Sage is my white Persian cat, with golden eyes. He is living art. He is beautiful (to me) and he’s all fluff. He has curly whiskers. He is adopted.
Months after Bruno passed away, I still wasn’t ready for a new cat, if at all. I knew there would never be another Bruno. My therapist asked, “Well, Yvonne, what are you going to do? You know you are going to need something to nurture.” I decided to get a little dog to fill the empty space. I wanted a small dog so it would mimmick the feeling I had when Bruno was in my lap. I adopted Ellie. She is a Chiweenie, half Dachshund and half Chihuahua. She weighs 10 pounds. Ellie sleeps with me every night and always makes sure we have body contact.
I love dogs and enjoy both of ours. At heart, though, I am a true cat lover. After Clem passed away, the house seemed empty. I missed having a cat around. I needed a cat. I went to Georgia Homeless Pets to see what they had. I visited a time or two and saw Shemp (named after one of the Three Stooges). We renamed him Sidney after our favorite veterinarian who semi-retired and left the clinic. Sidney was a mackerel tabby cat. Cute. Personality plus. He was “up” all the time. He was a little over one years old.
After about three months, we noticed Sidney wasn’t as playful. He was lethargic. It was the weekend and we took him to the emergency vet. Turns out Sidney had a fatal cat disease called FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. We left the vet with my husband carrying a little box with Sidney inside. The shock of it all. We were devastated. He is buried in our backyard along with Bruno, Clem, and Buddy (our rescued Corgi). Yes, we have a pet cemetery.
In our wildest imaginations, the thought never crossed our minds that we would lose Sidney that night. We just took him in in the first place to see if he would be okay until Monday so we could take him to our less expensive vet. We love Blue Pearl Animal Hospital if you ever have an emergency. They did not charge us for the examination or the tests. They charged us only for euthanasia. That was kind. Thank you, Blue Pearl.
To my surprise, within a week I had rescued Sage. My husband didn’t want me to adopt him for a number of reasons, and I should have listened. In the first place, I had no interest in a long hair cat. No way. But I held him and felt a connection so that was all she wrote. I did not know he was a Persian. To me he was just a long hair cat. My husband thought he was ugly with that squished in face. He probably knew then that fur everywhere would be an issue. I brush and comb Sage every day. Fur would be a real problem for sure if I didn’t.
For all the gentleness, easygoing manner, and soulfulness of Bruno, Sage makes up for that in mischeviousness. Sage was out wandering about and was picked up by Animal Control, I am assuming. Pet rescue didn’t know much of his history. His fur was matted and he was flea infested. His lion cut was growing out when we brought him home. I have learned that Persians are high maintenance; i.e., $$$. They have their unfair share of health issues. Of course, we love our Sage.
Where to begin? For months after we brought Sage home, he lived in the kitchen, leaving only to go to the men’s room. He had a round toy which consisted of plastic and cardboard and a ball that rolled around in a groove in a circle. This is where he spent all his time, just sitting and sleeping on that toy. Of course, the kitchen is where the food is.
We cat-proofed the kitchen. In the beginning, a lot of mornings we would wake to a spilled kitchen trash can with stuff strewn about. We could leave nothing, and I mean nothing, on the kitchen countertops. We first noticed that he really loves bread and plastic packaging, and things have evolved from there. We have a small kitchen with little cabinet space so we have resorted to using the oven for things we would normally keep on the counter.
Sometimes we have been preparing our lunch or whatever and have been interrupted to leave the kitchen for a second. We return, Sage has struck. He is either on the countertop eating what we were preparing (assuming it wasn’t yogurt), or he has dropped it to the floor. We have tried and tried to train him to stay off the countertops. I went so far as to scatter about orange peels because cats don’t like citrus. I tried sticky double-sided tape and aluminum foil. I got these ideas from the Internet. None worked.
Someone mentioned a motion sensor. It is an aerosol can with air and something wet in it. We placed it on the counter, Sage would walk by, and WHAM! the motion sensor worked. This scared him and he flew off the counter. Finally, we thought we had just the right deterrent. It worked pretty well for awhile. However, the motion sensor became inconsistent and would not spray every time Sage walked by. We’re still looking for a solution.
One time I had tuna for lunch. Before I sat down to eat, I wiped the counter with a sponge. I ate and then went about my business. Later I return to the kitchen to find that 1/4 of the sponge is missing. There were two little tufts and 3/4 of the non-ingested sponge on the floor. I had left the sponge I had wiped the counter with in the sink. It had to be the residue of the tuna juice that got his attention. Fortunately, no harm was done. My bad that I did not rinse the sponge thoroughly.
One year for my birthday we had a little cake. I took off the two small candles and put the cake in the refrigerator. Guess what? I left the kitchen then returned. There was one candle left. Sage had actually eaten a candle. Called the vet immediately. She didn’t know what to do but suggested I contact the “phone emergency vet,” for lack of what to call it. There went $60 or $70 for a phone vet to explain the situation and my options. Sage made it through yet another calamity.
Sage loves Cheetos. One day he pulled a Cheetos bag off the counter. It was a new bag, sealed, so we didn’t think anything about leaving it on the counter, but not so fast. I walked into the kitchen later to find Sage and Ellie grazing on the floor with a torn open bag of Cheetos. Sage had found his partner in crime. Just the other day, I walked through the den and found an avocado peeling in the middle of the room.
These are just some of Sage’s kitchen antics. It’s tough keeping up with him and we can’t. He is such the opportunist that there is no way we can win.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
I have lived with several Zen masters … all of them cats.
In my previous post, I mentioned my Uncle Chuck (given name, Charles Everett). A relative refreshed my memory on something which I believe noteworthy. Uncle Chuck served on the USS Indianapolis. Only 316 of the nearly 900 men set adrift after the sinking survived. Uncle Chuck was one. He was known never to have spoken about it. Thank you, Leah, for the reminder.
Website link for further reading (go to):
USS Indianapolis: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indianapolis