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Thursday, August 25, 2016

10th Blogoversary

THE BIG THING HERE:  Well, we have finally reached it...  Today represents our 10th year of blogging.

It wasn't a specific goal.  When we started 10 years ago with Skeeter and LC they were already 14 and 13 respectively.  They knew all about doors, windows, fences,  and stuff, but had never had to try to put them in words before.  It was interesting to discover how they thought about those things.

They didn't really know much about me either.  I learned that they referred to me as "The Big Thing" and weren't sure what kind of animal I was since they never met many others except Vets, repairmen, and a few friends and family.  In fact, they were amazed I ever met any of my family, since they hadn't seen any of theirs since they were small kittens.

Bein words came hard to them at first, and in fact, I mostly had to interpret their general thoughts.  It was a while before they started writing more on their own, and even then, I had to do a lot of editing.  They thought I was mostly there to manage their household and do the things they couldn't, like opening food cans and cleaning litterboxes.  It seemed completely normal to them that some odd critter existed just to fulfill their needs.  If that's all one knows, why not think that? 

So I'll talk about our first blogging years with them...

Skeeter came to me in 1992 and LC in 1993.  Both from a small local pet store.  Both at Halloween.  I didn't know much about such places then.  Such places do not exist around here anymore.

I've told the stories of them before, but wish to do so again.  I went to the pet store to find a female Siamese.  No offense to gray tabby cats, but I had had them all my adult life (and loved each one greatly) but I wanted something different.  We had had 2 Siamese female cats when I was young and I wanted one myself.  The pet store was being renovated.  There was horrible dust and noise everywhere!

There was only one kitten in the place.  Terrified by the noise and dust, trembling alone in its (rather decently spacious) cage.  I took one look at him in his misery and said "Kitten, I'm getting you OUT of here NOW!

I don't know how long he had been in that cage.  I don't know how long he had been alone.  I do know that the moment I let him out of the cardboard box the sellers had put him into to send him off with me, he ran frantically out and found a cutout spot under the kitchen cabinets that let air escape from a floor vent they covered.  The space was only 6" high bit 2'x2' wide and deep.  A lot of room for a kitten hiding.

And I know he was forever terrified of trash can bags,  I made some guesses about how some kittens might have "gone away" in his experience.   But I was never sure.  I simply made certain not to "pop" any open when he was around.   He couldn't tell me why, and I couldn't ask.  To this day, I very carefully open trash bags and slowly push them into the kitchen trash bin when no cats are around. 

He stayed in there for 3 days.  He was so terrified that he pooped and peed in there and still stayed there.  I pushed bowls of food and water in there.  And then left the food bowls just a little outside the opening.  Then further out.  And I would sit there in the evening talking quietly to him.

He finally came out a bit and sniffed my fingers (which I had dipped in some food).  Eventually he came out and carefully sniffed me (the unfooded parts).  I set a hand within reach and he slowly crawled under it and I gave some gentle strokes and scritches.

His whole world turned around immediately.  He stayed out of the cabinet vent cutout, and stayed near me all day.  In fact, I couldn't get away from him!  He stayed as close to me as a starving mosquito.  And that's how he got his name.  When I was a kid, we called mosquitoes "skeeters".

So I called him "Skeeter". 

I still had Tinkerbelle at the time.  She was a bit mean.  I got her from my sister Susie after Tinkerbelle had been injured by a dog and had started to claw both her and the baby at any offense.  Tinker and I got along because I was a bit more forgiving of claws and because I learned how to give her strokes and sneak over the injured spots.

Skeeter had to adjust to Tinker...  I think he became friendly and diplomatic because of dealing with Tinker.  I was working a job that meant I left the house at 6 am every day and only returned at 6 pm.  So he had to deal with "Mean Old Tinker" all day when I was gone.

He came running to me every evening as I returned home.  He climbed up me (ouch) to get to my face.  Every critter who loves you wants to be at face level.  I indulged the climbing.  Skeeter sat on my shoulder as I prepared his food but also when I wasn't.   He wanted facetime and I gave it.  He slept under the covers with me all his years.

The following Halloween, I decided that Skeeter needed a friend since I was away half every day.  I went back to the same pet store.  It was nice and quiet then and there were 2 kittens in the front cage.  I still wanted a female Siamese but they didn't have any.  But one calico kitten was gorgeous and friendly and I said I wanted that one.  Turned out she was already sold and just being held as a wedding present for a couple who were on a honeymoon cruise.

I'm not one for delayed gratification in certain areas.  Like wanting a kitten.  The other kitten was a black and white.  And she was NOT friendly.  Any side of the cage I went to, she moved to the other.  I recognized a fiesty spirit!  I have never had any cat who didn't love me, so I wasn't worried about that.

I said "I'll take her" and between the shopowner and I, we slowly pried her claws off the cage mesh one by one until she came loose.  Into their cardboard box she went.

When released at home, she went for the same undercabinet spot Skeeter had hidden in.  I guess it is a obvious spot to a kitten.  But this time Skeeter sat there and talked to her.  Which was perfect, because she wasn't MY cat, she was Skeeter's.  I was still away most of the day after all.  I wanted Skeeter and the new one to orient to each other.

But she did need a name, and I give a lot of thought to names.  You should have seen me starting  computer quest games in the 90s where you had some group of skilled characters and they all needed names.  I spent a day deciding on names, and those games only lasted a month!

So I thought and thought.   And don't laugh that "Skeeter's Cat" came to mind.  But with the help of a special co-worker I considered that her black/white markings looked a bit like a cow's.  So I decided first on "Little Cow", but then made it just the initials, LC.

LC adored Skeeter, and Skeeter protected her from Mean Old Tinkerbelle.  Skeeter and LC became inseparable.  They napped together, they ate together, they went outside together, they played with toys together.

In 1999, Tinkerbelle was outside and didn't come back when I called her as I was leaving to go fishing with a friend.  That wasn't unusual.  She often stayed away all day off in some local places of her own.  But I never saw her again.  She was failing in health at 16 or 17.  She may have left to go find a spot to die.  All I know is that no neighbor said they saw a dead kitty on the street and I never heard a meow when I walked the streets for days and nights calling her name.  Such things happen, and I missed her.  WE got along.

Skeeter and LC didn't miss her and I can hardly blame them. They were happy together having the whole house in peace while I was away and having my attention each evening.  That went on until 2006 when I retired.  They were thrilled I was there every day and they got fed better food more often.  Well, I couldn't very well give them canned food for lunch when I wasn't there before.  My retirement in 2006 was the start of the best days of the lives.   It didn't last long enough, but those were good days..

And I am just NOW getting to the blog itself, LOL!

My last couple years at work, I had discovered a couple of cat-blogs.  I followed Max, The Psychokitty daily.  AHe was amazing to me. And another couple that sadly escape my recollection.  But one had a button that said "Start Free Blog".  After a few months of retirement, I clicked the button.  And it seemed workable.

So away we went In August 25, 2006; Me, Skeeter, and LC.  It was hard.  It was confusing.  It was tricky.  I couldn't figure out how things worked.  It was days before I learned how to allow comments and then to read them, and more before I could post a picture.    But I did eventually and it wasn't as easy back then.

Our first commentors were The Meezers (they are honored forever for that here) and Max himself announced us to the world.

Sadly, Skeeter was already 14 at that time and LC was 13.  Skeeter's last year on the blog just over a year later was hard, with accidents all around the house, eating problems, and confusion.  The Good Vet said he wasn't feeling pain, but when he started to lean against the walls to stay upright, it would be "his time".

That time came December 10, 2008, only 2 years into his blogging time.  He left for The Bridge after the sedative shot looking peacefully into my eyes as I wept while holding him.

LC went suddenly at home 13 months later from some sort of stroke.  I found her in the basement and rushed her to the vet.  She seems to have roused briefly there but was gone before I could arrive back.

They are both buried in the flowerbed, with markers.

Thus ended the story of Skeeter and LC, the reasons I started the blog...

But before Skeeter left, I had found the Siamese female I had originally looked for.  And she was perfect for me.  Unwanted by the breeder because she was too small to breed, I offered a good home because I wasn't interested in breeding.  She nearly GAVE her to me.  I named her "Ayla" after a character in a book and I had been saving that name for 20 years.

Skeeter loved Ayla when she first arrived as he had LC years before.  He was a wonderful caring cat.  But he lost track of her after he faded a few months later.  LC and Ayla were hissy.

LC missed Skeeter so very much.  She wanted her big orange brother back.  It was a week before she climbed up on my lap.  She had never done that before.  I gave her much attention, and she appreciated it.  She even came up onto the bed and slept next to me.  No one can say that cats don't miss companions or that they can't seek comfort where they haven't before a loss.  I was the 2nd choice after Skeeter and I didn't mind that a bit.

LC followed Skeeter over The Bridge in January 2010.  They were almost identical ages. of 16 and 1/2  At that time, I realized that naming the cat blog after specific cats ("Skeeter and LC") was a bad idea in the long term.  Well, it never really occurred to me that I would still be blogging by the time they left for The Bridge...  I thought for a week about a new name for the blog.  I finally came up with "Mark's Mews".

I called the breeder and got Iza just a few days later.  She was a very relaxed cat.
She came out from under the bed after just a day, and immediately attached herself to me.

Mews means variously "Meows", "a place where people live with animals", a "hideaway", and a "small street".  And the homonym "muse" because they gave me so much thought and inspiration...  So there is the cats, I live with them, we are kind of solitary, and we live on a short dead end street.  And my name is "Mark".  So "Mark's Mews"...  And it will never have to change.

So there was Ayla and Iza for a while.  But they were hissy with each other in spite of the Felliway and attention.  So, illogical as it seems, I decided I needed another orange male cat.  Skeeter had been so great at keeping peace in the house.   I looked at many animal shelter cats.

But they always came as brothers and those would have already become attached mostly to each other.  I needed a single.  With help, I found one.  The owner had been given an orange/white male cat for Christmas and discovered she was allergic to cats.  I saw the picture of the cat and fell in love.

And it wasn't easy to get him.  She said he had been promised to a family with children.  I pointed out that I was retired and could attend to him 24/7, that I bought only the best foods, that I played toys daily, that I had a yard surrounded by a fence that he couldn't get out of (which turned out to be false) and would have a wonderful time catching mice within.

She changed her mind and I went to visit her.  He had 1 toy.  He was fed cheap dry food.  She called him down from upstairs and he came right down the stairs and looked at me.  I sat down on the floor.  He crawled onto my lap and purred loudly and accepted my scritchies.

That settled things in her mind and mine.  I asked about his name and she said, "well, I named him 'Marley' but you can call him anything you want".  I turned that around in my mind for a moment (considering that I could have named him after someone in the COTCB books along with Ayla and Iza), but I decided it was a perfect name and fit him perfectly.  So Marley he was and Marley he remains!

Here he is coming out of the PTU for the first time here...

I stayed in touch with her by email for a few months telling her that he was happy and sending pictures, but she stopped replying after a while.  Well, she had to move on with her post-cat life.

So now it is Ayla, Iza, and Marley, in "Mark's Mews" and this is the 10th year completed.  And who knows what the future will bring?

Ayla, Iza, and Marley say they hope you will all come and visit today so they can swap blogging stories and stuff like that!


Megan said...

Fabulous story and well worth re-telling from time to time. Thanks for sharing it.

Congratulations on a wonderful achievement.

Sydney, Australia

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

We don't think we have ever read the whole story all in one place like this. We loved hearing it!

Iza-lambie, I will be over later to snuggle on your satiny tum. TBT has had a lot of great kitties, but NONE can best your tum!

Oh, and we has ALWAYS read your bloggy name as Mark's MUSE! We can't believe we has been wrong this whole time!!! I mean, you are all his MUSE(s), right???

Summer at said...

Happy blogoversary, and thanks for telling us about the kitties who came before.

Andrea and the Celestial Kitties said...

Happy blogoversary!!! 10 years is amazing! A great accomplishment!
I loved reading the stories of all of your kitties

Mickey's Musings said...

What a wonderful story of all the cats :)
We are so happy to help you celebrate 10 blogging years!! WOW!
All the kitties have a wonderful life with you too.
Here's to many more years.
Purrs Georgia and Julie,
Treasure and JJ

The Menagerie Mom said...

I did not know all the details of your beautiful kitties and their origin stories prior to this. I am so glad that you shared this all in one place, and in such a heartfelt way. This is just about the most perfect way to memorialize your 10th blogoversary. A huge congratulations to you on 10 YEARS blogging! That is such a huge accomplishment of which to be very, very proud. Here's to 10 and many more! Now, on with the partying!

Shari said...

Congratulations on the 10 years anniversary!

Yous all Rock!!!

Rose ~ the adult kitten

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

Happy Blogoversary. We remember Skeeter and LC well, well Socks and Scylla do. It occurs to us that we started cat blogging around the same time. Congrats on 10 years of Cat Blogging.

Brian said...

Hooray, I made it early instead of late. Happy Blogoversary from all of us. We enjoyed reading about all that has happened over the years!

Marg said...

Great story. It was great fun hearing about all the cats. Congrats on your 10th anniversary. We enjoyed all this a lot.

Cats Herd You said...

What a wonderful story! And we have to say that the head peep got really distracted by the carrier in the first photo. Her family used to have a cardboard carrier just like that for cats who came before us! That memory made her smile almost as much as your story did.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

Congratulations on 10 wonderful years! I really enjoyed reading of how you got your kitties, and they couldn't have come to a better home.
Even though we only blog 2 or 3 times a week now, I always make sure I read your posts, this being one of my favourite blogs.

Hannah and Lucy said...

What a wonderful 10 years you must have had and so loved reading about you and Ayla, Iza and Marley. Thank you for sharing all the details about their before you lives.

Katie Isabella said...

Truthfully, I loved every line here. You did a superb job f telling about the cats who came before and the ones who enrich your home and life now. It was one of the best blog experiences I have had and that is the total truth. Thanks for the story and I will always remember the back story now. By the way, the home you make for them is the best they could ever hope for, and you are their TBT who makes their world right.

The Island Cats said...

What great stories of everybuddy's beginnings...including the blog. Happy Blogovesary! 10 years is amazing!!

Dragonheart, Merlin, Devi, and Chloe said...

What wonderful stories! Happy 10th Blogoversary! That's a major accomplishment! We are glad that you blog and happy to be your blogging friends!

Shaggy and Scout said...

Congrats on your Blogoversary dear friends!

Team Tabby said...

Congratulations on 10 years with blogging, we loved hearing about the journey - the cats' and yours too Mark.

Looking forward to many more posts and happy to follow along!


Mindy, Mike and mom Nina

Gemini and Ichiro said...

Happy Blogoversary!

Catio Tales said...

Many congratulations on 10 years of blogging.

But that fades into insignificance reading what you write. TBT, we think you are one of the most cat-centred, loving humans on the planet and that is why we love your blog (we know we don't always comment) but you are always there, you are our virtual rock. You allow the cats to be who they are, and you come second (or third, or fourth) and you always do what is the best for them. We have a huge amount of respect for you and what you write, and are honoured to be able to read your story of blogging and how the Mews members- all of them - came into your life. Skeeter lives in the blog and his love for the others is always there.

Thank you so very much for your blog. Here's to the next ten or more years :)

Äiti, Punapippuri and the gang.

pilch92 said...

Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! I enjoyed reading the story of how Mark's Mews came to be and of your previous cats. I especially love the photo of Ayla, Iza and Marley all cuddled up together, you are lucky to have such a loving bunch. Here's to another 10 years!

The Florida Furkids said...

Happy Blogoversary! We didn't know the story of your blog and enjoyed reading it!! Here's to many more years of blogging!

The Florida Furkids

ZOOLATRY said...

We knew bits and pieces, but how nice to know nearly all, and have it all "put together" ... a sweet and wonderful story, so well told ... by a wonderful cat-man, about his wonderful cats of past and present.
Thank you for sharing, Mark ... you are the Best of the Best. These three kits are blessed to have found you (and I guess you, too, to have found them!) ... happy 10th ... may you all have many more good years together.
Hugs, purrs, love, Ann and your Zoolatry Friends

Jacqueline said...

Congratulations on your 10th Blogoversary!...We've always enjoyed your blog but thank you for sharing the whole story of how it all began=it was especially nice to learn more about your beloved Skeeter and LC and details about your current precious babies, Ayla, Iza and Marley...We hope you all have many more happy years of blogging together...Love and hugs, sweet friends...J, Calle, Halle, Sukki, Mommy Cat

The Whiskeratti said...

We really appreciated reading the whole story. We're very impressed with how cat centric you are, too. Thanks for sharing! And concatulations on the anniversary, too.

The Swiss Cats said...

We didn't know your whole story, and we luvluvluved reading it ! You're a pawsome cat daddy ! Concatulations on your 10th blogoversary, we wish you many many more !! Purrs

Jans Funny Farm said...

We remember Skeeter and LC and changes to the blog. Jan has always been glad our blog wasn't named after a specific cat since we have lost several members over the years. Happy Blogoversary!

Unknown said...

Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of LC and Skeeter. I'm a newcomer to your blog and blogging. I've enjoyed reading about your cat family! Here's to 10 more years!!!

Pretinha said...

Uau! 10 anos, isso é bastante tempo, Parabéns!!
Adorei conhecer essa linda história de amor,
entre você e os seus gatos.
Espero acompanha-los por muitos anos ainda.

catladymac said...

So glad to learn the "back story" ! Blessings to you and your cats, past and present (future? We never know, do we ?)


Happy 10th blogoversary!
That is fantastic. I remember LC & Skeeter and it was so wonderful to hear you speak of them again.
When I started I knew nothing either and since the blog was for Abby, it got named ManxMnews simply because Manx news was taken!
Without my Manx the blog seemed wrong,until Annabelle.
But keep on moving forward and we'll come along for the ride.

William’s Kith & Kin said...

Concats on your 10th, kids! We loved this post! If William had learned of it before, he didn't tell us, so thanks for all that history. Our mom was touched with the story of LC's deep sorrow at losing her Skeeter. It reminded Mom of how our old bro Eddie was so devastated after his sis Cowbell went to the bridge.

Just Ducky said...

Happy Blogoversary. Derby started blogging in Nov 2005 and yes, it was because of Max, The Psychokitty. We probably can all blame him.

Like you, the blog name has changed with the change in kitties, but we continue on.

Millie said...

WOW! I never heard the story of how you got Skeeter and LC. Thanks for telling. I remember Skeeter & LC very fondly. We started blogging around the same time as you, and yup, it was Max the Psychokitty that got me blogging too. Heck, it was Max that saved my life and helped me find my furrever home. I am glad that Ayla and Iza and Marley have such a terrific bein in you, TBT. Concatulations on 10 years blogging.

your pal,

Lone Star Cats said...

Happy blogoversary!

Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs said...

Happy Blogoversary!! Concatulations!!
Wow, 10 years!! Furtastic!
We've only been at it about 2 1/2 we are still in our blogging infancy, MOL!

Thanks for sharing all the tails of how your blog came into being, we did not know all the little bits. Now we do, and we sure hope to keep on with reading all about your kitty furmily for many years to come!

We love the snuggly image of your trio!! Cozy and sweet:)


Colehaus Cats said...

OMC! We absolutely LOVE your blogging story and wish you many, many, many more blogging years! Thank you for sharing your beginnings with us!

Miss Newton, Tessa, Pia, Quint, Olivia, Ruby, Zuzu, Viola, and foster Miss Itty

Louche Tabby said...

Happy (belated) Fuzziversary!