Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marina, The Dalhousie Cat

This is Marina our grey Tabbie in all her wondrous glory. Named for the Marina in Port Dalhousie which is a 5 minute walk away she has taken over the house as any cat can.

Now Marina is a typical cat but certainly not a lap or sleep on your face kind of cat. She picks and chooses he places to chill and they change daily. Chairs, back of the sofa, rug, floor or window pane, the world is her napping bed. However she is never more then 5 feet away. Having dinner, right under the table, a little mindless television and she is sprawled on the rug at our feet, go down to the basement for any reason (usually cleaning her litter box) and it only takes a second to hear the "thump, thump, thumb of this cat bouncing down the steps to see what is going on.  As I am writing this at the dining room table she has hopped on the chair beside me.  Very cool cat that Marina.

After initial inspection she rarely goes up the stairs to the top floor. Once in a while she will charge up the stairs, run down the hall and bound down the stairs all in one motion. It takes about 10 seconds and is a random act of crazy which cracks me up. There is the exception to the "no upstairs rule". Cats being what they are really make up their own rule anyways. Every morning Bama and Marina have a little routine.  Bama wakes up and walks over to the landing and I hear "good morning Marina, good morning". She goes downstairs for a little cat/woman time and I hear "ok I have to shower".  This cat then decides to go up the stairs and sit outside the shower, then on the counter top while Bama starts her day. Then down the stairs they go in unison and Marina follows Bama while she opens the 5 window blinds. Once the final one is open she tears off across the floor to the kitchen knowing its breakfast time.  I mean EVERY morning this routine happens. In between there are some belly rubs and scratching but that is just Bama trying to wake me up.

Cats need to get outside. Exercise, explore, chase things, eat bugs whatever. Marina was reluctant and stayed close but her morning jaunts are now going longer. Today she was gone the better part of 2 hours. This cat is being a cat; In the morning Bama goes out to the back porch call out Marinas name and whistle calling her back, and depending on how far away Marina is she comes charging through the plants on either side of the house and bounding up to the porch. If that is slow to work we literally shake the bag of food (yes like the TV commercial) and this cat tears it up bounding across the lawn like she has never been fed before. Another thing that cracks me up, even in the morning before coffee.

As an aside, when I am here alone and I let the cat out the house feels empty. How odd is that, it's a cat for shit sake. That being said Marina is important to Bama and although not a crazy cat lady (yet) you can see the bond and tenderness between them.  With me leaving soon this is even more the case. Marina was gone and did not come back before Bama left for work and for the first time I could hear the fear/sadness in Bama's voice and it broke my heart. Marina did come back (after a shake of the food bag) and all is right again.

Here is my view of a life of a cat.
Eat, Poop, Sleep
Go outside and explore, maybe eat a bug
Eat, Sleep, Poop

We rescued her from the local SPCA and she is happy as a cat can be and maybe that explains the independence with separation anxiety.  But Marina if you are reading this I have a special message for you.

Dear Marina:

When we saw you in the cage at the SPCA your back was to us. You turned your head, put out a paw, meowed them turned away again. No jumping up and down or other craziness, just the "well take me as I am" attitude.  You were the cat for us.

You have fit in nicely and we enjoy everything you do with the exception of 3 things. Your incessant need to knock over your water dish, cleaning your litter box and you're disappearing for extended periods of time when you go outside. I do think winter will cure that habit fast enough.  You help make this house a home and watching Bama's face light up when she see you is worth its weight in kibble.

But Marina you now have a big assignment. I am leaving to go out West in a few days and I am going to be gone for a while. Bama is very supportive but also very scared. I need you to help her while I am working to secure our future. You need to keep doing what you are doing. Meeting her at the door when she comes home from work, your morning routine, and being near her at all times. Until she finds her footing, she is going to be a bit nervous, sad and yes scared. This is new for her. Some people would have given up considering the challenges she has faced in the last couple of years, but not her.  She has a depth of character and inner strength that may not always show on the outside but it is there. She has also allowed herself to become vulnerable and learn to lean on us, ask for help and that it's ok not to try and go it alone.  She has survived cancer twice Marina and still has the ability to laugh.Its time for us to take care of her.

Marina I need you to make sure she gets healthy and fit. She needs to continue to eat vegetables and good meals, get exercise and take her medication. If she falters on any of these I want you to poop on her comforter, you have my permission. With me gone away for work you will need to step up. Like I said, keep doing what you are doing, but do it more. Does that make sense?

Have fun being a cat and never stop chasing bugs. When I come t back we will play chase the laser as much as you want.

Lots of Love


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