7

Feral Purrfessional – Part 4

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech where she will study providing medical care to the feral cat population. She has discovered that one of her professors is her roommate’s father. Rose is much calmer about leaving Katie since she met the Professor. You can read the beginning of the story here.

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After the first day of school.

Katie: That was tough. I can’t believe how much homework we got on the first day.

Elise: And we have two quizzes on Friday!

Katie: Cats’ vital signs and the systems in the cat’s body.

Elise: Guess we better get started.

Katie: Can you believe some of the cats are going to a nip party tonight? It’s not even the weekend.

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Elise: I know. Maybe they don’t know how hard the program is.

Katie: Did you see that cute boy cat that was looking at you?

Elise: How could I miss him? Every time I turned around he was there.

Katie: Did you talk to him?

Elise: Yeah. All he wanted to talk about was my father, the professor.

Katie: That stinks.

Elise: It’s OK. I’m used to it.

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Katie’s phone rings.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How are you?

Rose: How was your first day of school?

Katie: Great! I think I’m going to like it here.

Rose: Were you OK after we left?

Katie: Yes, we were fine. (Rolls her eyes.)

Rose: What are you doing now?

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Katie: We’re getting ready to study.

Rose: OK. I won’t keep you. Say hello to Elise and her father. Talk to you tomorrow.

Katie: Bye, Mama.

Katie looks at Elise.

Katie: She is going to drive me crazy. I think she’s going to call every day. She says hello to you and your father.

Elise: She just misses you.

Katie: I guess. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything very interesting every day.

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Elise: She seemed to like Daddy. I’ll see if he has any ideas.

Katie: That’s a great idea. Thank you!

They decide to go to the cafeteria and eat before studying. After salmon mousse and cream, they return to their room and work until bedtime. The next afternoon, Katie gets another call.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How is everybody?

Rose: We’re all fine. How are you?

Katie: I’m good. Elise and I are going to see a movie tonight. Take a break after studying.

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Rose: You’re not going to be out after dark are you?

Katie: I’m a cat. Dark doesn’t bother me.

Rose: But it’s not safe.

Katie: Don’t you remember what Professor Khatt told you? It’s perfectly safe here. Besides, it’s just down the block.

Rose: OK. But call me when you get home. I want to make sure you’re safe.

Katie: All right. I’ll talk to you then.

Katie disconnects the phone.

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Katie: Meowsers! She is crazy. I have to call when we get back. Did you talk to your dad?

Elise: I almost forgot! He said that he would call her tonight and explain how distracting it would be for you if she called every night.

Katie: I hope he doesn’t hurt her feelings.

After the movie, Katie calls her mother.

Katie: Hi, Mama. We’re home. All safe and sound.

Rose: That’s nice dear. I hope you enjoyed the movie. I got the nicest call from Edgar. He told me that you are adapting well, and I don’t need to worry so much. He is going to call me every Friday to let me know how things are going. He suggested that you call me once a week since you will be very busy. I think Monday.

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Katie (confused): Sure, Mama. Mondays will be fine. Are you sure you’ll be ok with once a week?

Rose: Oh, yes. I don’t want to interfere with your studies. Love you.

Katie: Love you too.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: Your father is a magician! I only have to call once a week.

Elise: How’d he manage that?

Katie: He’s going to call her every week to reassure her.

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All goes well for several weeks. Everyone is making plans for the Thanksgiving break. Katie is talking to her mother during the weekly call.

Rose: Edgar tells me you’re doing very well in school.

Katie: So far, everything is fine.

Rose: Did you know he and Elise will be spending Thanksgiving alone?

Katie: She says that’s the way they always do it.

Rose: Well, I think it’s terrible. So, I invited them down here.

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Katie (in disbelief): Really, Mama? I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend that much time with one of my professors. It would look strange.

Rose: Don’t be silly. Cats shouldn’t be alone on holidays. Besides, you can spend your time with Elise.

Katie: I guess, Mama.

Rose: It’s set then. You can all take the train down on Wednesday.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: That’s weird. She invited you and your father for Thanksgiving.

Elise: That sounds like fun. I’ve never been south.

Katie: I’m so glad you’re going to be there.

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Rose makes a huge Thanksgiving dinner with an entire turkey. The kittens love Edgar. He has brought some of his cat models down and plays with the kittens. On Sunday, Rose drops Edgar, Elise, and Katie at the station.

Elise: Thank you, Mrs. Kitty. I had a wonderful time.

Rose: You’re very welcome. I enjoyed having you.

Katie: I guess this wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be.

Rose: I told you everything would be fine.

Edgar: You were a wonderful hostess, Rose. I’m so glad you invited us.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I’m looking forward to seeing you both at Christmas.

Edgar: We’ll see you then. I’m planning special gifts for both you and Katie.

Katie and Elise look at each other.

Next week: The finale. What is going to happen on Christmas?

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28

Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. If you live with small (or not so small) human children, you may have noticed that they are not around as much as usual. That’s because they have gone off to “school”.

Humans are a little odd in the way they teach their children (among other things). Instead of teaching them how to survive in the world, they send them to “school” to learn “facts” and “socialization”. And they only do it for part of the year. Very strange.

Anyway, life around the house changes when school begins. We’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they may affect you.

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Getting up Early – Your young human will probably start getting up earlier than usual.

Downside – They will use some loud noise to wake up. It’s called an alarm, and it makes an awful sound to wake the small human. You will not enjoy it. Also, you will lose your warm sleeping companion.

Upside – You get the warm bed to yourself.

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Buses – Your young human may take a “bus” to school. They are yellow. An alligator friend of ours refers to them as a can of people.

Downside – Young humans rarely are ready for the bus. They run around the house looking for things. There may be yelling. And buses make a very loud noise when they stop.

Upside – None

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Backpacks, Books, Shoes – Humans need a lot of stuff to go to school.

Downside – They will probably leave their stuff all over the house. You will either need to walk around it or over it. Often the adult humans will yell at them to put their stuff away. (School seems to cause a lot of yelling.)

Upside – Some of the stuff is really comfy to lay on. In particular, backpacks and books are good for relaxing. The shoes can be used as containers for gift mice.

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Pencils, Pens, Crayons – School also requires a lot of stuff to write with.

Downside – Crayons taste awful. Pens can leak ink onto your paws. Sometimes humans get cranky if you play with them.

Upside – It’s a lot of fun to bat any of them around and watch them roll. If you’re lucky, the small human may play with you.

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Lunch – A lot of small humans take food to school. An adult human usually makes a lunch.

Downside – The humans will spend a lot of time in the kitchen totally ignoring you. Some of the food is really icky, like celery. And they won’t let you give a sniff test to make sure the food is good.

Upside – Once in a while, you may get a piece of the meat that’s going on the sandwich. Don’t be fooled if they offer you peanut butter – it does not taste like butter.

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Gym Clothes – Sometimes the schools make the small humans exercise. They wear special clothes for exercise.

Downside – When these clothes come home, they smell terrible.

Upside – None. Avoid them.

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Baths – Parents make children bathe more often for school.

Downside – Small children don’t always want to bathe. (Disgusting, isn’t it?) There may be yelling (again). If you like to be in the bathroom, you may get dragged into the water.

Upside – Less chance of sticky fingers in your fur.

As you can see, school doesn’t really do much for us cats. In exchange for having a quieter house for a few hours a day, we get more yelling and running around for the rest of the time.

We highly recommend that you find a nice, quiet spot and ignore them all.

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13

Feral Purrfessional – Part 3

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. She has arrived at the school with her mother and sister Charlene. They have just met Katie’s roommate Elise and her father Edgar. Read the beginning of the story here and Part 2 here.

Elise: We start tomorrow. Let’s go see where everything is.

Katie: Great idea! I think the labs are across the street. And the lecture rooms are the next building over.

Charlene: That way you guys can’t blow up everything at the same time.

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Katie: Thanks, Char. We really appreciate your support.

Katie looks at her mother and Edgar.

Katie: Are you coming, Mama?

Mama: I don’t know. I might be more frightened than ever about leaving you here.

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Edgar: Let’s go with them, Mrs. Kitty. That way you can see how safe it is.

Mama: Please call me Rose. No one calls me Mrs. Kitty. It sounds so strange.

Edgar: All right, Rose. I can explain what things are. It will make you feel better.

Rose: I guess that’s a good idea.

The girls race ahead chattering about how much fun they are going to have. Rose and Edgar follow close behind. There is a puma guard at the door to the labs.

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Guard: I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed in the building until tomorrow when classes start.

Edgar pulls out an identification card.

Edgar: It’s OK. I’m Edgar Khatt, Anatomy Purrfessor.

Guard: I’m sorry, Purrfessor. I’m new to the building. Please go ahead.

They enter the building, and Katie looks at Elise.

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Katie: Your dad works here?

Elise: Yeah. I don’t like to tell people. They think he got me in the program.

Edgar: Don’t worry, Katie. She won’t get more help than anyone else. I have an assistant who does the grading.

Katie: That’s pawsome, Purrfessor Khatt! I already know one of my teachers.

Edgar laughs.

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Edgar: That’s the spirit, Katie.

Rose: You mean you’ll see Katie every day, Edgar?

Edgar: Not every day. But several times a week.

Rose: I’m so glad to hear that. You don’t seem scary at all.

Edgar laughs again.

Edgar: Well, I’m glad to hear that. Here’s my lab.

He opens the door and turns on the light.

Charlene (startled): There are dead cats in here.

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Rose (terrified): You’re going to make them kill cats?

Edgar: Of course not. These are models, not real cats. We need the students to learn all of the bones and such so they can help others.

Rose (relaxing): Oh, of course. That makes sense.

Katie: Look, Mama. This one opens up to show the muscles.

Charlene: And this one has bones.

Elise: And they have real cats come in to show how the parts work for walking and jumping and other things.

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Katie: I can’t wait!

Rose: Well, I guess this isn’t too bad. What about the other classes?

Edgar: The students are very closely supervised. Some of the skills are practiced on each other, like weight and length.

Rose: How do you know when they’re ready to graduate?

Edgar: It’s a two-year program. Then the students work in our clinic for 3 months to practice their skills.

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Rose (hesitantly): Well, it does sound like a good program. Do you think she’ll be safe here?

Katie: Mama! Stop asking so many questions. You’re embarrassing me.

Edgar: It’s OK, Katie. (Turning to Rose) It’s very safe here. We’ve never had a problem with any of our students. All of the buildings are locked at night, and guards patrol the campus.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I feel much better.

Edgar: I’m glad to hear it.

The girls have been examining all of the models and displays. Katie and Elise seem to be bonding. Charlene still thinks some of the models are real cats.

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Edgar: Anybody interested in an anchovy and tuna pizza? I know a great place.

They walk to the restaurant and find a table. Katie and Elise talk nonstop about classes, books, shopping, and room decorations. The others mainly listen. Finally, they walk back to the dorm.

Edgar: How long are you staying, Rose?

Rose: We’re going to sleep here tonight and catch the train in the morning.

Edgar (disappointed): I was hoping to show you more of the town. At least let me take you to the station in the morning.

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Rose: That’s very kind of you.

Early the next morning Edgar picks up Rose and Charlene.

Rose: I want to thank you again. I feel so much better about Katie staying here. I’m going to miss her, but I won’t worry so much.

Edgar: If you’d like, I can call once in a while to let you know how she’s doing.

Rose: That would be wonderful. Here’s my number.

Charlene: There’s our train. We have to go.

Rose and Edgar purr.

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We will be taking a break next week for Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School. Then we will find out how things work out for Katie and Rose.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

21

Feral Purrfessional – Part 2

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. Her mother is uncomfortable with Katie being so far from home. Read the first part of the story here.

Katie: Mama, did you get the train tickets to school?

Mama: Yes, I did. I bought three – you, me, and Charlene. We leave at seven tomorrow morning. We won’t get there until the middle of the afternoon. I really don’t like how far away it is.

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Katie: The train takes longer than driving, because it stops. I think you’ll really like it.

Mama doesn’t seem convinced. The next morning the three Kitties arrive at the depot. Katie has been so excited that she hadn’t noticed how many bags her mother brought with her.

Katie: Mama, why are you bring so much stuff? I think you have more than I do! Are you planning to stay?

Charlene: Of course, we’re staying overnight. We can’t see anything if we don’t leave the train station.

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Katie: Good point. But you only have one bag. Mama has (counting) six. What is all that stuff?

Mama: I brought snacks for the train. And towels and personal items in case you forgot anything.

Katie groans.

Mama: And I brought some of those special salmon cakes you like, in case you get hungry at school.

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Katie: Mama, they have a cafeteria.

Mama: I know, but you might not like the food. And I brought extra school supplies. Just in case. And your stuffed mouse. And your favorite pillow.

Katie: Mama! I don’t need all that stuff! You’re going to embarrass me.

Mama (hurt): I just thought you might miss home and want some special things to help you adjust.

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Mama starts to cry.

Mama: I’m just so upset to have you moving out. You’re my baby, and I want you to be safe and happy.

Charlene glares at Katie.

Charlene: Can’t you just be nice? We all know how excited you are, but you are leaving home. Besides, someone will eat the stuff. Mama’s a wonderful cook. And you probably did forget things. You are pretty scatter-brained sometimes.

Katie: I guess you’re right. I do always seem to forget something.

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Turns to Mama and hugs her.

Katie: I’m sorry, Mama. It sure looks like you went through a lot of work for me.

Mama: It wasn’t any trouble.

They take their seats on the train. They weren’t too far out of the station before they were all curled up asleep. It seemed like no time before they heard the conductor calling their stop.

Katie: See, Mama? That wasn’t so bad.

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Charlene: It’s pretty here. It doesn’t even really look like a city. All the trees and flowers.

Mama: You’re right Charlene. It’s much prettier than I expected.

Katie: We need to find the shuttle to the campus.

She looks around and sees a van marked “Mid-America Animal Tech”. They find three empty seats. Ten minutes later, they stopped at a building with a sign that says, “Feral Purrfessional Dormitory and Lab.” Katie bounces up.

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Katie: This is it! My home away from home. Hurry!

Katie runs up the steps to the building. By the time Mama and Charlene have gathered everything together and get in the door, Katie has her room key and a set of house rules.

Katie: Hurry up! I’m on the second floor.

They follow her, carrying the bags. As Katie struggles to open the door, it’s pulled open by a handsome tom.

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Tom (laughing): You must be Katie; Elise’s new roommate. There’s Elise over on the bed.

Katie and Elise look each other over, rub heads, and begin to chatter. Meanwhile, Mama and Charlene appear at the door out of breath.

Tom: My goodness! Are you Katie’s sisters? And what’s in all those bags? Let me get them from you.

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Mama Kitty blushes.

Mama: No. I’m Katie’s mother and this is her sister Charlene.

Tom: My name is Edgar and I am Elise’s father. Unfortunately, her mother died in an accident, so I’m playing Mom today.

Mama: That’s so sweet.

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Edgar: What is in all those bags you were carrying? It smells delicious.

Mama: Those are salmon cakes I made for Katie, but she says she doesn’t want them. Would you like one?

Edgar: That would be purr-fect. I’m starving.

Mama gets out the salmon cakes and prepares a plate for Edgar. They are talking and don’t notice the younger cats watching them.

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Next week: Conclusion. Will Mama Kitty be comfortable leaving Katie at school?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

19

Feral Purrfessional

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Katie Kitty was almost through packing when her mother came into her room. Mama Kitty was visibly upset.

Mama: Are you really going, Katie?

Katie: Mama, you know I am. I’ve been talking about it since I got accepted by Mid-America Animal Tech. They’re even giving me a scholarship!

Mama: But it’s so far away. I won’t see you for weeks.

Katie hugs Mama Kitty.

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Katie: I know, Mama. But we can talk on the phone and Skype. And I’ll be home for holidays.

Mama: I know, but it’s not the same. I don’t understand why you can’t just stay home like your friends. They’re going to school at Feline First Academy.

Katie (patiently): They don’t teach what I want to study, remember?

Mama: Do you really want to do that? It’s going to be so difficult.

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Katie: We need to have more Feral Purrfessionals. I’m going to be able to help untamed kitties get medical treatment. I won’t be a vet, but I can do a lot of the things a vet can do. I’ll be able to fix cuts and treat infections.

Mama: That does sound useful.

Katie: Remember when Mrs. Murrow had so much trouble having her kittens last year? I’ll be able to help kitties like that. And I can counsel on family planning.

Mama: Well, there are a lot of ferals around. I guess helping them is admirable work.

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Katie: It really is, Mama.

Mama: But do you have to go so far?

Katie: It’s the closest place that has the training. Besides, they offered me free tuition and housing. It’s hardly going to cost anything.

Mama: That’s true. I’m proud of you being so smart. I just didn’t realize it meant you would be leaving us.

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Katie: I’m not leaving you. I’m coming back for good when the training is over. That’s the point. I want to come back and help the cats I know. That’s why most of the kitties will be studying there.

Mama: But there will be a lot of different types of cats there. Some of them are probably big-city cats. They’re all spoiled and can be kind of hissy around other cats.

Katie: I suppose that’s possible. But if they want to help ferals, I think we should let them. Cities have wild cats too.

Mama: Well, be careful around them.

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Katie: I will, Mama.

Mama: There are going to other kinds of animals there too. It’s open to anyone, no matter what species they are. What if they make you room with a wolf? You probably won’t survive your first night.

Katie: Mama, didn’t you read the papers they sent? They have separate buildings for each species. Girl cats room with girl cats. I’m not going to get eaten.

Mama: But you won’t be inside all the time. What if something tries to attack you?

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Katie: For goodness sake, Mama! We live in a multi-species subdivision. It’s going to be like living here.

Mama: I guess so. I just don’t like the idea of you being so far from your family.

Katie: Would it help if you saw Animal Tech? Maybe you’d see it’s not so bad.

Mama: I don’t know. I don’t like cities.

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Katie: The bus stops right on campus. You can come with me tomorrow so you are more comfortable with the idea.

Mama: Can I bring your sisters? I don’t want to come home by myself.

Katie: How about one sister? I don’t want to draw attention my first day there.

Mama: I suppose that will work. Maybe Charlene. She’s the biggest of us. And she knows how to fight.

Katie sighs and goes back to packing.

Next week: Mama Kitty’s trip to the city

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

16

Cat Forum: Name That Cat

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Greetings from Snoops and Kommando Kitty. This week we have a game for you. We’re going to give a list of characteristics and you need to identify the kind of cat being described.

We know this isn’t much of challenge for you kitties, so we recommend you team up with a human. You can help them with the hard ones.

There is a list of possibilities at the top and answers at the bottom. The pictures do not correspond to the description above or below. There are more possibilities than there are clues.

Some are breeds and some are coat patterns. Good luck!

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Possible answers: American Shorthair, Balinese, Calico, Havana Brown, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, Siamese, Siberian, Snowshoe, Tabby, Tonkinese, Tortie, Turkish Angora

Hint: Snoops is a representative of one of these cats

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Cat #1

  • Males are generally considered good luck.
  • Early Japanese sailors thought they could chase away storms
  • Official state cat of Maryland
  • An Irish wives’ tale says that rubbing a foot wart on this cat’s tail will make the wart go away
  • Maneki neko, a Japanese cat good luck talisman, is usually this cat

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Cat #2

  • Mix of Burmese and Siamese
  • Likes to talk
  • Very affectionate
  • Loves interactive toys
  • Very playful and energetic

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Cat #3

  • Likes to talk
  • Sensitive to human moods
  • Great leapers
  • Smart
  • Highly social

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Cat #4

  • Highly intelligent
  • Crave human attention
  • Love to touch their favorite humans
  • Love to carry toys and other objects in their mouths
  • Very adaptable to new situations

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Cat #5

  • Affectionate
  • Love water
  • Great jumpers
  • One of the largest breeds
  • Very playful

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Cat #6

  • Natural athlete
  • Friendly and family-oriented
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Fun loving
  • Would rather cuddle than prowl

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Cat #7

  • Thought to have a strong attitude about most things
  • Celts believed the males were good luck
  • Japanese sailors believed the males protected them from ghosts
  • Are believed to bring money and have psychic abilities
  • If you dream about one, you’ll soon be in love

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Answers: 1 – Calico, 2 – Tonkinese, 3 – Balinese, 4 – Havana Brown, 5 – Siberian, 6 – Norwegian Forest, 7 – Tortie

Humans, don’t feel bad if you missed some, we cats have trouble telling most of you apart too.

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Ed. Note: Don’t forget that the cats that need you most are the (mainly) moggies/mixed breeds that are found in shelters. And most of them have paw-some personalities.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

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21

Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting

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Forest Glenn is an upper middle class subdivision with a diverse multi-species population. Before moving in, residents must sign a contract agreeing to be governed by the decisions of the Homeowners’ Association.

Please find below the minutes from the August 1, Forest Glenn Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm. Approximately 30 homes were represented at the meeting.

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Horace Hogg, president of the Association, reminded everyone that the pool would be closed for the season following the annual Labor Day party. He wants everyone to be courteous in the dish they bring to the event. We do not want a repeat of last year when one of the guests saw a relative being eaten by other guests.

Halloween is coming. A reminder to residents: no decorations are allowed that flash, light up, or are offensive to other residents. Therefore, witches and pumpkins are acceptable, but no negative portrayals of cats or bats.

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Decorations are limited to the porch and front of the house. Real blood is prohibited due to health concerns.

There have been violations of several Association policies during the past month. If residents have not corrected the problem by the end of August, fees will be assessed.

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Grass must be no higher than 1 inch – Beau Bison, Shelley Sheep. Lack of appetite is not an acceptable reason for non-compliance.

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No lawn ornaments – Dolly Deer, Joe Jaguar, Bob Beaver. Lawn ornaments include (but are not limited to) gnomes, flamingos, and wooden “Welcome” signs.

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No buildings except a house and garage – Alan Aardvark. Buildings include sheds, tree houses and permanent play houses for your children.

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One flag may be displayed per house and no flags larger than 2 feet by 3 feet displayed from the front of the house – Edgar Eagle, Larry Lion. Flags include national flags, state flags, school flags, college flags, and club membership flags. Homemade flags are discouraged. Flagpoles are prohibited.

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Political signs are not allowed on lawns – Delilah Donkey, Edgar Elephant. These signs are considered lawn ornaments, and particularly tacky ones. No one cares who you are voting for.

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Only shrub fences – Tommy Tortoise. Any other material would ruin the natural beauty of the subdivision. If residents were allowed to use materials of their choosing, we would be faced with the possibility of something cheap and tacky. You know we can’t trust everyone’s taste.

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Quiet time between midnight and 6 am – Billy Bat, Harold Hyena. Nocturnal animals are welcome in the neighborhood, but must abide by association rules. Additionally, parties which last past midnight must be moved into the home. Vehicles with loud engines may not be used during the quiet period.

Some reminders for fall:

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Do not burn your leaves. They may be used for mulch or saved in the backyard for burrowing relatives to use during the winter. The Association will collect unwanted leaves for the less fortunate.

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All plants must be trimmed back to no more than a foot tall before the snow falls. You are welcome to eat them yourselves or share with a friend. We will provide names of plant trimmers upon request. You may add small branches to your mulch or leaf pile if you wish.

If you are expecting relatives for the winter, fees are due to be paid no later than October 15. As usual, group rates are available.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm. The next meeting will be September 5.

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