Macaren and Bodhi T
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 17:03

Maggie YawnsI don't blog about my cats enough. For as often as I squish them with hugs and kisses and ear scratches, enough hasn't been said about my fantastic furry friends and the sweetness they bring my life.

I was never a 'cat person.' That's probably because we only had dogs growing up and I had never been around cats. I love all creatures, so if I would have had a cat as a youngster, I would have known just how much of a cat person I am.



Popie and MaggieMaggie on a leashMaggie on her leash looking up

We got Maggie in 2004. She was just 6 months old when she came to us as a Christmas present. She's the prettiest, smartest cat I've ever met. She's a cat in every sense of the word. She's a terrific mouser, terrified of only 1 thing (vacuums) and will come running from the deepest part of the woods for a piece of deli turkey.  Though she's a free-roaming feline now, indoors and out, she was leash trained as a kitten and stayed on her leash whenever outdoors until the summer of 2008. In her own way, she let me know she was ready to be outside by herself, so I let her go, and I had never seen her more content. Maggie is a free spirit, and moving to an old farm was the best thing we ever did, she thinks.

Maggie running along the fenceMy snow lionI'm Free, thanks Mom!

Maggie listens to "no" almost always on the first command, and loves to be anywhere I am. She's my girl. The Earthy Cowboy taught her to jump high and catch soft toys in her mouth. He also trained her so that he can flip her in mid air and she lands on her feet, tail swaying, ready for more somersaults. She also knows that in order to get that piece of turkey, she must sit up on her hind legs and stretch for it, no paws.

Maggie sleepingMaggie in desk cubbyUp close sleeping girl

Sometime during the first year of her life with us, I began calling her "Macarena" as in "Heyyy, Macarena!" - you know, that song they play at weddings and everyone, including your Great Aunt Betty, knows the song and the dance.  Except I shortened it to Macaren with no "ah" sound on the end. And I didn't sing the song or do the dance; instead, I made up my own song/chant for her.

Maggies Elbow PearlThat's a Macaren
She's a pretty little girl
She's a girl with a pearl
She's a girl right there

Why pearl? -you might ask. Hanging from her belly is the softest, creamy-colored sack of fur and belly you ever saw. And when she runs it swings back and forth like a bag of pearls hanging from her torso, exposing itself on either side of her body as she trots along. Like a pendulum pillow. Plus, pearl rhymes with girl, and was the thing that that inspired my song. Whenever her fur is parted, a soft and light spot appears, like a shiny pearl. Check out her 'Elbow Pearl'. That is Maggie's bling, yo. They call this coloring of hers "champagne", and Maggie is a fancy cat, so it fits.

Maggie's also got little bits of pearl color all over, around her mouth, eyes, and nose, in between her stripes, and on all her undersides.

I've also referred to her belly pearl as her "penguin pouch", like where the Papa Penguins keep their young until Mama returns from gathering food. She likes it rubbed, and tends to it with lots of preening. It hangs loose.

Maggie got sprayed by a skunk one time. I had to soak her in tomato juice. It eliminated about 50% of the smell, and the rest she spent a week trying to rub off on the sidewalk.

My chubby girl on the sidewalkMaggie flirtin'Maggie looking up from the sidewalk

Maggie loves the high tunnel almost as much as I do. She mostly sleeps in there, and keeps me company as I work in the rows. Sometimes she walks the slim edge of the bed, but I've trained her to stay out of the beds, and she listens 99% of the time. Good girl. I like it best when I'm working on my knees next to one of the beds and she comes and stands on the backs of my legs. We keep each other warm that way. Or if it's hot out, she makes me sweat profusely until I tell her to go lie down in the mulch. If she doesn't listen, I just start to sit back on my legs and she moves.

Maggie stretched out in the tunnelMaggie sleeping in the tunnelMaggie Running Down the Row

Sometimes we take a break and take silly photos of each other.

Popie's shot by MaggiePopie's Pic of Maggie

I can't leave out Maggie's pure obsession, addiction and absolute lust for cat nip. She doesn't roll in it, prefers not to have it rubbed on, or tossed in her bed. No, Maggie would prefer to EAT it. That's right, chomp it down - gets to the blood stream faster, I guess.

Maggie Catnip 1

Oh yeah. Bring it on.


Stoned Cat

Feelin' it kick in. Oh sweet bliss...


Stone Cat 2

Ahhh. I'm soaring through space, man. Look at my eyes, dude.


Can I have some more?

Can I have some more?


Maggie Please!


Maggie is always game for play. She loves toys, feather, strings, sticks and anything she can chase. Watch out for those claws though - they are sharp!

She also likes to be the one chased. We have a little ritual I'll share with you. Every night after I close up the high tunnel at dusk, she waits around for me and gets down real low, ready to fly forward in hopes that I will chase her back to the house. She runs as fast as she can, with her ears back and tail up.

Maggie has been known to find the sunniest spot in the middle of the field, with the wind blowing through her fur, head tilted back and closed eyes toward the sun and pop a squat right there for all the world to see. Maggie knows the good things in life.

Maggie cleaning herself on the rugWhat you talkin' bout, Willis?Maggie and Jimmy's handMaggie playing on the carpet in Hummelstown

Maggie sleeping in the red chair. Maggie sleeping on a white blanketMaggie stretched out on the carpetMy girl



Now forget everything I just told you. And be forewarned, our second born's story is not for the faint of heart.


Bodhi in DragMeet Bodhi. From the word Bodhisattva - one who is bound for enlightenment. And that, my friends, is the road our dear Bodhi-boy is on, and a state that he has not yet reached... or maybe he has in own special, very, very, special way. Bodhi is not a cat, in the truest sense of the word. I'm not sure what he is, really. He is Maggie's polar opposite. He is unexpected. He does not meow, but instead gives a muted cackle. He is afraid of EVERYTHING, but strangely, the vacuum doesn't bother him too much. He gets himself in the most precarious positions that endanger his life and our sanity.


Bodhi sleepin in the sunHe has had his tail amputated not once, nope, but twice because like any cute kitty (or so we thought), Bodhi likes to chase his own tail. Or wait, isn't it dogs that chase their tails? Bodhi likes his darn tail so much he started taking large, juicy bites out of it. And then crying out in pain, looking around ready to attack the perpetrator of his beloved tail. He had mangled it so badly that the vet had to cut that segment off, and again a second time, and quite honestly, it's better for him because he can't reach it as easily now. He certainly tries. He was in a cone for about 6 months off and on and the saddest part about the cone was that he attempted to preen and lick himself through its plastic shield. You'd think that he would stop after 30 minutes of sharp cat tongue dragging across plastic, but no, he would keep going making the most awful sound of scratchy cat tongue on plastic. Krrrp Krrrrrp Krrrrrrrp! The funniest part about his cone was the gallop that he discovered that allowed him to run at top speeds, while his cone-laden head dramatically bounced up down in rhythm with the gallop. Like a wild horse with blinders on.

Bodhi sleeping on the couchBodhi in his coneBodhi with greasy ears and a sad tail

Friends of ours who live in the woods found Bodhi T Blackbear huddled against their pool heater one October day. Actually their dogs found him. He was half his body weight around 4 lbs at 7 months old, and had a bad case of ear mites, and a cut on the tip of his (then long) tail. We brought him home and Maggie wanted to kill us. She ignored us for about 3 months and kept her distance. She was ticked off something fierce!

Bodhi in his bed on the black leather chair.Bodhi on the porchBodhi on teh Greek carpet

I carried him around in the crook of my elbow for a long time. He was so tiny and fragile, and couldn't get out of the way fast enough. Our first night with him was a chilly October evening - October 13, I think. He had the worst case of gas known to earthlings of all kinds. We had the doors and windows open and candles and incense burning. After that passed (literally), he began peeing wherever he pleased. Like a small child, he would pee while asleep. Too lazy to get up, or too young to know better. I'm not sure which. We put an end to that by keeping him in his kennel overnight and shoving him in the litter box every hour on the hour during the day. He mostly learned.

Next, on Thanksgiving day, we noticed a streak of blood that ran the length of the house, about a foot off the ground on the wall. When we found the poor defeated creature, he had chewed his tail to a pulp. What ensued next involves months of vet visits, cone-wearing, a sad shaved tail with stitches hanging off the end that flicked around like a school marm's finger, and feelings of uncertainty about this cat that the universe had given us. Maggie was ready to hit the road, jack, hoping first she'd find a chance to scratch his eyes out.

Tender little dudeLazy catSad cat n cone

But I think in the end we all felt so sorry for this wacky dude that we just forgave him for all his strange idiosyncracies and grew to love his inner cat - that sweet and funny feline that stared at you for minutes on end, as though he were looking for something. He found his slow and strange way into our hearts, and we can't imagine life without him, even if he is missing a few screws.

He has now grown into a full-size cat, only occasionally bites his tail, and can scooch within 3 inches of Maggie without getting scratched. He actually holds his own weight against her now. They hiss and scratch but are then found minutes later sleeping on the carpet together. She tolerates him as long as she doesn't have to look at him, and he adores her as an orphan looking for a mama. She taught Bodhi how to preen, clean and chase mice. He watches her every move, and mimics each one carefully, though without the same grace and style. Bodhi has no sense of grace and style. I think that Maggie secretly likes having him around. Even if it's just for laughs, thoughs she mostly scoffs and rolls her eyes in his general direction.

Bodhi sweet BodhiBodhi eating on the porch (pre-amputation)Are you my mommy?

Bodhi is the most pathetic, sweetest, slowest and most tenderest little fella you'll ever meet. He has a perpetual baby face, a small head, and a big fat belly. He likes to hump anything soft (don't leave your slippers about!) and sometimes forgets where he is and pees on the spot. He scratches his head and neck on the corners of the walls, leaving a greasy black smudge that I have to clean up. He makes a mess of his food and sometimes just licks it rapidly, forgetting he has teeth! Sometimes, gravity takes over and he can't figure out how to get the food from the bowl down his throat and so, in a careful balancing act, he holds the pieces in between his lips, flings his head back, and let's the food drop down his throat. You can't make this sort of stuff up.

He loves the Earthy Cowboy more than life itself. He waits for him in the window, takes long naps with him on the couch, and frets for days if he's been naughty and gotten scolded by his favorite human.

Handsome boyBodhi on his leashBodhi under the chair

Bodhi has grown into a handsome cat and loves to chase falling leaves from his lookout on the porch. He is partially leash-trained, but he would get himself so dangerously tangled in his leash that I am afraid to put it on him. Bodhi doesn't really know what to do with catnip, but he did inspire a song in me:

That's-a my squishy
right there, right there.
Say a prayer, right there.
For Bodhi T. Blackbear.

Handsome boy Handsome Boy 2

In addition to a black bear, we've also compared him to a seal, a slug and a bat. He especially looked like a bat when he was small, before he grew into his ears.

He is afraid of the high tunnel, it's too big and open and noisy for him. He prefers his lookout from the kitchen window, the screened in porch or his bed in the living room. He especially loves sitting in the bathtub for some good quiet time. He faces the wall and may nap while sitting there. He waits for an occasional drip from the faucet, and if it comes, that will really have enhanced the experience for him. Bodhi also has a special relationship with the worms. He wants to pet them, drink the tea and we've caught him on more than one occasion sitting right on top of them, happy as a clam. They might be his favorite friends. His lifelong dream is to have a bathtub full of worms. Kind of like Ernie and his rubber duckie. But Bodhi has no interest in playing the saxophone.

Bodhi in snowProud cat with an orange collarBodhi in the kitchen window

There is no other cat who will come quietly sit by your feet and wait to be picked up to be held like a baby while he snoozes. And sometimes he falls asleep sitting there. If an envelope or paper should fall off the desk and onto the floor, he'll jump a mile in the sky and run for his life. He scares easily to say the least.  He loves kisses and squeezes, but be forewarned: he's got horrendous breath. Halitosis extraordinaire.

Popie and Bodhi in the snowBodhi in the window by the jadeBodhi through the screen

So thanks for reading about my kids and our wild and wonderful relationships. Now go hug your cat or dog and let them know how much you love having them around!