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Cocoa Callie

Hi folks! Remember my new blog? I made one post and then…well, I have so much to say about my new cat I wanted to put it on here. And hopefully there will be more to come.

A lot of you remember when my foster-turned-forever cat, Jupiter, ran away (that’s for a future blog post). The first thing I did when he vanished was start putting cat food or real tuna outside the back door, morning and night. Something was eating it but I had no way of knowing who or what. I got a trap but nothing would go in it, even for tuna. Finally I obtained a wildlife camera (motion-activated) and the first culprit was a big fat raven! Furious, I brought the food closer to the house.

Nevermore

Nevermore

Some nights nothing ate it. Then a big black tomcat, then a raccoon, and finally a small cat who had clear torbie markings, even with the black and white night shots. As time passed, the torbie became a nightly visitor. Sometimes she would return several times during the night to see if more food had appeared.

It was weeks before I saw her in person. I recognized her as a cat I had seen running through the yard in the year plus we had lived in that location. She wouldn’t let me touch her, but she sat under my car as I put out the food and came up after I returned inside. Soon, she became demanding. With a shrill meow that made her sound mad or hurt, she would follow me around in the evenings as I searched for Jupiter. Finally I was able to pet her while she ate, and then she suddenly jumped up in my lap as I sat in a bench beside her food. After that she was easy to touch. I knew we were moving soon, and I started to worry about this noisy kitty. I asked neighbors on all sides and they all had seen her, but everyone thought she belonged to someone else. I put up a found sign to no response.

So I decided I could at least get her spayed. I thought her friendliness might have been due to being in heat. My sister (a vet) came and checked her for a microchip–she had none. So I scheduled a time to drive her to a low-cost spay clinic my sister volunteers at in Baltimore. THAT was a long trip. Callie (as we now called her) was FURIOUS with me, and also wasted no time making a terrible mess in her carrier. Amazingly I was able to remove her from the carrier en route (inside the car), and clean it out–she became calm as I held her.  At the vet, we realized why she had been so indignant–she was already spayed! But here was a cat who had clearly been outside for some time. She even has a frostbite scar on one ear and a damaged eye. After the spay debacle, I kept her in the spare bathroom. I was afraid she would freak out and I would have to put her back outside, but except for some shrill cries, she was fine in there. She used the litter box like a pro, and scratched a post like it was normal for a cat to do so.

Sleeping on the bed

Sleeping on the bed

So only a week later, we moved her to our new house. She got her own bathroom. I quickly learned that she could not get enough affection. She is the most uncat-like cat I have ever had. If it was up to her, I would just tote her around with me wherever I went. She is happiest in my arms, with her head tucked under one arm. She likes to eat up on a counter, and she learns where she is fed more quickly than my other cats. She plays with cat toys instead of my stuff, she only scratches on scratching posts (cardboard or sisal!), she only uses the litter box, and doesn’t mind the pine litter like my other cats do. She purrs and purrs and begs to be held. On rare occasions, she doesn’t recognize my hand and swats at it like it has startled her. But mostly, she is the cleanest, sweetest, cat.

Her place in the sun

Her place in the sun

And then she found out I have other cats. She was really not happy about that. She was visibly hurt to find out she was not the only one.  But they have reached a truce (I think!!). Sometimes I see her sitting prettily, with her tail curled around her feet, glaring at my other cats like they are evil incarnate. But she is mostly polite to them. I will always wonder where she came from, who raised her (she is probably 4 years old), and who put her out, or did she run away? But mostly I wonder if Jupiter sent her my way. He had met her once that I know of. He had escaped a couple weeks before he got away for good, and I found him chatting with a small torbie late at night in the neighbor’s yard. I brought him home that night, and he was mad that I took him away from his new friend. I have a scene that plays out in my head, of big Jupiter telling Callie, “I’m lighting out for the territories first chance I get, my little friend. This inside life ain’t for me. But you go there, they will love you, mark my words.”

Like many of you bluegrassers out there, I was in Nashville the last week of September for IBMA’s World Of Bluegrass event. There are plenty of blogs about that. After several days of hotel food, and trying the tourist traps on Broadway (don’t get me wrong, Jack’s BBQ on Broadway is still fantastic–simple, tasty, and REAL barbecue with scrumptious southern sides and lots of cornbread), I was ready to find something special. Friday October 1st’s issue of USA Today, stuck under the hotel door, had a special food section where it recommended a restaurant from each state, and Tennessee’s was–you guessed it–Burger Up.

Burger-Up
2901 12th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 297-3767

We got a bit lost in the Vanderbilt area before we found this little gem. It looks like the block has been revamped recently, there’s an ice cream shop and a salon, and this place, which looks like an old warehouse, but delightfully redone in blond woods and steel. There’s a bar, and rows of wooden tables with little wood seats, like a cafeteria, so you are sitting next to other visitors.  Bathroom was clean and comfy, with that little basket of good-smelling lotions. I ordered the Woodstock, apparently the favorite–it’s just a bacon cheeseburger with Jack Daniels maple ketchup, but it was so amazing–perfectly cooked, with a tiny, chewy little bun, and so much flavor. The beef is grown locally, along with most of everything on the menu–my partner had a fresh salad with a burger plopped on top that I ate quite a bit of as well. Hand cut fries came in a big can, I had the sweet potato fries; hot, squishy, and crunchy. There were other things I wanted to try on the menu–a po boy, a portabella sandwich. Oh, I almost forgot–I finished it up with a diet coke float made with organic ice cream. This meal made my week!

Later that night, we went out to 3rd and Lindsley to catch David Bromberg’s show. This wasn’t part of IBMA week, but I enjoyed it more than almost anything I encountered. They don’t make performers like this anymore. Joined by a sparse but hugely talented band,  Bromberg will draw you into his songs and not let you go until it’s all over.  It’s more than music, it’s a SHOW. The last show that grabbed me in this way was Arlo Guthrie’s.  It’s hard to find current folk, rock, or blues folks anywhere who can make you feel what they are feeling. 

P.S. Welcome to my blog! You asked for it, you got it! 🙂