Monthly Archives: September 2012


Paul of Tarsus said: "Do you do all things without murmuring and disputing?"

Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not? It seems to have become a habit for many of us. By the way, the word "murmurings" refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings. You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable. Pessimism. Negativity. In the New Testament, Paul said: "Do you do all things without murmuring (complaining) and disputing?" 

Have you noticed that people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? -- lots of murmurings going on there. Our change in government has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered - big time murmurings at home and the office. Don't forget the economy or loss of jobs -- just mention the price of gas -- oh, big time grumble - every time they gas up. Many prices have gone up - layoffs are increasing - homes are foreclosed; there are countless things to whine and be bitter about and protest against. It hasn't been easy for anyone.

St. Paul in his ministry while traveling and visiting many countries, cities in one of his directives, a Letter to the Philippians (2:14) -- "Do all things without murmuring and disputing".

If you are not a Christian, you may not be aware of Paul of Tarsus, also called Paul the Apostle, who really was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles". Along with Peter, the Rock of the Catholic Church and the first 'Pope', they were among the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Paul's conversion to a follower of Christ is a profound story of faith. He spread Christanity by accounts of his travels which are found as Letters in the New Testament of the Bible and are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live.

What do we do in answer to Paul's instruction - not to complain in all things. Sometimes it's hard not to vent. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest. It's hard to comply with the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." How can we tweak that?

We could say, "If you can only say something negative, don't say anything at all". Negative begets negative. Positive begets positive. It's difficult to be positive when things are looking bleak, but does it help to heap more negativity on the pile?

It can become a habit to view everything with a sour outlook which becomes a bitterness and creates more murmurings. There's little worse than facing each day with doom and gloom. Becoming embittered won't change the price of gasoline or bring the prices down. It won't change the politics of the day or create a new healthcare plan.

Listen to yourself and see how you approach these subjects. Do you always say things, "I'm afraid that...." or "I know that things are going to get worse before they get better".....or "I hate this or I hate that or I hate them or I hate him ...." or "That's BS" or "they're stupid" or "they are such a bunch of #&%$'s. And the beat goes on and the words become more heated and your murmurings may keep you from sleeping well at night. Your fear and hate will become self-fulfilling. You are what you think.

We can offset these complaints by offering words of kindness and compassion and hope. Change your heart and you will change your attitude. Kind thoughts and acts will replace your habits of negative thoughts. Negative and Positive thoughts cannot share the same space in your mind. Crowd out those negative ones. God is still in control and local, national and world events are not as hopeless as we make them. Many others before us have lived through challenging times; bad times seem to be cyclical and eventually change from bad to good.

Be an agent for change. They say if you force yourself to smile, you will feel uplifted. 'A smile is the lighting system of the face'...it sure beats the frowns and growls. Smiles beget smiles. Maybe your co-worker or spouse or friend is tired of 'murmuring' or listening to yours, too, and you can make the difference to change that.

Don't get bogged down by the signs of the times. If you are spiritual, try to maintain a cheerful, willing mind, as we do what God has instructed. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..." (Phil. 2:14-16a).

In a small village in a lovely setting in Sicily where we visited recently, there is a remembrance of Paul's traveling through there and sharing his ministry. The church in the village is called Sao Paolo (St. Paul) and there is a marking along the road where it is said he slept. His spirit is still felt there.

Fill your spirit with Paul's teaching: "Do all things without murmuring and disputing". It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

Marie Coppola © 2012   TBContinued.....Gombah's Life Today ~ Chapter 10

Living in a tourist, beach area that provides fun and entertainment for visitors, I have been told by more than one vet, that families come to our area and 'adopt' a kitten for a short duration. There's always 'free kittens' signs that may lure the kids in their families to beg, borrow and steal that it's 'only for a short while'. The parents may say OK, knowing it's for a 'short while'.

After everyone is tanned, relaxed and fun-filled, it's time to load the suitcases and the car and head home. Uh, oh, what do we do with the kitten that we have petted, loved, fed and made a family member for 2 weeks? It was only for a short while, and we can't take it home. So they, and many like them, go for a drive and drop it off in a 'nice' development because 'people there will probably feed it and take care of it'.

Wrong. People in most developments have one or two dogs and even one, two or three cats themselves. So the disoriented kitten, who was pleasantly socialized and fed and cared for now lives in an unknown area where its hunger and survival mode pushes it into the 'feral cat' category. A feral cat is defined as an unowned and untamed cat separated from domestication. Feral cats are born in the wild and may take a long time to socialize or may be abandoned or lost pets that have become wild. They should not be confused with the wildcats which are not descended from domestic cats.

The 'chosen for dropping-off development' frowns on these cat-trusions. Their dogs want to chase them; the cats are viewed as disease carriers - many never received rabies shots. The once-loved animal soon learns that he or she is not welcome here. They get a ragged look and are usually very hungry and thirsty.

When our dropped off kitty, Feral, appeared on our patio, there was a risk of fleas. Gombah was liberally protected frequently.  Eventually, we did the same by petting Feral with flea ointment.  We watched her grow from a small kitten to an adult cat and she remained an outdoor cat.  Although she did allow us to pet her when we fed her, she never got beyond the few strokes stage - she was independent and feisty. She slept on the patio and communicated in some way with our cat and they were friends.

Only once did Gombah and Feral occupy the same space. She was on the patio as usual and someone inadvertently let Gombah out. We feared they would sojourn into the woods never to be seen from again. Instead, they quietly walked side by side to the shade of a peach tree, and lay down side by side. His big body next to her smaller body. They just lay there for about a half hour (talking?) and then he came back into the porch and she took her post next to him on the other side of the screen.

They spent a lot of time just sitting or laying together between the screens on the porch. When she would appear, Gombah would 'yowl' his "She's here", and Feral would helium balloon meow back. Once she ventured into the porch when the door was open, but preferred to hang around outside. It worked for both of them.

She was his friend for one and a half years - the space of time the vet told is the average life of an outdoor cat. One day a large raccoon was on our patio. After he left, we never saw Feral again.

Gombah continued to look for her - he would survey the patio and especially the barbecue - but to no avail. Occasionally, he would yowl very loudly and mournfully, but she never returned.   TBContinued:   Gombah Today...Chapter 10

Marie Coppola © September 2012 div id="counter24">

 Raleigh Frugal Family Examiner

Sharon Cece is a writer and columnist with a background in administrative management. Promoting thrift as an alternative to consumption, Sharon uses simple, common sense approaches to family budgeting and economizing. Her one-income saving solutions have appeared in a number of print and internet...

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Outside this fine morning, the sun was shining brightly in a blue sky. There was no evidence whatsoever of clouds, rain or rumble. I deduced, therefore, that I did not need to drag along an umbrella or jacket, that I could spend the day - based on the information I was given sensorily - dry, warm and safe.

Thus, I left the house without aforementioned umbrella or coat, and planned my day with confidence that things would go according to plan.

Five hours later, as blue changed to gray then black, I - drenched and cold, shaking my fist at the sudden foul turn of events, plans ruined - couldn't help but wonder how I could have prepared better for this bitter, unexpected atmospheric shake-up. Even the weatherman let me down!

Our financial skies tend to be as fickle - one day, you're confident that you can pay all your bills into the unseen future, eat at restaurants comfortably a few times a week, buy the latest upgrade in technology (hey I work hard, I deserve it, and I need to keep up with my friends; after all, what will they think?), plan for retirement, put money away for the kids college, pay off my debt, savings...well, if I have money left over, sure, savings.

But life - often stormy and unpredictable - can take a sudden shift: a reduction in income, an equally unexpected increase in expenses, credit card debt, household repairs, childcare issues and medical expenses. Financial climates, like the weather, can change quickly and with little forewarning.

Metaphorically speaking, saving for a rainy day is always a good idea, but one the average American pushes to the back of the equally metaphoric closet. It's the last thing on our growing list. The reason for this is what teens today refer to as "YOLO", You Only Live Once. Most people agree that bills need to be paid, but the consensus gets a bit sketchy when it comes to what and how much. People want to live richly; the thought of being frugal and careful with spending is more frightening than saving for...well, what may not happen. What probably won't happen. Live for today, don't worry about tomorrow. We'll worry about hard times if and when they hit...

Saving for a rainy day. No, not as much fun as living in the moment. Not as much fun, granted, as up-to-the-minute technology and nice cars and new furniture, and Starbucks coffee, loaded, with whipped cream (remember, I deserve it!).

Yet, saving for a rainy day provides a lot more relief when the rain starts to fall and you know you're covered. Just like when you're dragging that umbrella around - inconveniently, no doubt - until the moment you need it, and the drenched are standing there looking at a dry you, relief etched on your smiling face.

At some point, we all have to make tough financial decisions. By saying "No" to expensive items and frivolous purchases, we say "Yes" to our peace of mind and our security. We can't stop rough times from coming, but by preparing financially, we can make those tougher times less stressful and still have good lives. What makes a good life anyway: is it "things"? Living just for today with little thought for tomorrow? Or is it living smart, prepared, comfortable but not excessively, content in the little things, joyful in those moments that don't cost a single penny.

For frugal families, "YOLO" has a much different meaning. It doesn't pertain to a day, a week or even a year. It's a lifelong attitude. It means living within your means so you don't have to worry about how you're going to make mortgage payments (low payments, since you bought a small house with an equally small mortgage). How you're going to get from point A to point B (you own all your cars and have no payments). How you're going to eat (you eat at home, with inexpensive ingredients, learn to cook and bake, buy on sale, freeze, and don't waste). How you're going to make it during a stormy financial climate (you've put away money continuously, kept your debts and purchasing low, lived frugally, and you know you'll be okay). YOLO = You Only Live One (Life), not One (Day)...

...for where will living it up for one day leave you in an unprepared tomorrow?

Sharon L. Cece © 2012

In many cultures and religions, marriage is the foundation of the family. The family, in turn, is the basic unit of society. Traditional marriage is a personal relationship with public significance. It is the fundamental pattern for male-female relationships.

The traditional marital union also provides the best conditions for raising children; namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public institution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good. To do otherwise and make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened. The weakening of this basic institution by various intrusions has already exacted too high a social cost.

Marriage between one man and one woman signifies the nature of marriage as the societal institution that represents, symbolizes and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship. Society needs such an institution. Culture is what marks us as human; it is what distinguishes us and allows us to distinguish ourselves from other animals and, in the future, from intelligent machines. In the past, we used religion as an important forum and force in the foundation of culture — we did so by finding shared values through religion. That is not possible in a secular society; one result is that it makes it more difficult to find consensus on values.

Extending marriage to include same-sex couples (or de-legislating marriage) would seriously harm all of these societal level functions of the institution of marriage.

People advocating same-sex marriage argue that we should accept that the primary purpose of marriage is to give social and public recognition to an intimate relationship between two people, and, therefore, to exclude same-sex couples is discrimination. Would it also be discrimination if ‘marriage’ is sought for groups, a person and his pet, or any aberrant relationship? Is it discrimination against three or four or more persons demanding a commune marriage and told they are not recognized as traditional marriage? (Recently 3 persons wanted to be joined together in matrimony in the UK). Will civil unions be enough for these persons or will they, too, demand legal ‘traditional’ marriages. Traditional marriages should remain as one man and one woman. By nature, that is precisely what ‘traditional’ marriage is. Other unions can and are legally recognized as civil unions.

In the Biblical sense, Genesis shows, marriage and sexuality were created by God and given to mankind as gifts for our benefit. Scripture records God’s statement that "it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" Jesus reiterates these teachings from Genesis, saying, "But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh’" (Mark 10:6-8).

The natural structure of human sexuality makes man and woman complementary partners for the transmission of human life. Only a union of male and female can express the sexual complimentary willed by God for marriage. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of sexual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build up the bond between husband and wife.

In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity. They are equal as human beings but different as man and woman, fulfilling each other through this natural difference. This unique complementary makes possible the conjugal bond that is the core of marriage.

A same-sex union contradicts the nature of marriage as it is not based on the natural complementary of male and female. It does not cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is not equal their relationship to a traditional marriage.

Some opponents of same sex marriage feel that if they are not allowed the same marriage status, then marriage should be abolished altogether or the term marriage should hold no significant bearing toward any rights whatsoever. To attain the word ‘marriage’ in their union, then they are saying that they are willing to forfeit our basic unit of society and the breakdown of family units as we know them.

As stated above, the weakening of this basic institution by various family breakdown issues has already exacted too high a social cost and society is feeling the fallout now. To further change the institution will further breakdown the societal structure.

"….let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

References:  CCC, nos. 1639-1640). see CCC, no. 1643 ; http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/cu/ac0304.asp

© Marie Coppola 2009

Once he spotted Feral on our patio rubbing against Gombah through the screen, Nello  suggested I not feed her because "once you feed a cat, they will become a permanent fixture."  She was so small, and always hanging around. Despite the fact that I watched her catch insects and eat green salamanders whole, I felt obliged to give her water.  Her helium meow then coaxed me to give her some cat food. She was ravenous. And she did become a permanent fixture.    Well, at least ~ for one and a half years.

Located on our patio directly in line with our breakfast nook windows is our barbecue. Feral took to jumping on top of the barbecue and peering relentlessly and meowing her helium meow while we breakfasted.  PS - The 'fuzzy' pics were because they were taken through the window screen - at first she was too shy for us to approach her.

 

Sometimes Gombah would join in unison to let us know that she was out there. When we got up to get her food, Feral would jump off the barbecue and meet us at the screened porch door ready for breakfast.  Cats like routine and she definitely did.    At times, she would nap on the barbecue waiting for the adoptive parents to awake and give her breakfast.

It seemed that Nello had the inside track with pets since Feral did allow him to pet her. She was more reluctant with me, although I did get in a few pats on her head (while patting her, I also applied flea repellent on the back of her head).   Each morning after she ate, Nello would go out the porch door and walk around the house to get the morning paper, and she always bounded after him and waited for him and then followed him back.

Feral gave lots of attention to Gombah, who took a mature, reserved big brother stance with her shenanigans ~ rubbing against him through the screen and rolling over on her back playfully. He never showed much attention back; he just sat and stared at her. But when she wasn't around he would jump on the window sill in the breakfast nook and look for her, meowing loudly when she appeared.

After she was around for a few months, I noticed that she was getting a full-rounded look. I also started to be concerned if the toddler next door tried to pet her, he would get scratched. The odds were that she had no rabies shots or other important shots. Since we kind of took ownership of her, it was our responsibility to make her safe for our neighborhood. And she probably wasn't spayed. I had visions of litters of kittens perched outside our screened porch and hearing my Sicilian husband chanting, "They can't come in the house." .

The reasonable thing to do would be to bring her to a vet. But how? She was a feral cat and not likely to be picked up and carted off to a vet.  Bless him, Nello agreed that we needed to bring her in. He started to put her food in our cat carrier and placed it on the patio and within a week, Feral was going in there to eat. Then he concocted a string to close the door while she was in there. And it worked the first time! Feral was not happy but we had prearranged to bring her in to the pet clinic.  She was spayed and given her immunity shots including rabies. They kept her overnight and we brought her back the next day.

The vet said to keep her 'indoors' for a week to prevent infection and we said we had no indoors - we only had an outside shed. So we put food and water in there with the carrier and its door open and skedaddled out of there before she came out.  However, she never lasted the week.  After just one night in the shed, she clawed her way through the narrow screened window opening and was perched on the barbecue the next morning while we had breakfast. We were more than a little surprised. She bounded around like she had never been away or had 'surgery'.  TBContinued:  Chapter 9 ~ Feral and Gombah Get Together

Marie Coppola © September 2012

 

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Although Gombah is happiest when he is settled at bedtime between his 'parents', he sometimes gets excited when another cat is outside. The porch that Gombah inhabits most of the time is completely enclosed with window panels that can be opened upward so that you can have the effect of a screened-in porch. This is the scenario that the cat enjoys the most. When the windows are all up, Gombah goes out there and breathes in the fresh air and monitors the whole side and backyards almost like he is outside. He especially likes to sleep out there at night so he can hear the crickets at night and the birds early in the morning. We suspect it gives him memories of his early life.   We have plants out there and sometimes he can't be seen for napping among them.

Can you find Gombah straight ahead on his chair in the porch?

Occasionally a cat will wander by and Gombah will be sociable and meow to them. His meow is different when he hails hello to his feline friends. And one day, Feral came into his life.

We don't know how she came to be a homeless kitty, but Feral was just that. She may have been a kitten of a feral mother, or maybe someone dropped her off in our neighborhood. She wasn't socialized.

She was striking looking - a tuxedo cat - with yellow eyes. She was all black with a white ring around her chest and white-tipped paws. She was small; I'm guessing about 5 months old when she first peered into the porch where Gombah was sitting. She was small in body as compared to Buddha-shaped Gombah. She took to him instantly and rubbed against the screening while he was just looking her over.   I started calling her "Feral" so I wouldn't get attached to her.

She had a tiny helium- balloon meow. Gombah acted nonchalantly, but in truth, he went out there looking around all the time which he never did before.  He would always nap on  the chair before but he then started sitting by each of the windows and she always showed up.  Before long, she was an every-day visitor to the patio beside the porch.   She would rub against the screens and then flop over on the patio and sun bathe on her back,   Occasionally, we would see her chase a salamander, catch it, and eat it live.   I don't know what Gombah made of all this, but she definitely had his attention.

Feral brought back music to Gombah's life.

Marie Coppola © September 2012 

TBContinued Chapter 8 ~ Feral Becomes Our Outdoor Cat

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Like human diabetics, pets food choices need to be changed. Gombah was prescribed a high-protein diet (not less than 40%) and limited (once-a-week) wet canned food as it contained too many carbs that would turn to sugar.   No more food grazing all day. He is allowed one cup of dry food a day which was later reduced to 3/4 cup a day because he is so sedentary.

The cost for blood work done every 6 months - about $75; insulin for month - about $150 a month, including disposal needles. Gombah slowly stabilized and now weighs 14 pounds again.

You would think the hardest part for us would be giving him the needles. We thought it would be. The vet trained us how to do that without pain for the cat and it is easy and simple to do. It does not hurt him and Gompah actually purrs while he is being injected. He is such a routine cat that when it is time to give him his shot, he sits and waits by the place where we administer it.

The hardest part was rationing his food. The vet told us he wouldn’t be happy with his lowered amount and he sure wasn't. He meowed more and sat over his bowl and stared at it.  Often.  For long periods of time.  It is difficult not to feed your pet when you think he is hungry. The vet reduced his food intake to 3/4 of a cup but eventually he did get use to the lower amount and is not as adamant about nibbling constantly. There are times when he will find one of us, meow and put his paw on our leg and we know that he is hungry. We give him a rationed amount of treats to tide him over, but we know that in order to keep him healthy, we can't keep feeding him like we did before. Besides, the vet admonishes us if he goes over 14 pounds.  We do indulge in wet food once a week because he gets so excited when he hears the 'snap' opening.

 

The diet part was easier to help bring him 'back' to his prior self than it was to bring back his personality.  He was traumatized by our absence and the fire.  t was a long haul to win his trust again that everything would be all right. He slept in corners with his back protected for 6 months. It took him that long, too, to finally jump on the bed and cuddle us again. We were joyful when he came in one night and jumped up like he had never stopped. We gave him a big welcome and Nello reached out for him first. That started a new precedent that Gombah seeks out Nello first when he joins us in the pride's den. He switches sometime during the night and is always on my side in the morning. He was finally back!

The best part is he is healthy again - we have his sugar levels checked every six months. He no longer sleeps in corner and he grooms again and he snuggles with us. He is even more his affectionate and playful self again. Maybe that's what attracted him to a female feral cat who befriended him.

TBC.....Chapter 7...Gombah Makes Friends with Feral http://expertistas.com/2012/09/23/gombah-meets-feral-his-new-friend-chapter-7/aboutme

Marie Coppola  ©  September 2012

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At some point in time in every pet's life, he or she may need medical attention either at a veterinarian’s office or at an animal hospital. In addition , since the average life expectancy for indoor cats is 14 to 15years {although the oldest known cat, Creme Puff, lived to age 38 and some cats live to age 20} the costs for their care is increasing along with their age. And like humans, cats' health issues can increase with their age, too.

Statistically, cats are prone to diabetes at age 9, and our cat was no exception. Since we had suspected, diagnosed and now corrected his affliction, the following might be helpful for those of you who will experience a similar situation.

Like humans, it is not good for cats to be overweight.  A survey of the National Pet Pharmacy informs us that 40 percent of cats are considered to be obese! Only 5 to 10 percent of all cats can be classified as only slightly overweight. In recent years Feline Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes) has become almost a daily diagnosis in animal hospitals all across America. U.S. cats are at risk for a number of obesity related disorders. Documented research indicates obese cats are far more prone than cats of normal body weight to Diabetes, arthritis and a very serious disorder called Hepatic Lipidosis.

And the 40 percent obesity figure seems to be growing.

 A picture of a fat cat -- but it is not Gombah, although the markings are similar.

Along with the above, a cat’s history may have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, along with a sedentary life style. Yup, Gombah most definitely changed his habits from an active, outdoor cat to an indoor cat, who LOVES to be sedentary; he was also overweight. He was a prime candidate for diabetes.

One year we traveled for a month and at the vet’s suggestion, we always left him in our home since he is familiar with his surroundings and not farmed out where he may become disoriented and/or feel abandoned. We always left someone in charge that he knew ~~ to cat-sit overnight, to feed and pet him. This time was no exception.

But, an ‘exception’ did occur the very next day after we departed for our trip and were a continent away. Our area had a forest wildfire, a devastating forest fire that destroyed 72 nearby homes and continued to char 31 square miles near our home. Damage estimates rose to $16 million for the three-day blaze. The fire came within 5 miles of our development and neighbors tell us that ash and smoke were heavy on our street.

I’m mentioning this tragedy because the caretakers for our cat also live near us and were understandably anxious, under stress and preparing to evacuate if necessary. Although Gombah was being taken care of, we're assuming that anxiety was high for both humans and animals. Gombah, just adjusting from his ‘parents’ not being there, aware of surrounding smoke, different feeding times and anxiety -- were factors, we feel, in contributing to his onset of diabetes. Our vet concurs it probably did.

When we returned some weeks later, Gombah greeted us weakly - he was three pounds lighter - a lot of weight for a cat to lose in a few weeks’ time. He was thin and his gait was different; he weaved when he walked and his legs were wobbly.

He was constantly hungry and thirsty and we thought as long as he was eating, he would be OK. But, his routine had changed, too. He no longer slept curled up with us; he would find a corner in the house to sleep curled up in a fetal position with his back hugging the wall. Something definitely was not right. He wasn’t gaining weight and he was eating and thirsty all the time. He didn’t play much anymore, had stopped grooming himself and was lethargic.

A checkup at the vet's revealed his sugar count was very high and after two overnight stays, he was diagnosed as diabetic and would need insulin twice a day.   It would take 6 months before he returned to normal.                                                    

TBContinued......Chapter 6

Marie Coppola (C) September 2012

 

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Approaching his 13th year of living indoors, Gombah is very content, somewhat too plump, extremely affectionate and thinks we are his parents and we share a 'pride'.  Nello actually pats the bed and invites him to join us when we get ready to retire. He probably doesn't remember his "he can't come inside the house" remark.   Gombah is one of us; he watches TV with us, dines whenever we do and sleeps when we do.   He has his own room (the guest room) because it is sunny and when the sun moves around the sky to another room, so does he with it.

 

 

Gombah sleeping in his favorite room....

 

He has more toys than we do, and a wonderful contraption the size of a Frisbee, with a changeable cork board which he attacks with a vengeance to keep his claws sharp.    Sometimes he sits on it and whacks the ball attached to it or sometimes lays down and naps on it  He loves when we occasionally put catnip on it.   It is his favorite possession.

Although he is aggressive with his toy,  he is the most gentle of cats, and wraps his body around yours to cuddle. He especially likes to cuddle with Nello and still sleeps on his stomach. I suspect sometimes he is brown-nosing Nello (to let him stay in the house) although his nose is pink.

Yes, we let him keep his claws.   It’s for protection if he ever finds himself outside by accident. He has never scratched or clawed our leather furniture. I think that Nello probably sat him down and gave him the rules of the house. I also suspect that Nello speaks Italian to him and the cat understands it. The cat never jumps on tables or counters and turns his nose up at table food. He is the best behaved cat I have ever had and don’t all cat lovers say the same thing?

We had a pet door installed to our adjoining screened-closed in porch, complete with many plants, and Gombah spends many hours in this room, his favorite room, most likely reliving his experiences of once having been an outdoor cat.   This pet door is one of the best things we purchased for the cat.  He spends 50% of his time on the porch where the windows slide up so he has the full effect of being outside – only separated by screens.

He watches Nello garden from his chair on the porch, and Nello brings him fresh grass from outside to chew on.  We even grew seeded cat grass in pot so that Gombah would have his own stash.

Like humans, who take in more calories than they burn, Gombah, whom we spoiled and doted on, put on added weight more than he should have ~ having had the luxury of a feeding contraption where he could graze during the day. He was a nibbler and visited the feeding station more than he should have and was approaching about 15 pounds when he first showed signs of diabetes. Coupled with his obesity (the vet’s word, not mine, I loved him round) and his lack of exercise, his disease became apparent while we were on vacation one tragic year.  TBContinued.....Chaper 5.

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Gombah2

We had received warnings that coyotes were in our area; how could this be? We lived in a built-up suburban area 13 miles from New York City and there were coyotes in our sparse woods?   Yes, they were, and one day, Gombah was injured by one.  It wasn't a large injury, but it involved a trip to the vet, x-rays, antibiotics and follow-up visits to the tune of $500. When he recovered, he was anxious to get outside again, but having become over-protective and nurturing caregivers, we very reluctantly let him go.

Not long afterwards, he was attacked again, this time more seriously. He became infectious, and involved another trip to the vet, more x-rays, antibiotics and follow-ups, and another $500. The vet suggested that if we wanted to keep him as a pet, that we should consider making him a full-time indoor cat.

The vet had explained about the dangers of outdoor cats. He could suffer another wild-life attack or disabling cat fights, fleas, and/or ticks. Cat collars which do not provide stretch releases have killed many cats who literally get hung up on them. There was always the danger of him getting hit by a car crossing the road. There are diseases they can carry indoors, like ringworm or ticks that may transmit Lyme's Disease.

He also told us that the average life span of a totally outdoor cat is about a year and a half, while a totally indoor cat is expected to live upwards of 15 years. And there are diseases  for which there are not effective vaccines for such as Feline Leukemia and Feline Infectious Peritonitis. We also knew and had read that cats are subject to mean persons who can poison them or abuse them. We went home and thought about all these things.

This second time when we brought him home from the vet, Gombah was "allowed"  to come upstairs from his apartment where we could watch him better; and we referred to his home-care as 'intensive care". We had spent some weary days watching Gombah cuddled in the corner shivering from his infection and sleeping almost all the time. One day, I went in to check on him and saw Nello covering him with a blanket.   Another day, I was surprised to see Gombah napping and covered nicely on a bed in the guest room.  Nello had been sold on pets in the house.  We decided together that we were quite attached to this pet and Gombah officially became an indoor cat.

I was surprised to see him in the guest room swaddled in blankets.

Once he mended, Gombah was not very happy at first that we would not let him go outside. He would sit by the deck sliding door which was the most used door to the outside. It was also the door where in the past Gombah liked to display his hostages before he let them go.

He would look outside and then turn just his head with the most pitiful of looks and then meow so sorrowfully, I swear he had tear-filled eyes. This went on for about 2 or 3 weeks and then he tried the resentment treatment. He would act cool and aloof, but he is so lovable, he couldn't keep it up for long.  And he would look outside less and less.

For awhile, he did get lost sometimes on our bay window which was filled with plants; it was probably like being outside for him 🙂

Now he was settled in and Nello never again said, "He can't come in the house." He and Nello resumed their afternoon naps on the couch and do so to this day.  TBContinued....Chapter 4

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