The end of an era

This is Bassie’s mom. I have some very sad news to report.

Jami on ladderOn Monday, 19 August, our beloved Jami was killed by a car. He ran out the front door unno­ticed when my hus­band got home that evening. When he hadn’t come back by the next morn­ing, we started search­ing the neigh­bor­hood. We found him a cou­ple of blocks away. He had jumped over the fence in the back of the house and met his end on a main street of our area.

Jami and Samson

My hus­band tells me I shouldn’t feel guilty. Jami was always try­ing to go out. He just adored hunt­ing lizards in the gar­den and he was very good at it. He was very fast and often we real­ized he had gone out only because we missed him at home.
Whenever we knew he had got­ten out, we always fetched him back in. Even had I known that he was out­side, find­ing a cat in the dark in an area of sev­eral blocks square is next to impos­si­ble. Still, I feel that, in the end, I failed Jami because I didn’t pro­tect him, and for that fail­ure I beg fore­give­ness from all who helped bring Jami to us.


Jami came to us through the effort of many peo­ple on Sunday, 28 Oct 2012. In the barely ten months he was with us, he worked his way deep into our hearts and we feel his loss keenly. He was “Motor Mouth,” “Fat Boy,” “Jami Kitty,” “Fat Red,” and many other endear­ments. He talked our ears off. He made us laugh. He cut off our cir­cu­la­tion when he draped his sev­en­teen mama with catspounds over our legs in bed. He was best friends with Samson. He begged food and cud­dles from my Alzheimer mom. He enjoyed curl­ing up in her wheel­chair on top of the gel anti-​​pressure-​​sore cush­ion. He slept on her bed and cud­dled with Java there. He was a favorite with the ladies who help take care of my mom.

I tell myself that he died quickly and that he will never expe­ri­ence the aches and ill­nesses of old age and chronic dis­ease. His life here was a good and happy one. He gave and received love. That may all be true; I have to believe it is true. Nonetheless I feel bereft and bereaved.


It’s still Christmas time at the Cuban-​​Polish household

Christmas Eve

Christmas time is spe­cial at our house­hold, as it is in most Christian homes. (We call ours the Cuban-​​Polish house­hold because daddy is Cuban and mommy is Polish. Original, huh?) There are a lot of dif­fer­ences between the ways the two cul­tures cel­e­brate Christmas but the thing that’s com­mon is that Christmas Eve is the Big Day, not Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is when we have the big meal and exchange presents. Christmas Day is for relax­ing in your PJs and snack­ing on leftovers.

Christmas tree in the process of being decorated.

Christmas tree in the process of being decorated

In Poland, they don’t dec­o­rate the tree before Christmas Eve but then keep it around until some time later. In mommy’s house, the tree stayed up until Three Kings’ Day (Epiphany) or January 6th. In grandma’s house, they kept it until February! So now you under­stand why we don’t really get into a Christmas mood before Christmas Eve but stay in it until early January.

Samson on ladder

Samson help­ing to dec­o­rate the tree

Cubans eat roast pig for Christmas Eve (they eat roast pig for all occa­sions.) in Poland, Christmas Eve in a fast day and so the meal is built around fish and veg­etable dishes. Poles also have the cus­tom of shar­ing com­mu­nion wafer with each other and wish­ing each other good things for the com­ing year. Under the table­cloth, they place a lit­tle bit of hay to remind them that  Christ’s first bed was a hum­ble manger. (Mommy gets all that stuff at a Polish church nearby, it’s all blessed and every­thing). And they set an extra place at the table for any unex­pected guests because they believe that no one should spend Christmas Eve alone and so all won­der­ers are invited into the house. Needless to say, they is always enough food for a whole crowd of extra guests!

The Case of the Missing Scales

decorated Christmas tree

Christmas tree decorated

A habit which I think must be strictly pagan and was intro­duced to mommy’s fam­ily by her grandfather’s sec­ond wife (whom mommy kindly called her aunt) is this: You wrap a scale from the fish you ate on Christmas Eve next to a coin, leave it under the tree for the night and then put it in your wal­let to make sure you have plenty of money in the com­ing year. Mommy makes lit­tle pack­ages of scales and pen­nies wrapped with tis­sue paper and scotch tape. I’m sorry to report that the Cuban-​​Polish house­hold is in for lean times accord­ing to this tra­di­tion because the scales dis­ap­peared from under the tree. We have not found the scales or the cul­prit. Maybe they are some­where around the house and the house will be rich, which would be OK by us. We are hop­ing they are not in anyone’s stom­ach, just wait­ing to obstruct and cause vet fees, thereby mak­ing us poorer.

Cats and presents

Frangi with presents

Frangi with presents

Well, what­ever will be, will be. In the mean­while, here are some pho­tos of us with the presents. These are the humans’ presents; ours were in a cab­i­net so we wouldn’t help our­selves to the cat­nip ahead of time.

Java and Samson with presents

Java and Samson with presents

You can see that that Samson is just look­ing for trou­ble. What do you think the chances are he knows exactly where those fish scales are? Pretty darn good, I would say. *fluffs tail.*

Merry Christmas Time and a Happy New Year to all! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.



Jami gets a playmate

When Jami got here, it became appar­ent that he needed some­one closer to his own age to play with. He was chas­ing all of us and get­ting into everything.


Pinky just after get­ting home

Enter Pinky, a kit­ten at the Pompano Beach, FL shel­ter, who had his feet dyed pink and his whiskers cut off. Mommy decided to adopt the poor guy and show him that not all humans are thought­less or nasty. Unfortunately, Pinky picked up an upper res­pi­ra­tory infec­tion at the shel­ter and stopped eat­ing, so he had to be syringe fed for over a week by a paw­some lady named Nicole. (Mommy would have done it but she couldn’t drive and was afraid to have a sick kit­ten at home  with­out being able to take him to the vet on short notice). But he finally got bet­ter and started eat­ing by him­self and mommy and Amanda the pet sit­ter went to get him from Nicole. The photo above is on his first day home, when he wasn’t quite sure what he’d got­ten into.

Samson and Pinky

Pinky the kit­ten and Pinky the dog

The very first order of busi­ness was a name change. You see, we already have a Pinky. She’s a dog. So Pinky the kit­ten became Samson. I must say the name suits him. He’s a brave lit­tle kitten.

Samson and Pinky

Samson after his bath, with Pinky commiserating

Next was a nail trim and a bath. You know about those kit­ten claws, they are like lit­tle nee­dles and kit­tens are none too dis­crim­i­nat­ing about using them (ouch). Samson was very, very good about his nail trim, mommy was impressed.

The poor thing also had a bunch of food stuck in his furs after all that syringe feed­ing and it was just too much for a lit­tle kit­ten, no mat­ter how brave, to han­dle by him­self. Samson didn’t care for the bath and gave Amanda a hard time. I’m bet­ting he was also scared, being in a new place and all. Mommy said he smelled won­der­ful after his bath, though. And he’s kept him­self clean since then, except for get­ting things caught in his fluffy tail.

Samson at table

Samson at table

Since those first days, Samson has made him­self quite at home. He was pretty thin because of his ill­ness (and per­haps also his time on the street) and he’s gone about eat­ing every­thing he can get his lit­tle paws on. He has break­fast with daddy every morn­ing and gets a lit­tle saucer of milk from daddy’s cof­fee. He also gets pieces of everyone’s din­ner, as he is irre­sistible. And, of course, he gets lots of kit­ten food.

Samson and Jami

Samson and Jami

What about the rea­son mommy adopted Samson? Oh yes, to keep Jami com­pany! Well, I’m happy to report that Samson def­i­nitely keeps Jami busy. Mommy still has trou­ble get­ting around, so she hasn’t man­aged to cap­ture the two of them play­ing on cam­era, but here’s Samson groom­ing Jami in a quiet moment. They are pals.

Mommy says that’s all the ani­mals she’s get­ting for a while. There are now eight of us cats: Little Bit, Frangi, Java, Zabi, Jami, Surfeit, Samson and me; and four dogs: Pinky, Izzy and Ferdy and the fos­ter, Boogie. The humans love us all, of course, but they think there are enough of us right now. A dozen is a good num­ber, don’t you think?