sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 24, 2019


just the two of us
posted by soe 1:17 am

Corey has two modes when we’re home just the two of us — screaming at me for more food … and this:

Love

Love

Love

I think he loves me…

Category: cats. There is/are 2 Comments.

February 12, 2019


farewell, my very good boy
posted by soe 1:15 am

This isn’t new news, but it’s painful to contemplate, which means I haven’t wanted to write this post. But it seems unfair not to, so I’ll type through my tears and then maybe it will hurt less. Those of you who follow me on Twitter already saw this news and some of the rest of you had probably guessed based on my recent content.

Nearly three weeks ago, on January 25th, we became, for the first time in nearly 17 years, a family of three. Fifteen months after bidding goodbye to his sister, we had to say farewell to Jeremiah.

My Very Good Boy

The final details are largely irrelevant, except that we’d known he was fading from kidney disease, as have most of our cats, for a few weeks. He’d gotten quieter and had wanted more alone time curled up by the heater, but had continued to eat, if with some coaxing (he decided he didn’t like the special health food, and I eventually decided he could eat whatever he wanted) up to his final day, and never failed to come down to curl up with us to sleep. We were his people and in the end we did the kind thing, supported by our vet.


Jer's First Day Home

As I wrote when Posey died, we first met her and Jeremiah when they were kittens at a no-kill cat rescue in New Haven, Connecticut, one Saturday afternoon in the summer of 2002. We had become a family of three not long before then, and Della was clearly upset at being an only cat. We promised her a kitten, and blithely set out to bring home a companion for her. We were not planning on a pair, but fate had other ideas. On this particular afternoon, the cats in the shelter had all been vaccinated and were mostly dozy or reluctant to interact with more people. But this one small black and white short-haired kitten reached through the bars and grabbed our attention — and our hearts.

He and his fuzzier sister were the only two of their littermates left and the woman working at the time mentioned it was unusual for him to be the more outgoing; usually his sister was more personable. A week later we brought them both home with us. We didn’t even manage to sign the final paperwork before Jeremiah climbed up onto my shoulder and stuffed his nose in my ear to purr loudly and wetly at me that we were making the best decision of all of our lives.

Who can argue with that?

Jeremiah was inquisitive when we brought them home and, much to Della’s annoyance and disgust, he quickly found the plate of special food we’d given her to show her this was a celebration. I don’t think she forgave him for nearly a year for that.

Jer had big ears, long legs and tail, and a black mark under his nose that looked like a toothbrush moustache, particularly when he was small. I wanted to rename him Groucho to offset the more natural comparison to a German dictator, but technically the kittens were Rudi’s, and he was fine with the names the shelter had given them. As Jer grew into all of his characteristics, it turns out to have been a fine decision.

Jer and Me

While he did grow into everything, his tail did remain long. He didn’t need to chase after it in circles in order to tame it and he would would suck on it as a young cat — and then stick it in your ear while you were sleeping to get you to pay attention to him. As he grew older, he mostly abandoned that technique, but did like to wrap his tail around your head or your neck — and used it as a counterbalance for shoulder rides, which he loved.

Rudi & Jeremiah

While he was okay with visitors when he was small, he did not love company after we moved to D.C. We used to tell people who cat sit for us not to worry if they never saw him and our friend John once reported that he’d unintentionally managed to catch Jer partially off guard, causing Jer to sprint for the closet and miss his footing slightly, tumbling down like a Pachinko ball (he was fine). He once curled up under a tiny stool as we were packing to move, causing us to think he’d escaped and he hid on the shelf under the toilet tank the first time we had to have the phone company guy come in. His scarcity made him our most popular cat with friends, who yearned to catch a glance of him, rather than our more outgoing feline companions.

Sibling Portrait

A New Haven cat through and through, he loved pizza and garlicky tomato sauce. He was fine with other spices as well and was happy to clean out bowls that had contained tajines and other Middle Eastern or Asian dishes. He enjoyed ice cream and muffin crumbs and was particularly fond of puff pastry on the rare occasion that he got to sample crumbs of it. He had a rough tongue, but was a thorough licker, so you always knew he would be the final one at a bowl, long after the other cats had grown bored. He especially liked it if you would give him a spoon, so we sometimes left a little yogurt or ice cream on ours as a treat.

Jer

He was a smart cat and liked to communicate using mirrors. He fully understood how they worked and would respond to you if you were watching him in one. He was a chatty cat and we could hold long conversations with him where he would give various responses, fully holding up his end of a discussion. He did worry when you covered your face for too long and no matter how much of the rest of you he could see, eventually he had to go make sure you were okay.

Rudi and Jer

When we were a bigger family, his favorite place to sleep was curled up on pillows above my head. I’d reach under the pillows I was using and hold his paw or his tail or both and if I was slow to do so, he’d slap his tail down over my palm to indicate I should grab it or wrap it around my head if my hand wasn’t there. Once we became a smaller family, his favorite spot was between his two people, so much so that we jokingly referred to him as The Chaperone.

Jer and Rudi

He was the household comforter and if you were upset, he knew it and was right there. When he was younger, he wanted to be under your head, but as he got older, not wanting to hurt him, I’d convince him to curl around my head instead, like a hood. He’d stay there for hours, siphoning off your sadness to help you feel better.

Jer was a snuggly cat with his people and nearly always wanted to be on a lap or in your arms. Corey is doing his best, but mine feel very empty these days.

I See You

You aren’t supposed to have favorites amongst your animal companions, but I did anyway. Farewell, Jeremiah. You have always been my very good boy and I miss you so much.

Jeremiah and His Girl

Category: cats. There is/are 4 Comments.

January 23, 2019


night alliances
posted by soe 1:11 am

Corey Helping Me Read

Rudi and I are on different sleep/wake cycles with him doing both on the earlier side (note, not early by normal standards, just earlier) and me on the later.

Our cats have long sorted themselves out at night accordingly, often by following the person they liked best. (In the morning, Corey will sometimes get up with Rudi, but everyone returns to sleep after he leaves for work.) Della went to bed with Rudi. Posey floated between us, but took over that role once she was gone. When it was just the three of them, Jeremiah stayed out with me. When we once again became a family of three cats after Della died, he would go in with Rudi to make sure he got settled, but would come back out to me. Once Posey was gone, Jer took her place, so Rudi wouldn’t have to sleep alone. Corey will go in with Rudi and Jer if I’m not home, but normally remains out with me until I’m ready to go to bed.

But that doesn’t mean he wants to just hang out in the same room. No, at night, he wants to be doing the same thing I am doing. So if I am typing a blog post, Corey wants to be draped across my left wrist and part of the keyboard. And as you can see here, he also wants to help me read my book. He tried both sides in case I had a preference, but since my preference was for him to remain on the far side of my book, eventually he gave up and took a nap on Rudi’s chair until I picked up the laptop and it was time for us to write to you. (He says hi.)

Category: books,cats. There is/are 2 Comments.

August 30, 2018


final august unraveling
posted by soe 6:47 am

More Posey Unraveling

More Posey sock knitting, more Posey sock unraveling (with Jeremiah supervision, as you can see in the above shot). In this case, I accidentally pulled seven stitches off the needle and dropped them. I fixed that in the dark (by the light of a nearby streetlight) while watching the start of Wonder Woman tonight, but missed a row on one stitch, so had to drop it back down to catch it back up. The good news is that I probably only had four rows of dropped stitches originally, so the rest is progress made during the film. I’m nearing the heel, but it’s looking less likely that I’ll get them done by Friday night, which was my goal.

I’m more than a third of the way into Spinning Silver and all three of the girls — Miryem, as the queen of bloodthirsty winter elves; Wanda, on the run with the brother who accidentally killed a man while protecting her; and Irina, the new wife of a tsar she is pretty sure is a warlock — are on the move now.

On audio, I’m listening to The President Is Missing, a political thriller from James Patterson and Bill Clinton. The story is fine, but nothing extraordinary, so far.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see more crafting and reading posts.

Category: books,cats,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

August 19, 2018


mid-august caturday
posted by soe 1:39 am

A Saturday night of reading is always made better by the addition of cats:

Corey and Me

Corey and Me, Snuggling

Corey heard a noise outside mid-snuggle. But it didn’t require more than a few seconds’ staring before he decided we were safe to start being lovey again.

Jer and Me

Jer Loving Me

Jer came out from sleeping with Rudi in the bedroom to lie under my reading lamp, and eventually I put down my knitting for the night and turned around to snuggle with him. While Corey is a chin lover, Jeremiah likes to nuzzle your nose and ears, which is often ticklish. (He’s gotten drooly in his old age, which now means you end up with very damp appendages and sometimes feel a bit like Hamlet’s father… but it’s love-filled drool, which does make it better.)

Category: cats. There is/are 2 Comments.

February 18, 2018


beribboned cat
posted by soe 1:40 am

My mother put ribbons on the packages she sent for my birthday, in part because she knows I love wearing them around after I’ve taken them off the gifts. This time I decided to share the wealth:

Beribboned Corey

Corey is not unlike Rudi in that he tends to stick his tongue out while working on a problem.

Panicking Corey

His solution was to panic. Luckily for him, I’m only a little mean, so I quickly removed the bow back to my own wrist right after we got this shot.

Category: cats. There is/are 2 Comments.