It is February 2019. As some of my readers know, I am in Garberville, CA for a month’s visit with my dear friend, Patte. I came down here to avoid the Alaskan weather, and today (February 9) we have had 5 1/2 inches of snow! Go figure…still, the change is very nice.
I thought it might be fun to find a few cats in Garbervlle and learn their stories. So, have interviewed six owners and photographed their cats for your enjoyment. Here are some cats of interest in Garberville.
This is the story of Sara. Her human, Margie Randel, lives with her daughter, Susie Mattila. Margie is 97 years old. Her kitty, Sara, is 14 years old
When Margie lived in Hemet, Sara was a stray kitten. The neighbors said she should adopt the stray, but Margie said “no.”
A year later, the neighbors brought the little cat to Margie to try to get her to take it. They told Margie to hold the little kitty, and that’s when Margie fell in love with her and decided to keep her.
Sara is all white with somewhat long fur. She has a crooked bump at the end of her tail. Margie says the tail must have been broken when she was young.
Shortly after Margie adopted the little white cat, she took her to the vet to get her spayed. They found out that Sara was pregnant, so the vet had to perform an abortion before spaying her.
Now Sara and Margie have bonded. The little cat loves her human. Margie says, “I know she loves me, because she follows me everywhere. If I move to another room, she follows. She will stay close to my feet.”
At night, kitty likes to sleep on her human’s chest. However, Margie has to be careful not to move her hands, because if they move, the cat attacks. Margie says the kitten was taken from her mother too soon, and never learned to retract her claws. These attacks can be a bit painful.
A big, black dog named Raven also lives in the house. Sara and Raven get along with each other, mostly. They don’t bother each other, but sometimes they get into scraps. The cat likes to hiss at the dog.
Margie says that at first Sara was afraid of men. Then she met a man who taught her that not all men were bad.
Sara is extremely finicky about cleanliness. She has to have two litter boxes. Margie says, “If she poops in one, she will not use it again. She then uses the second, clean box. We are constantly cleaning her sand boxes.”
The kitty loves to look out the window at the birds. Sometimes Margie and Sara will have coffee together in the morning. Margie sips and Sara sits, half off and half on her lap. Sometimes the two sit and look at the birds together.
Sara gets wild when her humans try to change the bed. She attacks hands, and runs all over the bed. Sometimes Margie will throw a blanket over her, and then she will stay still under the cover for a while.
Sara has always been an inside cat. However, she has her curiosity about the big world outside. Sometimes she will dash out when the door opens. When she was younger, she would leave the house and do some exploring. Now when she gets out, she turns around and comes right back in.
Margie says, “My husband and I got along very well, but he would not take any crap from me. Sara is the same way — she loves me but is very firm about her expectations”
Margie remembers, “The cat is so devoted to me, yet makes her wishes known. She just reminds me of the way my relationship was with my husband. I researched and found out the cat was born just after my husband died. I think perhaps he sent part of his spirit to that cat so he could continue watching over me.
“Now I have a responsibility. I may be old, but I have to stick around for my cat.”
l met a big all-black kitty at Darrell Wheeler’s house. His name is Opii. Darrell says the cat doesn’t belong to him, but has adopted him.
The cat was given to the neighbors to replace a cat they had lost. However, he would not stay at their house. He was supposed to be an outside cat, but he moved in with Darrell. At his chosen place of residence, he can be top cat and doesn’t have to compete with two other cats.
Darrell says, “He is a male cat and there’s nothing but women over there. Those people take good care of their animals, but Opii just wanted to be in a place where there was no competition.”
Darrell says that after the cat started coming over, he bought some cat food. When the cat discovered he could get food there, he moved in. He goes home to visit, but since there are already cats there, he doesn’t stay.
Darrell says he was originally a dog person, but since Opii moved in, things have changed. Now the kitty gets lots of attention. He likes it when Darrell dotes on him.
When he comes in during the day, he eats the food in the bowl, then meows at Darrell, asking that he make the bed. Darrell then fixes a blanket on the sofa and the cat jumps up and goes to sleep.
Darrell keeps the front door cracked, and the cat can push it open. His adopted human says he is trying to teach Opii to close the door behind him, but has not yet succeeded.
The cat will come in at night, and if everyone is in bed, he meows to let them know he is there, so no one will step on him.
“Opii is really sensitive to people in the house. Some friends showed up one night. The guy was rather animated, and the cat freaked out. Though the cat makes up to most people, he has never liked that man.”
Opii, like most cats, doesn’t care much for change. He is very particular about Darrell’s house. He doesn’t like things in the house to be changed around. If there are things on the chair where he usually sits, he meows until someone moves it. He expects everything to stay the same, even in the bedroom. He lets you know if something is different.
At meal-time, he is very insistent. Darrell says if he had opposable thumbs, he could let himself in, open the cat food cans, and feed himself. Since he is not properly equipped, his human has to do some things for him.
The cat follows Darrell to his car, but won’t get in. Darrell has tried to get the cat to go along to get his coffee, but the cat refuses. He’s just not a coffee drinker.
Darrell says the cat also has his likes and dislikes at night. He sleeps with Darrell, but if his human is petting him and the cat is ready to sleep, he lets Darrell know that petting time is over.
Opii is a cat with the best of both worlds. He has two homes to choose from and a human companion with whom he has bonded, and who cares for him a great deal.
Mitzi shares a home with Tami Moore. Kitty’s full name is Mitzi McSnuggleton. Tami’s little cousin brought her to Tami because the cat was driving her dog crazy. When she brought Mitzi to Tami, the cat was a teenage cat; she stayed happily in her new home.
Mitzi is an unusual calico, with more grey to her fur than anything else. She is a polydactyl, which means she has extra toes. Mitzi is a bit different in that she has two extra toes on each front foot. Tami says she basically has two front paws on each side.
Though the cat does not like to be picked up, she does like to come in and lick your feet when you are in the bathroom.
Tami says, She is a quiet cat who doesn’t meow. She is very elusive unless she decides she likes you.
Mitzi is quite the hunter. She likes to bring her kill in the house; then Tami shuts her in the bathroom, and the cat processes her meat in the bathtub. When she is done eating, Tami washes the blood down the drain.
The cat’s hunting prowess is exceptional. Tami’s cousin saw the cat in a tree one time when a deer walked close to the cat’s perch. The cat jumped out of the tree and just missed landing on the deer. Was she intending to attack the deer, or was she just wanting to chase it out of her territory?
Mitzi loves circular things, such as Tami’s hair scrunchies. She will put them on her paw and drop them in the toilet. She also likes to steal expensive jewelry and throw it down the toilet.
Tami says she once looked down there and saw something shiny. She pulled it out and found it was her gold necklace.
At mealtime, Mitzi only likes dry cat food. She will eat any kind of dry cat food. She gets her fresh protein from her hunting.
The cat and Tami’s black dog, Furby, like each other, and often play together. Tami often leaves Furby and Mitzi in together when she goes to work, and they have bonded.
Now there is a newcomer in the house, a little dog named Gilbert. The cat has not yet accepted him. Gilbert tries to chase the cat. He’s been warned: “That cat will hurt you.” It will most likely only take one lesson from the cat to teach the dog more respect.
Mitzi is now 10 years old, and Tami has had her since she was quite young. Now she is a full-fledged member of the family.
Alice Johnston has a lovely black and white cat named Moose. She says her kitty is probably four years old. Alice added him to the family about a year and a half ago. The cat was everything she was not looking for. She wanted a calico female.
When Alice first met Moose, she lived in St. Helens, Oregon. They moved to Garberville over a year ago. In Oregon, Moose was able to go in and out. Now he stays in all day, but goes out for short times. Once when Alice went to visit a neighbor, she came out to find her cat waiting to escort her home.
Before Moose moved in, Alice had a cat that she liked a great deal. Its name was Moo. Alice was devastated when she had to have Moo put down, so she decided to name the new cat “Moose” because it was similar to “Moo,” the name of the last cat in residence.
When she lived in Oregon, Alice would walk to the mailbox. There was a Y in the road, one road lower and one higher. Alice would take the high road and Moose went along, but he took the lower road. Then, when he could no longer see her, he’d start crying, “Where are you? I can’t see you.” Alice would have to go back and find him; then he would follow her home.
When sister Shirley comes to visit, she and Moose renew their friendship. When Shirley is ready to leave, the cat goes to the door to tell her goodbye. He does a good job of hosting guests.
When Alice goes to bed, she lies on her side with one arm stretched out. Moose gets on the bed and lies down, putting his head on the crook of Alice’s arm. Then he scoots a little closer to give her a kiss on the nose. Then they go to sleep that way.
Moose also likes to lie on the floor with his paws stretched out in front, one crossed over the other.
This cat likes to protect his owner, if possible. Once when Alice was taking a shower, she turned the water off to do her hair. When she turned it back on, it was cold, and she screamed. The cat was on the bed, and came running in to see what was wrong. He meowed at Alice; then he wouldn’t leave the bathroom, but acted the part of watch dog, to insure his human was okay.
Moose is good about not getting on counters or tables. He is different from other cats who do not follow rules.
Once while they were still in Oregon, the cat tried to bring a mouse in the house. Alice said “no” when Moose tried to come through the door with it. Alice says he has not tried to bring in another one.
Moose is a very shy cat until he gets to know you, quite a common behavior in cats. Once he gets to know you, he is very friendly.
Moose sits in the sunny window and poses. People going by will often say how pretty he is.
He likes to play with a laser light. Last summer, the reflection of the sun on Alice’s watch left a light pattern on the wall. When she moved her wrist, the pattern from the watch would move. Then Moose would chase it. Alice had to move the watch back and forth so the reflected light would also move, and the cat was intrigued. If Alice stopped moving the watch, Moose wanted her to keep moving it, so Alice got a laser light to save her arm from over-use.
Moose is the boss. If Alice is sitting in a chair that the cat wants, she will get up and let him have it. He has obviously trained her well.
That’s what these cats do. They believe they own us, not the other way around. It is very nice for the cat when he finds a human he can train.
David Kessler’s cat, Re, has already been an internet star, with her picture and a story on Facebook.
David took the cat to the vet a little over a month ago. During the transfer from David’s car to the vet, the cat escaped and ran into the woods. She was gone for a month.
David says he went twice a day to look for her. They put a live trap in the woods to try to capture her, but no luck. Then a neighbor across the street from the vet’s saw the cat, and her son lured her in the house with food.
The cat was hospitalized and treated for a respiratory infection while she waited for the hospital to find her owner.
The vet put the story online and a Gustavus friend saw the story and picture and said, “That’s David Kressler’s cat!” The vet’s office let David know and he and Re were reunited.
Here is one of the big advantages of living in a small community. People look out for each other. There are certainly some perks for living in a town where everyone knows you.
David originally adopted Re to replace another cat called “Mouse.” He’d had Mouse since she was a very young kitten whose mother had abandoned her. The cat had a stub tail like a Manx. She had to be bottle-fed because she was so young her eyes weren’t even open yet.
When Mouse was an old cat, she went to Kitty Heaven, and David was again without a cat. Then Re appeared at his house. David says she just showed up one day.
I asked David how the cat got the name of Re. My friend, Patte and I thought perhaps Re was the name of some Egyptian goddess, and that David had become enlightened and chose a symbolic name. Well, it’s symbolic, all right.” Re” is short for “Replace,” as she replaced David’s last cat, Mouse.
David always ends up with female cats; he thinks they must be his familiars, as his female cats bond with him and do not much care for other people. They all believe David belongs to them.
Once David had a girlfriend visiting. Re must have been very jealous. That night, David and the girlfriend were sleeping on David’s bed. Re jumped up on the bed, got on David’s chest, and peed. Next she got on his girlfriend and gave her a long, evil look, then left. She definitely did not approve of David’s visitor.
The cat’s personal habits are similar to other Garberville cats. She eats dry Purina cat food. She doesn’t like canned food, but likes to hunt for fresh meat.
David says Re sleeps wherever she wants. Now she gets in bed with David and sleeps by his knees. She wants to sleep close to David, even though there is a blanketed space for her next to the bed. She prefers to sleep by her human.
Before David and Re moved to their present house, Re shared quarters with some raccoons in the shed. When Re’s food was put out, the raccoons would eat it. At times they were joined by martens and a possum. David says they fed any wildlife that came to visit. While the guests ate, Re sat on the hot tub and watched them. She didn’t argue — just waited her turn.
Re never came inside the house when she first chose David as her human. Then, about five years ago, he moved to his present house, and the cat moved into the house with him. Now she seems to want to keep David in sight all the time, since her month-long solitary adventure.
When Re first came to David, he discovered she was already spayed. She was only about eight to ten weeks old when she arrived on the scene. Now he’s had her for at least ten years.
When the cat is out and wants in, she gets on a table in front of the window, or on a chair in front of the door, and looks at David through the window. Supper-time is at 5:00, and that is when the cat usually comes in.
She is a lovely cat. David called attention to her golden eyes. He says he liked to look at them, because they remind him of his own eyes when he gets mad.
While we were there, David asked the cat if she’d like some water, since she showed great interest in his glass. He got her a glass of water and put it on the side table next to his. Re took a drink from her glass. David says she gets her own glass so she wouldn’t drink out of his.
The day we visited was her first day out since she’d come home, because of all the rain. David says that after she comes in, she waits about a half hour and then uses her cat box. “Why couldn’t she go before she comes in?” he asks.
After I got a picture of Re and did the interview, we headed home. Patte lives 2 1/2 miles up a dirt road that winds and climbs up the mountain. David’s road winds around off the main road. We saved his interview until last because the rain had certainly not improved his road. A one-track narrow rain-soaked lane twisted and turned through marshy land. Pot holes the size of small ponds graced the road, and in places it was extremely muddy.
We tried to get to his house a couple of days earlier, and the road was so bad we turned around again. On this day, it was at least drivable. However, when we got back to Patte’s primitive road up the mountain, I felt like we’d reached a highway. I am certainly glad it dried out enough for us to visit David and Re.
It is my good fortune to be able to spend time in California with my friend, Patte Rae, and her animal family. Outside is Lizzie, the intrepid watchdog, and a hen house full of chickens. Inside is a cockatiel. Patte’s cat, Kodiak, or Kodi for short, lives where he wants, either outside or inside.
Kodiak belonged to friends of Patte’s in Kodiak. The house was the birthplace for a litter of pit bull puppies and a litter of kittens at the same time. The friends were worried about raising the pups and kittens together, so they were looking for homes for the kittens.
Patte told them if they would keep the fluffy orange kitten that was all feet and ears, and a majestic poof of a tail for a year, she would take him. A year later, Patte flew home during the hot California summer with a cat and a box of frozen fish.
Fortunately, Kodiak is a very easy-going cat. Patte had to bathe him after the plane ride while she was at her sister’s. On that trip, he had to ride in cargo, and he made a mess during his ordeal. However, he remained calm, considering his uncomfortable trip.
Then they went home to Garberville. The first night there, Kodiak caught two mice in Patte’s bedroom. Patte says, “He earned a place in my heart right then and there.” He had honed his hunting skills in Kodiak, where he hunted and fed his catch to the neighbors’ cats.
He is an unusual cat. He does not like tuna, salmon, halibut, or wet cat food. He doesn’t meow for his food. His food bowl is a half-dozen steps up the loft stairway. Kodiak goes up to his step and sits there in front of his bowl in a stately pose until Patte replenishes his food bowl.
To get Patte’s attention, he started scratching the upholstered sofa leg. Patte informed him he couldn’t do that. She gave him permission to scratch on the living room rug. If he wanted out, he learned to go to the door and meow. This is about the only time he makes any noise, except for a loud purr. He somehow understands what Patte is trying to teach him.
If he is out at night he will go to Patte’s bedroom window and meow. Since I am now sleeping in the living room, he’s let me know a couple times that he wants in. The first night he knocked something over right outside my window. It worked.
Kodiak likes to be cuddled and petted. Once he is used to a stranger, he is very friendly. He likes to follow Patte around outside.
Though he is sweet-natured and friendly to people, neighborhood dogs are scared of him. Kodiak won’t let them close to his yard. Between Kodiak and Lizzie the dog, intruders stay away.
I’m now getting to know Kodiak, and am finding he has much in common with other Garberville cats.
He is in charge of the household. My friend, Patte is definitely the First Mate, though Kodiak is the Alpha Male Commander-in-chief. He sets his own rules. He lets us know when he wants out, as he is allowed whenever he asks.
On the first night, I didn’t want to let him out, as it was raining pretty hard. He meowed and harassed me for an hour, until finally I gave up, got up, and let him out. When he wants in, he makes a racket of some kind outside until someone lets him in.
Inside, there’s a cockatiel that is allowed to fly free around the house if he chooses. Kodi ignores him.
He has his favorite spots to sleep and varies them, so he never gets bored with his sleeping spot.
It is very pleasant for me to have a cat to pet and cuddle, and adds an extra dimension to the pleasure of my visit.
There are many more cats in Garberville that I had no chance to meet. It takes time, scheduling, and patience when it comes to picture-time. It is hard to take a picture of a cat under a bed. Nevertheless, I enjoyed meeting these six. I hope you enjoy reading about them.