My Cat’s A Killing Machine and I like It

TiggerWindow

Can’t wait to get outside.

I was half-way watching the national news the other day when the anchorman mentioned cats and really got my attention. A study conducted by scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States, our indoor/outdoor precious pets and outdoor strays and ferals, kill around 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, making cats one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation.

This was very sobering because even though Tigger tried to bring a bird’s carcass in the house once, I’d assumed it was already dead. My precious Tigger would never kill a bird in cold blood he had no intention of eating. In hindsight Tigger rather blatantly flaunted several kills, leaving uneaten corpses right in front of the door. Of course that study snatched me right out of the state of denial I’d been living and drove home the harsh reality that those many times Tigger bit and scratched me, he could’ve inflicted much more damage.

That the spoiled, cantankerous Tigger is a killing machine has added a whole new dimension to our relationship. Maybe he sensed the gig was up. That there was no longer a need to sheath his instinct because he and I had a near physical fight a couple of days later. So I can personally attest to at least one cat’s ferociousness.

He was peeved because I refused to give him more of his favorite snack. Lower sodium honey roasted turkey. I’d quit giving it to him at one point, but started back after Zoey died, figuring why the hell not. Now he’s like a crack head always wanting to hit the pipe and I’m the dealer. I attempted to bribe him with firm strokes down his back and a good scratch beneath his chin.

He seemed to be chilling which made me relax because that baritone meow of his puts me in suspended animation to the point all I can think is how do I get him to stop. I took my eyes off of him for just a second to check the time and he hauled off and bit me on the hand. I rapped him on the forehead. His ears went back, his eyes got manic, the fangs came out and he struck at me with a paw. I jumped up and damned if he didn’t look ready to pounce. Picture a cat pinned to my chest and me trying to pry him off. My heart was pounding like a runaway stallion and adrenalin was prompting my feet to lash out. Good thing we came to our senses and backed down.

Now some of you may find this strange. But knowing my cat could be a vicious killer actually makes me feel better. Knowing that cats with no home wandering the wild won’t starve because they are natural born hunters definitely takes a load off. Maybe my love for cats is blinding. I see the birds and mammals as collateral damage. It’s survival of the fittest and if my Tigger ended up outside having to fend for himself, I sure as hell want him to be the fittest.

Thanks to that report, the scratches on my wrists and arms and the corpses I’ve seen with my own eyes, I now know that Tigger can take care of himself if he had to. I know the last thing environmentalists want to see are more cats roaming all over the place, especially feral ones. In a perfect world all cats would have homes and be kept perpetually indoors. But we all know this world is far from perfect.

Speaking of which, Tigger was outside the other night when a dog barking its head off made me open the door. There he was tail all bushed out. I didn’t see a dog but had to keep hissing at him to get him to stand down and come in. It took a while for his tail to morph back to normal size. Sensing I was proud of him he strutted around showing off.

Domesticating cats thank goodness hasn’t neutralized their natural instinct. Hunting is what cats do and I for one like knowing my cat wouldn’t starve if God forbid, he ended up in the wild.

SEX, THE STILL TABOO SUBJECT

Dr. Oz sent all the kiddies out the room. Why? He’s gearing up to talk about sex, porn in particular. I cast sporadic glances toward the TV, but hear nothing that would’ve scarred a child for life. What is it with Americans and sex? Sex is a dirty word that can only be whispered about. If you are unmarried and female and having it, you are considered loose. There are those of us who tell maturing children their hands will fall off if they touch themselves in a particular area. When children reach an acceptable age, they’re told about birds and bees instead of sex.

Some of us aren’t even given the birds and bees scenario. Mama just told me to keep my dress down and my legs closed. She told me that many times perhaps to make up for the real conversation we never had. If not for giggling cousins telling me about ‘doing it’ in the ripped up back seat of an old broken down car, and ‘accidently’ stumbling across a couple of my older brothers’ magazines, my youth would’ve been spent wandering in a wilderness of sexual ignorance.

Judging from Dr. Oz and many others, things haven’t changed much when it comes to sex and nudity. Draping the Spirit of Justice statue during Attorney General Ashcroft’s tenure still makes me shake my head. Seeing the AG photographed one time too many in front of the statue with gasp, an exposed breast was more than the public could bear. Prior to Ashcroft drapes were rented. With 911 maybe Ashcroft made more speeches than usual in front of her, prompting the decision to buy the drapes outright to conceal the statute’s naughty part. This would imply Americans have a problem with not only sex, but nudity too.

Depiction of graphic violence from my periscope is more acceptable than nudity. A female ghost’s nipples were blurred on network television as in the case of the movie ‘Thirteen Ghosts’, but a guy getting split in half was no problem. And Janet Jackson – who must’ve thought she was in some European country – half-second wardrobe malfunction set off such a nipplegate of outrage during Superbowl XXXVlll, CBS was slapped with an indecency fine and JJ ended up issuing a publicly aired apology.

While swiftly doling out punishment to those perceived to be leading America farther down the road of moral decline, box office movies, television shows and video games grew ever more violent. Apparently, promoting a culture of violence is fine, until there’s an attempt to legislate gun control and suddenly blood-drenched movies and video games glorifying guns become a convenient scapegoat to thwart gun control.

Then there’s E. L. James ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. I haven’t read it but have heard enough to make me wonder if the sexual content is what’s driving the book’s success. Finally, people can talk about IT. If a young, naïve girl introduced to BDSM by a handsome rich guy makes for profound conversation about tabooish sex, more power to the book. Unless something drastic happens there will be a FSOG movie.

An article about what the rating should be, doubted the movie would enjoy box office success. The assumption being, the average movie-goer would be too embarrassed to watch such eroticism sitting next to a stranger. Maybe the author was seeing him or herself hunkered down in a dark theater next to some unknown. Me, I envision maybe a group of girlfriends together, chowing down on popcorn and not worrying about strangers.

Newsflash, if those children banned from listening to adults talk about porn have access to computers or other electronic devices, chances are they’re way ahead of you in that arena. Imagine your child being taught about sex from rated XXX free porn clips. During this internet age, it’s more important than ever to talk to children about sex. Let them know the human body is not shameful and sex between consenting adults happen. If you send them out of the room, they will enter another and experience only the loveless sordid side of a natural and beautiful segment of human nature.

A Beautiful Cat’s Tale

TiggerZoeyOnbed

Tigger (l) and the late Zoey (r)

I am a cat lover and every now again run across a jewel of a tale about cats. Recently I stumbled across a story in The Huffington Post that reaffirmed what I’ve felt all along. Cats are mystical beings bequeathed by the universe and once you’re aligned with the right cat or cats truly magical things are brought to bear. This I know firsthand because as I lay dying last year my cats were with me.

There I was on my bed and they jumped up to join me. After rubbing them a bit, Tigger, the big tabby sniffed at me and ran off. Zoey, my fat fluffy grrrl who loved me to her last breath, ran off too. It was the salve I’d stupidly put on my shoulder blade, thinking it would rid me of the monstrous abscess. The golf ball size thing had released toxins into my blood stream that was killing me. It had been killing me for several days.

Still I talked to Tigger and Zoey in my best Doc Holiday voice from the movie Tombstone. “Get on then you mangy cats,” I heard myself say. “Nothing but fair weather friends the both of ya,” I muttered and giggled or at least I think so. Had I not known better, I would’ve sworn the rum cake I’d consumed earlier had made me tipsy.

Of course all of it was a dream. My room door was shut that morning. The cats as they normally do were probably meowing and scratching to get in. My son, who’d found me clinging to life, had knocked on that closed door. I woke up from a four-day coma and was in the hospital two weeks. If I’d not carried on with the cats in my dream, I’m convinced I would not be here today.

So when I ran across the story about Toldo, the cat, it sent delicious chills down my spine. After I wiped away the tears, I commented on the article and this is what I said:

“I foolishly thought I’d rescued my cats until I later found out they were the ones who’d rescued me. Cats have very addictive personalities and don’t go into anything lightly. Toldo will continue to honor the grave of his acolyte until he can no longer do so or until he decides to quit on his own. Cats are beautiful mystical beings and should be treated accordingly.”

Anyone who loves cats and has had a near death experience may find the story especially endearing. It touched my heart and in case you’ve not read it, I’ve included it here for your entertainment pleasure.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/loyal-italian-cat-todo-br_n_2406479.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Dare To Fly A Little Closer to The Sun

I not only find Seth Godin’s “fly closer to the sun” an apt metaphor, I find it very inspirational. Sometime in order to stand out you need to fly a little closer to the sun.

-OR-

As some would say, do you .

And Here We’d Been Taught Icarus Had Done A Bad Thing

In Greek Mythology we were taught to view Icarus as this tragic character who grew too cocky and ultimately that cockiness caused him his life. But maybe like the Hellenic Air Force Academy, named after Icarus, he should rather be seen as the mythical pioneer in Greece’s attempt to conquer the skies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenic_Air_Force_Academy,

 

No Country for Young Black Men

Jordan_Davis

Another one gone too soon.

I’m not ashamed to say I live on The Huffington Post. It is there I satisfy my addiction for nearly everything newsy. So when I first ran across yet another story about the shooting of an African American teenager, who for all intent and purpose was minding his own business, it hurt to the core. Once I was over the hurt the anger rolled in like a thick swirling fog, obscuring my thoughts to the point I couldn’t form a coherent sentence in order to comment.

So incensed was I it took nearly an hour to respond to the first article. The article was accompanied by a video with the perpetrator’s daughter and lawyer’s take on the situation. My response was as follow: “Now that bullying has been brought to the forefront of our national consciousness, the deliberate killing of African American boys by grown men who then turn around and invoke this insane ‘stand your ground’ law must gain equal if not more traction in the media. Two young men killed while doing nothing more than minding their own business is two too many. This growing trend must be nipped in the bud before more black teens are gunned down for simply existing by ‘nice’ white men. A foundation is a good start but more must be done before young AA boys end up on the endangered species list.”

Another commenter, describing himself as a young black male, opined there was no greater country in the world in which a black man could enrich himself. He went on to say he’d been discriminated against many times. Black folk, he suggested, should suck it up and not use the incidence as another stumbling block toward personal success. He was responding to another article, this one by Melissa Harris-Perry in which she suggested this country is no place for young black men.

Melissa cited Emmett Till’s death back in the 1950s to make the point that over the passage of American history nothing much has changed: “No presumption of innocence for young black men, no benefit of the doubt. Guilt not determined by what they did or said but presumed to be inherent in their very being. They need not wield a weapon to pose a threat because if you are a young black man, you are threat enough.”

Someone commented the boys should’ve just turned their music down instead of ‘lipping off’. Then went on to say boys like that tend to ‘lip off’ especially when a bunch of them are together. Now these boys were at a gas station minding their own business when the perpetrator drove up and insisted they turn their music down. Allegedly words were exchanged and then the shooting started.

Jordan Russell Davis, who was sitting in the back seat, was shot and killed. Even if the kids had “lipped off” should they’ve been shot dead for it? If that’s the case, many teenagers of all races and economic backgrounds are as good as dead. I mean just think about it for a moment. Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin could’ve been your son, grandson, nephew, cousin, etc. One hanging out listening to music, the other headed home with an iced-t drink and skittles, both minding his own business.

I called on Socrates, who drank his own death and never wrote a damn thing down, when I commented on Melissa’s story: “I remember a time when unruly skateboarders downtown and around businesses used to be a real problem. However, instead of opening fire on these mostly white youth, some cities opened parks specifically for skaters. I believe skateboarding is now considered an Olympic sport. Replace the white youth with black and God only knows how many would’ve ended up in jail or worst. Just one example of youthful indiscretion and tolerance applied to one race while yet another is subjected to intolerance and labeled thugs. By the way loud music isn’t restricted to young black boys. It’s doubtful the tolerance will be there when fools with guns start killing suburban white children. IMHO Melissa is spot on in her assessment.”

The lives of these teenagers unnecessarily cut short, leaving behind grief-stricken parents who never saw it coming. Parents asking why and praying that there is justice for their sons. All the while these two cowards with a gun are attempting to hide behind Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. A law already proven to make no sense and would offer cover to the likes of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn if it is to be allowed if and when the cases are prosecuted.

As I pondered the fate of young black men in this country and wrung my hands in frustration over their seeming plight, the letter below appeared in my inbox:

Dear Mary,

It happened again.  Last week, an unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed in Florida by a person claiming self-defense because he “felt threatened.”

Seventeen-year-old Jordan Russell Davis and three of his friends were listening to music in their car parked outside a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida.  Michael Dunn pulled up next to them and asked the group of teens to turn down the music.

We don’t know exactly what happened next.  A confrontation ensued, and 45-year-old Dunn allegedly took out a gun and shot eight or nine times into the teenagers’ car.  Dunn’s attorney has claimed that the teenagers had a shotgun in the car, but Jacksonville police said no weapon was found in the car.

What we do know is that Jordan was shot and killed.

And we know that Dunn, who was arrested and charged with murder, has pled not guilty on the grounds that he acted in justifiable self-defense as defined by Florida’s controversial “Shoot First” law.

Everyday arguments should not turn into armed conflicts in which teenagers are killed — and for which killers can go unpunished.  Tell the Florida Legislature that the Shoot First law must be repealed or substantially reformed.

As Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said, Jordan’s friends admitted their music was loud, “but, I mean that’s not a reason for someone to open fire on them.”

Jordan was killed less than two weeks after the Florida Governor’s Task Force reviewing the state’s Shoot First law issued its report to the legislature.  The Task Force ignored the dangerous effects of the law and recommended only minor changes to the statute.

If we let the Task Force’s recommendations stand as the final word, we’ll only see more senseless violence and more innocent teenagers shot to death.

Tell Florida legislators to make real reforms to the Shoot First law that will prevent needless deaths.

Let’s act now and make sure no one can use this dangerous law to escape responsibility for gunning people down.

Sincerely,

Ginny Simmons

Director, Second Chance Campaign

How Becoming a HuffPost Commenter Boosted This Writer’s Self-Confidence

One commentary coming right up.

Commenting about issues and hoping to make a difference, is truly empowering. Instead of reading trolls ridiculous mudslinging on CNN.com, USAToday.com, and several others, I became a power commenter, thanks to The Huffington Post. The moderators can keep you pending but that’s a small price to pay to avoid crossing the troll bridge.

A lack of confidence kept me from engaging right away. Who, I wondered, would give a damn about what I had to say. Then I had an epiphany.  Maybe they wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say, but maybe they would Mary_Catter.  The name’s a play on Alice Adventures in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter. Then I made Tigger’s looking out the window image my avatar, and thus Mary_Catter stepped through The Looking-Glass.

For a long stretch there wasn’t much I wanted to comment about. Then I read a real infuriating article. It was about Todd Aiken’s interview in which he stated if a woman was legitimately raped her body could shut that whole thing down to avoid getting pregnant. That such a Neanderthal zealot could end up in the senate forced Mary_Catter into a passive-aggressive battle.

I marched a battalion of words across the rectangular box reserved for them. The comment was brief but heartfelt. Even if only one person liked it I would still consider it time well spent. So I sent my message to the cyberverse battlefield and returned to my manuscript. Surprisingly, the words flowed like lava. It seemed the mere act of commenting exploded the writing muse inside of me.

Hours later when I returned to Huffington Post lo and behold several notifications awaited me. I clicked on the word notification. To my relief and surprise, they were favs, one F&F and a reply gushing about how she loved the imagery. Of course I thanked them by fanning them and that dear friends felt really great.

I quickly grew drunk with power and found myself commenting with mad aplomb. I’d encountered like-minded individuals, mostly political junkies like myself and I was thrilled I tell you, absolutely Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch thrilled. Finally I had validation that people, complete strangers, liked what I had to say.

One guy, at least according to the picture, suggested I post more. So I did, mostly comments about political happenings.

Commenting on The Huffington Post news website was just the confidence booster I needed. It’s like toastmasters for those afraid to put their thoughts out there. Along with this blog, Huffpost is now my designated hangout when I’m taking a break from my manuscripts.  If Mary_Catter reads something that elicits a response, she will put her mad paws to the keyboard and bombard you with her words.

Parents Save Your Children From Honey Boo Boo and Type 2 Diabetes

The other day as I watched Honey Boo Boo slurp down spaghetti and eat cupcakes on some show or other I nearly threw the remote at the tv. Not just because I hate seeing a child exploited to satisfy our insatiable desire for train wreck entertainment, but also because Honey Boo Boo and Mama June are both overweight. It’s embarrassingly obvious The Learning Channel’s (TLC) latest breakout hit show’s popularity stem mostly from mother and daughter physical attribute.

It was pointed out the two were at a fancy restaurant. After the meal, perhaps before too, I didn’t see the whole thing, Alana signed autographs for other little kids who apparently look up to her. I don’t have a problem with Honey Boo Boo being a role model. What I hate is obviously no one cares about the child’s diet. The mother admits to giving her “Go Go Juice”, a potent elixir of Red Bull and Mountain Dew that supposedly contains as much caffeine as two cups of coffee, to get her pumped up for pageants.

Normally I’m of the opinion parents should be their children’s role model. However, speaking from the perspective of a Type 2 Diabetic, and knowing that childhood obesity is fast becoming an epidemic in these United States of America, TLC’s offering of Honey Boo Boo only perpetuates the problem.

It is a highly recognized fact that obesity is linked to Type 2 Diabetes, hence the reason it’s often referred to as ‘adult on-set diabetes’. People tend to exercise less as they grow older. The weight gain and other mitigating factors eventually cause the chronic disease to manifest later in life. Believe me I know from whence I speak.

Now days due to a high carb high fat content diet, often accompanied by a sugary beverage, and plain old lack of exercise, Type 2 Diabetes has become more prevalent in children. Type 1 Diabetes, something a child could be born with is one thing, Type 2, is a totally avoidable boo boo.

To make matters worse, recent studies are finding the disease is much harder to treat in children. Often their bodies quit responding to oral medication. Then if it hasn’t already, the big gun, insulin, enters the scene. Make no mistake, diabetes is chronic and must be managed. Type 2 diabetics of the mind they only had a ‘lil taste of sugar’ have suffered the consequences of their naïveté.

Health issues ranging from heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage, amputations, high blood pressure and kidney failure have schooled many a naïve diabetic the hard way. The longer a person has the disease, the greater the risk. So theoretically, people who develop diabetes as children may suffer its complications much earlier in life than previous generations who became diabetic as adults. The thought of children suffering such ailments earlier in life is sobering indeed.

A lot of folks are of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ school of thought when it comes to diabetes. Not me. Knowledge is power. If someone had sat me down and had given me the cold, hard facts, I would’ve fought harder to avoid getting diabetes in the first place. As disease goes, diabetes is chronic – I know chronic sounds so doomsdayish – but diabetes is controllable.

While Honey Boo Boo chugs ‘go-go juice’, sucks down garbs of spaghetti, and eats cupcakes, parents realize you and not TLC must be a positive guiding force for your children. Type 2 diabetes in children is an avoidable boo boo. Encourage children to eat healthy foods, get plenty of physical activity and maintain a healthy weight.