Archive for the ‘Pookah’ Category

Your First Number – You Have Pets

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Your First Number, your Emergency Fund, is the most basic one for your financial success, for too many reasons to list here (though I will return to this subject several times in the future). Your First Number may be different from mine… just like mine is different from the baseline I described in the linked article.

So what if you have pets?


Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Pookah-kitty sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry queen of the bush is she
Meow, Pookah-kitty! Meow, Pookah-kitty!
Gay your life must be!

Pookah-kitty sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the kuckaburras she can see
Stop, Pookah-kitty! Stop, Pookah-kitty!
Let those birdies be!

Pookah-kitty sits on a window sill
Getting all the sunshine as she will
Purr, Pookah-kitty! Purr, Pookah-kitty!
Glad you’re here with me!

Pookah-kitty sees the old man nap
Quietly cuddles up on his lap
Sleep, Pookah-kitty! Sleep, Pookah-kitty!
You’re sweet as can be!

(Sung to the tune of _Kookaburra_, by Marion Sinclair)

Good Intentions – Pookah Translation

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Since the humans use my name in this “blog”, I need to occasionally step in and correct a few problems that my person has accidentally created.

Recently, my human “posted” text to this “blog” using more than the usual confusing language. I will now introduce some clarity.

There have been a number of times in my life where I endeavored with the best of Good Intentions to pursue the goal of Do What’s Right. I like to think that I have, over the course of many years of hard study, learned to pursue this sometimes easy to see, yet strangely elusive goal, with a modicum of wisdom.

“I try to Do What’s Right. But I still muck it up. Like the Old Lady Cat in the litterbox.”

Cast you now your thoughts back to a rose-tinted vision of some years past, in the cold of winter, shortly after a good half inch of ice has coated the primordial scrub, rendering it into a beautiful, scintillating dream of crystal spires, glistening sculptures, and slippery walkways. The air was cold and tasted new. As new as my living arrangements with S.O.

“This all happened in winter, before Pookah adopted me.”

With DUTY in mind and Do What’s Right in my soul, I did rise early that visionary morning and proceed, with ice scraper, heavy coat, knit cap, and gloves, to remove all traces of any visual occlusionary impediments to S.O. safely driving the motorized vehicle designated for such exclusive use. As Fortune would have it, S.O. exited our rental pile of rocks in time to witness Yours Truly just finishing with the rear windshield. Ah, the sight of S.O., standing bundled up in the doorway, face flushed with love and cold, smile outshining the sun, carefully waving a Thank You to me, still warms my heart. I smiled with pride in my accomplishment and waved back.

“I went outside to scrape the ice off S.O.’s car. S.O. was grateful.”

All would have been well, except for one small thing.

“I screwed up.”

If you will observe above the list of equipment and accouterments that I used in this worthy endeavor, and notice the accidental omission of one critical piece that is fundamentally germane to both the environment (icy) and task (removing said ice from a car). Yes, I had not worn boots. In and of themselves, boots may not have prevented the sequence of events that subsequently transpired, but they certainly would have reduced the likelihood.

“I didn’t wear boots. I was standing on ice. I am about to look like a catnip-crazed kitten on a linoleum floor. Only more embarrassing.”

As I stood there, gallantly returning S.O.’s loving hand undulation, my feet shot out from under me and I hovered for a few brief seconds in midair, supported only by inertia long enough to briefly consider how I had erred, and doomed to shortly fall to gravity. Which I did.

“I slipped.”

Still, all would have been well, except for another small thing.

“I am also unlucky.”

That small thing would be physics. Specifically, the trajectory arc described by my skull, modified by the graceful, dexterous twisting of my body into a controlled fall (i.e. I flailed about uselessly) that would normally result in a bruise to my fifth point of contact (a.k.a: buttocks), but an otherwise safe unexpected descent to the ice-covered asphalt parking lot. Said arc was, unfortunately, tangential to the rear bumper of the aforementioned car, and was severely interrupted by contact with same.

“I looked like an uncoordinated idiot as I hit my head on S.O.’s car.”

The concussion lasted for several days.


The dent is still in the bumper.

“S.O. occasionally reminds me of my foolishness.”

Yes. My skull is tougher than the car. In every sense of the word.

“I like learning from pain.” — one of my human’s more endearing traits, I might add.

Let this be a lesson to you: Doing What’s Right, without adequate preparation, is foolish.

“Don’t be foolish like me.” Further evidence that some adult humans are really just very big kittens: Well-meaning, but not very smart or agile.

Being foolish hurts.

“I really need to give Pookah a small tasty bird. Tonight would not be too soon.”

A lot.

“A delicious fish is also acceptable, provided that it is served on the human dining platform with a soft comfy-nest for Pookah, whose dignity and poise are admirable, to rest on while she eats.”

Indoor Cats

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

S.O. and I have, at various times, had anywhere from two to eight cats living in our pile of rocks. None were declawed. All were treated at various points to prevent accidental multiplication. All were kept indoors only.

Gasp! Shock! Horror!

You didn’t DECLAW THEM?!?!

Well, no. We didn’t, and don’t.

We don’t keep furniture and furnishings so fine that they can’t stand the normal wear and tear of daily (sometimes hourly) use. That is what furniture and furnishings are for in our pile of rocks. Yes, the little multi-switchblade-equipped furry feline felons have, upon rare occasion, taken it into their fuzzy skulls that sharpening their talons upon our well-used furniture is a Good Thing. Judicious application of the Mighty Hand of No!! (spray bottle with water) usually takes care of the problem. For persistent feline stubbornness, a light dusting of dried cayenne pepper powder (followed by much howling, meowing, and dragging of nose through carpet) creates the appropriate atmosphere for cattish attitudinal adjustment. (Just make sure you warn your S.O., and vacuum it back up before guests arrive.)

Cruel? No. The one and only time I’ve been pepper-sprayed thoroughly convinced me that I never wanted to be a guinea pig at another self-defense demonstration. (I bought two of the devices on the spot, along with training in their use. You see, I could personally testify as to their effectiveness after I could breathe and see again.) I can speak from first-hand experience, and after consultation with the vet, that this treatment does no serious harm to our beloved pets. For each such cayenne pepper incident, the boundaries of What Is and What Is Not A Scratching Post required only one lesson.

It also happens to save money on vet bills. Here at Life of Pookah, we are all about sane frugal living.

Pookah wishes to go on record that Pookah learned proper behavior on the first lesson. Pookah has NEVER experienced cayenne pepper powder. Pookah has, however, watched Pookah’s foolish, stubborn daughter ignore the obvious signs of violating human territories. Pookah graciously allowed Pookah’s daughter to groom her own fur that day.

Pookah is still considering disowning Pookah’s “offspring”.

Crime! Blasphemy! Inhumanity!

You don’t LET THEM OUT?!?!

Let me explain something that may not be inherently obvious from my previous references to our small portion of the primordial scrub, upon which our pile of rocks is situated.

Where we live, there are these critters known as Wild Animals, and occasional Feral Pets.

And small tasty birds.

That means that there is a high percentage of likelihood that Mr. Fuzzywuzzy will end up as some critter’s dinner, claws or no. If dinner attendance is not enforced, Mr. Fuzzywuzzy *will* have lacerations and punctures to show for the attempted enforcement. This can still easily result in a dead pet. Additionally, with all of these wild and/or feral critters about, not only is there increased likelihood that Mr. Fuzzywuzzy will contract parasitic or communicable infection, there is also a significant chance that the local wild and/or feral critter control methods will accidentally send Mr. Fuzzywuzzy into the feline hereafter.

Take this interesting factoid for example: As of three years ago, there was a feral feline population explosion, numbering some fifteen or more individuals. Fox, coyote, raccoon, possum, and “other” critters in combination with nearby farmers taking exception to attempted chicken feasts and the inevitable attrition due to motor vehicles, reduced that number to barely a half-dozen within a year. Yes, they grow the critters big enough to do the job around here. Personally, I don’t know if muskrat or beaver will kill a cat – but they certainly get big enough to do so.

Now there are maybe three outdoor cats in our area of primordial scrub, of which one is a relatively new immigrant to the region. All of them have the battle scars to prove that they can hold their own – or at least know how to wedge themselves into an opening too small for nature’s dinner enforcers to get at them. (One is becoming a grizzled old veteran tomcat, who thinks that Marine special forces training is for wimps.)

In short, outdoor cats have a very reduced life expectancy in our neck of the primordial scrub. While I am all in favor of natural recycling, I’d much prefer to enjoy many years of companionship and affection with my pets than go through the heartache of finding their gnawed remains. Our indoor cats are well-fed, groomed, played with, play with each other, and get to watch small tasty birds through the window. Pookah herself has shown little desire to return to the Great Outdoors, even though the opportunity has repeatedly presented itself.

Pookah can always get another small tasty bird from the kitchen. If Pookah wants to play Chase, Pookah will let human see Pookah getting the small tasty bird. Humans do not take corners very well at all.

(P.S.: The foxes are absolutely gorgeous, but they are very shy. I have yet to catch one with the camera, but I’m still hoping.)

Ask Pookah – February

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Once a month at Life of Pookah, we ask Pookah a question. Questions can be about any topic. Pookah can answer however she wishes.

So, Pookah: I’ve got a little extra money. Should I pay more towards my high-interest debt, or put it into my emergency fund to get it back to 6 months of living expenses?

I am a cat. Not an accountant.

Errhhmmm… Let me rephrase that. You have a pile of catnip….


You have a pile of catnip, but you owe catnip to another cat. So do you store your catnip to use later, or do you give it to the other cat?

Why would I give catnip to another cat when I can keep it all for myself?

Well, that other cat gave you some food when you were hungry.


The deal was that you’d give that other cat some catnip every month, until the debt was repaid.

But it’s MY catnip!!!

You made a deal. The other cat gave you something, you used it, now you owe the other cat what you agreed to pay.

How is that other cat going to make me give him MY catnip?!?! I’ll bite his ears and claw his face if he tries! MY TAIL PUFFS UP BIGGER THAN HIS!!!

Next you’ll tell me he’d have to take you to court to make you give him the catnip. Heh!

This “court”… it is a human thing, yes?

Yes. To continue our example, the other cat would have to give away some more of HIS catnip to the court, then a …. cat-sub-queen – the judge – would look at what everyone agreed to, and make a decision. Then the judge would send several cats to take your catnip and give it to the other cat.


You are very confused. That is not how cats do it.


Cats take what they need, and fight to keep what they need. The stronger cat gets to keep the most that she needs. Pookah is a VERY strong cat!

But… what if you are starving and the other cat has food to spare?

That is why cats are good hunters… and why we adopted humans, and allow you to worship us. Cats that cannot catch their own food or get humans to give it to them will die. That is the way it is.

Pookah, real life doesn’t work that way. Human civilization has evolved these other constructs to share goods so that more humans – and cats – can benefit from them.

Oh really? Tell me then, human, how long did the noble, cat-worshipping, apex of human civilization known as Pharoahic Egypt last for?

There was more to it than that.

I rest my case. Our way is better for cats and humans.

But you haven’t answered the question!

I am purring, and my ears need rubbed.

Right. I’ll just put down, put the money to your emergency fund. You can always continue the payments out of your emergency fund. You can’t cook and eat the debt.

Whatever. A little to the left, now…

Ask Pookah – January

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I’m running a little late on this one due to scheduling issues. But in an effort to catch up:

Every month here at Life of Pookah, we’ll ask Pookah a question. Questions can be on any subject. Pookah can answer however she wishes.

So, Pookah, why do some people just “freeze up” when a disaster strikes, whether that disaster is intellectual, emotional, or actually life-threatening?

Pookah has seen this happen with other cats. Pookah has seen this happen with her own kittens.

Some kittens are born so that they react immediately to a situation. The ones that react in a way that improves their chances of survival will tend to survive. The ones who react in a way that puts them in more danger – like running out in front of a car at night – will tend to die. The ones who freeze up will tend to get eaten.

The hard part is knowing how to react. There is rarely time, even for Pookahs, to stop and think. We must simply react. It is like hunting for food. If a small tasty bird wanders by in easy reach, the clever cat will catch it and eat it when food is scarce, or play at catching it to learn, if food is easy to find. The not so clever cat will jump up, startled, and scare the small tasty bird away. The foolish cat will not even notice the small tasty bird. That is another reason why cats practice hunting so much.

You are training yourselves how to react in a way that that improves your chances of survival, right?

That’s two questions. But, yes. Humans do this, too. Smart humans turn on the light before entering a dark room so that they do not step on Pookahs. Foolish humans think they have excellent night vision, don’t turn on lights before entering dark rooms, and step on tails. In the former case, neither the human nor Pookah will get hurt. In the latter case, the cat has a sore tail and the human’s sweater is changed into soft comfy bed for Pookahs.

I said I was sorry about that.

Yes. I am pleased that I have a new bed. You are forgiven.

Ask Pookah – December 2008

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Once a month at Life of Pookah, I’ll ask her for a more detailed answer. Questions can be about anything.

So, Pookah:

What do you think of executive compensation? Are the high pay rates deserved or abusive?

Pookah speaks

Pookah speaks

Pookahs only eat what we need. We only hunt what we need. A lot of humans think we go hunting for sport. Pookahs and other cats are born hunters – if we don’t practice, we won’t be able to feed ourselves or kittens.

Humans are different. My human brings a lot of things he calls “stuff” into the nest. He doesn’t eat it, sleep on it, or wear it. Some of it he plays with when he should be petting Pookah. The stuff that he doesn’t play with is really only good for Pookahs to sleep on, or check over because Pookahs have lots of curiosity.

Pookahs find it strange that after working so hard to get stuff into the nest, humans stomp around and make loud angry noises about the stuff. This makes it hard for Pookahs to sleep. Then the humans drag the stuff back out of the nest – to make room for dragging new stuff in.

Beyond food, a clean litterbox, warm sunbeams to sleep in, and Pookahs to pet, what more do humans need?

Well, Pookah, human society is a lot more complicated than cat society.

Does it need to be?

Really, how much more to life is there than comfort, companionship, food, and home? Even dogs understand this.

So what about executives who receive a hundred or a thousand times the pay of their average employee?

Angry disdain

Angry disdain

This is me staring at you in disdain for making it too complicated.

Er… Let me try that again.

What about humans who are given enough gooshy food to feed a hundred or a thousand cats, yet keep it all for themselves and keep demanding more?

Stop being ridiculous. I’m going to sleep now.

And there you have it.

Life of Pookah

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Blog – Life of Pookah

Pookah is my younger cat. This blog is named after her because her life was profoundly affected by how I and my S.O. live our lives. Pookah is living, breathing proof of how one family’s decisions can strongly affect the lives of others. Pookah will give her input on this blog

You’re not petting me enough

For as long as she wants to. Case in point.

Scritch chin.