Pawprints Forever on my Heart

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Meet our furry children: Simba, Guerita & Roly Poly (Simba- bottom left, Roly- bottom middle, Guerita- bottom right)

Once upon a time, the pitter-patter of three beautiful cats were heard in the Crayola House.

They lived.

They stretched.

They napped!

They left behind their pawprints.

Life with a cat or three can change your lives in ways you can’t even imagine. There was a time when we were first married and we enjoyed sleeping in. I was not born a morning person; I was gifted with a body clock of a night owl. Married life wasn’t much different; Vidal is a night owl as well (we were meant to be together!). Getting up early used to be a chore for Vidal and I, until we adopted the girls: Simba and Guerita, when God introduced “The Kitty Alarm”. Our lives would never be the sameContinue reading

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Ruling the Roost

Roly was without doubt the king of the property, but his aunt Guerita – she was the royal queen.  There were three dogs on the family property, and they all feared her.  Two were my mother-in-law’s dogs that roamed the patio; Jacinto, the third dog, was a large indoor dog and belonged to my sister-in-law. Jacinto feared Guerita the most.

During Guerita’s Prodigal Years, part of her daily routine was to check on things at my sister-in-law’s house.  Guerita loved to wander through and rub under the hamaca while my sister-in-law’s husband took his siesta. To get to the hamaca, Guerita had to pass through a narrow hallway where Jacinto usually napped, near his food dish. Sometimes Jacinto would be eating when Guerita came around. My sister-in-law would tell me that Jacinto would freeze when he saw Guerita. Guerita, being the size of one of Jacinto’s legs, simply scared the crap out of poor Jacinto. All Guerita had to do was walk in and look at Jacinto and he would leave the room, cowering and whimpering! My sister-in-law said that Jacinto would walk/cower away even if he was eating. That alone shocked me, as i personally knew that Jacinto would growl at any human closing in near his food if he was eating!

When Guerita’s Prodigal Days had ended, she became an indoor cat, and Jacinto was left in peace. A couple of years later when we discovered that Guerita enjoyed walking on a leash, Daddy walked Guerita around the family compound,  visiting her old stomping grounds. Poor Jacinto was there… and bowed to Queen Guerita!

Among the women of your court are daughters of kings, and at the right of your throne stands the queen, wearing ornaments of finest gold. Psalm 45:9

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Guerita takes Daddy for a walk, returning from visiting/terrorizing Jacinto next door!

The Sneak

Our little Simba was obsessed with food. The best we could figure was that she must have been the runt of the litter and wasn’t getting enough nutrition; maybe she was pushed to the side when feeding time came and her siblings trampled her.  Except of course for her sister Guerita, who hovered over and protected her when we brought them home.  While Guerita would eat just enough to get sufficient nutrition and keep her slim form, Simba would chow down, leaving no trace of food behind. As if leaving a clean, empty bowl would confuse us into thinking we forgot to feed them, and give her more food…

When Roly began with health issues at a young age, he needed a special diet.  A VERY expensive special diet to keep him from returning to the hospital. We now had two different bags of cat food; one for Roly and one for the girls. We learned fairly quickly that we needed to go beyond separate bowls… As Roly ate like his aunt Guerita- eating small amounts throughout the day- Simba was beyond excited.  She got to not only wolf down whatever Guerita didn’t want, she moved in to finish what Roly Poly did not!  And so we moved Roly’s bowl to our bedroom, keeping the door closed and taught him to let us know when he was hungry.

But Simba, she knew where there was food, and tested our door daily.  If we left it open for a second or forgot to click it completely closed, Simba pushed her way in and quickly, happily finished off Roly’s food.

It was quite comical, actually. If we saw our door open, we’d call out “Simba!”, and she’d come running out of our room in a “oops-I-was-caught” scurry, darting her eyes to and fro with that “Ooooooh! They caught me again!” look, and then stop and sit, pretending to be innocent!

As Simba got older, she stopped caring about getting caught. Whereas she used to sneak food quietly, she got brave.  She pushed her way into our room, crunching Roly’s food quite loudly. When we caught her- “Simba, NO!”- she just gave us this “What??” look, and scurried away. One might say that scurry was her only real exercise…

Simba did otherwise listen to us.  I often wondered if she felt the need to “get rid of the food” to not entice mice. Maybe she felt she was being a good girl by keeping critters away?  Maybe she felt that was her job to take care of us?

We do know one thing.  Simba was created to bring joy.  Her demeanor on so many ways brought us comfort- whether it was cuddling next to us when we needed a smile, plopping near us to show us how happy she was or making us laugh with her stinker-binker mischievous ways, being a little sneak. She simply brought us so much joy. She always, always made us laugh!

Oh, that little stinker-binker Simba! How we miss her shenanigans!!

You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:73-74

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If I finish all my food, I can finish roly’s food as well!

Royal Lineage

Roly Poly was a royal cat. Really! He had royal lineage.  I am not just talking about the way he held himself like a king cat – as if he thought he was a lion. Nor that he was the king of the house when Daddy wasn’t around. Even when Daddy was there, Roly protected us – like a lion protects his family. All that aside, the royal lineage I refer to was quite literal: He had a line down his back that marked him as royalty.

When Roly was a kitten, I had a few “coffee table” books on cats. One in particular had fascinating stories of feline myths and facts over the millennia.  There was one particular story about cats who had fur on the middle of their backs that came to a line; that line signified they were royalty. I prefer to refer to that as fact, not fiction.

As Roly grew into an adult cat, that exact line on his back appeared. It didn’t come to a big surprise to me that he was marked as royalty, as I knew my furry child really was exactly that. While it is possible it had always been there, I only noticed it when he was around 7 yrs old… AFTER I had donated that cat book!

Sadly, I cannot find hide nor hair of that fact on the Internet. But I know what I read. And anyway, I don’t need the internet to give me proof of what I know in my heart.  Our little Roly Poly was indeed royalty.  Fact, not fiction!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

If you look closely, you can see the royal line in Roly Poly’s fur, going down the middle of his back.

 

Rubber Legs and Ruins: Conquering Cobá

July, 2003. I got up bright and early, ready for Cobá. I had asked the bus driver on the way back from Tulúm about the bus schedule to Cobá; he told me that they left the town of Tulúm at 7:00am. So at 6:40am, I was outside our hotel, waiting to catch a combi to Tulúm.   A bus stopped first, with “Valladolid” written on it, and I asked if he stopped at Cobá. Wouldn’t ya know it – it did!  So, off I went, on my way to Cobá! I lathered up with repellent along the way; those nasty mosquitoes weren’t going to slow me down that day!

At 7:45, I was dropped off three blocks away from the entrance to the ruins; the driver told me the first bus back to Tulúm was at 11:00. The ruins opened at 8:00, so I walked slowly, eating my sandwich along the way. I was not only the first one in, the tricycle taxis had not even arrived to set up their stand within.   This was great! I was alone to explore the jungle paths, in search of spider monkeys and whatnot. I walked at a snail’s pace, trying not to make noise, listening to the sounds of God’s creatures all around me. Continue reading

The Coveted Round Basket

Our furry children loved baskets. Baskets with or without a folding top; rectangular, square or round. We always had a few cardboard boxes and paper bags to give them more choices, but the favorite choice of all three was always baskets. Of all the baskets, the preferred for all three kitties was the round one.  Roly Poly used to fight Simba for it. More accurately, Roly would let Simba know in no uncertain terms that her allotted round basket time was up. No words, just a couple of swats.

During Guerita’s prodigal years, she did occasionally hang out in a basket or two.  When she became a housebound kitty once more, I thought for sure the fur would be flying over the baskets- especially the round one. That was the basket they mostly fought over. But like most siblings, the three of them seemed to work things out. Poor Simba; she was the only one who ever got kicked out of any basket by a swat from Roly or a stare from Guerita.  Roly tried the swatting tactic with Guerita, who swatted right back. He backed down, every time. Then Guerita got sick and no longer jumped on the balcony for those baskets.

In her last days, I picked Guerita up and let her climb into that coveted round basket. She enjoyed that time, closing her eyes, picking up her head ever so slightly to feel the breeze upon her face once more.  Both Roly and Simba jumped on the balcony during that time, which made me a bit apprehensive… But as it turned out, they both looked her way, but went straight to other baskets. Not a peep out of either of them, not even to each other. Somehow they knew that Guerita’s last days were there, and they were honoring her, showing her their love in the best way they could- by giving her the coveted basket.  Letting her know she would always be the queen cat.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.Romans 12:10

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

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The Mexican Short-haired Pointer 

Living in the sub-tropics, we get a lot of geckos. Oh, we don’t complain.  After all, geckos eat mosquitoes, so the more the merrier! Roly Poly was fascinated by geckos. He liked lizards in general, but that’s a tail for another day.  For today, we will stick to geckos- the lesser-cousins of iguanas –  and Roly’s fascination with them.

As mentioned previously, Roly Poly was a cat in a dog suit. By the time he was 2-yrs-old, Roly had grown out of his Chihuahua phase, straight into his Mexican Short-haired Pointer phase.

Wait- what?

Yes, our little feline son was part Mexican Short-haired Pointer. Roly would stand at full attention and stare, tail straight out and point his nose right at a gecko. We were grateful that there was only ever one gecko at a time, as that would have put quite a strain on our little boy’s neck – not to mention make the rest of us dizzy as well!

As he got older, Roly no longer felt the need to stand at attention; he switched to pointing in a seated position.

The strange thing was, Roly didn’t actually hunt the geckos. He just liked to point at them. He reserved his hunting skills for iguanas, but again- that is a tail for another day.

I often wondered why Roly did that.  I had never heard of a cat that acted as a Pointer. But then again, Roly Poly was quite the special cat.  Maybe it was all a part of his serving us as our protector.  Job well done, Little Boy!

For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:4

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Sooth My Aching Bones

Simba loved her Daddy time.  From kittenhood to adulthood to her last days, Daddy Time was her most favorite. Laying on Daddy’s belly, laying next to Daddy on the floor, hamaca or on the couch, it was all the same to Simba. She loved Daddy time even more than eating. And that says a lot!

In Simba’s last years, Daddy had a lot of lower back issues. One of the home therapy he found worked well for him was a small heated bean bag. He laid flat on his stomach with the heated bag on his sore spot.  Simba discovered the heated bag, and decided it would help Daddy greatly if she gracefully laid her body below the bean bag, with her front paws on top of it. Maybe she heard about pressure point therapy?

Daddy soon purchased a longer bean bag that stretched across his lower back which worked much better for him. A week went by, and I saw that he was heating both bean bags. Confused, I asked him what for… “You’ll see!”, he replied.  As he set things up for his therapy, Simba sat watching; waiting her turn.  Daddy put the long bag on his back, put the short one next to him, and patted it, calling Simba over. And come to him, she did. Cuddling next to Daddy, with her very own bean bag to sooth her own achy bones. Simba and Daddy Time.  Daddy and his Little Girl…

Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.  Psalm 6:2

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Simba and her heated bean bag!