were hers and things that were mine, well except for socks and these days I blame myself for leaving any within her reach.

In the meantime I, or since I moved to Tucson, also my daughter, keep her supplied with plenty of chew bones, chew toys and occasionally a stuffed animal which can give her days of fun, and me days of picking up stuffing.

But as I said, she’s not prejudiced. She’ll chew up any stuffed animal.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Alastair’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/b4ggr4t How to Wash a Cat. I got great belly laughs from this one. I hope you laugh at it as much as I did. Laughter’s good for the soul. And I’m not prejudiced against cats, just for the record.

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 “In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.” — Dereke Bruce

Pippin atop my daughter-in-law's Escape -- Photo by Pat Bean

This week’s photo challenge to demonstrate contrast naturally had me thinking of color. So this morning when I saw golden-haired Pippin sitting on top of my daughter-in-law’s black Escape, my mind went “AHA!”

I grabbed my camera and went out to take his picture, knowing that this was a cat who would pose for me. He’s that kind of cat.

Rocky sizing up what's under the Christmas tree. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I got his picture, but in the process I stepped on a bed of ants and they retaliated. Thankfully, they weren’t fire ants, but the leg that they crawled up and the hand that brushed them away stung for about half an hour.

And the pain was all for naught. When I looked at the photos, I realized they really didn’t show the contrast I wanted. .

Then I thought of Rocky, a fat, black and white, cat that belongs to my youngest daughter, and the contrasts between the two felines. .

Pippin is an outdoor cat that gets pleasure out of tormenting the neighborhood raccoons. He simply showed up one day at my son’s place and decided it was home.

He got neutered, is fed daily, and has a warm garage in which to sleep at night. But he remains an outdoor cat. Of all the cats in my large family’s menagerie, Pippin is my favorite. While very independent, he’s always ready for human contact and loving from any human who enters his territory.

He considers himself an animal guard cat, however, and any trespassing dogs should beware..

Rocky, on the other hand, was rescued during a Guam typhoon by my daughter and is not allowed outside. He’s picky about whom he cozies up to, preferring my son-in-law’s lap to any other.

His primary playmate is a great Dane, whom he bosses around.

So, for contrast, I offer up Pippin and Rocky.

Bean’s Pat: where’s my toothbrush: Camel Riding in Jaisalmer http://tinyurl.com/7phjrsn A delightful travel blog about a camel adventure in India.

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This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

Travels With Maggie


Rocky considers himself a family member, too, and wonders what's beneath the tree for him. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I didn’t post a blog yesterday. And I didn’t add a 1,000 words to the travel book that I’m rewriting.

So what, you may be asking, did I do?

I walked Maggie, of course, and cleaned her ears, a daily chore because of her proneness to chronic cocker spaniel ear infection – and I went Christmas shopping.

It is that time of year you know. And because of that I’m not beating myself up too badly for what I didn’t do. You see, I’m a traitor to my gender. I HATE SHOPPING!

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I LOVE CHRISTMAS, and giving gifts to my loved ones. The challenge for me is finding something I think each person in my growing family will like within my limited budget of $20 or less per person.

We break into this blog for an Important Announcement: Believe it or not just as I was mentioning my large family, I got a text message saying one more has been added. My granddaughter in Orlando, Florida, just delivered a beautiful (I know he is even though I haven’t seen him yet), healthy 6-pound-9-ounce boy to it.


Maggie and I passed this tree on our morning walk in the park across from son's home. I thought it as festive as any Christmas tree. -- Photo by Pat Bean

We now take you back to our regular program:

Anyway, I try to pick up things in my travels that I think will appeal to one loved one or another, but this year I didn’t do much of that. It left me with a hard day of shopping, but with only two presents yet to buy.

That’s actually way ahead of schedule for me. I’ve been known to frantically be shopping the stores at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shout the news of my new great-grandchild to the world.

And then hopefully tackle my travel book.

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Sunflowers are just beginning to bloom at Lake Walcott -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.” Corey Ford

Travels With Maggie

Thought I’d interrupt my past African Safari today to visit the present, which finds me at Lake Walcott State Park in southern Idaho.

I wanted to tell you that the Canada goose kids have all grown up now, sunflowers are finally blooming, and that I had a marvelous day on the lake with a couple of starving artists (so they said, but their fancy boat said otherwise), who were staying at the park between art shows, and finally to complain about my faithful companion.

Nuff said about everything but Maggie, a black cocker spaniel who thinks I’m her servant. I rescued her from a life of abuse when she was a year old and we’ve now been together for 12 years. She went from being afraid of her shadow to becoming Queen of my world.


And butterflies accompany Maggie and me on our walks. -- Photo by Pat Bean

For example: This past Wednesday, I went into town to do laundry, something that has to be done every two weeks if I want to wear clean underwear. Since I’m a volunteer at the park, I’m allowed to use a small park truck for the trip. And since I don’t get into town often, I treated myself to a Swiss cheese burger with grilled onions and a chocolate mile shake.

I drank the shake and ate half the burger on the drive back to the park, saving the other half of the big sandwich for dinner. Back at my RV I transported the leftover sandwich and a few other things into my RV, then went back out to bring in my clean laundry.

By the time I got back, Maggie had climbed up on my table, took the sandwich out of a paper sack, and then out of its cardboard container and was licking her chops. Not a crumb of the sanding was left.

I yelled, but she didn’t even blink. In fact the look that she gave me said: “Do you have any more.”


And Maggie is not the least bit repentant for eating my sandwich. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I gave her dirty looks for the rest of the day. She, simply, hopped up on to my bed, and gave me unrepentant stares. I mean take a look at that face. Does it look apologetic to you?

I think she’s more cat than dog.

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This is Rocky. He was rescued during a typhoon when my youngest daughter lived in Guam. He's never met a lap he didn't like. -- Photo by Pat Bean



“Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.” Unknown.

 My dog, Maggie, must be a cat in disguise.

Travels With Maggie

We never had a cat when I was growing up, only dogs. I didn’t have anything against cats, but never really wanted one of my own. I thought them too unfriendly, a stereotype that was confirmed by the first one that came into my life.

It was a beautiful, silky black feline that adopted my then eight-year-old daughter, Deborah. She adored this creature and named it Mai Ling. The enchantment was lost on the rest of the family. Mai Ling was cleverly mean, with a heart as dark as her fur.

One of her favorite activities was to hide beneath the couch and claw the legs of unsuspecting passers-by. Even worse, were her frequent full-body tackles on innocent sleepers.

One day, just as Mai Ling had left her former home to follow my daughter home, it adopted a new family down the street. Deborah brought the cat back repeatedly, but at the first opportunity Mai Ling always escaped again.

Deborah greatly mourned the loss of her pet, but the rest of the family rejoiced.

The next cat to enter my life was an ugly, skinny, dirty-haired calico that one of my sons had rescued from some boys who were teasing her.

This is Maggie, a cat in disguise. She considers me her personal slave. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Well, we’re going to have to feed this one for a while before we can find it a new home,” I told him. At this point, not even Deborah, wanted to adopt another cat.

Two weeks later our ugly, rescued feline had turned into a beautiful princess that had stolen all our hearts. We named her Kitterick, after a sexy, albeit a kid’s show, mascot for Houston’s KTRK-TV.

Kitterick had a long and happy life with our family, including our dog. We would often find the two of them curled up together.

The moral of this story is as old as Methuselah. And it applies to a lot more in our lives than cats, including the journeys we make. As Aldous Huxley once said: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

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