Article: Good Night, Cupcake: For Every Cupcake...

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Image Good Night, Cupcake
By Sharon Brown on July 12, 2010

Cupcake was a garden kitty. In the heat of summer days, she slept in the shade of my daylilies, and on cooler days, she sunned herself on top of my brick arches. Cupcake was a stray, and she really belonged to no one, but I belonged to her.

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Imagegordo
Jul 12, 2010 9:18 AM CST
Name: Liz
Florida
...there's a Cupcake Jr. waiting.

I've loved cats since I was a child. We had an old, black tomcat named Charlie who allowed me to dress him in baby clothes and wheel him around the neighborhood. At night, he beat the tar out of all comers. During the day, he snoozed in a pram wearing a baby-sized pinafore. So, yes - I understand.

As I've grown older, my understanding of cat life and death has changed. I've settled into the view that they are not gone. They are...transmigrating and transforming. They are reappearing in pounds, litters in city alleyways, barns in Kentucky, backyards in Saigon, Indian reservations and the homes of senators. Some of them come and go quickly, never making it past the first moments of birth. Others suffer the tortures of utter, desolate abandonment. Still others wake to new life on a sweet smelling towel in the company of brothers, sisters, and a dutiful mother. Some come to visit and stay until death. Others are passing through and appreciate a mendicant's share of our daily bread. I believe Cupcake was one of these.

If she was, her philosophy was spare, her journey vast and well traveled.

There is no reason to think she isn't currently nursing at a warm and comforting breast, on a sweet smelling towel in the company of brothers, sisters, and a dutiful mother.

Cat life and death has it's accompanying responsibilities. While they are here, you are duty-bound to care for them as you would your own flesh. When they are gone, you are duty-bound to seek immediate replacement and adoption from among their so many lost brothers. It is a kind and humane directive, and one easily obeyed.

Cupcake Jr. is now waiting for you at your local animal shelter. This is the most easily fulfilled of prophesies.


...lovingly penned by the mother of three furry feline children. One, a fat and spoiled, clinging and loving gray fellow - 5 years old. Number two, a super furry, dangerously curious roustabout, cola colored and devoted - almost 2 years old. Number three - the Grand Dame - 25 years old - cranky, meow gone to a scratchy croak, appetite like a one year old, as loving as the day she was adopted from Friends Of Strays - my old age pal...

Visit me at A Little Bit Of Paradise for info about Brugmansia, Passiflora, Amaryllis and tropical plants!
ImageSharon
Jul 12, 2010 9:25 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Ahhhhh Liz......
I love your words. Every one of them.

Sometimes when we were outside sitting side by side, I'd be staring at nothing in particular for a long time and I'd suddenly feel a little tap, tap on my leg. I'd look down and Cupcake would just be sitting there watching me. I think I was supposed to be watching her, too.

I almost felt that tap on my leg as I read your words.

I do have 2 house cats. Both were strays, tiny when I found them, malnourished and fragile. they are wonderful housecats, and would not go outside even if I forced them. But they aren't Cupcake, and they have each other. And when I talk with them, they usually fall asleep. One of them is 6, and the other is 3. They rarely ever responded when they saw Cupcake at the door. Strange, but true.

Thank you, I'll come back here to read your words often.
First time I've laughed in a while, seeing (in my mind) Charlie in a pinafore.
Imagegordo
Jul 13, 2010 1:30 PM CST
Name: Liz
Florida
If you laughed, Charlie didn't live in vain.

He was an old battler. My mother was constantly dressing infected wounds on his head and ears, those ears with the tears and serrated edges. Occasionally, he'd come home with a dangerously swollen and infected eye, or a raging fever. No house cat he. I'm sure he weighed over 10 pounds, quite a haul for a five year old. Charlie prayed at the supper table and had his own chair. He sort of sat up, put his paws together on the table, laid his head between them and contemplated scraps. Charlie's welfare was of prime importance. If he was injured or ill, we were all worried and contributed to whatever was necessary to get him up and running again.

I had a few lifeless baby dolls, but the prospect of a living, breathing baby was far more appealing. Fortunately, Charlie was the exact size of Miss Polly Pons, my best dolly. This revelation struck me as an opportunity to be a real mother, and a good one at that - one who would take time to stroll the baby and show him off to the neighbors. Although Charlie wasn't to be messed with at night, this Hyde became Jeckyl by morning and was so accommodating as to be limp as a dishrag no matter where you carried him. He could be slung over a shoulder, packed in a box for safe keeping and toting, or hung on one's back like a feline papoose. The pinafore was no problem at all. Neither was the sunbonnet. Or the booties.

When I was twelve, we moved far away from our old home and brought Charlie with us. The instructive from on high (my Dad) was to not leave the door open during the moving process. We had to think of Charlie. He might get out and become lost. We pulled it off, but Charlie took to caterwauling when the sun went down. He wanted out. He scorned the litterbox and stared out the window like a prisoner falsely accused. My Dad decided Charlie could be trusted. He would go out, introduce himself to the neighborhood cats, hand them their obligatory beating, then return home for treatment. So, he let him out.

Charlie did not return.

For months, my father traveled the streets by car every evening, trolling slowly, blaming himself for Charlie's disappearance...and calling.

Charlie never answered.
Visit me at A Little Bit Of Paradise for info about Brugmansia, Passiflora, Amaryllis and tropical plants!
ImageSharon
Jul 13, 2010 7:19 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Oh please, oh please....I can't bear that.

Not right now.

But maybe Charlie needed the freedom, and maybe he helped you grow. And maybe you learned from him all he had to give you...and maybe it was time.

Same as with Cupcake.
Imagegordo
Jul 14, 2010 12:00 PM CST
Name: Liz
Florida
Don't fret.
Charlie probably had an irresistibly sexy girlfriend and thought her worthy of an adventurous migration back.
Better to reign sans the human grubstake, than be a prisoner in a strange new land.

You have to think like a cat...

Smiling
Visit me at A Little Bit Of Paradise for info about Brugmansia, Passiflora, Amaryllis and tropical plants!
ImageSharon
Jul 14, 2010 7:08 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I'm trying...
Imagebeckygardener
Jul 14, 2010 9:53 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Wonderful stories from both of you, Sharon and Liz!

I, too, grew up with various cats. Your stories choked me up with saddness and had me laughing out loud. Animals are such earth angels. My most favorite cat lived to be 19 years old. She was the sweetest cat who ever owned me. I can only wish I would find another like her. I could easily become one of those cat ladies! You know the ones ... they have 20-30 cats! LOL!

But for now I have only one who my family (mainly my daughter and I) adopted almost 2 years ago. She is a beautiful orange and white tabby with white paws. She is mean as the dickens, but sweet in so many other ways. She has recently started a new habit. When I am sitting in my desk chair and she is hungry ... she comes up to me and literally taps my arm several times with her paw. Like to say ... "Hey! Did you forget me? I am hungry." I immediately stop what I am doing to feed her. She likes to be petted, but not too much and at her discretion. And if she is mad at you, she will bite you ... hard enough to draw blood. She is getting a little nicer though. No recent bite marks on my ankles or hand. She likes to nip my ankles as I walk through the house at night getting ready for bed. She is a real bugger, let me tell you! So mean sometimes, that she REALLY makes me appreciate my sweet and gentle dog who we adopted a couple months after after her. I sometimes wish the dog would just bite her back for me! This dog we have is MY dog. She is the best dog I've ever had the pleasure to know. But the cat will be forever remembered from the small scars on my hand and ankles! Some cats you love to know and some cats you wish you didn't know! LOL! Sticking tongue out

Another Day in Paradise!
ImageSharon
Jul 14, 2010 9:58 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Cute story, Becky.
Thanks for sharing that. Bet she grows right out of the biting habit, though.
Imagebeckygardener
Jul 14, 2010 10:12 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
I sure hope so, Sharon. She is such a little devil right now and she is probably 3-5 years old. She is not a kitten at all. But she was a stray and quite the hunter, so maybe that is why she is so mean. Confused
Another Day in Paradise!
Imagenap
Jul 15, 2010 6:11 AM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Becky, my Daisy was a biter too, but not hard enough to draw bloodqqw. Just to let me know who was boss. So I let her know who was boss too.....Me!

I hated to do it, but I slapped her behind and put my finger in her face and gave her the evil eye while speaking firmly to her. I held her like that until the ears started to come back to their normal position and her eyes started to give up the glare and her tail began to stop swishing. It took plenty of those times, but she seems to have lost the dominance factor with me. (And only me, by the way. She never bit my husband or my son. Yet I am the one she follows around the house and comes to when she feels like getting some attention.)

It was funny....a couple of those times she calmed down and I released my grip on her only to have her sit at my side until I turned my head away. Then she jumped up really quickly, gave me a little bite on the arm and ran away. She needed to have the last word!

Imagebeckygardener
Jul 15, 2010 10:12 AM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Nancy - Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Well, I've been doing that for over a year since after we got her and she is still a big meanie! She does come around for more petting these days, but still can't resist any opportunity to bite or scratch. And she has bitten everyone in the house. She is a very intelligent cat. I am thinking that since she was a stray before, that she is angry that she is now a housecat and can't freely roam like she used to. I can't let her out. We have coral snakes here, foxes, a bobcat, and other larger predators. She would probably disappear over time. I don't want that to happen to her. I still love her even if she has a nasty disposition at times. I have to keep her nails trimmed too. She is just as bad at clawing us. If she is sitting on the back of the recliner and you walk by it, she will reach out and swat/claw you. She doesn't even blink as eye when she does it either. She gets smacked with a magazine or newspaper if she does that. But it hasn't stopped her yet.

When we picked her out at the Humane Shelter, she came right up to my daughter and me and was the sweetest thing. But they spayed her before allowing her to come home with us and I still wonder if that surgery might be part of why she is so mean now. It's a hysterectomy. Changes your hormone level and sometimes personality.

My dog was spayed too. All she does is pant now. I can relate to the hot flashes and mood swings at times. Not so much as these animals though. I wonder if animals need hormone therapy like humans?
Another Day in Paradise!
Imagenap
Jul 15, 2010 6:40 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Good question. Maybe that is what your cat needs. I'm glad you still love her, anyway.
Imagecoco
Jul 17, 2010 5:32 PM CST
Name: Sue Ross
Antigua West Indies
Oh my, my first post and I am crying, I shall go to bed thinking of Cup Cake! Crying
ImageSharon
Jul 17, 2010 5:37 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Oh no, Coco...don't cry. Cupcake was a ray of sunshine in my life, and she will always be. I am sad to lose her, but so happy she was a part of my life for all those years.

Now wipe your tears and smile...it's great to have you on Cubits.

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