Sunday, January 07, 2007


Among our population of creatures are two feline opportunists.

To the right, with my youngest, Sam, is Diogenese. We think he's about about six years old. He literally moved in with us (as in-he invited himself in) about three winters ago. We feed our cats in our utility room, which is just off the kitchen. Behind the washer is an opening that leads to the enclosed crawl space beneath the house; the cats often play and sleep down there. After watching us for what had to be a month, one morning, Diogenes, matter of factly, appeared at the food dish along with the rest of the population. We determined that he'd been living in our storage shed for sometime before this point and he still spends part of his time there. As he is Sam's cat and Sam was sick this week, we made an exception and he spent some extra time inside the house.

As you may or may not remember "Diogenes" was the philosopher who lived in the barrel and espoused poverty as a way of life. He once refused to answer an emperor's requests for an audience. Another time, he informed someone of great power who'd come seeking his advice, that he was standing in Diogenes's sunbeam. Diogenes believed that humans complicated life too much through their attempts to acquire posessions and power. Our Diogenes reminds me of his human namesake in that he clearly prefers to keep things simple. He never ever leaves our yard, doesn't go out looking for girls, ignores intruders and is contented with living in our shed--sunning himself on the rock just in front of it and taking his meals just inside the door.

To the left is Joseph, my third-born, and Theo, the orange striped kitten who seemed to be waiting for me at the trail head in Mark Twain National Forest on my 41st birthday last August. His full name is Theodore, which means God's gift, but everyone calls him Theo. Had I known God was in the mood to give gifts, I might have requested a winning lottery ticket. Theo is a holy terror. He loves to knock things over, climbs the curtains and hangs out right in the middle of my teenage son's band practice--clearly at home with the singing and loud guitar music. It took us a long time to figure out how to stop him from jumping on the counters; yelling at him only seemed to make it worse and all the standard tricks (spray bottle, unpleasant footing, et) didn't even make a dent. When we determined that our responses were exactly what he was looking for, we simply started picking him up and confining him to the mud room for a couple of hours instead--where it was dark and boring and lonely. He got the message.

Joseph is still recovering from this bug too; he's not normally quite so pale. Ignore the clutter in the background. Unfortunately that's my office and it is in its normal condition.

No comments: