(photo by me)
Hoarding. An issue many of us have personal experience with or know of through reality TV shows like Hoarders or Confessions: Animal Hoarders.
Books have been written and films have been made about famous hoarders like Homer and Langley Collyer and Long Island socialites Edith Bouvier Beale (“Little Edie”) and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier (“Big Edie”) .
(The Collyer Brothers home, 1947 – http://www.nydailynews.com)
(“Little Edie” – http://www.collegefashion.net)
He might not be rich or famous, but Bernie the Cat may have succumbed to their ranks as well. He is neither a compulsive shopper (so we have not gone bankrupt, thank goodness), nor does he save reams of old newspapers and other paraphernalia, but does like things.
At first we noticed the shoes. He would lay his head on my sneakers or put his nose inside them, often falling asleep this way.
Then it was my purse and duffel bag.
Next came the red blanket, which he talks to and drags around the floor in his teeth and kneads with his claws.
Once I found his scratch mat, toy alligator and toy bird wrapped inside the blanket as he was dragging it. Alarming!
Last week we found him laying on Lorin’s computer apparatus and extension cords in the basement, seemingly taking possession of them.
He likes to build a fort consisting of my purse, duffel bag and the red blanket. He is not happy when one of his objects is taken away.
Is it time for an intervention?
Hopefully, with love, support and patience, we will get through this as a family, and not have to seek professional help.
Have any of you experienced hoarding with your non-human companions?
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger, along comes Pinot Meow–a non-alcoholic, catnip-based wine for cats. The other variety is MoscCATo. Both were created by cat lover Brandon Zavala of Apollo Peak in Denver, Colorado. I heard about this while watching an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher yesterday.
Zavala says, “I originally thought of the idea as a joke with some friends and I just slapped a label of this ‘Pinot Meow’ onto a wine bottle and from that got the idea to actually start something for cats.”
The feline elixir which hit the markets in November 2015 has become an international sensation, and Zavala promises a canine variety will be available in the near future.
Never drink alone again!
I don’t mind if you put stuff on me
if it makes you happy.
Fat Mousie, fuzzy ball,
squeaky bird and bottle cap
are my friends
They can always sit on me
I also don’t mind when
you lay your head on my tummy
like a pillow
It gives me a chance to nip you
What I don’t like is
the ironing board–
it makes me hiss and run
I also don’t like Roomba–
I don’t know what he
wants from me
This cat is very brave to ride the Roomba,
but he looks absurd in that shark costume.
How could he allow himself to be so demeaned?
To each his own.
That’s all my news for today.
Oh, one last thing.
I saw this picture, but I’m not sure what it means.
I’m not crazy about the hair. Are you?
Samson (left), Karl (right)
Samson: Let’s take a break.
Samson: I think I see it.
Karl: I think I see my shadow.
Samson: Pay attention, Karl!
Karl: Sorry. I wonder if this means we’ll have 6 more weeks of summer.
Samson: We’ll have six more weeks of summer anyway. It’s only July.
Karl: Oh, I didn’t think about that. Never mind.
Last night while watching TV, Lorin and I heard what sounded like someone snoring. First, I thought it was the sleeping character in the show we were watching (Aquarius, on Netflix), but after the scene with the sleeping person had ended, the sound continued. Was someone sleeping on our porch or outside? What could it be?
I wandered into the dining room and discovered Bernie lying on top of the red hippo blanket (has hippos on it) and purring like a steam engine. The blanket normally sits on the chair in the back right corner of the dining room, but someone had moved it. A few days ago, Bernie started sleeping on the corner chair, which used to be Tisch’s (our deceased kitty) favorite chair.
I put the red blanket back on the chair, much to Bernie’s chagrin, and he quickly dragged it onto the floor again. Then he commenced kneading it and purring loudly.
When I went upstairs to bed, I heard him making strange vocalizations. Perhaps he was talking to the blanket?
This morning I discovered Bernie lying on the floor on top of the blanket. When I approached to him to ask what he was doing, he moved to the head of the dining room table (photo below), as if ashamed or not wanting to take responsibility for his actions.
I assured him that he was not in trouble, but it didn’t seem to matter. I put the blanket back on the chair.
I wonder where I’ll find it tonight.
Update as of July 14: Last night Bernie was dragging the blanket around in his teeth and kneaded it while it was still in his jaws. It seems he was humping it as well.
As some of you know, Bernie is the newest member of our “pride.” He’s been part of the family since April 23. For the first four weeks or so, he stayed upstairs and developed what seemed to be a strong bond with Karl (above). Karl lost his best kitty friend five years ago, so Lorin and I were very happy when we saw the closeness unfolding between Karl and Bernie. Karl is very timid and spends most of his time upstairs in the guest bedroom.
Karl and Bernie
After four or five weeks, Bernie started coming downstairs. I think he realized that’s where the food and “action” is. He began playing with Samson and Quincy and sleeping on the sofa or one of the dining room chairs. Now he rarely, if ever, goes upstairs.
This has not been easy for Karl. Over the weekend, Karl tried to woo Bernie back through various vocalizations (some mournful and heartbreaking) and by sitting or lying near him or on his new scratch mat in the dining room. It seems this only frightened Bernie and made him feel cornered.
Karl can be extremely pushy and aggressive during play or when he wants affection.
This morning I was awoken at 4:45 a.m. to the sound of shrieking, growling (Bernie) and woeful crying (Karl). I headed downstairs and shuttled Karl upstairs and locked him in the bedroom with me. He was intermittently crying and panting, and when I got him to sit on the bed with me, I saw a tuft of white fur in his claw–Bernie’s. It took at least a half hour for Karl to calm down from what seemed like a panic attack. Lorin brought a dish of food and water upstairs, which he devoured.
Karl seemed much calmer after that.
I feel sad for him: it seems his heart has been broken a second time. I hope Bernie and Karl can settle their “differences” and become buddies again.
(Venus of Urbino by Titian)
I am a humble pussy cat
my fur is red and white
I’m not a Renaissance painter’s dream
or a swordsman of great might
I lived with my owner till she died
then they put me in a cage
I lived there forever, it seemed
I wondered if I’d be saved
Now I have lots of furry friends
and good (diet) food to eat
scratch posts and mouse toys to play with
my world is quite complete
So don’t forget–it’s never too late
for good things to happen to you
don’t ever give up, be steadfast
and your dreams can come true
Sneakers, flip flops, harness boots
shiny or dull, worn or new
he lies across them
his chin on the boot
all is well
with Bernie the Shoe
Tote bags, purses
All fabrics are equal
for Bernie the Bag
Bernie the Frog
stretches at will
he doesn’t care how he looks
you can’t spoil his chill
Bernie the Red has a heart
that’s as big as his tum
he brings peace to the family
kindness and fun
(photos by L.E. Swenson & E. Herd)
This is Bernie, whom many of you have already heard about. He is the latest member of our “pride.” We adopted him through S.T.A.R.T. (Save the Animals Rescue Team) in New Jersey. He was at a pound in Paterson–apparently his owner had died–and brought to PetSmart in Paramus for adoption. He resided there for about two months: everyone loved him but they were concerned about his weight–24 pounds. I guess that made him hard to adopt, and the fact he wasn’t a kitten; he’s five years old. We are keeping him on the lower calorie food he was accustomed to eating, Hill Science Diet “Perfect Weight.” He seems to have lost some weight, mainly from being uncaged and playing with the other cats and going up and down the stairs. I also think he was depressed, but he isn’t showing any signs of that now. All good!
As you can see he is quite the looker and loves to pose for a photograph. This song is in honor of Bernie. He’s too sexy for his fur, wouldn’t you agree?