Fiction | Eccles: Blogger Cat

Eccles scanned the room carefully for signs of his human’s waking. Still asleep. Good. That would make things easier. He hopped onto the desk chair in front of the laptop, and did what he loved to do.

He tapped the keyboard with his paws, typing quickly, sniffing the air for the scent, and listening for the sounds, of wakefulness as he began another blog entry, so far the only cat in the house who did this regularly. Ricky’s broad, tufted paws were too large for this, plus he didn’t know their human’s login password like Eccles did.

The others would have to be satisfied with tweeting from their own accounts, as Eccles was now a blogging wizard, and his owner’s blogs his favorite creative outlet. Never could he let his human catch on, as that would spell an end to the mischief!

Suddenly, the sound of motion from the bed! Eccles dimmed the screen and logged out quickly, leaping up on the bed and quietly curling up beside his human.

Whew! His human was stirring uneasily from a dream, just that. Eccles relaxed and went to sleep. Eccles didn’t suspect that the dream was that of a smallish tuxedo cat, typing away furiously at a keyboard, a new blog entry making its way onto the Internet . . . .

His human opened an eye only slightly as Eccles slept, and kitty-snores issued forth, a raised eyebrow of suspicion as his eye closed again, and sleep returned.

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Ricky: at Home at Last

Ricky has had a while to get used to things, and he’s taken well to a few guys. Not so much with women, though I’ve no idea based on evidence why other than his remaining skittishness around Mom.

But even with me sudden motion will make him nervous, though he recovers quickly and is quite forgiving.

He’ll even let me comb mats of of his ample fur with a shedding tool if I do it right. And boy, does he get mats! Big ol’Fluffy!

I say ol’Fluffy, as we’ve found out that he, like our even older female, Gorgeous, is older than their records had previously recorded. We at first thought that both Gorgeous and Ricky were about Eccles’ age, roughly six years by now. But Gorgeous isn’t that active, and tires easily. She doesn’t like to play, and even hides when Eccles tries to play with her.

We found out during her most recent vets visit that she’s at least two times Eccles age, with Ricky slightly younger, but both still older than Eccles by far. Still, of our two older cats, Ricky is the most active, and loves to chase the Red Dot of a laser pointer.

There are times at night when he and Eccles get the zoomies – chase each other through the house at top speed, in the dark with their ninja night vision, only sometimes knocking stuff over.

His Big Fluffy Highness has taken to the adorable habit, also seen in Old Rockykins before he passed, of kneading sheets, covers, and blankets on the bed, as well as peoples’ chests, like preparing dough for bread before it goes into the oven, with his paws.

Ricky is very neat about his personal hygiene, but he transfers his messiness to the litter box, sometimes taking several full minutes, or so it seems, to cover his leavings with litter before I intervene and dispose of it properly.

There’s a thing about Ricky and Eccles: Their relationship is very much like that of Eccles and Old Rockykins, and I wonder how well Eccles can tell the difference.

I say that because for a while after Rocky passed, Eccles would wander the house as though looking for his friend of three far-too-short years. To this day he carries a battery-powered cat toy with a fake raccoon tail around in his mouth. He mews while dragging it around as though trying to say something in cat-speak to it. And he almost never mews unless distressed.

I get the feeling he does know Ricky from Rocky, but that’s my own limited understanding speaking. I can’t get inside Eccles’ head and know his thoughts with confidence, much less certainty.

 

Ricky: Getting Used to Eccles and Me

We had just gotten Ricky from an adoption center at a local PetSmart, a while after our loss of Rocky, our old Fluffy-Man, still with the hideous name of Villhelm. Totally inappropriate, we thought, for a Maine coon, so we renamed him, and updated his papers accordingly, after a Maine coon that an uncle of mine had once owned.

Ricky’s namesake was known in the family for only allowing yours truly to pick him up and hold him. Only me.

The new Ricky wasn’t quite so generous, and was extremely skittish on arriving here in his cat-carrier, for the first few weeks spending much of his time hiding from everyone, first behind the living room sofa, and then for a few nights, behind the pull-out drawer under the kitchen range.

We found him though, and in time he took up residence, after deciding he liked Eccles and me, in my bedroom closet, were he sometimes hides behind clothes on hangers, on the box we use to keep the branches to our artificial holiday tree.

Rickythulhu, as I often call him on Facebook, was reluctant to come out. Apparently, and as far as I can tell, he may have experienced abuse from former owners or others. It’s difficult to tell what would make him so afraid of people.

But he took quickly to Eccles and me, and in time came out of the closet, literally, to socialize. Ricky is perhaps, in his way, even more social than Rocky was. Ricky has a big, fluffy, fat belly, and allows me to pet, brush, and rub it when just lolling and rolling around on his back. It’s just awesome that he’s so used to us, though he does seem to be afraid of women.

He still will not allow my mother to pet him, though unsurprisingly, isn’t shy about being fed.

When it comes to food, everyone is his buddy, unless, of course, they try to pet him. Then, it’s just me and others designated “safe” in his fluffy mind.

Oh, yes, there is one thing we call him that he was before we got him at PetSmart: Big Fluffy . . . .

. . . . and he is indeed a fluffy one, with tufted ears and markings more typical for the breed (Rocky had more of a black/dark grey color to his fur, though Ricky is more tabby-looking.).

In time, Ricky came to regard Eccles and me as Family, with others more or less tolerated.

Which brings me to the next chapter…

Ricky: Rocky & The Maine Coon Connection

The first thing I’d like to talk about is our old Rockykins, AKA Mister Fluffy, and other assorted sobriques we gave him over the wonderful last three years of his life he spent with us – wonderful to us, and the very least, and perhaps the best three years of his troubled life before being adopted in 2011 from the animal shelter.

I often called Rocky silly things like Rockythulhu, or Fluffy-Man, and he was, during the awesome time we had him, the buddy and playmate of both myself and Mister Eccles, the infamous insane bionic ninja tuxedo cat we literally found on the street as a kitten barely two weeks old.

Rocky had a problem, one that kept him in a revolving door situation with the animal shelter prior to his last years with us. So it was a challenge to care for his needs, but a challenge along with others that we successfully met. Never again did he face going back to await adoption by strangers, and rejection, by yet another family.

We were his forever home, and we loved him dearly. He was affectionate, social with humans and other cats, and intelligent.

I remember sitting in bed with a book, or studying something at night, with old Rockykins snuggling up beside me as though reading and studying along with me.

He was always like that.

Then, one day in January of 2016, he died. And our world was never the same.

It was about noon, or so, and that morning, Rockythulhu had just eaten breakfast. We were about to go out when we saw him laying curled up on his favorite spot on the couch, apparently sleeping. It was when we tried to pet him we knew something was wrong. He didn’t respond. Motionless. Not breathing. No heartbeat, but still warm. He had died, only moments ago, in his sleep, the way I would like to if I died. No signs of pain.

Mom and I were heartbroken. For a few minutes, we tried to rouse him. No avail. He was gone.

We wrapped him, in his favorite lace knit, and took his motionless, cooling form to the vets to have him cremated.

His urn, an engraved wooden box, and a ceramic paw-print cast from him, now adorns a permanent spot on my workspace.

 

It was some time before we got another cat, and THAT would be a few months later, as Eccles needed a playmate.

It was some time before we had found Ricky, formerly listed in his papers as Villhelm (I kid you not. German class teachers of my high-school days would spin in their graves at the horrid misspelling, and if still alive today, would die of apoplexy on seeing it!). Needless to say, we changed his name.

An era had ended with the death of old Rockykins, but a new age began when we adopted Ricky, an age of fluffy and adorable Maine coon-ness, and hopefully, one that will continue for a long while.

Welcome home, Rickythulhu!

Mister Eccles: from Kitten to Awesome Bionic Ninja Cat

First, a digression, and some noting of other cats before proceeding:

It was some time before Gumby died. He was in the final stages of kidney failure, despite being regularly given subcutaneous fluids to keep up his comfort and appetite. 2010 and 2011 were bad years for us regarding cat deaths. In 2010, there was my old Sammi at the age of 18, then our girl Misty from cancer, both of whom I’ll post on later in more detail. Then, between late 2011 and 2012, Gumby finally passed, euthanized after refusing all food and secluding himself beneath my mom’s bed. But the years we gave him were likely the most comfortable he had in his long life.

With no Misty, who hated him, and no Gumby, who he intimidated, Eccles, as we now called him, had free run of the house. He had grown enough that we no longer feared crushing him by accident. And he had shown himself one rather intelligent cat, not to mention adorable. But he had also developed a mean streak in play as I mentioned last post, and we have since had to play with him carefully lest he loose his claws. I’m unsure if that was a flaw in our rearing, or something he picked up on the street before we found him. In any event, we commemorate his birthday as August 31st.

We’ve since found that the street behind ours, closer to the beach, has a house were his probable siblings, and cousins, were kept and fed. We’ve seen his probable father feeding from bowls of food and water we leave out for the neighborhood strays. Eccles’ apparent baby-daddy looks much like him, but with a clipped ear showing he has been “fixed” and with somewhat scruffier-looking fur. Eccleston’s fur is smooth and shiny, probably because of the good diet he’s had since adoption, after no one came to claim him.

Eccles grew quickly, and for me, he’s the closest perhaps I’ll have to raising a child, though feline, not human. So I guess he’s like a son to me. He’s mischievous, smart, fast, agile, and has an aggressive streak that needs an older, larger cat to keep him in check. The first such playmate for him was Old Rockykins, whose backstory I’ll deal with next installment.

But more recently, we gave Ricky the role of protector, playmate, and buddy to Eccles, and it is to that story that we will deal with next, as I recount Ricky’s first time with us, some of late Rocky’s, and the status of both as giant, adorable fluffy guardians to the wayward Eccleston.

I’ll see you then!

Mister Eccles: From Monkeyface, to Doctor Mew(se), to Eccleston

Mister Eccles . . . what to say, what to say. We found him in the latter half of 2011. He was mewing his tiny head off from a dumpster across the street from our place, starving, and apparently lost, outside. So we caught him, and took him in, not knowing what an awesome cat he would grow into. A tiny kitten, even by the standards of most kittens, he was barely a couple of weeks old.

He was so small and nimble that we feared stepping on him, so we tried containing him. Our attempts were woefully unsuccessful, as even as a kitten he was no dummy. He easily figured out how to escape the pen in the kitchen, so we eventually kept him in a makeshift hutch in my room. We gave him time out, to wander the room, play, and other activities essential to growing kittens. And we cleaned up after his, “ahem,” mistakes.

He seemed as smart and unpredictable as a monkey, so we first called him ‘monkeyface,’ and then Doctor Mew, but didn’t stick with it for social media use because that’s copyrighted by another artist. Once we had him sexed at his first visit to the vets, we decided to call him Eccleston, after the actor who played the Ninth Doctor in 2005’s Doctor Who reboot. We contracted that to Mister Eccles in common usage. We first kept Eccles in my mom’s room in a cat-carrier. He had newspaper for easy cleaning, food, water, and a toy Star Trek tribble to cuddle up with for warmth. It was beginning to edge into autumn.

After he had grown a bit, we let him wander my room more freely. We kept him in a separate room from the other cats, as he had developed an aggressive streak in his playfulness. He was jumping on the head of our old cat, Gumbyman. Gumby wasn’t in the best shape, a bit late in years, and increasingly feeble. He’s since then gone, but when still here, we tried to make his last times comfortable. You see, Gumby was a hurricane Katrina survivor, found in New Orleans abandoned by his former owners, with two or three of his, “harrumph,” lady friends. His former owners used him as a breeding tom, and they never tried to reclaim him. So for a few good years, Gumby was ours. It was at the tail end of that time we found Eccles. Gumbyman would keep watch over the tiny mewing tuxedo kitten in the cat carrier, fascinated by him, and totally unsuspecting of his energy.

To Be Continued