Crazy Cat Lady’s Cats

Crazy Cat Lady’s Cats

I used to have no particular feelings about cats. I neither liked nor disliked them, I didn’t think of them. Then we moved from the city to the country (much to my dismay), and I discovered that our new home comes with a cat. The grandparents, whose house we now share, used to send us eggs, (dead) chickens and rabbits, but not once did they send a (live) kitten. Before we moved in with them, they gradually got rid of all their livestock, so that we came in to only a cat and some (unacknowledged) rats in the yard.

The cat intrigued me. She was (still is) a huge black one, and most of the time she acts invisible. She lies outstretched in one of the vegetable or flower patches in the garden and when not asleep, she observes the course of humanity with an aloof eye. She would scare you to death, if you choose to believe that it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. From the beginning, she didn’t run away from me, but neither did she look impressed when I tentatively stroked her fur. She would always get fed up with me soon, twitch her tail once and slowly walk away, very dignified. That’s what she does.

Paw
Paw

I never quite succeeded in my project of becoming friends with the cat. I decided that it was perhaps too much to ask from her, to start acting affectionate when she’s been suffered rather than petted by the grandparents so far. The old couple are old school, so they do not recognise the concept of a pet. To them, a cow or a cat is a domestic animal that is to be utilised and receives no more care than necessary for its sustenance. I was no expert in animal keeping, but I noticed that the cat had no water bowl, ate her dry food from a rusty tin and received kitchen leftovers dropped on the ground. So at least I bought her two bowls and had her neutered.

The cat grew on me. I decided I newly liked cats. I thought I could do with a kitten to bring up and see if it will be any more affectionate when taught so from a young age. It was the summer when I was finishing my master’s thesis, and I called my new kitten Emma, for my thesis supervisor, to remind myself of my study duties when attending to kitty duties. She was fluffy, beautifully multi-coloured and cuddly enough (my cat, not my supervisor). Several months later, though, she conspired with the older cat against me and refused to be held unless I fed her meat while holding her. Then she got lost, and later I learned that she was run over by a car.

I duly mourned her for two years. On which I adopted a cute grey tabby, hardly five weeks old. I named her Ella, short from Elise, because everyone was already used to the similarly sounding Emma. While I figured Ella would be easy to learn, everyone but me calls the new cat with her deceased predecessor’s name. My new kitten was cheerful and outgoing. She never grew up out of the belief that I was her natural extension, and until now she likes to nap on my lap. She not only tolerates but enjoys being held and have the fur on her head ruffled. I was hoping for an affectionate pet, and strangely enough, that’s what I got.

Ella
Ella

Paw, the older cat, never approved of the new addition. She’s looking to sleeping curled up under the spruce tree in the garden, not to being chased around by a naughty ball of fur. Despite her better judgement, Paw can’t help her concern for the welfare of a fellow feline. She might hiss at her kitty competitor whenever the latter dares come near, but at nights she brings her dead rats snacks and meows plaintively until the kitty emerges to either eat it or pass. Paw is old school, like the grandparents, and she won’t unlearn catching mice for food (unlike the grandparents). It’s surely nice of her that she doesn’t take her food for granted, but I’d prefer her to stop devouring voraciously whatever pest she murders like I never feed her.

Ella, I suspect, never caught and killed anything. I approve – much to the dismay of all farmers and gardeners in the family (all family), who consider rats worse than plague. I’d rather have a rat than a plague. Ella would rather have me than a rat. The other day the two of us were spending quality time in the garden and I was holding the kitty on my lap. Suddenly she spotted movement, leaped out of my arms and ran after what turned out to be a poor little mouse. The mouse stopped, playing dead. The cat gently sniffed the mouse’s back and I braced myself to witness slaughter. The cat shrugged. The mouse resumed running. The cat twitched her tail, returned and climbed on my lap. We love each other like that.

Image

Grumpy

049Grumpy

This cat looks permanently grumpy. I wonder what I did to her this time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

008-wpc-refraction

This might be more of a reflection than refraction, but I always sucked at physics. Can it be argued that not only light but also water in this picture is refracted? In response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Refraction.

Gallery

Love Cards

I’m a very romantic person, you see.

Gallery

Urban Decay

Not the Raven

Not the Raven

Less of a raven

More of a crow

Scavenging

At the mental home’s lawn

About Czechs: By One of Them

About Czechs: By One of Them

I am Czech and not particularly proud of it. We are a nasty nation. National stereotypes might be sweeping generalisations, but they are clearly coming from somewhere. Here is from where, as far as I’ve observed from my position of an aloof native.

We’re All Petty Thieves

We have a saying here: if you don’t steal, you’re stealing from your family. This will be rooted in the decades that the country spent under the communist regime. Notoriously, little could be bought via official channels back then, hence some life necessities had to be procured by cunning (which translates into bribe or theft). Desperate times call for desperate measures and anyway, why should you have nothing while your corporate employer has plenty?

There was equality under communism – equality in poverty. It’s not called a period of normalisation for nothing. Your neighbours owned precisely as much (as little) as you and they owned identical items because the market was that limited. I suspect that the generation brought up in this wouldn’t give up their sense of entitlement even twenty-five years after the collapse of the regime: even under capitalism they might feel it’s their inborn right to have what others have.

To the pressing question if I’m a petty thief too, I respond with a resolute no because I’m a big-time thief. Before you even think of commending my moral integrity, be advised that I only don’t steal because I fear I’d be caught. (Well, and perhaps I have some moral principles, but I hate to admit it. See also, Czech cynicism, Czech sardonicism, Czech gallows humour.)

Despite my above stated strong moral stance, I may or may have not solicited my husband into taking home stationary supplies from his office. Hypothetically, there is stationary to last for years in my closet; but if you ask, it’s my husband work equipment necessary for him to labour extra hours at home. He’s as enthusiastic about his job as that.

Sometimes we're cute.
Sometimes we’re cute.

We’re Chronically Miserable

Tourists coming to this country to admire the architecture that previous more vigorous and visionary generations built may be puzzled by the attitude of us, natives. We go about business unsmiling, grumpy and miserable. It’s not that we hold grudges against you, it’s our default setting. (But of course, we will generously overcharge you for goods and services when we discover you’re not a fellow poor compatriot. We believe that have an inborn right to you money, you see.)

Pathetic as it sounds, our spirits have been crushed by the prolonged regime of communism. There was nothing really to be happy about in the Eastern Bloc, and we’ve grown used to this mood so well that we have trouble finding anything to be pleased with now. Looking like you’re dying is also a good precautionary measure to insure yourself against your neighbour, who might otherwise think you’re better off and come to steal from you. If your neighbours are too miserable to steal, they will at least spread evil gossip to whatever effect they choose.

Under communism, your very neighbour or your best friend could be a government spy, ready to report you as the enemy of the state and get you in big trouble. This mistrust of other people, which we once needed to survive, stuck with us. Today, still no one tells anyone anything and everybody spies on everybody else. It would seem that there’s a low level criminality with so many people “chancing” to walk past their windows and noticing their neighbours’ movements. Alas, we’re not interested in criminality, rather, in infidelity, sodomy and abuse. (See also, We’re all thieves.)

But most of the time we're plainly miserable.
But most of the time we’re plainly miserable.

We’re Deliberately Mean

If we take pure pleasure in something, then it’s other people’s misery. We find it uplifting to discover that there exist people who are even poorer, dumber and clumsier than us because in our negativism, we didn’t think it possible. Give us a video of fails, and we’ll laugh so hard that you start to wonder how come that a people so mean can share the same living space without murdering one another. Well,  it’s tough, but our meanness is keeping us alive (together with beer and sausage).

Nothing sounds more triumphant than a heart-felt “I told you so” as a response to someone’s tragedy. Parents are known to let their children come to harm, so that they could utter said phrase and impress the victim with their omniscience. People are suspected to die on purpose, only to have said phrase engraved for eternity in their tombstones. Enjoying someone’s failure after we have wisely predicted it is the best thing in the world (besides beer and sausage).

Untypical as it is, I’m a comparatively nice person. I don’t take delight in other people’s misery because I’m too busy with revelling in my own unhappiness. Of course, I consider myself the most unjustly persecuted, most underappreciated and most unfortunate person ever. I have to, I’m a native to a land where anyone who fails to complain of their lot is regarded as insane. Content in my discontent, I might actually be the ultimate Czech.

Image

Sleepy Paws

048SleepyPaws

It’s a minor miracle when this cat wakes up.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

007-wpc-dreamy

I hope this photo represents an eerie dreamy quality. In response to WordPress photo challenge: Dreamy.

Gallery

Fancy Bookcases

Which would you pick?