The New Kid on the Block

Meet Shelton Rae - tangledpasta.net

Meet Shelton Rae – tangledpasta.net

 

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

This summer we had a most charming guest.  His striking color, light green eyes, and friendly demeanor won us over.  Most importantly, he connected from the outset with my daughter Anjelica.  She had sought a feline who relished being held, one who was older, yet playful.  She searched the local Humane Society and other independently operated shelters. Within two months, she found a perfect match.

Anjelica named him Shelton Rae.  One of our favorite books is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt [We also like the Clint Eastwood film version of the story].  Savannah, Georgia, the setting of the novel, is one of our favorite places on the planet.  “Shelton” happens to be the name of Jim Williams’ cat in the Southern Gothic tale.  Shelton’s middle name “Rae” invokes the gentle rhythm of a gentle Southern lilt when intoned:  Shelton Rae.

Our veterinarian informed her that this longhaired, two-and-a-half-year-old ball of orangeness has a double-coat of fur.  Even the white pom-pom of fur on the tip of his tail is thick and fluffy.  His luxurious coat of dark orange necessitated the purchase of a particular kind of comb to fluff him up, thus avoiding tangles.  Shelton demonstrated he his affinity for being coiffed by purring loudly.

Water faucet stand off - tangled pasta.net

A blurry water faucet stand-off – tangled pasta.net

The only two in our household he failed to entirely win over this summer were Fellini and Coco Chanel.  Fellini has reigned as Lord of the Manor for 11 years; and his triangle-shaped nose was out of joint at the inclusion of this orange upstart in his family circle.  Coco Chanel growled and spent a fair amount of time hissing at Shelton’s playful overtures.  What she could not abide was Shelton’s affinity for bathroom faucet water.  The bathroom faucet was her domain.  Each time I set foot in the bathroom, she and Shelton queued up to imbibe.  It made washing my face and brushing my teeth acrobatic feats.  After two weeks of circling Shelton Rae like a chuck wagon, a sort of feline détente had been achieved.  He and Coco Chanel romped throughout the house, chasing one another up and down the stairs.  Shelton and Fellini engaged in a cat version of Greco-Roman wrestling.  Three furry faces greeted me each morning in the kitchen for their Fancy Feast breakfast. A kind of cat peace reigned with three different decibel levels of purring.

Shelton and Fellini, a wary window truce - tangledpasta.net

Shelton and Fellini, a wary window truce – tangledpasta.net

Finally, Anjelica placed Shelton in his soft-sided, polar-fleece lined carrier, and moved him, herself, and her Beta fish Poseidon to her new town.  The three of them drove off to Law School.  It is to Shelton’s credit that never once did he draw his claws, except for a pawdicure on his 16-pound scratching post.  As a houseguest, Shelton Rae embodied the finest of Southern gentleman-like cat behavior.

Ciao for now.

 

Le Chat Bleu

Coco Chanel resting - tangledpasta.net

Coco Chanel resting – tangledpasta.net

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

I love Saturday mornings.   My bed’s mattress is plush, like a floating cloud.  My pillows are delightfully firm and are covered with Italian linen pillowcases, very enticing for a summer night’s sleep, which is why on this particular Saturday morning I didn’t appreciate Coco Chanel the Cat strolling up my side, which caused me to roll over on my back, thereby enabling her to plant herself squarely in front of my face. I blinked and saw her green eyes peering back at me.

“Chanel, go play with your Plaid Mouse toy,” I pleaded.

Suddenly I started: I thought I was dreaming:  Her paws were bright blue.

I nearly fell out of bed in my haste to scrutinize those formerly white paws.  I hightailed it into the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, the study, the sunroom, to no avail.  There was no spillage of blue anything, anywhere.  Upon reaching the dining room, I skidded to a halt.  The day before, my daughter decided to pull out her paints and canvases.  Beyond the artist’s easel that held a large unfinished canvas of several years ago, lay a newly painted blue canvas with two paw prints on it.  I picked up Coco Chanel, studied the paw prints and realized that she must have strolled across the canvas in the wee hours of the morning.  True to her catness, Coco Chanel, had manifested intense interest in t brush strokes as Anjelica painted, but the cat had backed away from the paint itself.

Coco Chanel must have overcome her reservations of the paint sometime before 8:24 a.m., the time she bounded up on my sleeping self.  When Anjelica checked her white bedspread, she found little blue paw prints in patterns across the bed.  The painted paws must have dried prior to leaping on my bed.

Blue-footed Coco Chanel - tangledpasta.net

Blue-footed Coco Chanel – tangledpasta.net

Frantic to remove the paint from Chanel’s paws, I was uncertain whether or not the cat had ingested paint.  It turned out to be a non-toxic, water-based oil paint, but was it toxic for cats?  We tried sticking her paws in tepid water and then rubbing them with a clean, soft washcloth to no avail.  I phoned the local Vet Emergency Clinic, which referred me to the APCA Animal Poison Control at 888-548-2423.  This outfit maintains a huge database of information on toxins.  The individual at Animal Poison Control asked me multiple questions, and then had read information on the Grumbacher MAX 2 Thalo Blue tube of paint.

Here is what we had to do:

1.  Pay the $65 Consultation Fee.

2.  Rub either vegetable oil or butter on her blue paws to loosen the paint.  Coco Chanel is a Julia Child disciple in that she is always angling to eat butter.  We used butter.

3.  Wipe off the butter.

4.  Spread Palmolive Dish Soap on the blue paws.

5.  Rinse the paws to remove the Palmolive soap.

6.  Dry the paws.

7.  Clip any remaining blue painted fur from her paws.

8.  If the cat drools, vomits, or refuses food over the next two hours, take her to the Vet Emergency Clinic immediately with the Animal Poison Control Case Number.  No further charges would be incurred for further consultation with Poison Control for this case.

Here are the results of said advice:

1.  We thanked our lucky stars our seven-pound cat didn’t have her front claws             because to say she was resistant to our efforts would be a gross understatement.

2.  Anjelica and I were covered in butter, Palmolive soap, and black and white             cat fur. Cats release fur when stressed.

3.  The cat did not drool, vomit, or refuse food; however, for some hours she did refute our attempts to pet her or be anywhere near her.

4.  We opted not to further stress the cat or ourselves by clipping the long fur on her feet.

5.  Anjelica plans to frame the canvas of Coco Chanel’s paw prints.

6.  Coco Chanel’s paws are now light blue.

The remains of the paint will ultimately vanish from Coco Chanel's paws - tangledpasta.net

The remains of the paint will ultimately vanish from Coco Chanel’s paws – tangledpasta.net

Ciao for now.

 

 

August All Too Soon

Long after the promise of spring in April, past the joy of lovely May, after the crackling heat of July, August now surges on.  The euphoria of having my college daughter home for the summer has dwindled to surveying the landscape of clothes left, discarded shoes, and bits and bobs.  I mentally prepared to bid her adieu last week as she packed up her car and returned to the campus heady with the knowledge that a baccalaureate degree will be hers come May 2013.

Chanel, Bellagio, Las Vegas – tangledpasta.net

Mornings now begin without the creaking of the upstairs floor as she rustled around in preparation to start the day.  Only the meows and aeiuoosof Coco Chanel and Fellini awaken me these days as they rouse me out of my somnambulist state.  I am not fooled:  this indoor feline duo wants their Fancy Feast breakfast and large ceramic bowl of fresh water immediately.  Theirs is a well-ordered life.  Mine, however, seems less so.

Coco Chanel and Fellini – tangledpasta.net

The adjustments made to life minus the daily happy turmoil of dynamic family life have lulled into another sort of rhythm – one that moves forward in quieter, subtler ways.

I do not shed the waterfall of tears like I did her first semester of college away from home.  Valiantly I attempted to hold myself together until the last kisses and hugs had been given and received.  Bravely I smiled and waved as she disappeared down a dorm hallway to a meeting with a throng of other freshman college students.  I climbed into my car, pulled out of the parking space, managed to signal a left turn at the first traffic light, and dissolved into a sniveling heap of psychic decay.

Lake Michigan – tangledpasta.net

Now I take heart in the fact that my child is thriving in college, excelling academically, and reveling in sorority life and friendships.  As she dives headlong into life, I am buoyed by the fact that I am blessed by the sheer joy and pleasure of the fruits of motherhood.

Ciao for now.