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POOH KITTY               JENNIFER                 GEORGE             BRINDLE BOTT

 "Don't call me Puddah!"

I really am not into sentimental mush; but even I stop being rational and accept that sometimes gifts come, not in the form you wanted or that you expected. Sometimes gifts walk into your garden, take up residence and have their family in your closet. In spite of my caution in allowing cute things to creep up on me, in this case I am glad I did. We have enjoyed hours of entertainment as the cats discover their world.

Pooh Kitty was her coming out name. She was safe and warm as a kitten curled up in the palm of a human's hand. Her needs were satisfied, she had food and water. Then her humans left. The stripey, brown and black tabby with the avocado-green eyes waited for them to come back.

Finally hunger drove her from the house; she climbed the garden wall into a neighbor's yard. There was a pond from which to drink; she caught a lizard and hid from the humans who lived in the house. But one human saw her and tried to win her trust. He brought her food and the next day she let him pet and tickle her; then she decided to go inside the house.

The humans were noisy and shuffled around; Kitty was not prepared for all the music and television but they petted her for hours at a time. Her slumber was no longer disturbed by other critters. She was welcomed and fussed over her, Pooh Kitty started to relax; she moved in and the house became her palace.

Pooh Kitty's suitors included one logger-headed black tom who was chased off the roof on three or four occasions with a blasting jet of water from the garden hose at 3.00 am after hours of yowling. The only thing visible was a black fur missile leaving the roof at warp nine.

As for Kitty Momma, I don't need to tell you that this cat could charm the eyebrows off anybody. Doesn't she have the most impressive whiskers?

Nevertheless, Pooh Kitty had three kittens: two boys, one of whom looked suspiciously like the black logger-head and an identical brindle clone of Mom and a little girl, the color of ebony with a heart-shaped face and long, dainty legs.

Brindle was first to show his charm, he loved to cuddle and play like Tigger. Now he sleeps in the sink when it's too warm; in the clothes hamper if it's too cold; or in the chair or in human laps or basically anywhere because life is hard for pussycats and one must sleep plenty to keep up with the demands of letting humans pet one and playing with siblings.

Brindle Bott is seriously growing; he requires plenty of food and rest. But soon he too will take his place in the land of the lively and depart from the comatose. Soon Brindle Bott will get up off the sun-baked cobbles and haul his rather pudgy frame up onto the roof with brother George. It's just so tiresome to have to move when napping, napping is probably just as useful to Brindle Bott dreams!

That day came, Brindle made an attempt at the roof; the fence and tree were too much for him and so he found an easier way up in top of the trash can, a small leap to the roof and Bob's your uncle. In Brindle's case Bob being someone's uncle rang true. My uncle (courtesy title, friends of ours from Cyprus) Bob Lines from Langley Vale, Surrey and my Aunty Alice and best friend Sue had a cat called "The Bag" and Uncle Bob could play the cat like a bagpipe. Both cat and the birds he chased, would slam into those shiny clean French doors once every two weeks or so doing the Italian job chasing crows around the garden. Brindle got up on the roof and played with Jennifer and George for an hour. They lay sunning themselves, and then the two black cats came down for a snack. But Brindle Bott with those little short legs could not make the leap. He mewed pitifully until a human was summoned to carry the little prince down to the food bowls. Luckily Brindle grew and he is now able to negotiate that leap to the roof with ease!

As a kitten, George was an elastic band athlete. He'll be ready for training and the animal Olympics shortly! He picks up the elastic band, throws it in the air and then catches it with his claw and pulls necessitating upward levitation with an electric spin on the fur, claws and ears.

Now George is the hunter and he is large, fluffy and did I say, large? George is a breakfast, lunch and dinner kind of puddah. He arrives at the table as the humans feed. His ears twitch, is that bacon? Ah sausage, yes, sausage that's what it is. Birds, lizards, moths, beetles, grubs, small snakes, grasshoppers and other culinary treats from the KLINGON cookbook round out George's daily intake of food items and snacky treats.

George and Brindle assemble their treats on the bathroom floor; wear your clogs and carry a flashlight! Or turn on all the lights!

Jennifer, the little girl, loves her ballet. She has four soft balls and she walks around, ball clenched between her teeth until she feels like Dee Dee (Dexter's Lab), then throwing the ball in the air she dances, and keeps that ball in the air as well as a juggler. Jennifer says Hi with a head-but to your arm or hand. It is politically correct to pet her now.

Pooh Kitty has her own trick with the balls. She walks nonchalantly around with a ball in her mouth mewing and as the kittens come to her she slyly acts as though she's going to play and then drops the ball and pounces, wrestling, that resembles getting a spanking for those mischievous kittens who do NOT come when called for instance when on the roof!

The studio and walled garden is their playground, conspicuous trees flourish in their catdom and on the mezzanine are the adjoining studio rooves from whence one can set up a lookout and spot the enemy coming a mile away. Two next-door dogs are hoarse from barking at the pooh kitties!

Last summer we were up to our eyes in Humane Society appointments having them spayed and neutered, but that's OK. Felines patrol the grounds and we are delighted that Pooh Kitty came to stay. We humans are surrounded by the good nature and friendliness of our pets. Cats or dogs, goats or sheep, horses and camels, emus and alpacas, chickens and dogs, rabbits and owls enhance our lives by agreeing to be our pets.

c Mary Angela Bowie Barnett 2006

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