Joy No. 24: Flip-flop paws

If our cat were to enter a beauty contest, she would not get Miss Photogenic.) She would not get Miss Congeniality either, for that matter …) But this didn’t stop me from chasing her around the house with a camera tonight trying to get a shot for tonight’s post.

What I was trying to capture were her back paws. They are so overgrown with fur that when she sashays around here, it looks as if she is wearing black flip-flops, and even on the most sober days, this cracks me up.

(Can you see that? She has werewolf feet!)

These feet are so much a part of her personality that when I went to bail her out of the animal shelter, the first thing I checked for were her flip-flops. (Long story short: We had given her to a friend of a friend a couple of years earlier because she was not getting along with Puffer I — see Joy No. 21. Unbeknownst to us, it was not a match made in heaven — she was not getting along with his stereo speakers — and her new owner let her wander off. Turned out he had never changed the information on her microchip, so when she got picked up by the cat-catcher, the pound scanned her for a chip, found my name and phone number, and called me. Orwellian kitty. Boomerang kitty.)

So when I went to visit her in the pen, I found this cat minus the flip-flop paws. For a moment I thought there must have been some wacky mix-up. But then she lit up and seemed to recognize me and I had to figure either she was a great actor or her paw fur had gotten worn off in the course of her outdoor escapades.

Once she was back to her posh indoor life, it was not long before the flip-flops returned. Along with that feline sense of entitlement. Sigh.

Flip-flop cat has been back about a year now, and, as the vet told me this week, paraphrasing Garfield, our cat is getting rather “under-tall.” Must mean it’s a good life.

Joy No. 21: A snail named Puffer

Ah, the irony.

After spending much of the spring and summer trying to keep the slugs away from my vegetables and flowers, I have fallen for one of their relatives.

I acquired a yellow mystery snail from Petsmart the other day on the advice of the store’s fish staff. I had gone in intending to buy an otocinclus — dwarf catfish — to help keep the little guy’s new aquarium clean, but the staff told me a single otocinclus would be too lazy to do the job; I needed a snail.

This is my (ahem, I mean my son’s) first aquarium ever, so I just do whatever the Petsmart staff tell me to do. But every time I visit the store, I meet different staff members, and each little team has different advice. The previous time, the otocinclus was the answer. This time the snail was the answer. (Is this how it is with fish aficionados?)

So I brought home the snail, introduced her to our three little harlequin rasboras and went on with my day. Not much happened. No big surprise.

Then, before I went to bed, I checked the tank. The snail was frolicking! Seriously, that snail was roving all over the place, long tentacles waving her eyes about, mouth hole sucking up all sorts of little specks from the side of the fishbowl. It was fascinating. This has happened every night since, and now I’m staying up way too late watching this night owl of a critter, which is making a night owl of me.

To top it off, the little guy named the snail Puffer, after our legendary cat, who died in February. I can’t help but smile as I watch this crazy snail, and remember the antics of our sweet, indomitable kitty.

Puffer I

Puffer II