Charlie (The Cat) Uses Up Lives 1 through 7

Shared in hopes this will save others from this tragic behavior!

I have three cats that live with my family at home. Normally they are content to remain aloof, allowing us to serve them food at their whim and clean out their litterbox. They allow us to do that out of their desire to obtain every creature comfort they can envision. All we have to do is not ask anything of them in return.

That arraignment has worked perfectly well for a few years now. We put food in their bowl and they empty it. They put poop and pee in the litterbox and we empty it. It is the “Tit for tat” of our understanding with them.

That is until two months ago when my wife noticed a fragrant smell on our new cloth ottoman. It seemed that one of the cats had left a territorial marker on the furniture. In the years preceding this we had never had a problem, so we were shocked. We quickly got out the cleaning materials and scrubbed the fabric. My sister in law volunteered some spray scent neutralizer, from her failed cat experience, for the clean-up. We hoped upon hope that the “accident” was a one- time occurrence!

For a week or so it appeared like we were lucky, until my wife went to grab some freshly washed laundry waiting to be folded. “That’s weird” she said. “Some of the clothes are still wet!”

She dropped the hamper and screamed, “Those damn cats peed all over our clothes! They are your cats, go teach them not to do that.” Now I admit the cats and I do have a relationship, but it only covers where each of us lay at naptime, other than that I am just a member of the “feed and scoop team”.

My wife screamed, “If those cat can’t control themselves – we’ll have to get rid of them — and as far as I’m concerned,” she continued. “Those cats have used up two lives. If they use them all up – they go! One way or another.”

Things went from bad to worse in our home and more accidents happened. My daughter came home from college with a load of clothes to wash. Within just a few minutes the entire load was “pre-treated”! Later that day two upholstered chairs were soaked and to make things worse, we were not totally sure of which cat was the culprit. Although one of them did appeared a little sheepish when my wife interrogated them.

“They used up six lives” my wife pointedly said. “Cats only get nine!”

We were desperate. We actually liked our cats and thought we were bonded. They had recently taught us how to play fetch with them. We pulled up the ASPCA website and typed in Cat Pee. Thousands of articles came up including; “How to break a cat that is marking territory in 200 easy steps.” Another claimed, “High powered cleaners guaranteed to eliminate fabric color and smells!” One other mentioned, “10 foolproof methods to burn a house for the insurance.”

It looked like there might be no answers until my wife spotted, “Pheromones – The natural way to control your cat!” “Chemicals” I said. “I knew that Monsanto and DuPont would have the answer.” We went to our local PetSmart and purchased every sprayer/diffuser/applicator that mentioned pheromones. We also found cat collars infused with Chamomile – guaranteed to give your cat a sense of well-being. And, just for the heck of it we got one more covered litter box to give them another option.

$200.00 dollars later we left the store, but not before a clerk said. “Make sure you have your Vet check your cat, it might just be an infection!”

We got home and deployed our chemicals, put collars on our cat, and set-up a new litter station. We were sure we had found the solution. Our cats would inhale the fumes and float off into an euphoric cat trance, ending our woes.

Two hours later, our young male, Charlie jumps onto a sweatshirt I had just taken off and squatted- peeing all over it. I grabbed him and tossed him out the door. (He is an indoor/outdoor cat) I was shocked the cat just did it right in front of me and what was worse, he was wearing that stupid collar. “That’s seven strikes!” My wife yelled.

We knew we had to take action. We immediately made an emergency vet appointment to have him checked for an infection.

The next day we loaded the cat into a carrier and brought him to the Vet. A quick exam showed no sign of an infection or fever. But the Vet did say that sometimes a change in furniture or the arrival of a new cat in the neighborhood could cause that behavior. She also asked how many litter boxes we had and what type. It seems cat can be very particular about toilet facilities and some don’t like having lids on them. She suggested we take them all off the trays when we get home.

We get home and did what the Vet said to do. We uncovered all the trays, even though we had paid big bucks for them in the hopes it would contain the mess and foul odors.

We let Charlie out of his carrier and he immediately went to the tray and peed in it. It was like he had been waiting for weeks for us to do that.

We have had no further problems with the cat’s pee – thanks heaven because Charlie was running out of lives.

– Clarence Holm

Furline Purrtrait

Charlie the Cat Black & White Photo by Clarence Holm

Charlie the Cat
Black & White Photo by Clarence Holm

Feline vessel wrapped in fur,
Cantankerous weapons armed with claws.
A life seeking snacks, willing to purr
Unwilling servant, not subject to laws.

A life with a purpose
Daily beginning and nightly end.
Driven to nocturnal discourse,
A scented territory to defend.

Pheromone enhanced nasty chemical war
Applied by rubbing, touching and odiferous spray.
Marking a boundary as curious cats explore
Continuously prowling for mice or some similar prey.

Distracted by red lights, focused on a wall
Battery powered lazer, activated on a whim
Human intervention, flashing an electronic cat call
Whimsical interaction entertainment for him

Kibble stuffed tabby, lying on his back
Nap powered tiger, resting it seems
Conserving energy, but planning an attack.
Muscle twitching tails, signaling his dreams.

– Clarence Holm

Redundant Redundancies


Publikworks is passionate about his call to action featured in the February 25th blog “Stop That” He believes the word “that” is being foisted on the public in what is a grammatically senseless act. Publikworks makes an impassioned plea to omit “that” when it is inserted unnecessarily into a perfectly good sentence.

Redundant redundancies occur frequently in life, but I do find it odd Publikworks focuses on “that” when there are multiple equally senseless actions taking place at any given time. For instance quotations “” marks used to assign credit to an original work. It is my contention nothing original has been written since papyrus was introduced. As Ambrose Bierce was fond of saying, “Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.”

In order to extend the superfluous work begun by Publikworks I would like to offer other useless personal items that I am constantly called upon to employ.

Keys – I have pockets full of them that I need every day! In fact, I have multiple drawers full of keys I may or may not need. I am afraid to throw them away, due to worries I may encounter a lock securing something I’d forgotten I needed.

I question the entire idea of keys. Much like a “Key to the City”, we all know keys don’t do much. The idea that a thief is going to be stopped by a simple lock and key seems like quaint logic. Especially since everyone knows most doors can be kicked open easily or defeated with a handy bobby pin obtained from a beautiful assistant.

In short, keys are made to bother honest people and as Diogenes discovered, they are hard to find.

Coins – The handful of metal mixed with your cash you drop between your door and the McDonald’s drive-up window you can’t retrieve because your car door won’t open wide enough to get your hand out and who really cares about that little bit of money anyway.

Working together with your keys and possibly a wallet, the only practical reason for loose change is to act as ballast to your pants, making sure that your inseam doesn’t ride up into your crotch. Of course that extra weight necessitates the addition of a belt to counteract the downward thrust of the coins.

Besides what good are coins anyway? Years ago as a youth, I began placing my coins into a can to save up for a good bike. Now 40 years later, a good bike costs many thousands of dollars and I am still putting coins into cans to save for it.

Wallet – That rare blend of leather (pleather?) and acrylic sleeves used to hold currency, credit cards, photos and identification cards. Most men carry theirs in the right back pocket and believe women are attracted to the sight of a particularly bulky one. Some men carry big long ones with snaps that are so bulky, an additional chain is employed to guard against woman who frequent truck stops.

The absolute need for a wallet is questionable at most. Identification and credit information can be achieved with a small implant. My cat (Charles) recently had one of those installed at the same time he was fixed, All of Chuck’s information is available through the use of a simple hand scanner and as an added benefit, he no longer wants to pee on everything.

While this is not a complete listing of useless or redundant items I feel they represent the type of items which should be eliminated through judicious pruning.

Remember if a magician really needs an assistant, why does he need to make them disappear?

Recollections Are Not Facts – Thank Heavens

20 years ago I experienced a major stroke, which left me temporarily bereft of most memory. For a brief time I floated in a world that had no children, no spouse, no language, no art, no history. It was as if I were a computer that had lost it’s hard drive.

Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the then experimental procedure of TPA, my memories slowly returned. However it left me with a lingering suspicion of reality. I now understand just how tenuous the relationship between truth and my ability to recall truly is. In fact, during my recovery I walked the line between reality and fiction every day. I learned when facts fail, recollections of sights, smells and sounds endure.

I came away from the experience with an appreciation of facts, but still I found an even greater love of recollections with all the subtle enhancements my senses can add.

A continuing part of my recovery over the years has been to accept and appreciate my inability to remember superfluous facts. I now relish my enhanced recollections and learned to live in a world that is guaranteed to be better as it ages.

– Clarence Hom

Memories are fleeting moments here on variable loan,
They are not frozen images chiseled into solid stone.
They are the lingering taste of chocolate on the back of my tongue.
Or the warmth I felt at noon time, as I looked into the sun.

Recollections are celebrations, a party for one’s self
Heady compilations pulled from a top most shelf
The best are fragile moments pulled from our past
Colored by experience with thoughts that are often recast.

Recollections are built from history liberally enhanced by our dreams,
Memoirs of bits and pieces all exploding from the seams.
Photos stand as sentries, highly focused on the details
Memories work with senses making stories to fill our sails

Celebrate your memories sans worries of trivial facts,
Don’t sweat the story of what happened between the cracks.
Just sit back and taste the chocolate and feel the shinning sun
The best memories should always be the most fun.

Only The Best

– Clarence Holm

Summer zephyr swirling, spinning, seeking to bend
Young saplings on the rocky edge of the alfalfa field.
Roots grasping the dry topsoil long enough to send
A tap root into the moisture before the lips are sealed.

Toads dig into the earth seeking moisture to make mud
For dirt cocoons built to save their life.
Trusting that water will come, like the savior’s blood
Releasing grateful creatures from the sun’s strife.

Wilted sweet corn barely past knee high
Scanning the horizon and listening to that breeze
Hoping to see rain clouds piercing the blue sky
Allowing golden corn before an early fall freeze.

Life seeks a balance between rain and sun
Testing resilience and sparing the best.
Pushing those that won’t be undone
Those hardy souls, that passed the test.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum

It is a happy day for my family as my youngest was chosen, as a representative of Luther College, to receive a “Peace Scholarship”

The Peace Scholars program is an outgrowth of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and is the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway.

This summer she will be attending a seven-week academic experience held in Lillehammer and Oslo, Norway.

In addition she will be attending the three day Nobel Peace Prize Forum featuring feature former United States President and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter.

It’s hard for me to imagine what she will see and learn as a result of this opportunity.

John Stewart and Brian Williams Leave Broadcasting

John Stewart and Brian Williams’ spokesman confirmed today that both will soon be temporarily leaving broadcasting. Separately the two confirmed their almost simultaneous statements.

Born in New York, within years of each other, both have taken residence in New Jersey.

Both attend grade school and high school, and the similarities keep going as both attended college and each then stopped. Neither are Korean!

As these two twin broadcasters’ careers evolved, one can’t help notice, both of their deep religious backgrounds, based in centuries of Judeo/Christian tradition. Some say it was with that background that each made their final decision to put their future on hold.

Future plans have not been confirmed, but have not been denied either. Sources said news of the Alabama court decision may have precipitated the action.

When emailed for comment, no reaction was received.

We have also been unable to confirm Steven Cobert’s recent decision to host the Late Night Show had anything to do with the timing of these announcements.