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Kittenhood—the Early Days

Sir Socks as a kitten drawn by Ali Noel Vyain.

I don’t know much about my kittenhood beyond being cared for in a woodpile in a backyard. My mother took care of me and my three brothers. I don’t remember two of them who went to different homes. Nor do I have any idea of what happened to them after they had left. However, I do remember my brother Spitter. He and I continued to live at this same place for a time. Our mother, when she had decided she was done taking care of us, left to live at the house across the street.
What bothers me the most about my mother was that even though she had taken such good care of us, she had left us without any warning. Spitter, Inky, Paintbrush, and I never had to worry about anything with her around. She had just left us in the woodpile and went to live across the street. I have no idea where Inky and Paintbrush went. I hear they were adopted by some humans and I never saw them again.
All three of us, my mother, Spitter, and me, lived in a small neighborhood in a cul-de-sac. I suppose Spitter and I were happy. I don’t even remember all the people who were coming and going in the house we lived in. All I know was the main human was a blind guy. He remained there with us for our early years.
My brother and I didn’t tend to talk to strangers much. Neither of us were ever outgoing. But nonetheless, we grew up and we stuck together. We had a happy little kittenhood there in the woodpile. I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning in this life.
All of us were black and white cats in various different designs. I just happen to be a tuxedo cat. I had more black than white than my brother Spitter. He was mostly white with some black accents. Even our mother was mostly black with some white. I suppose you could call her a tuxedo cat as well. But she had more white on her than I do.
Why did she just abandon us? It wasn’t fair. She didn’t have to leave us. She could have stayed. I am quite upset about it. Spitter agreed with me. After she had left us, we never liked her anymore. If we saw her, we hissed at her. Spitter was more of a hisser than I ever was. We were both skittish and didn’t trust humans readily.
The blind guy who lived in the house didn’t stop us whenever we came in. Eventually, he looked after us in his own way. He let us come and go when we pleased. He took pictures of us that my girl doesn’t have permission to use. It’s a shame. He took such good pictures of us. But my girl may make drawings based on those pictures she was able to get copies of.
I’m glad I grew up. Being a kitten isn’t a lot of fun when everyone expects you to play with toys and be cute all the time. Sure, I didn’t mind wrestling with my brothers, but I was never that into toys. I’m more of a cat that wants to observe the world around me and wonder what’s wrong with it and the humans we share this planet with. I prefer meditation to playing with toys any day.
What is it like to grow inside the womb before birth? Sometimes I have wondered. But I can’t think back that far. It is still a mystery to me. But that never stopped me from trying. When I meditate, there’s no telling where I go. But I usually learn something when I travel that way. I see things that I can’t see when I’m wide awake.
But even with the meditation, I couldn’t have foreseen where life would take me. Later on, car trips, bus trips, plane trips…it was all too much for a independent cat like me. I just wanted to be free to roam. To come and go as I pleased, but somehow when I had lost some amount of freedom, I had gained some security. Was that a good trade off? I suppose it was. My latter years were wonderful with my girl, Spot, and Isis.
Just to think that I met her and she didn’t seem to try to do anything to me when we first met. She just let me come and go. Never forced me to do anything at all. I couldn’t have asked for a better human to come into my life. I just had to wait a few years into adulthood before she could show up.
Where was she before that time? I have no idea. She never told me. And I never asked.
But I never saw my girl until after she was here. I had no idea when I first met her how much she loved cats in general. I couldn’t have foreseen how much she would love me and other cats. Actually, I thought she was too silly to make a good caretaker and caregiver. And at that time, I didn’t need a new one. Spitter and I were fine with the blind guy.
But it seems that her presence had disrupted our lives in ways that I never understood until much later. It was her fault, but she had no idea of what would happen when she put certain things into motion. At least she takes good care of me. Otherwise I don’t think I could have forgiven her now that I know.
By the time she had told me it was her fault, the damage had already been done. But by then I had learned what a good hearted and sweet person she is. I had to train her to take care of me, but that wasn’t as bad as it could have been. She at least listened to me. She isn’t stupid either. At times absent minded and too focused on her work. But not to the point that she wouldn’t listen to me when I need something.
She sometimes works with me sleeping on her lap. Those are the days. I’m glad we met. Without her, I don’t know what would have happened to me. She was a whirlwind that had changed my life so radically from what it was, but in a good way. I just had no idea until after the whirlwind had scooped me up and we were in a different place. It was my first move and I wasn’t sure what was going on.
Afterwards, it was one adventure after another. Not the kind she writes about. I’ve never lived with my head in the clouds as she does. No, this was real life and it was full of mundane cat experiences. It’s my life and I don’t regret living it.

Cats & Moving

drawing by Ali Noel Vyain

I hear there’s an old wives’ tale about buttering a cat’s paws when they are taken to a new home. Of course the cat will lick the butter off of their paws because we like to be so clean. I don’t know if butter works, but I do know my girl has tended to give me a can of tuna whenever we had to move to a new home.

Well, I usually didn’t get the tuna right away. As soon as I’m in a strange, new place, I go and find a place to hide. It’s just safer for me that way. She usually wasn’t done moving things around. Even a closet was a safe place to hide while she organized everything.

Once we moved with Spot. My girl put both of us in a closet together and closed the door. I could hear her moving things around and unpacking. I was quite content to stay in the closet. Spot tried to get out. He wanted to explore. I don’t know why he wanted to. Moving is scary and traumatic.

But a can of tuna after I’ve calmed down does help me to get over it. That and knowing we’re all still together.

Cat Quotes 1:01

Curiosity got the cat.

How many times did I see Spot go exploring? Once he found a window screen leaning up against a wall. He just had to check it out. Bam! It fell on top of him and he ran. I never saw Sir Socks do a thing like that…

Women and cats will do as they please and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. —Robert A. Heinlein

After all the years I have lived with cats, I can say this is very true. Cats don’t care. They will do as they please. I have tried to tell Spot he should eat what he kills, but he never did it. As for women, I can say I am one and I will do as please. That’s why I write so much even though others tell me I should do something else instead of this hobby. I know they want me to have what they think is a real job without realizing how much work I actually do. They are not aware of how well my work is documented online for the world to see and how much it actually counts as real work.

Cat Quotes

drawing by Ali Noel Vyain

There are many quotes about cats and I thought I’d share a couple in this new section and wonder where they came from.

Curiosity got the cat.

It’s not too hard to figure out where this came from if you’ve ever watched cats. I remember Spot playing with a screen that was leaning against a wall. He had to check it out because he was so curious. Then blam! It fell on him. He wasn’t hurt, just a bit frightened by it.

The best exercise for a cat is another cat.

This was one I like to share with Sir Socks. He never liked hearing it because he knew all too well how true it was. When you have two cats, who like each other, they have no trouble wrestling or chasing each other. Thus getting their exercise without any difficulties. They don’t tend to mind being recorded in the act based on how many videos people post everyday of the year.

Memoirs Update

photo taken by Ali Noel Vyain

I never realized how hard it would be to write my own memoirs. I’m glad my girl is helping. She has experience as a writer and knows how to put this book into ebook form once it’s ready. I am very lucky to have met her.

Otherwise, I think I would be complaining how nothing is working out and have no idea of how to get this project done. As it is, she has been helping me with the structure. We have eliminated several pictures from the lot we started with. She has stressed to me that we can’t use them all because it would make the ebook too large to upload.

Very well, I don’t see why we need to use all the photos she’s taken of me over the years. But I’m still worried I won’t get my memoirs finished soon. I will do my best to be ready to start sharing episodes of my life’s adventures in January 2019. I do hope I have enough time to have at least one ready by then…

My girl tells me it’s alright. We have lots of material to work with now. It just needs to be edited. She even says we have time to do just that and finish working with the pictures.

My Boys’ Exercise Program

photo by Ali Noel Vyain

poem from Honoring the Cats in My Life

Yeah, I know my boys
sleep about 16 hours a day,
but they’re in great shape.
It’s simply because of their
exercise program.
I didn’t come up with it–
they created all themselves.

The Program:
daily yoga exercises
(after each and every nap)
cardiovascular workouts
(run around the house like mad for an hour)
climbing and jumping
(and knocking things down)
(great way to relief tensions between themselves)

I tell you this program works.
They’re both in great health
and not overweight.
It’s safe to leave their food out
all the time.
I can’t say it’s dull to watch, either.

Mama’s Boy

photo by Ali Noel Vyain

poem from Honoring the Cats in My Life

Little Spot
came into our lives
as a little fur ball—
he could fit in one of
my hands.
He took to Sir Socks
Looking up with
total adoration.
I had to give him
a bottle of milk
three times a day.
He’s no longer
a kitten,
no longer
an adolescent,
but an adult,
who’s still
as rambunctious
as a playful child.
waking me up
in the middle
of the night
knocking things
onto the floor.
Even when he
bolts outside
to play,
as other cats do,
he still loves
Sir Socks
and his mama.

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