Category: Pets

Maybe there will be pineapples…

I’ve been online nearly 20 years, and internet culture being what it is, I’ve seen a lot of cats. And yet, only one has stuck with me for years. Not pictures or video, but a blog with fairly creative “spelling”, belonging to a cat named Abbie.

I no longer remember how or by whom I was introduced to the blog, and Abbie never posted all that often, but it always made my day when he did (with a bit of help from his owner, Rob). Abbie was a cat with poor spelling and grammar before those lolcat types made it mainstream. And Abbie was far more philosophical, insightful, and dry of wit. (While still maintaining a healthy appreciation of naps and seafood.)

Abbie has also provided two important phrases. Abbie’s sister Martha was a pirate, and she died several years ago. (Warning: tear-jerker.) From that post came the phrase “good pirate”, which is a very high compliment to pay someone, and all that need be said if someone is worthy of being a friend.

The other is “Maybe there will be pineapples”, from this post. Not sure why that struck me so much, but it seems to nicely sum up the potential in the unknown, and how adventures can be found in so many places. That one may end up as a tattoo one day.

Abbie survived much of cat life, including getting sick, losing his companion, and even being lost for a couple of weeks. His posts were funny and poignant, and of great credit to Rob.

Abbie died this week at 16 of pancreatic cancer. A decent run for a cat, but as any pet owner can tell you, far too soon. I cried unabashedly reading this, which was okay — I knew a number of my friends were doing the same. Funny how the internets can do that to do, leave you so invested in a pet you’ve never met, and a guy who shares many wonders of life through a semi-literate feline de plume.

With any luck Abbie and Martha are sailing the seven seas, with all the tuna they can eat and clean laundry they can recline on. And maybe there will be pineapples.

what do you think of That


Recently I was trying to remember when I made my first sockmonkey. I was home at my parents’ for a few days around Christmas, and I still have the result. His name is Jean Chaussette. But he’s not talking.

I don’t know if it’s been 10 years, but it’s getting close. Little wonder, then, that the last two seasons (I only work on them in winter) I have made fewer and fewer. I am not great at sewing, and have gotten about as good at making sockmonkeys as I’m going to get.

I’ve thought about making other animals before, and have seen and bookmarked instructions for dogs, octopi, and all kinds of other cute things. It was kind of just a matter of time before I cut up the socks a bit differently. This is the first result of my experimentation. The sockalope! (A gift for the proprietors of my favourite coffee shop, whose mascot is the jackalope.)

The next project is already in progress. 🙂


The new kid

Xenia the cat

Yeah, so I’m one cat away from being a crazy cat lady. Funny thing about years of Humane Society volunteering is that you just know when there’s something about a particular animal. And as much as I would have liked to have bundled home a pair of those Bassets who were there until recently, dogs remain a non-option. Most of the time I’m ok with that.

However, I’ve considered getting Anatole a cat for some time, even though Guelph Humane Society told me when I got him that he doesn’t like cats. Like people, I tend to think animals are pretty adaptable, and I know he gets lonely sometimes. Plus, she’s pretty. 🙂

I feel like I know something other people don’t, because she was stuck there for about six weeks. But there’s nothing wrong with her. I’m sure I’m anthropomorphizing here, but it’s gotta suck seeing kittens, cats, dogs, and puppies coming in and going out, and you just stay there. Even if, blessedly, the cat kennels at KWHS are much nicer than your average small metal cage.

However, she made barely a peep from the moment we walked out of the HS to getting her home. She sat quietly in the carrier watching Anatole while he skulked and hissed and growled. She starts purring the moment you come near her, and purrs louder than Anatole, who’s twice her size. She has the tiniest little voice, and talks when you come in the room. She was talking to Anatole a lot this morning, too. Catnip makes her drool, and she eats every morsel of her tuna. If Anatole wasn’t here, she’d have been perfectly at home and roaming around as soon as she came in the door.

Anatole has made sure to assert himself, and as much as it would be easy to tell him he’s being a dick, he has been an only pet for at least five years, and possibly his whole life. (I got him when he was about five.) He’s adapted remarkably quickly, really. Day one was mostly him remaining lofty (in his satellite dish) and observing, with occasional forays to sniff at the spare room door, where I had her locked in.

She was tired of being cooped up by the evening, though, so I let her out. Had to happen eventually. She mostly stayed in there but he could come sit by the doorway and hiss at her. It was very much an, “I’M THE BOSS OF THIS HOUSE!” display, and kinda funny. That night she came out and explored more, and he was even less impressed when he discovered she’d made it onto the bed and was sleeping in his spot. But at 7am on Sunday I realized the hissing was coming from beside my head on the floor, and he was standing a mere three feet away from her.

Yesterday she mostly spent in the spare room, napping. Kinda worried me that she was going to be a really nocturnal cat, but I also reminded myself that she’s had a lot of changes, and if she wants to nap like the wind, so be it. She ate reasonably well, which was good, since the HS said she tends to stop when she’s stressed.

She also took to the scratching devices I got, blessedly, since she’d taken a go at my mattress and the rug in my room the night before. Anatole greatly enjoyed the scratching wedge in the living room, too. I didn’t bother to remind him that he’s declawed.

I also had a stroke of genius — catnip. Got them both high, and she forgot he was in the room and he forgot that he hated her. Good times. She’s a serious drooler when on catnip, though. 🙂

A handful of overnight hisses, and Anatole keeping watch from the papasan chair in my room, which amused me to no end. However, when I got up this morning they were standing at the doorway of my bedroom sniffing each other. Great success! Since then he’s followed her around the apartment a lot, she’s escaped to the spare room when he gets too overbearing, and they had an almost scrap — he kept pawing at her, which she didn’t like. She’s starting to stand up to him, which is good. No doubt she’ll be queen of the castle shortly.

Anyway, I’m glad she’s here, though it doesn’t entirely feel like she’s one of us yet. And I admit it’s a little hard on my soul bringing another cat home, even if it’s good that there’s one less in the shelter. One more cat feels like that much further away from a dog. However, things happen when they’re supposed to, or not, and for now Xenia’s supposed to be here.

Oh, and her shelter name was Olive. Anatole’s was Barney. Barney and Olive (50s sitcom couple) to Anatole and Xenia (Soviet spy team). Much better. 🙂


This is a picture I did not take of a man standing patiently on the sidewalk beside a small park, fully bundled for winter walking and holding a slack leash, on the end of which is a boxer puppy, joyfully rolling around on his back in the snow and snorting.


This is a picture I did not take of a middle-aged couple, standing on the street corner, carrying a tell-tale unmarked silver plastic bag, and grinning the naughty/sneaky and thoroughly adorable grins of two people who’ve just bought something from The Stag Shop for the first time.

(Bonus un-picture!)

This is a video I did not take of an employee at Big Al’s, on the phone with a customer, reeling off all the kinds of shrimp they stock, sounding exactly like Bubba from Forrest Gump (…ghost shrimp… pearl shrimp… cherry shrimp…) while I stood there trying desperately not to burst out laughing. (Though after he got off the phone I grinned at him and told him he sounded like Bubba, and he laughed and said that pretty much summed up the whole call. Hee!)

Did you know that I have a big cat?

No, really, did you?

Because I do. I know because at all three vet visits since I got Anatole, each vet (and I’ve seen three different ones) has felt compelled to tell me repeatedly that my cat? Is big.

Thing is, when I got him, he was just over 14lbs. That is not a big cat. That is a large-ish average size cat. Yes, he is quite tall and solidly built, but sorry, any cat under 20lbs, even if not fat, is not “big”.

Now? He is 15.97lbs. He is still comfortably within normal range for his size, you can find his ribs when you poke him, he has a clearly defined waist, all that good stuff. But he’s still not big.

Of course, the vet also said Anatole was good looking and has a puma face (umm, okay…), and proceeded to look at me a bit funny when I said the cat looks like a baboon. (What? Sherry can back me up on this. It’s his great schnozz.)

In any case, I guess it’s not of any great concern that he came home from the vet and promptly started eating. (Also, we saw a Chihuahua wearing a cone, which totally made my day. Hee!)


This is a picture I did not take of a cab full of people, including a collie in the middle of the back seat, wearing a jaunty red winter jacket.

This is another picture I did not take of an old apple tree with plenty of wizened, brownish apples still hanging from its branches, each one sporting a conical cap of white snow, like a tree full of tiny wizards, or toque-wearing hockey fans.


I dunno if it’s a fall thing, or just a thing that regularly comes around with me, but the last while I’ve been wanting a dog, and feeling more acutely that I don’t have one (and can’t, really, for the time being).

I have also particularly been missing Thumper (no, I didn’t name him). He was my boy, and our family’s last dog. And so, since I’ve been thinking of him, I put up my favourite picture of the two of us as my Twitter avatar. (Plus, look at my ridiculously long hair! And Haliburton dinner jacket! And kick ass Big Bird watch!)

Only problem is, people keep complimenting me on what a beautiful dog he is (thank you), and sometimes they ask about him. So then, in addition to answering the questions, I have to mention that he died a number of years ago. Then they feel bad, and I feel bad, and I think I should just change the picture.

But I’ve had some fun conversations with other dog lovers thanks to the picture, and I’m sure all the people who’ve asked have lost favourite pets, too, so I think I’ll leave it for now.

And if I ever find out where they breed 65lb springer spaniels with a passion for retrieving rocks, swimming in circles, and with a whine that sounds like a bird tweeting, I’m getting one, landlord be damned. 🙂

Thumper and Melle, Thanksgiving, 2000