A Harmless Necessary Cat

, , , | Right | August 5, 2020

I am performing in a free outdoor production of Shakespeare. The performance space is on someone’s property. The director is greeting the audience as they arrive. A woman approaches holding an animal carrier.

Director: “Hi! Welcome to the show!”

Woman: “Thanks. I’m a neighbor and I just had to see the show.”

Director: “What’s in the carrier?”

Woman: “My cat! Want to see?”

Director: “Aw, sure!”

The woman takes the cat out of the carrier. It is a Maine coon, easily over twenty-five pounds.

Woman: “He’s very curious. He’ll probably wander out on the stage!”

The director laughs, thinking the woman is joking. She is not. The cat wanders onstage during the show, sticking its but in the faces of actors who are crouching on the ground and generally interfering with the show. At some point, the cat decides I’m his “favorite,” and he comes up to me and meows plaintively when I won’t pet him. I have to duck behind a tree to hide my laughter. At intermission, I send the director a text message.

My Text: “Tell woman to take cat home! It’s getting dark and he could get hurt in battle scene!”

The director told the woman to take the cat home.

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The Cats Demand You Pay Tribute To Apollo

, , , , , , , | Related | July 29, 2020

We’re the family from this story and this story — and no, that second title wasn’t our idea.

It’s been several years since then, and we have only one cat left, our orange tabby Apollo. He is now a venerable Old Man Cat who rules the house and has gotten increasingly vocal and demanding in his old age.

It’s Easter 2020, and we’re preparing dinner for ourselves. Apollo has been underfoot the entire time.

Apollo gives my husband a demanding meow.

Husband: “No! You have been fed. Stop it!”

Apollo gives my husband an even more demanding meow.

Husband: “If you are good, you will get tribute in the form of ham. If you keep yapping your jaw, you aren’t going to get anything.”

Apollo gives my husband a stern look and the most demanding meow ever uttered by a feline.

Husband: “No! You are losing ham by the minute. B**** and moan, you get nothing. Stop it!” 

Of course, we gave in and fed Apollo all the ham he wanted. This was one of our last back-and-forth conversations with Apollo, as his kidney issues worsened shortly afterward and he became increasingly sick. We had to help Apollo cross the Rainbow Bridge two months later. Our hearts ache and we both miss him terribly but we are so glad he will live on in stories.

The Cats Demand You Spill The Beans
The Cats Demand You Pork The Butt

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A Blessed Encounter With A Dog Whisperer

, , , , , | Friendly | July 28, 2020

I have a Staffie-cross who looks tough but is nothing but a massive wimp. She has a tendency to pull and is able to wriggle out of her collar, so she’s walked on a harness, which just makes her look more intimidating to those who believe the breed’s stereotype.

One day, I was walking her along the main road. It was fairly busy, and she was alternating between trotting along next to me and stopping to have a good sniff at whatever caught her attention. When we got to a pedestrian crossing, there was another woman there with a little girl. I brought my dog in close and got her to sit between my feet to wait for the lights to change. As she was sitting nicely, I didn’t take up the slack on the lead as fully as I normally would.

While we were waiting, a big lorry turned off the main road onto the one we wanted to cross. As it did so, its air brakes hissed right in front of us. My dog scuttled backward with a yelp, as far as her lead would allow, straight between my legs.

The little girl was at her side before I was. She started carefully petting her on the side of her neck and face and telling her that the “scary monster” was gone. After a few seconds, my silly dog was once again wagging her tail and licking the little girl’s face like she hadn’t just been terrified by air.

The mum was watching carefully but not stopping her little Dog Whisperer from making a new friend.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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Consent Is So Important

, , , , | Friendly | July 24, 2020

A friend has stopped to visit while driving to check out an apartment in a new state. We go walking downtown to talk and let his husky, who rode along, stretch her legs.

It is a nice day and many people are out. A small girl of two or three sees the husky and starts to run towards her, squealing, “Doggy!”

To my delight, her mom stops her and tells this little one that she has to ask permission to pet a dog. 

The little girl stops, solemnly leans forward, and seriously asks, “Can I pet you?”

…to the husky.

My friend cracked up so hard he had to lean against a lamp post while her parents groaned and explained a little better.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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Puffin And Puffin Until You’re Blue

, , , , , | Friendly | July 13, 2020

With lockdown slowly relaxing, I’m able to visit the zoo again, albeit with restrictions; for instance, you need to reserve a time slot. I take one later in the day and happen to be at the sea lions just after they are being fed.

A few years ago, a blue heron — and a flock of seagulls — learned the sea lions’ teatime, as well, and as a protected species, got the occasional fish — not so the seagulls. Through the years, it took up permanent residence in the zoo — still a free bird, though — and, as such, got used to people but keeps its distance.

I am admiring it from fairly close, a one-meter-wide hedge between us, when I overhear some French-speaking visitors exclaim that it is a “perroquet de mer” or, literally, a sea parrot.

I’m telling this to a few friends a few days later.

Friend: “What? Is that even a thing?”

Out of curiosity, I do a Google search and immediately recognize the bird but cannot think of the name in Dutch, nor in English.

Me: “Well, yes, it turns out that it is a thing. It is a… a… Well, it is a penguin that isn’t a penguin.”

My friends got what I meant and had a good chuckle about it. It took another search to find that a “perroquet de mer” is a puffin which, incidentally, in Dutch, also has the word for parrot in its name.

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