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Thursday, September 23, 2010


Every blog Must have a cat.
And this one does. An arctic kitty. And her post has been long over due, for she is an especially unique cat.
She is the first thing I see and hear in the morning. Besides my husband of course. As soon as she hears me move in bed she jumps up on the covers and bumps my hand or head in that way that only cats can do without looking stupid. She demands our ritual morning showing of affection, and rewards me with a loud content purr and heavy lidded eyes. It is the ONLY time she shows affection, as for the rest of the day she acts as if we are only roommates. As many visitors know she is a very grumpy old lady.
The way she found me is an interesting story. I was attending college in Northern California, and as a normal college student I was often short on cash. A friends mom asked if I wanted to help with something called the Redwood Run, I volunteered for the two days it would be nearby. The first night I directed traffic; cars to the left parking space, bikes to the right. I wore a massive amount of reflective tape and orange and found out that despite what I saw on tv (and in that link) most of the bikers were very nice people and polite. Late that night we made our way to our tent outside the area of party crazy and got a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning we began the clean up process. It's amazing what people leave in their wake, heaps of trash and discarded possessions....including a tiny neglected black kitten. She was in a bush, meowing her little heart out, covered in ticks and filled with worms. She was so tiny she fit in the palm of my hand. I stuck her shivering little body in my sweater pocket, where she immediately quieted. I took her to my car (a HUGE old 1977 Dodge Aspen aka "The Boat") and set her on the seat. At the time I only had some cheese flavored popcorn as a snack. When I placed the bag in front of her she literally dived inside and ate as much as her little body could handle. I set her up with some water and closed the door and cracked the windows and went back to work.

That evening I went back to the car and found the door wide open, with no kitten in sight. My friends mom had thought the kitten needed more air and had opened the door. I searched and searched the car and didn't find her. Thinking that she had wondered off I reluctantly packed my gear and drove home. Quite a few hours after I got home, I was still thinking about her. She was so tiny. So I went back to The Boat and did a more thorough search. I found her curled up underneath the seat. Just a absolutely ink black spot that was easy enough to miss. She was sleeping the whole time.
And thus began our relationship. I had a puppy at the time. A snow white dog that I had named Winter (because she was such a mean....lady...when I first got her) They were both cast offs of society. Both neglected. And both ended up at my home. They bonded immediately. And this is how the dog became more like a cat, and the cat became more like a dog. The cat begs for food, loves dog food and dog cookies, knows how to "sit" on command, and comes quickly when she is called. She also has very ODD tastes in food. Harley the cat and Winter the dog would often team up to steal food. If anything was left on the kitchen counter the cat would push it off the edge, and jump down to enjoy the meal with the dog. She is completely unafraid of dogs and can hold her own with all of the various puppies that we have gotten over the years. She also loves sheep meat. Her nickname is "Puppy." She adores butter and seal oil and has a pure white toe on her back left foot.

She is also a very grumpy cat and doesn't get along with ANYONE. Well almost anyone. She loved my husband from the first time they met. The odd part of that relationship is that she will never ever get grumpy with him. He can literally rub her the wrong way and she will purr and flop over on her side. She also gets along with my brother Sunny, who is a bit allergic to cats. Which I seriously think cats can sense. He will approach her and slip off a shoe, and tap her with his socked toe, which is when she flops on her side so she can get a good socked belly rub. She also adores Bill Hess, a photographer and another lover of arctic cats, which I'm sure she can also sense.
She is also very much an indoor cat. On nice summer days she will venture out a few feet on our porch to watch the world go by, her sooty nose sniffing the air. But other than that rare adventure she stays inside. Which is how I like it, as we spread bird seed around the house so we can enjoy the birds. As an indoor cat she has to get quite creative to keep her mind stimulated. I provide random toys and bits of cat nip off and on and play with her as much as possible, but for most of the day she is left to her own devices. So one of the things she loves to do is to sleep in odd places. We have found her in drawers, in cupboards, on cardboard pieces on the floor, in the middle of the kitchen, on rifle cases, on wolf skins, on the heaters, and even in the dryer (which now makes me check TWICE every time I do a load).
And there I present Harley, the arctic cat, ruler of this household and stealer of sheep meat.


  1. It was a great honor for me to meet and hang out on the couch with "Puppy" the Arctic cat named Harley.

    I'm glad to see her on your blog.

    Excellent photos, btw.

  2. Thanks BIll!

    She is a very easy cat to photograph! I would think she would make a good model if she wasn't so normally grumpy...

  3. Lovely post. Be careful of the cat in the dryer- I lost one that way :(

  4. I am new to your blog by way of a friend of a friend. Enjoying it greatly.

    Gotta chuckle about 'puppy'!!

    Thanks for a peek into another life in the 'bush' is so great!


  5. Lovely story about your cat and dog(s) and wonderful photos of the cat! hugs from HW