Every grizzly bear mama has a grizzly bear mama and Mama Su is no exception. Managing the furry horde has taken a toll not unnoticed, and a few months back, the Supreme Mama Bear decided that her cub needed nurturing that the other two-legged resident of House Kirkland has failed to provide and gifted a massage chair to fill the void. In the small hours of most evenings, after nonstop feeding and cleaning and medications and laundry, Mama Su crawls into the restorative pod, positions some seaweed and/or a glass of wine within reach, fires up Korean junkfood on Netflix and succumbs to the BodyTech’s automated embrace. Within minutes, the house resonates with foreign chatter, electronic vibration and low snoring—a symphony of solace and background cover for furry nocturnals still running amok.
Dirty Harry has his own version of the BodyTech and unlike Mama Su, feels no obligation to put in a full workday prior to use. If I’m working at my computer, Harry maneuvers his way into my lap, settles in and waits for the massage features to engage. If for some reason the back/head rub options are unresponsive, a flex of claws will usually spark action, and there’s no set time on use other than the length of the Zoom call or my desire to get to work. That dusty, drooling, gamey but otherwise perfect hobo has participated on so many teleconferences he could qualify for the board of three non-profits, and no doubt other call participants have speculated the worst when my hands drop into my lap and start kneading. ”Ok, this is awkward…”
It’s been three weeks since we’ve made a post and in between getting and giving massages, we’ve been busy. We’ve beefed up Sir Charles—he’s on his 2nd round of vaccines and spends his days sleeping in his fort—the downstairs powder room vanity—waiting for his next round of wet food. When you startle Sir Charles, he responds with a hiss at no one in particular but within moments he’s purring and positively regal, and in another couple of weeks, he’ll be up two pounds, down two testicles and off to his forever home.
We responded to two cats in trees and two others on apartment roofs, each of whom the respective posters insisted were on the brink of certain, catastrophic death. If cats weren’t able to get down from self-imposed heights on their own, we’d have fun posts about risking our lives climbing trees and ladders in the pouring rain, but cats can, so there aren’t, and that’s a not-so-subtle message for the “OMG, he’s going to die any minute!” taggers.
Meanwhile, super foster Stephanie Yeats Cymanski composed herself enough to release Sabre to his forever home, reports that fluffball Stevie’s bad leg is back in use and Arlo, Phantom and Tempura (fractures fixed) are mobile again and healing nicely. Millie, transported to us from Northern CA with two badly broken legs, will never run track but has regained the use of both enough to scamper around, use her litter box with dignity and see a path out of her shell. And feral Scarlett—prolapsed butt, birth canal and mangled leg—decided she might not be feral, so there’s that.
We lost Buster, an emaciated old-timer rescued by a young couple after being dumped at a park and brought to us with liver issues. Buster spent the last best month of his life eating whenever he wanted in warm and loving comfort, but when his health took a deep yellow turn last week, his pet parents made the gut-wrenching decision to let him move on in peace. Buster was a fine cat who deserved better than to die abandoned in a park, and for the caring of others, knew love before he passed.
And then there’s Maddie, our little rickets survivor, contraband from a local prison, who has regained her mobility but can’t seem to put on weight. Nothing annoys Mama Su more than a skinny bizzie purring around her man, so she’s taken to preparing Maddie high calorie special meals to close the gap. Unable to stand on all fours when she came to us, Maddie now struts around the Main House throwing shade at the other lifers envious of her feeding regimen, “Try hiding in a prison mattress and living on scraps…then come talk to me…”
Finally, we’ve helped more than a few other medical cases (Huey, Cali, pirate sisters Camille and Claudel, etc.), survived Halloween, received updates on Kirkland alums (Squid, Oreo and others), held our first FaceTime video with pet parents and an adoptee in for minor repairs—“We do this with our parrots all the time…”—tended the horde, replaced another dryer that went FTX, dealt with flooding and power outages and took delivery of a wooden cow-shaped gumball machine from my octogenarian dad who modified it to look like a cat…sort of. Despite this sharp contrast to her mom’s above-mentioned benevolence and clear confirmation of deep-rooted deficiencies in my DNA, Mama Su continues to over-estimate my real-world yank. The other night she called me at work from the massage chair, suddenly silent and plunged into darkness by a thunderstorm, “Can you call PG&E and tell them to turn the power back on?” Ah, if only it were that easy…
As always, thank you to our generous donors, our accomodating friends at Palm Bluff Veterinary Hospital, our amazing fosters and transporters, our dedicated staff and the dozens of other overwhelmed, underfunded rescuers desperate to do what others won't.
Sir Charles, Sabre, Stevie, Phantom, Arlo, Tempura, Millie, Buster (RIP), Maddie, Huey, Cali, Rocky, Harry, massage chairs, gumball machines shaped like cows and other important stuff.