Guest Blogger: Monty

Since I’m solid busy this weekend, I’ve rounded up a guest blogger.  Monty, who has taken to billing himself “The MontySattva” is writing today about his favorite topic: himself.  So, without further ado (I’ve always wanted to say that about something) here is my Little Man.

Hi everybody! I’m super excited that Momma is letting me write an actual blog today.  Usually, she just tells me to sit down and watch but I’m here to tell you that you don’t need opposable thumbs or a human brain to write a blog.  I mean, have you read some of them? Anyway, I’m glad to be here and to get a chance to talk to you all.

Take time to smell the roses. Then eat them. Tulips are good, too.


I don’t think my chance to write today is an accident.  You see, today is my five year anniversary of being rescued!  It was a lucky day for me, that’s for sure.  My human mom came and got me out of a cold, dark, and dirty place and brought me to her house.   I was supposed to be a foster kitten and get adopted out to someone else but I am just so darn cute and engaging, not to mention smart.  After she had watched me grow from a scrawny four week-old baby with blue eyes and sparse fur who the cat doctor said might not make it to a solid, active boy with green eyes and thick black fur how could she let me go?   She says, and this is a direct quote, “Oh, Monty, every day you make me laugh!”.  So there’s her reason.


In my first week, I’d already learned to sit on the table. So smart!


In the dishwasher, a Place of Danger. Those prongs are sharp!

Actually, (and I’m not sure if she knows this or not) I decided the moment I was let out of the travel carrier that I wasn’t leaving.  Not ever.  No way.  The food here is ample and delicious.  There are plenty of other animals here, so I never get bored.  Lots of ledges and cat beds and counters to observe my world from.

I am pretty sure that eventually the old girl cats will start to like me.  I try to get them interested by jumping on them and swatting them, but they just aren’t very friendly.  Their loss, right?


Me and Big Kitty. Such a quiet, accepting big brother. I miss him!




Ahhh. Me and Samantha. She was the cat-mother I needed. The best snuggler in the world, except for me.






















The dogs are okay.  Buster the pit bull is calm and quiet and I like to rub my face against him.  Luna the German shepherd is sometimes okay but man, does she make a racket when someone comes to the door, or there’s a squirrel in the yard, or maybe a leaf falls from a tree.  Can’t believe that Momma calls her ‘Baby’ or ‘Momma’s Loon’ in that cooing, irritating voice and then Luna gets all wiggly and pants and tilts her fool head and gets a cookie.

I’m not going to let it bother me, though.  I’ve got a good life and by the way, there’s a rumor that cats live longer than big dogs.  Who’ll get the last laugh, I ask you?

Using the scratcher, like a good kitty should.


So I guess the point I want to make is that it’s really good to rescue little hungry kittens, especially if they are me, because we make wonderful companions.  If you don’t have a cat or you don’t have enough cats, check out your local shelter or rescue group.  You’re sure to find the cat of your dreams there.  My momma did!

Musical Monty

Here’s my baby-cat, Monty, at about eight weeks old.  He was pretty darn good at pounding the ivories.

He was so malnourished when I rescued him from the impound that his fur was sparse for  what seemed like forever.  In reality, it was only a couple of months before he grew a thick, glossy black kitty coat.

And here he is today

Cuddling with big sister Cleopatra. She’s the one at the top of the picture.

My Tidy Cat

I’ve found cat toys in all kinds of fun places: in the wastebasket, floating in the counter top fountain, atop shelved books, once even placed gently in the front paws of a sleeping cat statue .  At least all hundred of them aren’t strewn across the floor.

This one gets an award for Most Comical Use of a Cat Toy.

Someone cracked open the litter scoop’s holder and jammed a furry squirrel toy inside.  Odds are that Monty was the culprit.  He has a track record of going above and beyond normal cat behavior.

In my yoga class, our teacher will give us instruction on an exercise, adding “if you wish more work”, you can modify the pose.  I almost never do.  Monty, though, always wishes for more work.  He really ought to be more fit than he is, as he invariably makes his little workouts more difficult.  Playing with a toy isn’t just batting the thing around, it’s batting the toy while leaping over and around the rungs of a chair.  Stretching usually involves pulling something off the wall.   Hanging off the edge of the kitchen counter and opening a drawer with his dangling front paws, that’s Monty.

There may be another culprit in my household, but I’m putting my money on Monty.

The squirrel, brushed off and ready for more fun

Sacked out. Being a house cat is tough work.

Lili and Maci

In late August, 2011 I visited an animal control facility in rural Minnesota.  I had volunteered to photograph the animals there, and to try to find rescues to take them.  In no part of my mind was I planning to bring anyone home with me.

These little girls had other ideas.  They must have known I couldn’t walk by their filthy cage and not make the impulse decision to take them with me.  The tinier one, white with grey markings, especially used her oversized, plaintive meow to let me know that there was no choice in the matter.  They were coming home with me.

Six week old kittens waiting to be rescued, August 2011.

I borrowed a carrier, loaded the pair up and brought them home.  A visit to the vet proved that they were healthy but skinny kittens who needed love and nourishment.  I named the grey tabby Molly and the white one with tabby markings, Meeka.  When they were adopted about three months later, they were given the charming names of Maci (Molly)  and Lili (Meeka)

Molly/Maci at her first vet visit, August 29, 2011.


A couple of days later, I went back to another stray impound and picked up Marlowe, a frightened black kitten.  I had seen him before I met Molly and Meeka but hadn’t yet been informed by the girls that I was again going to be a kitten foster parent.  Two weeks after that, Monty and Marshmallow were jailed in the same place that Meeka and Molly had been.  They came to join the blended kitten family, and the adventure began in earnest.

Feeding frenzy. From top left, Marshmallow, Marlow, Meeka. Bottom left, Monty, Molly.

Meeka was a crafty imp who liked to be held; Molly was the more independent of the two.  One night Luna had come in from the backyard but soon was whimpering and trying to get back outside.  I heard a cat’s meowing not far from the door and assumed it was one of the adult cats who had slipped out under the herd of three large dogs as they went out for the umpteenth time that day.   But no, it was Molly!  She had boldly ventured out under cover of the dogs but decided she didn’t like being outside alone.  She was hiding under a rose bush and was glad to be held that one time.  Other than that, she was mostly a grey streak in the house, racing alone or with the other kittens.

I’m always sorry when the time comes for the kittens to be adopted out, but I’m delighted when they go to a great home and am especially elated when a pair gets the chance to live their lives together, forever.  Gayle was looking for two young sisters, and I had the perfect pair of siblings for her.  The two former impound kittens have it made now.

Meeka/Lili at about 12 weeks

On the year anniversary of their adoption, I received this from their human mom:

It’s hard to believe they have been here a year Thanksgiving.  Time certainly flew. They both are doing just wonderful.  Never a dull moment around here especially when they are on the run.  Lili is a dainty little girl with an iron fist.  She can carry on quite the conversation. She loves to play and brings the ball back for you to keep throwing–whether it fits into your plans or not.  Maci has turned out to be a big girl.  Still hates to be held but more than willing to sit on your lap.  She loves stealing yarn.  She also talks but not nearly as much as Lili.  They had their first experience with a mouse about a month ago.  Poor mouse never stood a chance with those two.”

And here they are today.

Maci and Lili chilling at home and looking great! November 2012.

And more photos of their time in my home.

Atop the cat tree, with Marshmallow

The little girls loved my ‘grandmother cat’, Samantha.


I’m glad I only paid $8 for this cat scratcher.

Juliet looks disapprovingly at the destroyed cat scratcher

I brought it home last Tuesday night, pleased with my remainder-table bargain.  By Thursday afternoon, it looked like this.  In a household of many cats, you might think I had to guess at which feline(s) were responsible for this senseless destruction.    I did not.  I knew.

Marlowe and Monty, the M & M boys, are solidly living out their kitty adolescence and have decided to pursue the hoodlum path.  I have had kittens and young cats around the house off and on for years, so I’ve learned not to leave glassware out; pens and pencils, ditto, as they make great spinning cat toys that can disappear into the smallest of nooks and crannies;  jewelry must be securely hidden away, especially anything with a chain; and there is no way on Bastet’s** green earth that I will ever be able to have healthy houseplants again.  Until these two appeared, though, I had never experienced undue destruction of cat toys.  Sure, the carpeted cat trees look threadbare after a while, and the little furry battery operated animals that squeak fall silent after being dropped in the water bowl.  That’s part of the cost of doing business with cats.

Monty, on a self-imposed time out.

Marlowe with some of his handiwork

This cardboard cat scratcher surprised me.  You’d think they wouldn’t normally be that durable, but I’ve had several of them and they’ve all lasted several months, if not years.  I expected the cardboard frame to be pummeled but I never dreamed that they would rend the corrugated scratching surface into two parts.

I guess this means it will be a flippant waste of money to have a Christmas tree this year.

**Bastet, an ancient Egyptian cat goddess

Twenty years ago today…

I found a little animal in my driveway, curled up just like this.

Sleeping safely, shortly after her rescue

Dirty, malnourished and frightened, she fought me with vigor all the way back to the screened porch.  She turned down the offer of dry kibble, but inhaled the canned tuna I brought her.  She was very tiny, but managed to eat half a can of the fish.  The vet said she was about five weeks old.

The kitten’s pitiful cries did not draw a searching mother cat from the woods.  I didn’t really think the mom was around, but I had to try.  The kitten was too skinny, too dirty to have been recently cared for by her mother.  As she had an injury to her mouth, I wondered if the mother had died trying to protect her kitten, who had somehow escaped.  She clearly  would not have lived much longer if she hadn’t been rescued by me.   There were foxes and birds of prey all over the place.  She wouldn’t have had a chance if one of them decided she would be a tasty snack.

At first, she was terrified of me. When I would go out to visit her on the porch, she would run away from me, fleeing as if her very life was at stake, hiding cornered behind a potted plant until I would pick her up and hold her.  I would talk and sing to her until she fell asleep.  I would put her on a towel on the porch swing and leave her there to dream her kitty dreams, thinking that next time she would not run away from me.  But she did.

On the fifth day, she ran and hid but it slowly dawned on me that she was running not in fear, but in play!   That was when we started to bond. We played games of chase and tag until she was two or so and decided that tag was kitten stuff.

As a wiggling adolescent

Samantha loved having my other cat, Sebastian, as a mentor and he was happy to have a friend.  They would play and wrestle around and chase, then curl up together so you couldn’t tell where one cat ended and the other began.  After a cuddly nap, they would start the play/wrestle/chase cycle all over again.

“Come climb with me”


Samantha and Sebastian waiting for dinner



Samantha and Sebastian were best friends for nine years, until he succumbed to kidney failure in June, 2001 at the age of fourteen.











Samantha was with me for another ten and a half years, calmly accepting the arrival of four other adult cats and more than twenty foster kittens.  Some of the kittens stayed with us, but most found other good homes.

She was a particularly good mother figure to Monty, allowing the kitten to curl up with her. Perhaps they shared stories of being taken from their mothers at too early an age.  Maybe she told him all the best ways to wrap me around their little cat’s fingers.  Maybe they just snored in unison.

With baby Monty, and Cleopatra

Samantha was not a demanding cat, unless she was hungry.  Then her little high-pitched meow was unrelenting until the kibble bowl was refilled or I brought out a can of Wellness chicken or turkey.  Last November, Sam was diagnosed with mast cell sarcoma.  With medication and love, she held on for another couple of months, with the same sweet nature she had radiated her entire life, but she took a turn for the worse in early February.  I held her as she was euthanized on February 6, 2012.  She was nineteen and a half years old.

Such a loving, calm girl.  Such a large part of my life for such a long, long time.

I miss her every day.  The cats seemed confused when she was suddenly gone, but they eventually established new patterns, new relationships.

I still look at her battered, overstuffed, yellow chair and expect to see dear Samantha in it, watching for me.

I will miss her forever.


Goodbye, sweet kitten…

…hello, mischievous adult cat!

A twinge of nostalgic sadness mixes with joy as I acknowledge that little Monty turns his back on kitten-hood today.  He’s one year old!  He’ll be the last kitten, at least for a very long time.

We first met when he was caged in an extremely disturbing impound facility with two other kittens: one a sibling and the other, a kitten who was a couple of weeks older than Monty and his grey sister.   Malnourishment had not robbed the three of their vocal capacity.  If I could have ignored the pleading small faces, I could not ignore their demands to be removed to better quarters.

The little sister did not make it. She was so very weak and was failing when I took her to the vet to be euthanized.  But Monty, scrawny, bony, sparse of fur, had a strong vibrant spirit that kept him going.  I worried about him, and the vet was concerned.  “He’s not out of the woods”, she said.  His appetite was voracious but his four-week old frame did not seem to be using the nutrition he was getting at my house.  It took a long time for him to start developing that sturdy little kitten body that would carry him through many adventures.  It took a glacially long time for his fur to fill in so he would look glossy and sleek.

First Portrait, September 11, 2011.

At first, I carried him around in my hand, or put him in a cat carrier on the kitchen counter so he could see me and be a part of the household.  I was afraid the other four foster kittens were too big and consequently too rough for this tiny bold boy.  After two or three weeks, he was able to hang around with the others, but he was always the little kid brother who tagged along with great good nature and high hopes, but never could quite catch up with the bigger kids.

Snuggling with fellow foster kittens Marshmallow (left) and Meeka (top); and Samantha.

When the time came to adopt him out, I couldn’t go through with it.  I had carried him along from spindly kitten of uncertain longevity to a spunky, curious and entertaining young cat.  I would have missed him too much if he had left, but more crucially,  I was not able to cope with more goodbyes after losing Daisy the German shepherd and Samantha, the non-representative torti**, exactly six weeks apart last winter.

“Dishwasher inspection complete. It passed.”

So, Monty and his elder cat-brother Marlowe, another black feline, are going to live their lives out with me.  I’m a little wistful about having no more kittens, but I’ve vowed that no more will come into my house until Monty is twelve or so. I have a horrible habit of adopting my foster kittens, and now my house is full. There is no more room at this inn.

Meanwhile, Monty entertains.  Instead of playing with a catnip mouse, he plays with the mouse and with the rungs of the kitchen chair.   Rather than push the ball-in the-circle like every other cat I’ve ever met, he plays with the plastic circle.  He likes to stir things up, make them more challenging and more fun.

With the Circle of Fun


Welcome to adulthood, Monty.  I suspect that your kitten antics are going to be a part of you for a long time.  Being an adult is just a number, anyway, and I’ve never let numbers or age dictate my behavior. Why should you?


**Non-represtentative torti:  tortoiseshell cat.  Tortis are black cats with beige, rust, and tan highlights.  They are known in the cat world for being difficult, for having ‘torti-tude’.  In a delightful case of false advertising, through the nineteen and a half years of her life, Samantha never showed even a smidgeon of the torti personality, but was always sweet, accepting and gentle; thus she was highly non-representative of her type.