Not just an Animal Planet, it’s an Animal Universe

There is an African proverb that says: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.” I think of this proverb often. I thought I might think of it less once I was off of Lamma and no longer sleeping with my bedside artillery;Β but it turns out to be one of those phrases that runs through my mind with consistent regularity in a literal context as well as a figurative one. “Too small to make a difference…”

This morning I am awakened at 5 a.m. Not because my body has determined it has enough sleep. Not because I need to use the bathroom. Not because I had that extra margarita the night before. Not because anticipation of the day’s events have piqued my bio-rhythms. This morning I am awakened at 5 a.m. because Matilda is pissed off. Matilda has had a rough couple of months, or at least in my human projections she has. She lost her brother, from whom she had never ever been apart, on the day Dennis Hopper died and her human host was nowhere to be found either. She was uprooted from the only home she has ever known with little warning or preparation, because that is how I seem to do things these days – No longer free to roam the jungle, chase butterflies and birds, smell the frangipani or ‘help’ our neighbors in the garden, coming and going as she pleased in an environment absent of cars, televisions and wiener dogs, Matil has found herself in the suburbs. I imagine this must have seemed like somewhat of a bad dream to her, after two ferry rides, a train ride, a taxi ride a 13-hour flight and two more hours in a car to wake up somewhere far far away in every possible interpretation.

When it is put like that it seems pretty clear why she is so pissed. Still, it was seeming as if she was adjusting. A couple of escapes proved she knew her way around in the ‘burbs and she has had little problem at all running the wiener dogs to and fro. She instinctively worked out that T was allergic and so promptly marked all important areas with her fur – most notably every millimeter of T’s workspaces, particularly the laptops. She also edited about two pages of T’s dissertation with a lot of “DDDZZZZZZZZZZJDIIIIIOOO RRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYKKKKKKKKKKKKKKZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ VVVVVVVVVVVVVSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS333333333333333333333333333333333” (She is helpful like that.) And she knows exactly how to get those wiener dogs going. And once they are going, there is no peace up in here.

So, here we are; two fully grown humans who are completely at the beck and call of three animals whose combined weight may be 25 pounds. They are running us.

Matilda weighs about six pounds. And this furball can destroy anything she gets her claws on, wake me from a dead sleep because she is disgruntled about something to do with her litter box, and tease these dogs like she’s been at it for years. Lola weighs maybe ten pounds, and she is recovering from surgery. Still, she can dictate the pace and even the possibility of a walk. She can make T late for work because she does not want to get out of bed or because she wants to go back to bad. Tanner is the only dude and seems content to pretty much just bark. At anything. Anytime. Oh, and he does this really loud wheezing thing I can hear from upstairs right now.

“Too small to make a difference…”

Animal Planet? I don’t think so. The planet was only the beginning.

Matilda has some very clear thoughts on wiener dogs anyhow.

About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Friends, Life, Silliness, true stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to Not just an Animal Planet, it’s an Animal Universe

  1. Noor says:

    Your cats are really cute!

    • Amanda says:

      Aww, thanks!
      For 3.3kg she sure knows how to keep a household in line.

      • vignesh m says:

        are you a Lesbian?

      • Amanda says:

        Hey ,
        I simply HAD to keep your totally ludicrous comment because I always wonder if that is where people go when they hear a girl tell a story about a cat, and then thrwoing in the part about how I am staying with T… salacious.
        Hey idiot, guess what? T & I played basketball together too! Oh em geee…. We must be gay.
        I’d keep going but you are a total tosser and I only put your comment here so other people could see that.
        Get a life/clue/better fantasy.

  2. What if you have a fly-swatter? What then?

    • Amanda says:

      Why would I want a flyswatter when I could have the shocker version?
      Or did you mean to swat the surly kitty? We aim for harmony but sometimes the gauntlet comes down….

  3. niconica says:

    Great post πŸ™‚

    Cheers, Niconica

  4. thecodger says:

    I’ve reached out to a charming feral cat that’s taken a liking to my back yard, but judging from your photos, he would enjoy the interior of my home even more.

    The Codger

  5. Great shots – especially the first pic.

  6. Amanda says:

    My very large family has a combined animal count of eight, two of them big dogs who think they’re cats, and six cats. Couldn’t imagine it any other way. Even if they do dictate to us how life is supposed to go according to them.

    • Amanda says:

      You appear to be a very well trained human host… I am sure we’d get along famously!

      • Amanda says:

        It has to be an Amanda thing πŸ™‚ I do think cats are very good at training there owners. My cats will form a mob and riot if 5 o’clock comes and there isn’t food yet.

  7. As the previous commenter has remarked, the first picture is excellent. What are the chances that you’ll get THAT kind of a picture again? Have you considered entering it into some sort of photo contest? Not that I’m implying you should go looking for a photo contest to enter it into, but I would definitely keep that one ‘earmarked,’ as they say, because I bet you that could earn you some extra cash, sooner or later. πŸ™‚

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  8. Funny post! I have a cat and have had others. I have had dogs. I have stories… I wrote a post titled “Cats Flying Off the Roof of My Car.” Just a typical day of pet ownership.

  9. Linda says:

    I loved your description of yourself and the cat story is pretty good too. Poor kitty. Thats a lot of adjustments for a cat.

    • Amanda says:

      I know… she has been a total trooper. Now I put her outside today to see if that would cheer her up and I cannot find her–> Played again.


  10. Amy says:

    Too funny! I can so relate to this. We have two dogs who pretty much dicate what we do and how we do it. As they get older they seem to get better at it, or we are just losing our will to fight back. One of our mutts is named Mathilda, too.

  11. Marvi Marti says:

    I’ve heard dogs have owners, cats have staff. Now that I am both a dog and cat owner, I have to say that is one very true statement! The cat is adorable! πŸ™‚

  12. cc says:

    You’re right!
    Mosquitos make a big annoying difference and Cats sit on anything that has print (including keyboards)! I kept doing that so much, my Human gave me one of her old laptops! Heh, heh. Little did she didn’t know that cats could type!

    The Computer Cat

  13. You might want to develop the skill of doing whatever the cats want without fully waking up. This came in very handy for me during the time when ny cat Holly used to wake me pretty regularly at 3-4am wanting to play fetch (fortunately, she’d bring the toy to me, and all I had to do was throw it a few times. Or a few dozen times).

    BTW, my cats like to lie on the laptop too; I think they’re attracted to the warmth.

    Matilda is a gorgeous cat, and those are great pictures.

  14. Your pets are beautiful! We have a tortoise shell and a tuxedo cat; both beautiful too. Love ’em both!

  15. Emily says:

    Our puppy Luna already dictates much of our sleep schedule even though we have already had her 2 weeks. And small? She’s only 2.5 lbs! She makes a difference, no doubt. I really enjoyed your humor and personal presence in your words. I look forward to reading more.

  16. atomaszewski says:

    Your cat must be secret friends with my cat, Emerson. He doesn’t like that I enjoy sleeping in during the summer, so he will come and sit on my face until I get up. Nice right. Our cats definitely run the world.

  17. midnitechef says:

    I have a boston terrier who thinks she’s the boss of the house. She asks for people food by coming up next to you, sitting down hard so you hear her, then ever so gently paw your leg with a “pleeeeze?!” look upon her face. How can you resist that!

  18. Melodie says:

    As soon as I learned that the cat in question is a calico, I went “Ohhhhh.”

    I have a calico, very sweet but also incredibly abusive. Every time I mention my latest cat-related injury to this one particular friend of mine, she says “I told you: calico cats are the devil’s children.”

    She’s not trying to be funny.

    • Amanda says:

      Ha! I love that. Probably also why I have always been partial to Calico and Tortoise Shell kitties… I enjoy the demands of service. πŸ˜‰

  19. Rosemary says:

    Cats keep us humble. Just when I think I’m the most important thing in the world, my cats step in to remind me that I am not. πŸ™‚
    Good story

  20. I like this.

    Vivian Dixon Sober

  21. Amanda,
    Hi! Excellent post! and I know what are you talking about…
    Please send a kiss for Tabitha, my lovely cat.

  22. elisajoy says:

    beautiful cat. lovely post. i enjoyed reading it.

  23. Absolutely love this! With 3 cats in the house I feel your pain (delights?)! Dealing with a geriatric (18-year-old cat), a Cornish Rex (mental) and a stray we just rescued (still feeling the outdoor urges, she is), it sometimes feels like my husband and I are running a circus (and he is also the only male in the house), without the appropriate whips and cages.

    Working from home is often harder and more distracting than working in a crowded coffee shop.

    Though I do love them dearly and couldn’t imagine a household without them. πŸ™‚ I’ll be following your blog for sure – can’t wait to hear more about Matilda and the weiner dogs (which are, by far, my favourite dogs btw!).

    Drive on,
    – M.

    • Amanda says:

      All of us who serve cats seem to revel in the delightful pains… =)

      I cannot say enough about the little strays (or the big ones); I adopted Matilda and her brother Norman from the animal rescue people on the island where I lived in HK – wild from day one, and so much fun, (though as this blog has detailed, sometimes a little too much adventure for this particular human host.) Normie disappeared while I was India prior to my move back to the US, but Matil has stuck it out with me. No doubt she is loving a whole new environment to dominate! It is hilarious to me how the pets contribute to the gender balance too…

      ps: That Porsche is illegally beautiful.

      • Wow your cats are well-traveled! I’m sure Matilda will settle in soon and begin many adventures she’ll be dying to tell you all about. πŸ™‚

        And I sometimes wonder if my husband likes being the only male in the house … because it certainly seems like he’s quite happy with it. Hehehe

        The Porsche truly is illegally beautiful in every sense of the word and it’s a true joy to drive as well. Really, you couldn’t ask for more from a car. πŸ™‚

        Thanks for checking out my blog!

        Drive on,
        – M.

  24. A. Cruz says:

    I LOVE your cat! Adorable. I have a cat and 2 dogs and they absolutely run this house. I hope your cat gets better soon! I know what its like to live in a house with pissed off animals and its no party!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks – she is a cutie…
      I’ll keep you posted on the progress. for now I think she enjoying having attitude.

      Btw, love love love your site…

  25. Jacqueline Cardenas says:

    Was out looking for inspiration today and ran into Matilda’s commanding green eyes. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Great post. I am also a supporter of the black uniform. Really enjoyed your wit and have decided to sign up for a daily dose of it. P.S. You look so slim in your picture!

  26. izziedarling says:

    You write well – enjoyed this post thoroughly. Am totally roughed up and pushed around by my jackrat, Cooper. He doesn’t like dogs even though he is one. Your Matil looks like she could show him a thing or two! Cheers!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks! It is amazing how many people really live to serve their animals… I feel less like a weirdo than ever! And Matil is already up to more bad behavior… it is actually kind of quiet upstairs so that is a bad sign, I should go see…..

  27. duckyinfo says:

    Crazy house, indeed! Even with well behaved critters, the pets in our lives require tending. My family’s poodle is a pushy 3 yr old kid with a strong personality. When she wants to be petted she won’t be stopped from nosing your hand off of the laptop, remote, wife, whatever…. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  28. adventuresomeentrepeneur says:

    Your photos are hilarious! They go great with the blog!

  29. Six_33 says:

    What happened to her brother? Did he die? Or was he left behind? Cute story.

    • Amanda says:

      Well, we lived – quite literally – in the jungle and though I have no actual evidence of his demise, he never returned. I guess a lot of people think a snake got him because we had some really big ones around. Both of them were really good about coming home so I just never could get on board with him running away… It was absolutely heartbreaking for both of us. Thiswas how we both felt for the rest of our time in HK:

  30. Colin L Beadon says:

    Three Jack Russells plus four cats, harmony. What more could you need ?

  31. Colin L Beadon says:

    Fuck moderation. I’m fed up seeing it.

  32. Leon Breaux says:

    Hi. I enjoyed your post and the comments. I don’t mean to be rude, but I can’t say I agree with what I see as the main sentiment here, and I’m going to take the time to say why.

    I’m a long-time cat lover. I’ve owned several, brought them up from kittenhood, got along quite well with them, rescued some adults from shelters, cured them of their ills (well, paid a vet to)… something I just don’t understand, however, is the attitude I see in these posts.

    How can a grown human adult allow a pet to run him or her? Is it so hard to constructively dominate a cat or a dog? Really, folks, there’s no comparison in brain power… like most any creature, it will dominate you if it can… if you let it.

    To me, domination by a cat just seems wrong. I am, after all, housing and feeding the things. And no, they don’t know how to behave properly unless you teach them. And yes, they are smart, and they can learn quite well. But if they think they’re the boss, they’re not going to pay too much attention to what you want, now are they? even if they are acting like little jerks, which they certainly can. It’s just a little furry cat, for crying out loud.

    No doubt this is not a popular position.

    By the way, I grew up near Petaluma and lived there for a while not too long ago… it’s a great place. Not cheap though.

    • Amanda says:

      I am pretty sure that people just express that sentiment in figurative terms… I love the idea that my cat is the boss of me, but let’s face it, I put her on an airplane for 13 hours last month, I doubt she voted favorably for that decision.
      I think it is just a common way for animal/pet lovers to demonstrate how their furry friends have a hold on their hearts.
      Matil is not a jerk anyhow. She is certainly assertive, but I suppose lots of women who share that characteristic are considered jerk-y… πŸ˜‰

  33. AndrΓ© says:

    Hi from Pak Kok! I loved reading this, and the first photo of Matilda is so cute! Talk about animals ruling our lives, I completely agree. Hope you’re settling in well, give Matilda a hug from me πŸ™‚ Vicky (logged in as AndrΓ©)

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Vik!!
      So good to hear from you! Matil is still running things like she always did – it is so funny. Sometimes I still wonder how Normie would have fared, but we are doing alright.

      Miss you both and hope you are well – I hear the weather is crap…

  34. Love your post! My cat Moxie is a little princess and pretty much ‘owns’ the apartment. Our buddy Spike passed away this past December (18 yrs) and though I am tempted to bring another cat into our home, I am not sure that the Princess of the place would allow it! Though I do think she might enjoy the company…

    Congrats on being ‘Freshly Pressed’!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you for checking in on Matilda and greetings to Princess Moxie!
      I think it is fun to cater to the little prrincesses. Sadly, little Lola the princess wiener dog is finding this whole cat-in-the-mix thing a little less than satisfactory. πŸ™‚

  35. sarahnsh says:

    This is too cute, and too true. Our cat we have now wakes up my dad on time every day to feed him, and will stand at the door, scratch, meow, and do anything annoying. He will also sometimes open up the door. Now, he luckily doesn’t run my life, the few times he’s tried to wake me up I poke my head out of the door, scream bloody murder at him, and he hasn’t bugged me since then.

    • Amanda says:

      Haha! The funny thing is Matil is really a sleeper ususally… see seemed to just really wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!

  36. Liz Johns says:

    I like your comment about helping with the dissertation XXXXXJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ
    But if you think cats can disrupt life (and I’ve got 4 – cats that is, not lives), you should try parrots (I’ve got 3).

  37. Great post. I just brought home another cat. Kitty makes 3 – 1 boy and 2 girls – my existing cats are pissed and annoyed so much that they won’t sleep in my bed anymore (could be a blessing). The new cat only comes downstairs to eat flowers and throw up. Talk about beck and call. “Bouffe, chie, dors”.

  38. Mie-chan says:

    your cat is so cute! i also have a siamese cat at home, and she’s a baby!! so cute and cuddly! she even serves as my alarm clock waking me in the middle of the night! πŸ™‚

  39. wolke205 says:

    Great post with amazing pics, i really enjoyed reading it:)


  40. lostbutf0und says:

    Hey, my cats lie wherever it pleases them too, laptop,laptop bag, grocery bag, on a pile of clean clothes, my lap while sitting on the toilet!
    Got to love ’em!

    Loved your article!

  41. Adam Day says:

    Nice post, nice pics, and I LOVE the African Proverb. I’m using it now! ha

  42. says:

    Great photos! I liked the first one.. beautiful sleeping kitty πŸ˜‰

  43. coffeepearlsgrace says:

    I love the African proverb you used to introduce this post. That definitely helps put things into perspective. Also, I can completely relate to your animal kingdom; I have a long-haired dachshund, and he is 16 lbs of lordship, dominating my life. Good read!

    • Amanda says:

      Oooh… Lola is going to be so excited! She is one of Matil’s minions, errr… friends while we stay here and also a long-haired dachshund.

  44. Christina Cronk says:

    Your cat is beautiful! I have five, and yes it is incredible how something that small can take over our households. Lovely post!


  45. bookeditors says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I am “kept” by two cats myself and am dutifully at their beck and call at all times. Seriously though, I just love their personalities and Yes, they DO let me know what’s on their minds on a regular basis – usually with meows or head-butting…LOL. I always know what mood their in.

    • Amanda says:

      Haha! I have been consistently impressed by my cats’ abilities to make clear their moods, especially the Calicos – they always have a thing or 50 to say.

  46. Baetrice says:

    I am run by five cats as is the dog and birds in the household. I very much like the quote at the beginning of your post. The quote that runs through my head on a daily basis is: Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.

  47. sayitinasong says:

    Aww… lovely Matilda… I lost my “Matilda” earlier this week after 19 years together, she was and always will be my little baby girl. She travelled the world with me, living on 2 different continents, taking it all in her stride, completely ruling the roost and ruling my heart.

    • Amanda says:

      This is the thing about owning pets… heartbreak awaits. We still think about Normie a whole lot too. But I wouldn’t trade a minute of time I had with him to avoid the sadness….

  48. onekitty21 says:

    cat pictures. addictive! I cant watch a documentary on .. basically anything without a cat laying around at some point

  49. Cute cat. I love the thought that the cat is taking a nap on a LAPTOP. made me smile. πŸ™‚

  50. I’m new here at Worldpress and enjoyed reading your well-written post. So, you’ll be seeing me again. And i definitely must remember the African proverb, particularly on days with Insignificance-Creep features largely the procrastination menu. I’ve started a blog here as well. For its first baby steps, have a look at:

  51. Our animals certainly train us humans well. My dog has me cooking him chicken twice a week. LOL Congrats on being Freshly Pressed πŸ™‚

  52. As someone who grew up with cats and who now has a very precocious Jack Russell (Ringo, yes after the Beatle) I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! πŸ™‚

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