Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Doin' the Butt" - Hey! NOT sexy, sexy, sexy ... (as the song goes)

Thanks for tuning in to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, heeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!

Hi folks!

Loyal readers have asked, "Where, oh where, have you been, Mama C? Write another chronicle, already!"

I am so swamped right now at work that I haven't had much time in the past few weeks to write, outside of my newspaper articles. But I will soon, regarding the ice cream kittens. (In a nutshell, all is pretty much well, four out of five are heart-meltingly sweet, and one's a hissy-spitty stinker that needs a lot of work.)

More later. Meanwhile, by popular request, I am printing a famous back issue of Mother Catresa's Chronicle in its pre-web site days, when it was just an e-mail to a few friends (and many new readers never got this one). This essay - about feline gluteus maximuses - got more laughs than any other, and any cat person can appreciate it. Or, I suppose dog people could, too, because they can pause and say, "Phew! My pooch may be gross sometimes, but at least it doesn't do that!"


- MC


Dear friends,

OK, now, I've always wanted to know: what is the deal with cat butts?

No, seriously, this is for real. What is it about cats and their butts, and this penchant they have for aiming said butts at you?

Now, any of y'all who have cats probably know exactly what I'm talking about, and are laughing in recognition as you read this. For you unfortunate dog folks who never find themselves on the receiving end of an animal fanny, at point-blank range, let me explain this feline peculiarity. Cats, for some reason, often turn around when they are sitting on your chest or lap, so that your view of their sweet little faces abruptly becomes that of not-so-sweet posterior ends. And they make sure you get a close-up, proctological view: they often seem to make a point of leaning backward, or lifting their tail, just to make sure you don't miss the spectacle, and you get a good whiff.

If these butt-flashing cats were humans, I would think two things: one, I'm being mooned, or two, they're saying "Kiss my ass." Yet, strangely, the cat's body language doesn't seem nearly so obnoxious or hostile, so I don't think that's the case. In fact, the butt-in-face incidents often happen during moments of affection, where the cat is cuddling with you on your chest, purring, and massaging you with its paws. It's blissful, and then - Boom! Butt! (Blech!)

So, what exactly is your cat saying when it drops the butt bomb? Who knows? Maybe it's the cat's way of saying, "I'm so cozy and comfortable with you." Aaawww, ain't it sweet?

Dharma, one of my cats, is a world-class butt bomber - she does it far more than my other cats, Rum Rum and G.G., ever do (and thank heavens for that, because of G.G.'s toxic fumes!) It seems like every time I lie down on the couch, Dharma jumps up, starts her massaging, and then abruptly does an ... about-face, I suppose. Much to my dismay, I find my nose within a few inches of her heiney, which looks pretty darned threatening when you're pinned down on the couch by a hefty, stubborn cat.

"Dharma!" I groan. "Get your butt out of my face!"

I try manually turning her around, or at least adjusting her angle a bit so my face is not in the direct line of fire. It takes a lot of wrestling, though - and even after moving her, so that her much-cuter face is before me, she often reverts right back to the undesirable position.

Now, I can tolerate this annoyance to a point - but, if it happens during a great TV show (especially my Sunday night "Cold Case"), and her derriere is blocking my view, that's it: I push her off the couch.

Luckily, I have been safe in my bed, and have yet to wake up in point-blank range of an exposed cat butt ... but never say never. Now, that would be a rude awakening!


Mother Catresa
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Scream for Ice Cream!

We now return to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, heeeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!

Dairy products again, Kellie? What's up with that? Did you get a mint chocolate chip cone confiscated at the airport this time? Nope.

Here's the scoop: I just brought home five tiny little 5-week-old kittens, and they all have ice cream names! How sweet and yummy for the final hurrah of the summer ice cream season. And best of all, these guys - save for a few minor hisses from the two shy males - are relatively friendly, and non-feral. I've even felt a few vibrations on my chest from tiny little purr machines!

The roster: Neopalitan, who is a poofy, orangeish-buff colored longhaired female. She is just sweet and adorable, and looks like a little butterscotch cream puff! Then, there's Spumoni, an equally poofy, long-haired blue cream tortie female. Rocky Road is a dark grey, short-haired female with a few white spots. Butter Pecan and Cookie Dough are orangeish-buff tabby shorthair males.

Are you hungry yet?

I've been devouring these guys with kisses and squeezes, and I think I'll take this perfect excuse to treat myself tomorrow to a big, hearty ice cream cone. That is, if the aroma of kitten poop wafting in the background as I write this doesn't spoil my appetite. As with many strays, these kittens are what I call "shittens" - get my, pee-yew, drift? I'll need to give them meds every day - all a labor of love, of course.

In other news, Rachael Ray - one of my kittens from last year's "chef" litter - returned to the shelter, apparently because the owner's other cat dissed her. Miss Rachael "Yum-O" is a stunningly beautiful, long-haired tortie, and she was very loving and friendly when I stopped by to see her today. I don't know if she actually remembers her "Mom-Mom," because she's a sweet kitty with everyone. She will probably go up for adoption at a PetsMart.

It's such a trip to see your once-tiny kitten all grown up as a huge cat! That's how I felt with Darius, too - remember, my cat, Dharma's, grown kitten, who also got returned to the shelter? I brought him home last month as a foster, and that big doofus is still here. Some of my friends have a theory about where this is going. Don't ask.

Bringing home these sweet ice cream cones was such a booster for me. I had a terrible bout with bronchitis this past week and am still recovering - and thanks to my family and friends who called to check on me and send "get well" wishes - but I had to return to work today. And it was quite a day indeed: some weird old guy who called me to be interviewed for an article told me that my voice (probably husky, mind you, from my illness) is so sexy that I should be a phone sex operator. But that's another story.

I couldn't help but think: 1-900-SEX KITTEN. And chuckle. And blush.

Purrrrr ...

Until next time, I remain,

Mother Catresa
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")

P.S. Unless you're a Pittsburgh-area friend who has boycotted my house, lest you be too tempted to adopt (and you know who you are, hehe), there is always an open invitation to Mother Catresa's home to see the kittens. So go ahead and ask me. We'll make plans.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You can't win them all

We now return to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, heeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!

Call in the Marines! A cherry Activia has been spotted at Pittsburgh International Airport!

Well, I didn't actually get nabbed by a few good men last week, when I embarked on a journey to Newport, Rhode Island, for a wonderful vacation with my sister, Kirsten. But I did get my sealed, unopened yogurt confiscated at the security lines. I was both miffed and amused. I understand that there are airport security rules designed to keep us all safe, and I happily abide by them. But terrorism by yogurt? Really, guys - isn't that a little far-fetched? Then again, so was shoe-bombing ...

Wait, didn't I say that KITT-FM is all kittens, all the time? Well, you know, they do say not to feed kittens dairy products, come to think of it.

Anyway, back to the blog's subject matter - kittens!

In the week before I left for vacation, I took in the most difficult litter of kittens I've ever had. The so-called serial killers - mild hissers, spitters and hiders - were a kitty breeze and picnic compared to these kittens, whose names came from the "game" group on my 15-plus-page document of suggested names and themes for litters. There was a big, long-haired, white and black female named Uno. Then, there was a gray and white, medium-haired male named Scrabble, and two small, black-and-white tuxedoed, female shorthairs named Boggle and Clue.

Boggle, Scrabble and Clue (the sweetest one) seemed very scared and un-socialized, and hid constantly behind my computer, practically on top of each other. When I approached them, they would hiss and run, but when I caught them and scruffed them by the neck, they would let me hold and pet them for awhile. As for Uno? Well, she wasn't just shy - she was hostile, and it scared me. The second I walked in the room, before I even approached her, she would literally erupt into a hissy fit, when she would hiss and growl constantly for minutes, like a wild animal. When she wasn't hiding behind the computer, Uno would often perch on my window sill like it was a ruler's throne. When I came close, which I had to in order to fill the food and water bowls, she had the stance of a coiled-up rattlesnake about to strike. Eeeek! Pass the motorcycle helmet; I like my eyesight and intact face.

I tried, but I wasn't able to make much progress with these kittens for the short time I had them. I feel like I failed in a way, and I'm sad that, if they don't come around, our only option will be to turn them over to a feral life, now that they're fixed. But, they have gone to another foster home, where hopefully, they can get some behavioral ICU and be turned into lovable pets. I have hope, but it will take lots of time, patience and TLC. Who knows? Cats can be funny about certain people, and maybe they just didn't like me. Even Mother Catresa can be rejected by homeless kitties.

Please keep these kittens in your thoughts and prayers - that Clue, Boggle, Scrabble and especially Uno can become socialized and adoptable.

So, you see, kittens are not all fun, cuddles, and, yes, "games" - even when they have names like that. Sometimes, it is a huge challenge for the foster to love feral kittens, who don't want anything to do with you, into love-bundles. But when a kitten does come around, it is often very lovable (like G.G., one of my own kitties). And it is so rewarding and fulfilling to watch it happen. Unfortunately, though, I lost this "game."

May the new foster mama win the game, and experience that joy and satisfaction.

Until next time, I remain,

Mother Catresa
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")