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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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cat observations

What is it with cats?

I've had a chance to observe Mackerel (the cat belonging to our friends Harry and Jean) for several days in close quarters. He is served at least half a dozen meals a day consisting of several different FancyFeast flavours whose names which make even my mouth water. He spends 95% of his day dozing on the middle of the couch, legs splayed, back arched. The other 5%, of course, is spent eating.

I've noticed cats are experts at the art of disdain. Everything is beneath them. They have no master.

"Mackerel," Jean will call from the kitchen. "Dinner!"

Mackerel ignores her.

"Dinner, Mackerel!" Jean pokes her head out into the living room and holds up Mackerel's food dish. "Look, Mackerel! Dinner!"

Mackerel opens his eyes a fraction of an inch and gazes at her with half-lidded contempt. She comes out into the living room and waves the food dish near his nose. "Turkey and Giblet Feast! Yum!"

He yawns, bored.

Giving up, Jean takes the food dish away and puts it in the hallway. After several long minutes, Mackerel gets up and stretches, yawning again. Then, as if he has just decided to take a little stroll (maybe to see what's on the radio), he wanders in the general vicinity of the hallway, where he (much to his surprise and annoyance) encounters the food dish. He sniffs it, obviously finds it inferior, but nibbles daintily at the contents anyway.

After a few minutes of this, he wanders back to the sofa where he spends the next twenty minutes painstakingly grooming every hair on his entire body, clearly desperate to rid himself of the slightest nuance of Turkey and Giblet Feast. This done, he fusses for several more minutes trying to find a comfortable position (spreading as much cat hair on the seat area of the couch as possible), and then drifts into feline dreamworld again.

I have to confess that I prefer the singleminded drooling adoration of dogs. At least you know where you stand with dogs right away. Jeff likes cats better, saying they have more self-respect. We're both allergic to cats; cats always seem to know this.

When I visit ScottM's place to watch DVD movies, for instance, his cat Hobbes will follow me around, obviously unable to accept the fact that I'm not fawning all over him (Hobbes is a very affectionate cat). He'll try to jump in my lap, butting his head against me, purring, daring me not to pet him.

ChrissyCat (old cottage cat) used to lie lengthwise along my chest as I lay on the couch, her face very close to mine. She'd sniff my breath and then bite my chin very, very gently, purring so loudly I could feel the vibration, the pinpricks of her teeth making my eyes water (or maybe the latter was from allergies). I was genuinely sad when I heard that she had died.

Ok, so maybe I'm not as much of a cat-hater as I try to make myself out to be. Maybe cats just make me feel insecure because they seem to know everything. Maybe it's because they seem to know that they own us, instead of the other way around.

So what is it with cats, anyway? :-)

p.s. Parki arrives today! Two more days until we leave for the Killarney hiking trip!

Some postings re: Inkspot from misc.writing:

>A little more than a year after Debbie announced that Inkspot was

>"joining forces" with Xlibris and a little less than six months since

>Xlibris shut down Inkspot and Inklings, the Inkspot archives that

>Xlibris was keeping online ("Xlibris is not planning to shut down

>Inkspot. Instead, we are meeting with various interested parties who

>would like to become InkspotĂ­s new partner. In the meantime, the site

>will remain at its current location, unchanged."), the archives they are

>no more.

SHIT! They were my first on-line publication credit. But, I'm not removing the link from my tiny web page. Yep, I'll leave it there as a tombstone, my little tribute to a great web page for writers.

Strange you mention this now -- I went looking for (what was left of) Inkspot just a couple days ago. On the Xlibris site I got all turned around looking for a writer's resource. Kept coming up empty. Abandoned the site, and took the opportunity to tell hubby the tale of Inkspot and Xlibris.

He and I recalled a time way back in the old days, when Debbie emailed me

to do an interview for her online writers magazine... That must have been around 1995, I guess. Gee, that's like a quarter of a century in Internet years!

Today's Blatherpics

- Keyboard of the cottage Smith Corona.

- My iBook and the Smith Corona. I use the former for my Blatherings, the latter for the Outhouse Daily News.

- Mackerel.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Do you prefer cats or dogs as pets? Vote 'yes' for cats, 'no' for dogs.

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