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Copyright 1999-2015 by crazyforKITTIES (SM) Privacy



 

THE ZOň DIARY

By Ruth Lane Kanter

Prologue This is an account of my two-week gig as a cat-sitter with a very rambunctious, yet tender-hearted, three-year-old Abyssinian female named ZoŽ. Her Mommy is my friend Helen Ashmore, and we all live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. We were blessed with a very mild winter this year. Truly a working holiday!

Abyssinian
Zoe

Jan 13 2006: The first day of cat-sitting with ZoŽ, she was looking out the window when the hair stood up on her back. First chance she got she was outside and pounced on her prey. She didn't drag it back in the house so maybe she lost it -- or ate it.

Jan 14: Today ZoŽ hid herself in the back yard until later in the P.M. Then she slept on the bed with me. A certain level of acceptance???

Jan 15: ZoŽ hissed at me when I tried to remove her from the living room. She sat on top of the fridge, hissed some more, and tried to claw my hair when I passed by.

This was all because she did not like her dinner and was ejected from the living room when she was naughty. She doesn't see that it's her fault she's being given the bum's rush; she thinks it's my fault. She likes being in the living room with the heat from the fireplace very much.

The living room I sometimes called 'the Forbidden Room'. ZoŽ could only go in there when accompanied by a human. She loved the Forbidden Room. She could curl up before the fireplace and warm her haunches; she could sit quietly on the couch and look out the windows; or she could tear around the room and sharpen her claws on the furniture. (The last was the reason she was not allowed in there without supervision.)

Jan 16: Something should be said about ZoŽ's relationship with her food bowl. Like most cats she was finicky, but usually hunger won out in the end. Her accustomed mode of behavior when being confronted with food she did not like was to scrape her paw repeatedly beside the bowl, the way she does when she buries something disgusting in her litter box. In other words, "This food tastes like you-know-what!"

Today my offering to her was so foul, she appeared scared even to go near it. But usually she would eat the worst of it down to the last crumb eventually. Likewise today, but her meal came up faster than it went down. I resolved to feed her only food that was delicious, and not that other stuff, just because there was lots of it in the cupboard.

Jan 17: ZoŽ and I spent most of the day in front of the fireplace. Are all cats as lazy as I?

Jan 18: Today ZoŽ rolled over and let me scratch her belly.

Jan 19: ZoŽ likes to drink water straight from the tap. Today she sat by the sink, expecting me to read her mind and turn on the tap. She looks so cute lapping up the fresh water with her little pink tongue!

Jan 20: She saw another cat today! Wowie! ZoŽ was crouching at the edge of the stairs to the deck. I thought she was just calmly surveying the garden. I did not see the other cat casually approach her. Perhaps he did not see ZoŽ, nor smell her, or perhaps he was trying to make friends. But he was sadly mistaken. ZoŽ leapt on him with a scream that would have made a Banshee proud. The intruder was promptly chased from ZoŽ's territory. I went to get her from the back alley when it was all over-nary a scratch on her. I don't know about the other guy.

On the way back to the house, ZoŽ hissed at me a couple of times. I don't think she had any hostility toward me, just great distress in general. She really doesn't enjoy these inter-cat altercations.

Once in the house she went straight to her bowl and wolfed down an enormous quantity of cat food. Combat must get her digestive juices going. Then she exhibited some very strange behaviour. Her head gyrated in a jerky, uncoordinated manner, she bit at her paws, and her tail was bent into a zigzag. I suspected epilepsy, but she did not lose consciousness.

Jan 21: I stroked ZoŽ lavishly today, as many other times, and told her how pretty she was. I think she is starting to appreciate that I mean her no harm. She certainly basked in the attention.

Jan 22: Last night I made a big boo-boo. About six o'clock in the p.m. ZoŽ and I fell asleep in the Forbidden Room -- with the gas fireplace on. The doors were closed so the room got hotter and hotter. I awoke at three in the morning with ZoŽ standing on my chest. The room was stifling and strangely perfumed. I figured out later that the scented candles Helen kept in the room had softened enough to give off their fragrance. But oh my God! Helen's gas bill!

Today I was keeping ZoŽ out of the living room for a while after my fiasco with the fireplace. The amazing creature! She swung her head quite deliberately, unmistakably gesturing to the door of the Forbidden Room. She wanted to be let in. The only difference between her and chimpanzees that use American Sign Language was her paws were made the wrong way for it.

Jan 23: The day she caught a bird, I was afraid I would have to dispose of the poor half dead thing. I had heard of ZoŽ's prowess as a hunter. The bush was full of birds that day. She didn't sneak up on them; she just calmly walked beside the bush and leapt up at them to catch one on the wing (rather like a dog with a Frisbee). Or perhaps the bird just flew into her mouth. When she brought it back on the porch it was wedged head-first between her jaws. She was headed for the back door. The bird's feet were working the air.

"No you don't!" I said, "Anything you catch, you have to kill and eat outside." ZoŽ put down the bird on the porch, the better to take a good look at it -- and it flew away! Good thing I had kept it out of the house. Can you imagine it flying around in here, crashing into windows and spreading blood all over the place? ZoŽ went to her food bowl and once again pigged out.

Jan 24: Today, for fun, I put a dab of butter on ZoŽ's nose just to see what she would do. Well, she licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, and then she licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked, licked some more. In fact it took a full two hours before she licked herself completely clean, glaring at me all the time.

I could do nothing but abjectly apologize to her, and she received my apologies graciously and with great dignity. The thought crossed my mind: "Why doesn't she ever apologize to me?" This was my last day with her.

Jan 31 Epilogue

I visited ZoŽ a week after her Mommy Helen came home. ZoŽ seemed wary of me, but Helen affirmed that the little cat remembered me. Yes! She wanted to play. She hid under the sideboard and trembled her ears at me, pretending she was afraid. After I teased her with my foot, she skewered my toe with one of her claws. I hollered in mock pain much to her delight. Then she wanted me to throw her toy mouse around so she could pounce on it. Yes! Yes! ZoŽ is my friend!