Episode 23: In Which a Cat Thinks Inside the Box

Thu 14, Mar, 2019
Episode 23: In Which a Cat Thi

I can’t help wondering whether winter is longer than any other season, or if it just seems that way because it grows more tiresome than the others. Spring is a short transition here, and no one ever thinks, “I sure am tired of all this sunshine when will the summer end,” and fall is simply the best season. But here we are, once again gripped in the clutches of ice and snow lashing relentlessly at the windows in a bitter wind that refuses to move on or die out.

I move away from the window and the steadily worsening scene outside. This world of violent grey and white is enough to drive a cat to distraction. I hop up on the big front desk to check on my friends and make sure their poor human minds haven’t cracked from the madness of being caught in winter too long. I am always very interested in the candles they have burning, and I can’t help approaching the small, warm flame that dances in the subtlest movements of air. I am mesmerized by the inviting glow, watching it waver to and fro at random intervals, as if from the soft touch of ghosts or other unseen entities humankind has yet to discover. I lean toward it, and I can feel the heat caressing my whiskers. I am kept from communing with the fire by the exclamation of one of my friends, followed by a gentle shove that compels me to jump to the floor. My companions are lacking in their sense of adventure.

From ground level, I scout the area for my next gambit, and that’s when I see it, shoved aside to be disposed of with the recycling. A portal. They don’t know what they’re disposing of so carelessly! My humans can be so silly. I approach the portal and look inside; empty. Perfect. I enter it carefully, not sure where it might take me. Crouched in its depths, I feel the muffled comfort of invisibility cover me like a blanket. Portals are the best. I hear my friends making pleased noises, and their attention is on the portal with me inside; they are coming closer, but it doesn’t matter. Before they can disturb my interspatial travel, I turn over the engine of the portal and step on the gas.

A steering wheel under my paws, I zoom away from them and the dreary depths of winter as a skilled driver in a luxury racecar, speeding along with the top down. I am on a coastal racecourse, hugging every curve of the road with precision while the wind courses through my fur; I can feel a white scarf whipping out behind me, and the air currents pushing against my racing goggles as I drive faster and faster under blue skies and sunshine. I blast through the finish line; first place, of course. Instead of slowing down, I take a final corner, pitching toward the curve at a marvelous speed. Knowing I’ll never make the turn, I catch a ramp and am launched into the air!

There is no fear in a portal; anyone inside becomes invincible to the consequences of earthly physics. Airborne, wings unfold from the sides of my vessel, and propellers keep me afloat in a shiny plane fit to make the Red Baron green with envy. I exercise my impeccable flight skills, nimble as a bird and with the grace and exuberance of a butterfly. With precision, I soar above a shining blue-green sea, maneuvering to and fro with the air currents, like a candle flame touched by the ghosts of home. Higher, I must go higher! Up, up, up, I corkscrew into the sky until the air becomes thin and I can see the line between outer space and our atmosphere. I gaze out into the dark expanse of space, letting the stars of faraway galaxies dance in my eyes, until the moon tells me to go back. I turn my aircraft back toward the bright earth below, and the shift in gravitational defiance gives my stomach a pleasant, exhilarating lurch as I begin to dive.

I plummet toward the surface of the sparkling water, and my engines cease to provide power; the air streaming beneath my wings is moving faster than the motors can propel. But I am an ace pilot; I pull out of the dive into a gentle glide, approaching the surface of the water slowly now. I guide the hull of my vessel smoothly into the blue-green sea, and the wings fold upward to become the great masts and sails of a seaworthy ship. I feel the comfortable weight of a captain’s hat on my brow, and the smooth wood of a well-worn ship’s wheel under the control of my paws. A soft, salty breeze fills the sails and pushes me onward toward new horizons of adventure. I let the briny air settle in my fur and I turn my face toward the sunshine. The warm rays and gentle rocking of the waves beneath my ship begin to make me drowsy. A portal is an excellent place for a nap… Perhaps when I wake and return to the real world, the storm will have passed and spring will be upon us. It’s a nice thought, and I let it linger in my mind, knowing that it won’t be so. The magic of the portal is contained strictly within its walls.

Curled snugly in the bow of my ship, I let the soft murmur of lapping water and the creaking deck mixed with familiar far-off voices lull me into a deep meditation. Portals have done wonders for my people in unlocking the secrets of the universe; there is no more productive place for meaningful cogitation. Perhaps I can figure out how to let portal magic leak into the physical world… It is a daunting task, and may take me all day.



Thu 28, Feb, 2019
Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets
Cold Weather Safety Tips for P

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

It’s not just your house and car that need winterization – your pet does, too! Here are a few tips to keep your animal companion healthy and happy through these cold, snowy times.

Keep up with grooming. While you don’t want to shave long-haired dogs, you do want to keep the coat and paws trimmed to minimize clinging ice balls, de-icing chemicals, and salt crystals. Don’t bathe too often, however; baths remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.

Dry off after being outside. Remove ice, moisture, salt and chemicals from your pet with a towel after every walk or outdoor excursion. Pay special attention to paws and between toes. Try protecting your pet’s paws and pads with a thin coating of petroleum jelly before heading outside.

Beware antifreeze. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

More food and plenty of water. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm, so feeding your pet a bit more in winter can provide supplemental calories. Hydration is also extremely important in the cold months, and pets need several unfrozen sources of water.

Don’t leave pets in cars! Just as vehicles can quickly become ovens in summer, they can also become refrigerators in very cold weather, and pets could freeze to death inside.

Bring them indoors. When it’s too cold outside for you, it’s likely too cold for your pet as well.

If you have any further questions or need assistance preparing your pet for winter, give us a call at 303-557-7916. Thank you and stay warm!

Fri 21, Dec, 2018
Episode 22: In Which a CatR

All week, my friends have been prancing around the hospital with a festive air and a carol on their lips. It is that time of year, but I can’t understand the extent of their merry-making. There’s no snow; it isn’t even cold. It doesn’t look like Christmas. And what do we have to look forward to? Every day is the same; it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I hear them start to sing along to the radio with a song about roasting nuts in a fire and I immediately seek reprieve in my window away from the jollity. But my habitual place of meditation brings me no solace; here, I gaze out into the blue sky, visible through leafless, brown trees that cast no shade on the bare ground, drab under a too-warm sun. Refrains of “Let it snow, let it snow” float through the hospital hallways. Humbug.

I vacate my window ledge in search of anything to relieve my overwhelming sense of disappointment and gloom. On the break room table, there is a pile of plates and baskets and bags filled with treats for my friends, given to them by the people who visit us with their animals. This heavenly collection of sweets grows every day, faster than my friends can eat it all. Nobody ever brings me anything. Maybe I should try to help them through this vast array of confections; why shouldn’t I get a share? The tags always say things like, “For our friends at Mountain Ridge,” and that surely includes me, right? Besides, we wouldn’t want that deliciousness to go to waste. The scent of sugar and spices fills my head; no wonder people have dreams of dancing sugar plums. I carefully select a bag near the edge of the table that looks promising. First a paw to drag it closer. It’s heavy with a plate at the bottom, and wrapped in something shiny and slippery; hard to get a purchase on. I pull and paw, and stretch my neck and finally I can reach it with my teeth. So close to victory… Just one more tug, and…

With rather more clatter than is desirable, the bag falls to the floor. The plate inside bursts into pieces, and so do several of the cookies, all of which erupts from the top of the bag. Before I can decide how to proceed or whether to flee the scene without tasting the debris, one of my friends comes running. I can only imagine how it must look; me, surrounded by an explosion of sugar and crumbs and the shrapnel of the plate, the wreckage of my own selfishness. I want to run; I hate getting scolded. But there is no admonishment, no harsh words of reprimand. Hands on her hips, my caretaker simply shakes her head at me, and another of my companions arrives on the scene. One of them scoops me up to keep me away from the sharp edges of broken ceramic while the other sweeps up the catastrophe. I didn’t mean to make a mess; quite the opposite, in fact. I never intended to make extra work for anyone. What a rotten addition to this miserable yuletide.

With order restored, I slink under the synthetic evergreen by the great window. I sniff a tiny artificial holly berry, and let myself get lost in the twinkle of the tiny lights among the branches. I wander to the front of the building to look at the other tree. My housemates have been rearranging, and there are pillows and throws on the benches, and little frames with nice words on some new shelves. Everything has a softer feel in this room these days, and there is a glow from the tree and the lights strung around the window. The lights on this tree glitter, too, and as I crouch under the sparkling branches, another of our visitors enters with a new basket of baked goodies, which will replace the one I destroyed. I hunker under the tree, feeling a little guilty and also still a little disappointed with how my holiday season is shaping up. I hear my friend tell our visitor that these treats aren’t for me, and they laugh together, their cheer melting away a little of the taciturn haze that has been shrouding my heart.

I creep out from under the tree, and am picked up and held closely. The familiar warmth of affection and companionship makes me squeeze my eyes, and I begin to purr. Such generosity humans show each other, and such a capacity for forgiveness they possess. This humanity in combination with the glow of Christmas trees and the warmth of this place, my home, filled with music and laughter and love, makes me forget about snow. Sometimes life isn’t what we thought it would look like, and sometimes there are broken cookies, but what matters most is looking for the sparkle in our everyday existence, and appreciating love’s embrace. That’s what Christmas is all about.


Wed 21, Nov, 2018
Episode 21: In Which a Cat Cou

The final seasonal transition is underway, bringing with it the quiet of winter. All living things outside are preparing for dormancy. Some rush to their appointment with sleep, while others cling to the final moments of wakefulness. Even the last leaves seem loathe to shuffle off this mortal coil, unaware that their purpose will be to provide nourishment for the trees that bore them, and fated to be reborn in a few short months, as green and beautiful as ever. The sun goes down earlier every day, and my window is awash with the cold outside air.

I do not dread this season, in nature or in life. It is accompanied by a sense of accomplishment, that the preceding year was filled with experience and productivity, and that in spite of time’s relentless march, we saw and we listened and we felt. And when it is only autumn’s end nearing, there is still time for more. It is my second year in this home, and sometimes I forget that I was ever anywhere else. We have our routines here, in spite of the frequent adventures (and misadventures) that befall me. Such distractions are a welcome element of the interesting life of a cat, and should be met head on with dignity; I always find my way through the interesting bits of life with gusto and accept the lessons graciously. After all, cats are known for keeping our wits about us no matter the circumstance.

Through all my experiences this year, one thing has remained constant; the presence of my friends and their devotion to my well-being. Of course, I could get along just fine without them; it is the nature of my people to be independent. But why would we? Why strike out on my own when I have a hand to feed me and give me water and a clean, dry place to sleep? I have everything I need without having to fight. I don’t remember what it was like to fight for life, or for survival to be my daily goal. I know what exists outside of these walls; I am a kept cat now, but I know some of the world, and I know that I did not come into this place with all nine of my lives intact. I know that I am lucky.

As I ruminate on the nature of my current state of affairs, one of my friends happens by. I greet her, and she scoops me up around my middle and pulls me close. I lean into the embrace and can’t help but purr, and she squeezes and rocks me and scratches right between my ears, just like I like, and under my chin so that my whiskers stretch forward. She giggles, and sets me on my window ledge bed to stretch out in the sun’s last rays. Yes, I have everything I need. And for that, I am thankful.



Fri 26, Oct, 2018
Episode 20: A Halloween Specia

The winds of change are upon us, sweeping over the earth. I felt the terrestrial shift as the earth settled upright for the autumnal equinox. Sunshine still warms the windows, but for several mornings in a row now I have sensed cooler air caressing the glass. Fall is playful, inviting all living things to come outside. Its soft touch on each leaf sets the foliage ablaze with color, and it must paint an impressive portrait for the birds I have seen flying south. Some days, the azure sky is pure, and others it becomes marbled with the grey threat of precipitation. I rather like the mornings when the clouds hang low, giving an impression of closeness in the air and turning the world silver. I watch the squirrel, gathering his sundry harvest, preparing for the cold to come.

The pleasantness of this season during the day is accompanied by a certain spooky atmosphere that seems onset by darkness and the approaching end of October. I have heard my friends discussing spooky stories about ghostly programs they watch, and mostly I scoff at the ease with which they become fearful of fiction. Tonight, however, they are gone and their stories have lingered in my mind. I begin to hear noises and my peripheral vision is haunted by flickering shadows. Does the roof always creak so? Do I see a deeper darkness lurking in the shadows? A flash in the corner of my eye makes me whip my head around, only to see nothing more than my familiar surroundings. And then, footsteps echoing in an empty hallway. A voice in the darkness; “Hello?” it calls, and then dies in the silence. Every hair of my coat stands on end, and my whiskers are buzzing. Who’s there? I meow into the nocturnal obscurity, and my own voice sounds strangely distant and timid. I am answered only by the usual noises of the hospital at night; the occasional beeping from laboratory equipment, and the warm air pouring out of the heating ducts. I become conscious of my heart pounding, and am forced to admit it; I have succumbed to the hype of Halloween.

Upon this realization, my fear is replaced by indignation at my own silliness. My people would be flabbergasted by my weakness in letting my imagination run so wild. I allowed my fear to manifest itself in trickery of my senses, and worse, that even if it truly existed I would let some unknown entity invade my space without putting up a fight. After all, I am a cat! This is my house; I rule over this domain. The darkness has always been a friend to felines; a cover by which to accomplish stealthy endeavors. We are the darkness in the shadows, and the padded footsteps of the night belong to our surreptitious paws. There is nothing to fear here, in my home, in this place I have come to know so well. With my nerves returned to steely normalcy, I finish my nighttime rounds and return to my window-ledge bed to pass the early morning hours in peaceful slumber. As I drift off, one last thought enters my mind; maybe tomorrow I won’t listen to my friends tell those spooky stories anymore…



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