Kilkenny Cats

There were once two cats of Kilkenny.
Each thought there was one cat too many;
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails,
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

Well, this is quite the apt metaphor for the world we are living in. On a small scale, I was at a concert last weekend and the girl next to my group was clearly pissed off at us for the crime of also being on the general admission dance floor. She kept widening her dance area, swinging her hair and arms sharply to let us know that we were encroaching on “her” space. We basically ignored her and her boyfriend was making noticeable efforts to get her to calm down, ignore us back, and just have fun. Continue reading →

St. Ives

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?

Once again, Mother Goose’s neutral treatment of a morally reprehensible practice, in this case polygamy, is disturbing. To her, an encounter with a Lothario merits only an arithmetic challenge, rather than a discussion about his sexist behavior. And let’s not forget that each of these anonymous women is schlepping a sack with 56 hapless animals stuffed into it. Disgusting.

Verdict: Let loose those 343 kittens so they can shred this rhyme with their adorable little claws. Continue reading →

Dapple-Gray

I had a little pony,
His name was Dapple-Gray,
I lent him to a lady,
To ride a mile away.
She whipped him, she slashed him,
She rode him through the mire;
I would not lend my pony now
For all the lady’s hire.

This is rather graphic animal abuse that is a little painful to read. I have a visceral reaction any time I read about someone mistreating an animal. I almost had a complete freak out a few weeks back listening to this story on This American Life until the host reminded the listeners it was a work for fiction. It still bothered me a little even after that reminder. Harm to animals honestly makes me want to go out and beat the perpetrator to a pulp with a baseball bad. Seriously. And I don’t think on the whole I’m a violent person but tormenting an animal for shits and giggles is beyond unacceptable to me. In this case, that feeling is mitigated by the knowledge that this is only a nursery rhyme and I supposed good that the narrator learned a lesson at the end. It would have been nicer still to see the “lady” get punished. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: The Line

I love nature. I love nature in little ways, such as letting spiders stay in my house in whatever corner they decide to weave their webs. I love nature in medium ways, such as not getting mad about the goats peeing on my yoga mat at goat yoga because I was so thrilled a goat was getting cuddly on my mat with me. I love nature in big ways, such as sobbing uncontrollably while watching the whales bubble netting in Alaska because I was overwhelmed from witnessing such a majestic event that is so perfectly designed and so completely out of the control of humans.

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But there is a point at which I stop communing with nature. The squirrels that killed my garden this year brought me pretty close to that point. Pretty damn close to making use of a pellet gun. But this…this is the real line. Nope, nope, nope. Nasty! Uh-uh. No way. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Zorro the Wonder Cat

On June 2, 2016, I went to a local animal shelter and brought home what was supposed to be a barn cat. I lived in a house that was built into the side of a mountain where mice and other small critters were common invaders, so I thought it would be good to have an outdoor cat to help keep them under control.

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Within three hours, the cat ran away and I was crushed. It was out there in unfamiliar territory populated by bobcats and foxes and other potential cat-eaters. There was little to no water anywhere. I was sure I had sentenced it to death. But still hopeful, I sent an email to the neighborhood asking people to keep an eye out. About a week later, one neighbor reported having seen the cat beneath his porch, but he was unable to catch it. A week after that, another neighbor reported having seen the cat at the bottom of the mountain where my dirt road met up with the main canyon road, and where there was a stream with fresh water. Both neighbors who lived at that intersection began to see the cat repeatedly, so I got a humane animal trap and filled it first with Fancy Feast and later with some really stinky canned mackerel. I checked that cage twice a day on the way to and from work. Sometimes the food would be gone but the trap still untriggered, as if something larger, like the mountain lion also living in that area, had stuck its paw in and swiped it. Continue reading →