My last post was titled So Happy Together, published nearly 5 years ago. I wish I could say it was still true. Many terrible things happened in that time.
Months ago, I promised a post a day from September to January 1st. That was about 121 days of posts. I didn’t manage to do them every day, but I did post them all – eventually. For the final six, I thought I’d do one post with a theme.
A lot of my posts over the past year have had to do with Solstice and Wintermuse’s relationship. As of 12/21, Solstice has been with us for 1 year. When he came, there was hissing, puffing, and fighting. There was sleeping in separate rooms, a lot of frustration, some depression, and I thought Wintermuse would never be the same. It took months – way more than anyone ever thought – but she came back to me. It’ll never be like it was when she was an only cat, and I’ll never be able to sleep past 7 AM again, but I love little Solstice, and I am glad he came into our lives. They now have a relationship in which Solstice loves Wintermuse with all his heart, and Wintermuse tolerates him. They fight over who gets to lay with me at night, but somehow they work it out with only a little growling.
Recently, it was cold in our house, and Solstice was in the heated cat bed. Wintermuse wanted to sleep there. If the situation was reversed, Solstice would just bellyflop on Winter and fall asleep, but Wintermuse is more civilized. She licked him, and he stirred but slept on. I saw in her face the grudging realization that if she wanted, she could do what he did – just lay right on top of them, and everyone could be warm in the heated bed.
But she just couldn’t do it. She’s not made that way. Instead, she laid on the heating pad next to the bed, stuck her neck out, and pressed her cold nose into his fur. It wasn’t much, but it was the first time I’ve seen her acknowledge that he might be more than a nuisance. It meant a lot.
(These are all iPhone pics because I ran out of SLR ones. ;))
I went to France by myself for a week last year. I like to travel, and Mr. Mau doesn’t, so he stayed home to watch the cats. Mr. Mau also does not like cooking, so he ate out a lot, including this tuna sandwich. Wintermuse wanted it. She wanted it bad.
Solstic eis so cute it just kills me. The exhaustion. The bat ears. The tiny head and giant paws. Loved him then, love him now. <3
This little pouch with a shoelace tied to it was Solstice’s favorite kitten toy. It is still one of his favorites, but he developed an insatiable appetite for string so we can only play fetch with pouchie now.
He is a simple mau. He likes pillows tied to strings and a long plastic stick.
No laser pointers or chirping toys here.
We got a little robotic tank last year for Christmas that drives around based on remote control, then takes night vision photos of things. We chased the cats with it, of course. We really need to try tying a toy to the tank to see if they’ll ‘auto-play’.
You can tell I’m running out of pictures, right? 😉
There’s an episode of That 70’s Show where Eric is feeling like he is absolutely worthless compared to some new guy in school that is seducing Donna. He imagines he is on a game show called ‘FIT IN THE BOX’ because that’s his main talent. He can fit into the box.
“How DOES he do it?”
I wish I could find a clip, because Wintermuse is playing this game pretty much 24/7.
They see me rollin’.
They be hatin’.
This is Mr. Egyptian Mau, AKA Lou, with Solstice and his beloved Julie stick.
Our couch is made of a suede that leaves little imprints of our cat’s pawprints behind. So cute.
I took a break for the holidays. Sorry.
On Christmas, I went to my mother’s house as always. She has two cats: Ella and Jamie. I don’t like Ella. She was a kitten from a feral rescue, and she is fairly feral herself. She was never that clever or cute or cuddly, and she ate herself sick. Jamie, however, was special to me.
Once upon a time, when I first started dating Mr Egyptian Mau nearly 11 years ago, we were outside my old house late at night for some reason. On the road at the end of my driveway, we found a kitten. I intensely loved cats even then, but I didn’t have any. My childhood cat Krissy had recently disappeared to the great unknown after twenty years.
As a sidebar, it’s still so hard to write that. One night, Krissy wanted to come in. She knocked at my office window, not the door, and I was busy, so I didn’t get up. And we never saw her again. She probably died alone in the woods because I didn’t let her in that night. I will never forgive myself. She was also sick – thin, incontinent -, and my mother would not take her to the vet. It is not coincidental that as an adult I am very well-known at our local animal hospital, and not just because my cats have spots.
So we saw this kitten wandering outside my house, and I ran back in to get some cat food we still had. Lou thinks I also got whipped cream. I don’t remember that, but it sounds like something I would do.
We put the food down for the kitten, and it was so hungry it ate and ate until its belly bulged from the sides. It was so sweet and friendly. We pet it, and it purred, and I decided to call it James. We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, but I just thought it was appropriate. Despite how hungry James was, he had a mission. After eating, he didn’t stick around. He trotted down the street into the distance as if he had somewhere to go. I decided he had an owner and let him go.
A couple months later, my mother tells me that a sweet cat is hanging around our house. She was very friendly, and my mom started feeding her. Looking at this bigger cat, and thinking about James and his coloring, I decided they were the same. We called her Jamie. Jamie was an outdoor cat and so sweet she had multiple owners. Sometimes she hung out in my mom’s house. Sometimes she disappeared, and we thought she was with the neighbors. I was in college at this time so I didn’t see her that often.
My mother eventually moved to a new house far away. Even though she wasn’t sure who ‘owned’ Jamie, on a whim, she decided to pack her up and take her along. Jamie was still an outdoor cat, but in the new neighborhood now. I told you I didn’t like Ella; one of the reasons is that she was the dominant cat, and sometimes she would beat up Jamie as cats do. Ella was much bigger due to her over-eating, and Jamie was pretty sweet, so it was an easy fight.
I really loved Jamie, and she loved me. When I came to my mother’s house, she would materialize and roll around on the grass until I pet her. When I left, she followed me to the car. I pet her and played with her because my mom doesn’t really ‘get’ playing with cats. At the new house, Jamie was getting quite fat like Ella, as my mother feeds them ridiculous things, and I guess the new neighborhood changed her exercise habits.
10 years passed. I came down to visit for some reason – perhaps my birthday this past August – and Jamie was still overweight, but much thinner than before. My mother told me that she was throwing up a lot, probably had cancer, and was going to die. I planned to kidnap the cat to the vet while she was on vacation a few weeks later. In the meantime, since Jamie was an outdoor cat, I thought she might have a parasite or worms. I told my mom to deworm her and let me know how it went while I waited for my chance to take her to the doctor.
Both my mother and her spouse separately swore that Jamie was better. She had gained weight and was no longer vomiting. I lived an hour away so I couldn’t weigh her and verify this, but I decided it had probably been worms after all. On Thanksgiving, she looked better, but without numbers, it was hard to tell.
Then came Christmas. That evening, I saw Jamie sitting outside our front door in a patio chair. She didn’t want to come in the house, and I had a bad feeling. I gave her some washed-off pork we had for dinner. She sat up from the chair to eat, let me pet her, and then sunk back down again.
And I knew it was over.
I asked them if she was okay, and they said yes, everything was fine. And then they txted me 4 days later to say she had died overnight. She had started throwing up all her food, and by morning she was gone. I think she was waiting to see me one more time before she died.
I’m sorry, Jamie. I hope I gave you a few more months. I’m sorry I couldn’t get you to the vet. Thanks for waiting. I love you.
I often post pictures of Solstice and Wintermuse laying together with a disclaimer. “Just minutes later, she left! Just minutes later, she attacked him!” He loves her, and she loves him.. well.. less. We like to joke that she secretly think he stinks. He’s a poor bather, as I’ve shown in other pictures.
In this picture series (iPhone, taken by my husband), you can see how much she.. tolerates.. this whole laying together thing. In picture 1, above, she clearly signals her disdain.
She manages to sleep, leannnning away from Solstice. He wakes up, still blinky, to say hi to dad, the photographer.
Basically, she is sloooowly stretching her way out of his embrace. I am told that mere minutes after this final picture was taken, she oozed out completely and left.
I think she is forever a one-house-one-cat kind of girl, but she knows it makes us happy to not beat Solstice up, so she goes along with the cuddles until she can bear it no longer. She is a trooper.
Yes, Wintermuse can easily jump into our freezer. And does. I don’t like it, because I’m afraid her paws will get stuck on the cold parts, but cats will be cats. Egyptian Maus are athletic creatures.
This picture is a few years old and taken on an iPhone. I believe we call this ‘potato’ quality.
She loves me.. she loves me not.
I let her chew on my fingers because she’s not actually chewing. She is so gentle she once brought a chipmunk in and paraded it around for several minutes until we realized what she had. The critter was alive the whole time. We released it outside. Wintermuse has never bit anyone or anything except for the time she got a shot in the vet. Neither of us knew it was coming, and my hand was next to her mouth so oops, one of her teeth sunk into my finger.
Like all cats, she prefers her water either fancy or fresh, and preferably both. I think getting water dripped into your mouth qualifies as both.
You’d be forgiven if you thought this cat had stripes. In fact, you are looking at a cat who does not know how to bathe. I mentioned in previous posts how wet his tongue is and how he licks in the wrong direction sometimes. He ends up with vast patches like this. Strangely, Wintermuse NEVER does.
For the record, it dries correctly every time. I don’t know how.
This is my desk chair. I work from home, so I am in it pretty much any time I am not in bed. I have a heated cat bed next to my desk. One cat will often sleep in there, while the other stands in front of my screen to stop me from working.
If I get up, within 10 seconds, someone will be sleeping in my chair. I have watched Wintermuse wake up from sleeping in the cat bed, stretch out, ooooooze into my chair a few inches away, and continue napping. Solstice, too. If I am gone for a few hours, they will sit in my chair to wait for me, even if Lou is readily available for hugs and play-time. They love my chair.
Now, I mentioned that it only takes 10 seconds for them to steal it. The amount of time to, say, get a drink. Then I come back and want my chair back. These kitties fix me with the saddest looks, like, “I can’t sleep in the heated cat bed, and you won’t even let me sit on your warm, comfy chair?”
Of course, I shoo them away and sit back down.
Hahaha, who am I kidding. I stand or drag over a stool. So the Maus can enjoy my chair.
Solstice will love a toy deeply and intensely for hours at a time. If a toy catches his fancy, he will chew on it until it is sopping wet and in pieces. He will put it in his ‘lair’ – a special corner of the living room – to show it is his. And he will take it to his food dish with him. I like to think he says to himself, “Toy, let’s go eat together. I don’t want you to be hungry.”
This picture features the day that Solstice’s favorite toy became a stuffed rabbit of mine called Julius BunBun. BunBun is bigger than Solstice. Yet he was still carefully dragged to the food dish so that they could eat together.
Solstice has a good heart.
One of these cats is fastidious. It cleans every inch of itself every hour. It buries its litter deposits. It eats daintily, a bite at a time.
The other cat is messy. It licks its hair into spikes. It dives face-first into food. It leaves litter and toys and a wake of destruction behind it.
Which is which?
Wintermuse likes to sneak into the hallway. The hallway is an indoor spiral stair that leads down to our landing and front door. She’s not ‘outside’ when she’s in the hallway, but she can more easily get outside if someone opens the front door, so she’s not allowed in there.
Of course, tell a cat she can’t be somewhere and she wants it more. Every time I come in with the groceries on Sunday, when my hands are full, she sneaks out behind me into the hall. I try to shoo her with my foot and scare her off, but she knows I can’t grab her and usually jumps over my foot just to show she can. Sadly, she doesn’t run towards the front door in most cases – she hangs out on the stairs or runs up to the apartment above us. The girls that used to live there had a cat she would play with sometimes. I think she misses him.
And so we do this every Sunday.
Until a few weeks ago.
I came in as always, my arms full, and I tried to nudge her from the door, but she evaded me. I walked forward, thinking, “Fine.” I would normally turn to check the door behind me, this time, I did not. I regret that. A voice told me to, and I ignored it.
I dropped the bags on the floor, and then a godawful shaking noise begins behind me. Something is rattling the door into the hallway, poltergeist style. I spin around.
It takes me a minute to understand what has happened. The door closed on Wintermuse’s tail. She is not crying or mewing, only trying to drag it out. She is pulling so hard the DOOR is RATTLING. I run over and open it in a hurry.
Giant clumps of fur fall to the floor. This is not okay. I wonder if maybe I am looking at her tail itself on the hallway floor. I see now that she never really ran into the hallway. She paused outside the door when I came in with the groceries, not because she wanted to run upstairs, but because she wanted to see that I would turn and look for her.
I didn’t. And now she’s meowing in the sad way she does when she thinks we’re mad at her. With her tail free, she runs into the apartment and hides under the couch.
I am beside myself with shock and panic, so I run to the bedroom to get my husband Lou. I tell him the cat’s tail got closed in the door and she’s not okay. He bolts awake and races to the couch to try to get her to come out.
She won’t. We get treats to lure her out. She cries a little more, but she comes out to Lou. He looks at her and says, “We need to call the vet.”
I start to cry and ask how bad it is. “Her tail is drooping.”
I ring up the animal hospital and explain as best I can without crying again. They put me on hold before I even fully explain that I think her tail is broken, and I suspect they just have a protocol for ‘caller sounds teary, let them come in right away’. We drive to the vet, and Wintermuse is surprisingly fine now. She’s not crying. She’s alert. I am petting her. She doesn’t seem mad at me at all.
When we arrive at the vet and are ushered into the examination room, she does her usual. She rolls around the floor, sniffing everything, marking the room. Her tail is vibrating and erect. She seems fine. There’s no way her tail is broken, which is excellent news because you may remember the time they tried to xray her, she hid INSIDE their X-ray machine. However, now that her tail is sticking straight up and some time has passed, I can see the long strip of blood on it. We’re not out of the woods yet.
The veterinarian arrives, wraps her in a towel, and confirms that she has two long, 3-inch abrasions on her tail where she was trying to yank it out of the door. But that’s all. The tail is not broken, nor will she needs stitches or a bandage. The vet says, “I thought we’d have to do a tail amputation today, but she’ll be fine.” I feel very lucky.
We go home with some amoxicillin, which we try in vain to dispense into a chicken meatball. They ordered 75ml twice a day, which is an ungodly amount of pink goo. It’s not even in pill form! We didn’t get much in her. She was fine without, though – the tail scabbed up, then she ripped off the scab (sigh), and then for a few weeks, she had a reverse mohawk on her tail where the fur was ripped out.
For a few days, she had trouble sitting down. She would try, then stop halfway when she bent her tail wrong. It was very sad. She would sit and curl her tail around her body, realize it hurt, stand back up, curl to the other side, realize it hurt, stand back up, and somehow manage after a few tries.
I felt very bad and spoiled her with treats and cat grass for the next few days. I should have turned around to check that she was away from the door, but this might have been inevitable. She was always sneaking out. Of course, she hasn’t gone near the door since.
Solstice licks me awake every morning to make me feed him breakfast. I’ve yet to decide if this is a good or bad thing for my face. I mean, it’s like a free exfoliating chemical peel to start every single day, right? Right?
Since he ‘bathes’ me often, I can attest he has the wettest cat tongue I know of. When he bathes himself, we always know because he is DAMP. Like a towel. And his hair is in whirls and tufts like a stormy sea. What I’m trying to tell you is that this little cat is full of saliva. That’s probably why he drinks water all the time. Filling his camel humps for bathing.
He may look like he is laying but that tail should tell you he’s about to zoom off and pounce.
As I said in the post below, I created a brand new Egyptian Mau calendar for 2015, which is now available on Amazon. It has 13 pictures of Wintermuse and Solstice, with 11 being brand-new and never before seen on this blog. The calendar is all silver Maus, of course, but there’s a mix of cat and kittens. I hope you like it. My first photo shoot for this calendar was October 2013. Yes, it has literally been over a year in the making. I tried to use a mix of themed pictures – Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, etc- and clean ones on white backgrounds.
My favorite picture might be the one on the back cover. It is adorable. You’ll have to buy it to see.
I became pretty busy and fell behind on posts, sorry. On top of my normal work, I started a graduate statistics course at Stanford that was evil incarnate. I am also trying to finish up my first novel trilogy for my literary agent.
And I had to make.. drumroll.. the 2015 Egyptian Mau calendar! It is much improved from the 2013-2014 calendar with many new photos of both cats – which are not featured on this blog.
They make great gifts for Mau owners and breeders. Buying a calendar is also one way to support all the pics and stories I put up.
His face has changed so much vs the music picture.
I can literally surround her with anything, and she looks good, because of those green eyes. <3
“If my sister walks three more inches to the right, she’ll be at the perfect angle for me to jump on her head.”
Ready for anything, our little claw-fu fighter..
“And then the campers realized.. he had never had a head AT ALL!”
My, what sharp teeth you have..
Look at those giant paws. He was still a kitten.
We’re a musical household as I explained below. The guitar in the back is an all-chrome Fender resonator guitar. It is basically a giant mirror. It is Solstice’s favorite instrument. Obviously, they match.
Another shot where I just loved the light. Too bad the focus was off.
Got that bottle of champagne for my 30th birthday and never drank it. Waiting for good news, I guess.
I don’t know why her whiskers are green.
In her mind: sphinxing on silk.
In my mind: cat shedding on my curtains.
He’s still so cute, even when he’s ‘mad’. Look at that long tail! And that good ole rounded tip..
They’re really good at sleeping.
As a reminder, since there are SO MANY POSTS, don’t forget to click ‘more’ at the bottom of the page.
Just being regal. You know.
(Why are his back feet like that? He likes to lay like that all the time, like he wants to be ready to run away at any minute.)
Really just love the gold lighting on this one.
Guess he likes purple.
I love taking pics of Wintermuse because she is always striking a pose. She’s so photogenic that the only problem is when I mess up – like I did with the focus in this picture! Solstice, on the other hand.. well, he doesn’t always know where his paws are, we’ll put it that way..
If only she didn’t look so worried, it would have been an amazing shot.
Yep, silk, flowers, and pearls – that’s pretty much her jam. Wintermuse loves the finer things in life.
Our Egyptian Maus have mastered both blankets and comfort.
Even now at full size, my cats could ride around in my purse without a problem. They’re less than 8 lbs each.
Look how droopy-sad his whiskers are – I don’t know what was going through his mind. For the record, I’ve never put him in a purse – but Wintermuse actually goes into bags willingly and loves getting carried around in them.
Sometimes he has really deep thoughts, like whether eight is a number or something he does to his food every night.
I love the light in this shot.
I can tell the difference between Solstice and Wintermuse in the dark because Wintermuse has a thin, elegant tail with a point, and Solstice has a thick tail with a rounded tip like a lynx. Who do you think this picture is?
Mr. Solstice is a tiny cat, and when he eats, his belly bulges out like a little pumpkin. It’s adorable.
Just luxuriating on some plush, like any other day in our house.
Yeah, so Solstice saw this statue of Isis and was like, I better go rub my face on that and claim it as mine. In the next shot, he was chewing on her.
Good thing Egyptian gods love Egyptian cats!