The Self-Appointed Protector

Roly Poly dreams of being a big, strong protector of the family like Daddy

Roly Poly was our self-appointed protector. Maybe because he was the only male kitty, I don’t know. But, that was the role he chose for himself. When we were at work, he would be outside, watching the house. When we came home, he would be waiting to guide us safely inside. If a stray cat came around, he would chase it away. Even when he was housebound and blind, Roly would guard from the balcony or kitchen door; if he smelled the presence of a stray, he’d scare it away with a roar. At least, I am sure that meow was his version of a roar.

He never attacked people, and he knew my mother-in-law’s two dogs, Chocolate and Peluchín. He tolerated them, never bothered with them unless they came near the house. Or… too close to us.

One afternoon, Vidal and I were heading out to work after coming home for lunch. Roly walked us down the stairs. Peluchín happened to be sitting at the family property entrance. That wasn’t anything unusual. Peluchín was a very friendly dog, and loved us. I used to call him “mi novio” (my boyfriend); he would wag his tail in excitement whenever he saw us. That day was no exception. As Vidal and I got close to Peluchín, Peluchín stood up to let us pet him. Roly suddenly ran and pounced upon Peluchín, taking us all completely by surprise!

I have always heard that you never get in the way when a cat is attacking. Fortunately, Roly was very obedient, and it wasn’t hard to get his claws off a petrified Peluchín. But I think Peluchín understood; Roly was simply protecting his territory, protecting his most beloved treasures: Mommy and Daddy.

Roly was simply protecting us, we know that. It wasn’t anything he had against dogs, or even against Peluchín. Case in point- there were a few times that Peluchín ran upstairs and pushed his way into our house, frightened from the loud thunder. Although Roly was not afraid of storms, he left Peluchín alone during those times. He understood the poor big dog was just afraid, and so he let him be. My good little boy!

The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. Proverbs 27:18


The Adventurous Kitten

Guerita was an adventurer from the day she came home with us. Unlike Simba, who hid for the first day, Guerita was all about investigating every corner. This was in our first home, the studio; Guerita and Simba had their own room next to us. Guerita walked around with her tail held high, she’d stop and cock her head to one side, trying to figure something out. Sometimes it was how to get from Point A to Point B with a single leap; other times it was simply how she could play.

Even though her sister was quite the opposite of an adventurer, Guerita would often convince her to join in her escapades. It always had something to do with escaping their room into our bedroom. My favorite was when Guerita discovered she could fit in the open part of the special air-vent bricks in the wall that separated our rooms. One day, Guerita just appeared in our room, strutting around with head and tail held high as if she owned the place. I put her back in her room. A few minutes later, I heard a strange shuffling noise. I looked over, and saw Guerita sticking her head out of one of the bricks, meowing! But the best part was that Simba was right next to her, trying to get through another brick, while Guerita was meowing directions to her!

We ended up blocking the air vent bricks, knowing that they could get in, but they wouldn’t be able to get back; we didn’t want to take chances while we were at work. Although in hindsight, our little Guerita would have been able to figure it out! Ever the curious cat, searching for something new and wonderful. That was our Guerita!

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3

Bats in Your Belfrey?


“…And my gift???”

From 2001-2009, our house was very much an open-air house. Our bedroom, dining room and kitchen windows had screens on them, but our neither our balcony nor our kitchen door did (defeating the purpose). However, mosquitoes rarely flew in, and critters stayed away; we took for granted that was because of the kitties. They protected their territory fiercely, and they enjoyed the freedom of coming and going as they pleased. At least, Roly Poly and Guerita did.

Simba was never the outdoorsy type. She preferred the friendly confines of the house. Going out on the balcony was good enough for her to get fresh air. So it was to my great surprise that one evening, Simba came into our bedroom, carrying a large gift.
It was late. I happened to be at the desk on our computer, while Vidal was reading in bed. Our bedroom door was still open, and I heard a muffled sound. I stopped what I was doing, and looked down to see Simba walking toward me; her meow was muffled because of what she had in her mouth. “Dear God“, I prayed, “Puh-leeze let that be a big leaf Simba is carrying!

Simba dropped the “leaf” at my feet, and time stood still. That is to say, time slowed down, as everything started to move in slow motion. The “leaf” opened up and started to flap around the room. I yelled out, “Nooooooooo!”, as Simba looked at me in disbelief! Vidal slowly looked up to see the bat flying around our bedroom!

Now, I am not afraid of bats. I am not even the squeamish type, but at that very moment suspended in time, all I could think of was poisonous bat guano that the kitties might ingest.

Vidal jumped into action. At least, I think he jumped. It was all very surreal; it was all happening in slow motion. I grabbed Simba (Mommy instinct took over as I continued to think of poisonous bat guano). I remember Simba’s confused look… At first, it was “What is wrong with you?“, but when I grabbed her, she got a bit fed up. I had not accepted her gift, and she was insulted. She leaped out of my arms.

We got the bat out of the house, and no bat guano was ever found. Simba got over the rejection, but it was quite a while before she ever brought another “gift” to me!

For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. Luke 21:4

Patience and the Cool, Calm and Collected Cat


Cool, calm and collected in the jungle garden!

Roly Poly was a very patient kitty. He was good with children, he was good with us. He patiently tolerated Simba’s mothering (usually), and patiently tolerated Guerita’s bossiness. He never talked back.

Roly was patient. When Daddy cooked fish, Roly patiently waited by his side. When toddlers and young children came by, he patiently sat with me as they fussed over him. When he was hungry, he sat waiting for us to notice. At night, he sat patiently waiting outside for us to come home from work.

One afternoon, I came home from work, and saw my mother-in-law’s dog Chocolate whining in the family property entrance. Concerned, I stooped down to pet him and see if he was okay. Chocolate was recuperating from surgery to fix a hurt hip. He was finally walking better, so I wasn’t sure what was wrong. He whined and whined, and walked to the steps leading up to my house. He gave me a pleading look, and placed a paw on the first step. “Aha! So you want to go upstairs to visit! You must still be afraid to walk, so of course I will go with you!”, I said to him. So up we went, one step at a time.

As we slowly walked together up the first flight of 7 stairs, I looked up to see Roly Poly, sitting patiently on the landing. That was normal to me, as Roly often waited for me to come home. I didn’t think anything of it. As Chocolate got to the 7th step… without a peep, Roly simply lifted a front paw and whacked Chocolate across the nose! Chocolate went flying down the stairs, whimpering along the way! Roly, as if nothing had happened, remained in his seated position.

Cool, calm and collected; that was our Roly.

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… Colossians 1:11

The Weeta Whacker

The paw is up and ready to strike!

From 2006 and onward, my mom would come to stay with us for a few months to get away from the blistery cold Chicago winters. Mom loved her grandkitties, and they loved their grandmother. Actually, they knew her as their “Weeta” – the loving name all my mom’s grandchildren called her. Although Mom got to know Roly Poly and Simba very well, she didn’t have a lot of interaction with Guerita at first. By the time Mom began wintering with us, Guerita was in her Prodigal Years. Not that Mom hadn’t met Guerita. Mom had been to visit every year with cousins, but stayed in a hotel. We’d have family meals in the patio for them all, and Guerita would be there, patrolling the grounds or sitting on my lap.

Mom knew the Prodigal Kitty story, and knew that Guerita still came by daily, but Mom didn’t know her hours… Vidal and I both worked full-time and were usually up by 7am, but one morning, Mom got up before we did. Sitting as pretty as you please by the empty food dish was Guerita, giving Mom “The Look”. Mom said hello, and Guerita replied with an adamant “Meow!” (Hello!!! Can’t you see I am waiting? Feed me, human!). It was as if Guerita was the adult and we were her children. We were there to do her bidding, and she would discipline us if we did not.

But it was later on, when Guerita had returned to live with us, that Guerita officially “adopted” her Weeta. She would love upon her Weeta, allowing her to pet her and cuddle next to her on her couch (yes, it was Guerita’s couch!). Ma would sometimes get up before Vidal and I, and there would be Guerita, sitting by the food dish. Waiting. Watching.

You see, Guerita ruled her subjects. During her Prodigal Years, she had things to do, places to go, dogs to terrify and stray cats to chase away. So when she came home to eat, she was on the clock, and she knew it. And she let US know it. In no uncertain terms, we needed to have food in her dish when she arrived – even if we didn’t ever know what time that would be.

Back to Mom. On the days that Mom got up before we did, she learned quickly to go to Guerita’s dish and put some food in it. Do not pass Go, do not collect one-hundred dollars. Feed Guerita. Because if you ignore her, if you walked past her – you WOULD get whacked.

I can still picture that cute little kitty, sitting by her dish, The Look in her big yellow eyes, and a paw stretched out ready to whack my leg if I walked past her dish. It was seriously adorable! But my poor mother – what a surprise that was for her!

And that, my friends is how we gave Guerita her new nickname: Guerita, the Weeta Whacker!

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Get a Piece of the Rock

Cats are funny. I have written about the amazing stretches of Roly Poly that inspired me to stretch; I eventually got certified to teach WholyFit. From there, Roly started his own fitness program, RolyFit, but Simba preferred to stretch with me.

When I began to learn WholyFit, I took out my exercise mat and practiced on the balcony, where the mat fit perfectly. Simba would sit and watch. After a couple of weeks, she decided to participate. At first, she jumped on my back when I was in a tabletop position, which of course threw my balance off. She then decided to jump on the mat, under me – as I was about to do a push-up balance – which didn’t sit well with either of us. Finally, she found her favorite:


Rock is what we call our restoration posture, laying supine on the exercise mat, arms by our sides, palms up. A rest posture – right up Simba’s alley!

We finally had our routine set: Simba would perk up when I pulled out my exercise mat every morning. She would sit and watch as I went through the first 4 cycles: Warmup, Standing, Balance and Matwork. As soon as I got to Matwork, Simba got closer to me. She knew the routine, and would get excited when I had only 3 postures left to do; she would then position herself at the edge of my mat. She would edge just a bit closer with each posture, and when I got to Restoration, she either curled up next to me, or right on top of me. At least, she varied her routine! Good for her!

Simba knew the importance of rest; she was, after all, the queen of catnaps!

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The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

The Stray Cat Strut: Feeding Strangers


“I am always willing to share my food, be you stray cats or family” – Roly Poly

There are so many falsehoods floating around out there about cats: People think cats are antisocial. That cats aren’t loyal. That cats don’t show love. That cats don’t believe in God, and therefore cannot show love to their neighbors.

My feline children bashed every single one of those myths, and people actually witnessed it. I will focus on smashing the latter myth: Roly Poly was a Christian kitty.
Go ahead, laugh. I would tell people this, and that’s exactly what they did. that is, until the day we had the wrought iron workers in the house, installing the iron bars in our huge balcony. Quite the job, and therefore more than one pair of hands.

Felix, the main guy, had met our kitties. I had told him about Roly’s unusual habit, and he gave me a quizzical look. Not a few minutes later, in strolled Roly… with 4 stray cats. Roly was in the lead, meowing away in a very friendly matter, turning his head to them as he chatted and led them to the food bowl. Felix stood there, dumbfounded. He even threw in a scratch to his head for good measure. After a few minutes standing in disbelief, he turned to me and told me I was right. Roly was indeed a Christian cat!

In the end, Vidal and I did have a chat with Roly about bringing strays into the house. Roly taught us a lesson by reminding us that it isn’t just human neighbors that we need to show love; the four-pawed ones are out there as well.

With that in mind, I am off to volunteer at our local animal shelter!

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:6-7