Articles - Animals & Pets

Getting Old's a Bitch, Even if You Are a Cat

Anita Burns


Most everyone reading this knows that my mother died last month, and that my beautiful kitty Pumpkin also went to that giant catnip mouse in the sky. I have another kitty, Elmer. He has been a constant in my life for a very long time. He is close to twenty now and has outlived a whole lotta cats that have come and gone from our care.


We adopted Elmer from a cardboard box full of kittens that was being watched over by a little boy and his mother. When I picked up a tiny black and white kitten, the boy said, "Please take him. He's the runt and no one else wanted him." Well that tugged at my heart too much and I had to bring him home. He was barely old enough to be away from his mother, his claws didn't even contract yet. But here he was a handful of cuteness, sitting in my lap all the way home.


I had another cat then, Elsie. She was old, crotchety, and set in her ways. Her companion, Isis, had a tragic end when she escaped the house and ran right into a pack of Coyotes. Elsie had been alone for several years.


To Elsie, Elmer was the interloper. It was so amazing to see his tiny little back arch up as he stood on tippy toes and bravely hissed at this gigantic old queen who was showing her disapproval at his arrival. So I scooped him up and we went into the bedroom, door shut. In the bathroom, I placed a litter box next my big, old ball and claw bathtub but he was too small to climb into it, so I folded a towel to act as a step. He only needed a little prompting to know exactly what to do.


He was so tiny, I carried him about in my bathrobe pocket. Elsie soon settled down to tolerate him. He was amazing, playful,curious, cuddly, and very good at outsmarting Elsie, who was never the sharpest knife in the drawer anyway.





Bubba was a Pekin


Ducks, Racism, and the Great State of Texas


For six years, in the 1980's, I lived in the metropolis that is Houston, Texas. Living in the South is something that many Californians don't like admit to. I also lived in Oklahoma as a child, but I guess that doesn't count. Texas, on the other hand was an adult choice.


When my future hubby number three, Lee, came home one day and said, "I'm going to move to Texas. Will you come with me?" I was flabbergasted. We had been on the brink of splitting up for a long time and I was thinking of leaving. After letting the idea sink in for a moment, I was ready to say "hasta la vista, baby," but the picture of an adventure, living somewhere other than the smoggy, busy, rush, rush world of Southern California, took on a sparkly glamor that I couldn't resist. I said yes.


Being the inveterate researcher I am, I looked up Texas in the Library (that's a place with books (information printed on paper pages and bound together)—popular before personal computers and Internet). I watched the weather reports on TV for temperatures and climate. I knew everything about its history and culture, or so I thought. Looking through elvin glasses, I was convinced that Houston was a paradise undiscovered.


Oh, silly me. Everyone was discovering Houston in the early 1980's. It was a boomtown. People from all over the country, and the world, were flocking there like seagulls at a herring fest. I was less world-aware in those days and barely knew who was president of the United States, let alone that there was a recession on and Houston had jobs to hand out like girl scout cookies.


So, Lee went ahead to check in with his new job and find a house. I stayed in West Los Angeles to take care of the packing and readying. He came back a month later and we stuffed the iconic Uhaul he would be driving, then headed for Houston. This was in December. Oh, how I  luvs me a road trip. In my little red Chevy Nova that people warned me not to buy, my cat, Jezebel and I were off to Xanadu.





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Anita Burns offers both international and local services, including California's Inland Empire, Riverside , Orange ,

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