4-25-12 – Emmy Wednesday

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Emmy Wednesday!

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Sleepy girl.

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While Emmy eats, Darwin helpfully paws at the floor, trying to “cover” the food.

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“Seriously. Can I get a break?”

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“Mama, Mama, Mama, come lay down with me on the ham-mick!”

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Emmy is determined to keep those kittens CLEAN.

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See a kitten? Lick it!

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You can’t see them all, but there were three kittens in the ham-mick with her at this point.

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Then Razzie came along to play with any rogue tails.

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And now there are four kittens and one mama cat in that ham-mick.

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“My mama makes good milk. ::thlurrp::”

Today I’m going to clean the guest bedroom really well and get it set up for the baby Noms. Tonight when Fred gets home, we’re going to move the kittens to the guest bedroom and leave Emmy in the foster room. Emmy’s got her appointment for spaying next Tuesday and the babies are almost 8 weeks old, so I think it’s time. Hopefully it’ll go well and Emmy will be relieved to have some time without kittens walking across her (seriously, they are so RUDE) and won’t freak out.

We’re both making progress with Emmy. I’ve spent a lot of time recently petting her, usually just around her face and neck, which she likes a lot. Fred usually has her rolling around on her back, purring up a storm. In a big brave move last week, he actually picked her up and set her in his lap. She crawled out of his lap immediately and went to the other side of the room and stared balefully at him, but on the up side she did NOT react in a strong and freaked-out manner, so yay!

Hopefully once she’s in the room by herself and doesn’t have to worry about her babies (I mean, not that she’s terribly worried about them at this point anyway, but you know what I mean), she’ll come around even more. You know I’ll let you know how it goes!

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About Tom Cullen (Tommy)

I love this picture so very, very much. That’s Tommy as a wee one, jumping up for the feather teaser, Sugarbutt egging him on, and their sister Callie looking on.

Tommy will turn 7 at the end of June.

Tommy came to us in September 2005 as part of a litter of four. They were about 12 weeks old and all pretty friendly, but Tommy (who was then named “Barrett” – they came already named) was the friendliest of the bunch. I would go into the foster room and sit down, and before I was even completely on the ground, Tommy would be settled in my lap.

The litter was suffering from coccidia and giardia and the other three would fight being medicated, but Tommy would just swallow the medicine and go back to whatever he was doing. He was always the leader of that litter, and he always had at least one other kitten (but usually ALL of them) curled up with him.

The litter was with us for about six weeks, and the VERY day that they were scheduled to go off to Petsmart, Tommy started mysteriously limping. The leg didn’t seem to be causing him any pain, but there was a definite limp. We thought that maybe he’d come down off a cat tree particularly hard, and decided to keep him for a few extra days until he was feeling better.

With the rest of his litter off at Petsmart, Tommy really shone – he was sweet, he was funny, he was laid-back, he was snuggly. I mean, we’d already realized that he was an awesome guy, but without the other kittens around, his awesomeness was particularly obvious. By bedtime that night I’d suggested, in a non-pushy “You know, he is REALLY an awesome cat…” kind of way that maybe he’d be a good addition to the family. I didn’t beg or plead or demand, just made the suggestion and then moved on. As we lay in bed that night, Tommy snuggled between us, we talked about names for him – “I mean, we’re not keeping him, but what would be a good name for him?!” At one point, Fred suggested “Tom Cullen” (for those of you who don’t know, Tom Cullen is the name of a character from Stephen King’s novel The Stand. I will cut you if you ask if he’s named after a character from Twilight.) and we both laughed for a long time at the idea of using that name for a cat.

The next morning, Fred woke me up. “I have only one demand,” he said. “We have to name him Tom Cullen.” So we did. And that mysterious limp? Yeah, it went away just about the time I told the shelter manager that we wanted to adopt him. He’s no dummy.

Tommy is the cat who taught me just how awesome black cats are. He’s laid-back but not a pushover. He’s snuggly, but not pushy about it. Usually he starts out his night curled up against me. Eventually he gets warm and moves away from me, but if in the course of the night I move and touch him even the slightest bit, he responds by THROWING himself onto his back and flailing around so that I can give him a belly rub. There is nothing in this world that boy likes as much as having his belly rubbed.

I think I’ve mentioned that Tommy is our foster Ambassador. He is so good with the fosters, will tolerate them, tolerate their snuggling with him, and if they sit next to him long enough, he’ll groom them. He doesn’t seek out companionship from the fosters, but he is really good-natured when they come seeking friendship from him.

He’s a bit of an adventurer, too – if we should accidentally forget to put his collar on (and by “we”, I mean “Fred”, because he’s the one who’s supposed to collar up the cats before he opens the back door in the morning), you can just about guarantee that he’ll climb over the fence and look around. Luckily, he’s such a good boy that as soon as you call for him, he comes running.

Also, he loves catnip like nobody’s business. Last weekend when I was working in my raised-bed garden and absentmindedly left the gate to it open, Tommy came through to see what I was doing, and the next thing I knew, he was rolling around in the little raised bed where the two big catnip plants are growing. Boy loves his catnip!

2009-08-14 (10) 2011-09-05

2011-11-24 2012-01-26 (47)


2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: Not scared of the Roomba, just skeedaddling to his Very Important Date!
2008: She’s a mean drunk.
2007: They definitely live the life oโ€™ Reilly.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



4-25-12 – Emmy Wednesday — 27 Comments

  1. I love the photos of Emmy with her kids. She’s such a good mom! I hope Operation Tame Emmy will be a big success!!

    And Tommy! What a sweetheart! He’s definitely my new love!!

  2. As I laid in bed trying to fall asleep last night, I counted Anderson kitties. Remembered all 13 (bonus!), but for the life of me could not puzzle out who was coming up in this morning’s blog. What a treat to find handsome Tommy here this morning! Guess that means I know who’s next (if we’re going by age). ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you take a bit of weight off him and add a couple scars (grrr), you have my Norman. Gentle, good-natured love bug who tolerates everyone… he’s even learning to tolerate the dog.

    Tonight’s the night, huh? Best wishes for Operation Tame Emmy (stealing Doodle Bean’s name because it rocks). I’m pulling for her so hard. I think she reminds me of the late, great Einstein… sweet girl kitty who just wants to live life on her terms and isn’t afraid to strictly enforce her boundaries. I’d still give my left arm to have her back. Praying that Emmy can trust you enough to turn the corner and that someone who truly understands her is waiting to bring her home. She deserves it.

    • I have to admit, I’m not sure I could come up with all 13 of them without thinking really really hard. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I did say that I was going to do the cats by age, but I think it’s going to be easier to do it by adoption date since we don’t know how old Maxi and Newt are!

    • I have shared my life with numerous cats (imagine that) but it seems that the black cats have some of the best personalities. I have to tell my Black Cat story now. In 1991, a black cat wandered onto my parents’ property, took a look around, and decided he’d stay. I named him Alistaire, after a character in a comic book. He was a cat that even non-cat-people took a shine to; friendly, open, affectionate, and yet a taker of no nonsense (he kept the dogs in line).

      We never were sure how old he was, exactly, when he came to live with us, but I know he shared my life for 10 years. In 2001, he suddenly got sick and stopped eating. Long story short, he lost a lot of weight, reacted badly to the fluids, went into arrest, and had to be euthanized. It was terrible for me, as I’d never had a cat so long (growing up, cats stayed outdoors and didn’t live long, so I was glad when I moved out and was able to keep him indoors), and had never had to have one euthanized before.

      I took him to Animal Control to have him cremated. On the day I went to pick up his ashes, a woman was there, dropping off a tiny black kitten. Someone had dumped him on her property and she couldn’t keep him. I petted him and said that I’d just had to have my favorite cat put to sleep, and he was black. She said, “I think he needs to go home with you!” And that became Murphy, who’s been with me for 11 years now and shares much of Alistaire’s personality. I always said Alistaire sent him to me.

      Interesting note: Alistaire died the same week as the author Douglas Adams. My husband told me that Adams must need a cat in the afterlife. That somehow made me feel better. โ™ฅ

      • I never realized the black animal prejudice until recently… mostly because I spent 15+ years being owned by a black lab. He was the most incredibly gentle, sensitive soul. By the time we lost him to cancer I knew about black animals in the shelters, but I would have brought each and every one home because they were Grizzly in my eyes (and they were full of tears that I couldn’t see logically past). That’s when I started working with the local shelter, though… campaigning with each visitor to get to know these black beauties. We adopted another dog… a chocolate lab this time. He had been abused, neglected, and seriously starved. He’s no Grizzly. In fact, we were discussing which was smarter: Charlie or a box of rocks. But I adore him and I do believe Grizzly sent him to make me laugh.

        By the time we moved and were settled again (we’re military, so it happens often enough), I had lost my elderly cat and was keeping my eyes open for just the right senior fit at the new shelter where I volunteer. They used my old ploy against me when I came in to work with the kitties… sending me to spend time with old man Martin whenever possible. Martin became Norman… my black house panther.

        • Thank you for doing what you do, Kelly. ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you for welcoming old man Norman into your heart. He sounds like a Very Good Cat, Indeed.

      • I agree, Noelgy, black cats are absolutely phenomenal. I’m own by four cats, twรณj of which are black siblings, Topik and Topcia (Polish for Thingumy and Bob, from Tove Jannson’s Moomins). They chose us for their humans when they were 10 weeks old, and they looked and behaved like two little rebels, knowing and accepting no rules, just like the characters thatcher gave them their names. But when they grew older – boy, what change! The girl is the most elegant, long-hair, delicate, flirty beauty, like a kitty version of Audrey Hepburn. And the boy – gosh, I’m totally crazy in love with him – has the blackiest, shortest and silkiest fur I have ever seen, and is the most intelligent, inquisitive and talkative creature. So, now we usually call them after another two Moomins characters, the Moomintroll’s girlfriend and her brother (I don’t know their English names, but in Polish they refer to something very bright and twinkling – Miss Migotka and Migotek)

        • Oh, and I forgot to mention thato my beloved Topik – Migotek looks very much like the handsome Tommy, only Topik’s eyes are more golden

  3. What a good mama Emmy is. I mean, how many of us could handle 4 toddlers in our space? Day in. Day out.

    Black cats are awesome.

    • Black cats ARE awesome. I’ve decided that I will never again be without at least one black cat in my life, and I’ve told my husband he just needs to accept this about me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Tommy may be a sweetiepie, but there is no question that face says “Get this chicken hat off me or I will kill you in your sleep.”

  5. Tom Cullen is my favorite Resident. I have an unabashed love of black cats, and I think that you named him wonderfully well; the fictional Tom Cullen was a brave and gentle and loving soul, who was a friend to everyone he met.

    (Twilight? I wouldn’t even go there.)

  6. I’ve had mixed experiences with black cats – had one who didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone, refused categorically to use a litter box no matter what tricks I tried, tore up every window screen in the house in her efforts to get out via the windows, scratched and bit if you tried to pet her or sometimes just if you walked into a room that she didn’t want you to be in. I got her as a tiny kitten and she was sooooooooo affectionate and loving the first few days I had her – in fact, I had planned to get a different kitten, but she wasn’t available for adoption yet because she was going to be spayed that night. The lady assured me that I could come back at 9 A.M. and pick her up. I was in the parking lot at 8:45 and walked in the door at 9 A.M. sharp, but alas – one of the employees had decided that “my” kitten was the one she wanted to adopt, so I was SOL.

    The other three kittens from that litter were still in their recovery-room kennel and I took a look, but I’d really had my heart set on that one particular kitten and wasn’t really interested in any of the others. I was turning to go when this tiny black ball of fluff detached itself from the pile of sleepy kittens, wobbled to the front of the cage, and whimpered so pitifully that I just had to pick her up. She immediately crawled up to my shoulder and hid under my hair, curled up with her nose against the back of my earlobe, purring fiercely, and I just crumbled. That was where she stayed for the next week or so; all the time, 24/7, she wanted to be right up on my shoulder, hidden under a curtain of hair. She’d balance herself perfectly so I spent that week walking around with a kitten wrapped around my neck, and just falling more in love with her every day. But then after about 3-4 weeks – once she was confident in all her surroundings and knew the routines of the house – that was it; she had no more use for humans except for us to give her her food. Multiple vet visits shed no insight as to why she suddenly turned so hateful and refused to use the litter box. I went through every brand of litter and every style of litter box known to man, and she just was not interested. She didn’t want you to touch her, look at her, or be in the same room as her, and if you hung around her food bowl area too long she’d snarl and spit and swipe to chase you away.

    There have only been two cats I’ve had that I just didn’t like, and she was one of them – even though I started out just completely in love with her. The other one was also a black cat, but his behavior was explicable – he’d been feral until he got hit by a car. A coworker found him scrounging for food and because his hip was shattered, he couldn’t run fast enough to get away. My coworker couldn’t keep him because his own cat was fiercely territorial, but he offered to pay for the surgery if I would keep the cat. Unfortunately, he never got over his feral ways, never did much more than tolerate me and TJ, and one day when I wasn’t quick enough coming in with the groceries he bolted out the front door and was never seen nor heard from again.

    And in fact now that I think about it, my parents’ mostly-black cat is also a little feline terror. He’ll hiss, spit, slap, and bite for no reason at all other than he’s got nothing better to do. And that cat HATES my son. Oh man. HAAAAATES him. TJ can’t even walk in the room without Doc flying into a fit – and TJ’s never done anything to hurt or tease him. (It was worse when Doc was an adolescent, and we wondered if it was a hormonal thing, if he viewed TJ as a rival for his role as Alpha Cat or something. But Doc’s been neutered and he’s 4 or 5 years old now, and still hates TJ to pieces.) Doc hates me only a little bit less; I reached to pick up a pen a few weeks ago, not realizing that Doc was right next to it, and as I was bringing my hand back towards me, he lunged and bit me so hard he drew blood in three places. For no reason at all. He’ll hide on top of the refrigerator or cupboards, or behind window curtains, and if you walk past that’s it, you’re dead meat. He hates my mom until it’s suppertime, at which point she’s his best friend ever, but any other time he’ll hiss and slap at her too, and occasionally bite. Doc simply and utterly ADORES my dad, though, and would happily spend all day perched on his chair’s armrest or on his knee, gazing lovingly at him. None of us have ever been anything but affectionate to Doc, but he just hates everyone in the world except my dad.

    On the other hand, the cat that broke my mother’s life-long “cats are filthy, nasty, hateful creatures and there is no way I will ever let one of those disease-ridden disgusting vermin into my house” opinion was a black cat – she was actually a tortie, but she only had a few tiny areas of color on her. You had to really look closely to see that she wasn’t solid black. Someone had gone to the trouble of getting her spayed, but then dumped her in the parking lot of where my mom worked – before they even took her back to the vet to have her (metal) stitches/staples removed. Even though my mom hated cats, she didn’t want to see any animal starving, so she managed to lure the cat into a carrier which she planned to use to take it to the pound or Humane Society. Both of those agencies were closed for the night, so she took the cat home with her, not intending to ever let her out of the carrier, just give her food and water and then take her to the pound in the morning. By morning, though, she’d found the (infected) stitches/staples and decided to see if the cat would let her take them out. The cat was obviously in pain and uncomfortable, but she just laid like a baby in my mom’s lap and purred while my dad snipped and pulled and cleaned. Well, that guaranteed that Annie (as in “Little Orphan”) was not going to be going to any pound or Humane Society!

    Annie was blissfully content in her role as Queen Of Everything Around Here for the next 12 or 13 years. Since then, I think the longest my parents have been without a cat was about four months. After Annie had been with them for about four years, and they’d assumed ownership of a neighborhood stray as well, I asked my mom one day, “What ever happened to ‘filthy, nasty, disgusting’ and all that? Remember, every time I asked for a kitten?” She shook her head and said, “Isn’t it strange? I can’t imagine why I ever thought that.”

    Then my MrT was a smoke color, much like I think Logie’s going to be, and he was just awesome. Visually I prefer more interestingly-colored cats, but if I could be sure it was going to have a MrT or Annie or Tom Cullen personality, I’d scoop up a black cat in a heartbeat.

  7. Elayne, I think your novels are interesting. I am surprised that you have had such bad experiences with black cats, though. The majority of the ones I have known have been wonderful. But there are always some cats of every color that just have issues, aren’t there? I fostered a brown tabby for a brief period and I am convinced that cat was psychotic. He was great if you sat still and didn’t move, but he would attack your feet if you tried to do anything (and he wasn’t playing, he was going for the kill!).

    Kelly, bless you and your husband for serving our country – and for loving Norman! I like to hear about him.

    Robyn, I think you have already succeeded with Emmy. She just may always be the sort of cat who only wants attention on her own terms. My Katie, who has owned me since she was three weeks old, loves to be petted but hates to be picked up. My Marigold always wants to be right near me but is not so interested in the touching. My Tess is still, after almost four years, afraid most of the time of anyone who approaches her standing up, but loves to snuggle when it’s bedtime. And my Allie loves and has always loved everyone and every bit of attention she can get. Are you surprised that she is black?

    • I had a 1/4 Siamese who was psychotic, but fortunately in a charming manner. And LOUD. Oh man, Siamese and Siamese mixes are SO LOUD.

      Sushi would flop down in the middle of the kitchen floor, waiting for you to trip over her. Eventually my brother tried hooking a finger in her collar and spinning her around in circles on the floor, as if she were a rotating dustmop or something. Eventually he found it easier to grab her by the belly, right where the leg meets the torso (and Lord, she was fat), and spin her that way. So when she got bored, she’d go lie in the middle of the kitchen and howl at the top of her considerable lungs until someone came to amuse her. I would fall into helpless laughter every time my mom, after 10-15 minutes of Sushi howling, would holler from where she happened to be, “For God’s sake, will someone PLEASE go spin that cat?!”

      My mother also liked to tinker around with the harmonica, and every time she’d get it out of the case, Sushi would come running and attack her feet. Sushi was the cat who decided that she wasn’t done nursing, and would latch on to Mickey, my female dog. Eventually the nipple stimulation (or something) sent Mickey into a false pregnancy (we hadn’t yet had her spayed) and Mickey began lactating. That sealed the deal for Sushi, and Sushi could regularly be found nursing at Mickey until they were both well into their teens. We tried to break the habit, but the howling drove us all so crazy we just gave up and let them do what they wanted. Sushi would occasionally launch at people for no reason, but most of her psychoses were harmless, if annoying. I think of her every time I see a Siamese or Siamese mix, and try to decide if the insanity would be worth the hilarity. (c:

  8. Elayne again, so what happened to the black kitten who suddenly turned horrid? Do you still have her? My guess would be that she had a case of toxoplasmosis that went undiagnosed and caused brain damage. I know frequently that’s fatal, but I have known of a case or two where the cat survived but was never the same again, with the sort of behavior you are describing.

    • We negotiated an uneasy truce for a few years, until my landlord came by one day to do his yearly inventory of any repairs or maintenance that needed to be made (grouting in the showers, leaky sinks, etc), and she walked 3 feet away from him and, looking him directly in the eye the entire time, peed and pooped right there on the carpet. He issued an ultimatum: 30 days to decide on the cat vs. the house I was renting.

      I couldn’t help thinking that, despite the vet’s repeated assurances that she was healthy in all regards (and he’d done bloodwork and scans up the wazoo), she had to’ve been miserable in *some* regard to keep acting that way, so even though I am deeply ashamed to admit this, I felt I had no choice but to return her to the adoption agency I got her from. They have an enclosed/protected area where their long-term cats can roam around outside, and every time I called to check on her over the next few months, they assured me she was perfectly content to spend all her time outside, coming in only to eat (after initiating, and winning, fights with any cats who happened to be in the vicinity). She didn’t want anyone to touch her, didn’t want any other cats to approach her, but given her solitude and a yard to roam in, she was content.

      To this day I have guilt and am ashamed that I couldn’t find some magic way to make her happy with me, but when it came to her vs. being evicted, and the fact that she seemed so unhappy anyway, well…

      Because of that experience, I was a bit leery of adopting MrT, but the only problem I ever had with him was his horrible breath, and his inability to distinguish between the tasty treat I was offering to him and the tasty flesh of my finger. He never bit in anger or meanness as the others did/do, but when he was after a snack or a treat, boy, watch out. I finally learned to throw his treats across the room, which would give me time to furtively slip a treat to the other cats before he came running back for more. (c:

      Most black cats I’ve encountered in other settings (volunteering at the shelter, visiting the adoption center at Petsmart to torment myself, etc) are laid back, chill, and affectionate, so it *does* seem odd that the “problem cats” I’ve encountered have mostly been black. My mother keeps expressing worry that if she and my dad die, I won’t want to take Doc. I’ve assured her that I’ll take him, because I think HIS problem is not being around any other cats. When I brought my freeway-rescue, Maufry, over to her house one day and let her and Doc sniff each other out, it only took 3-4 minutes before they were BFFs. Right now he rules the roost in their house, but I think being around other cats, and being able to burn off some energy/aggression, would be good for him.

  9. My Sodapop is a black cat. He’s a doofus – Silly and sweet. And he loves his morning massage, when I give him a body rub and he squirms and stretches and blisses out. He’s also good when I bring in a new foster cat – He’ll hiss and be disgruntled for about a day, and then he’s the first to make friends with the new guy.

    yay black cats!

  10. I can hardly believe it’s been seven years for Tom Cullen. I remember when he developed his “limp”. He played you two like a concert pianist!!!!!

  11. Shh, don’t tell Stinkerbelle about Tommy’s ever-expanding team of fans! Hope tonight’s plan goes well — you and Fred are angels. And re black cats, I’ve met so many great, relaxed ones and hope to bring one home someday. The current crew of two are determined to remain at that number. Belated thanks for the excellent Miz Poo and Spanky profiles. Fingers crossed that both stick around for a long time to come.

  12. It’s funny that you mention Tommy’s love of the ‘nip – I had a little catnip party at my house last night to tame my wild nighttime beasties and took a few pics:


    The first time I ever had cats in the mid-80s one of them was a gorgeous black boy. He was actually my first cat and was such a Wee Bit that we called him Wee Bit ๐Ÿ™‚ I lost custody of my purr babies in that divorce dammit. Once I was back in a solid position to add cats to the family again, I wanted a black one badly but there actually were not any in the shelter that weekend. Right now life seems in perfect balance with these two so unless something happens I think it will stay this way for awhile but I know for SURE I will have another black cat in my life again someday.

  13. Wow, it seems like you just got those kittens and they’re ready to be on their own already? wow! They grow so fast! Good luck with Emmy, I know she’ll be a cuddler before too long!
    I never thought of twilight when I hear Tom’s name, I think of a drink, but really, that’s a Tom Collins, not Tom Cullen, but what the heck, pour me a Tom anyway! (ok, that’s probably the drugs for my bad back talking, but it made me giggle)