Meet Miss Mini

Yes, this is a cat post.

Filled with adorable pics and anecdotes that only a cat lover will appreciate. Just a warning so all others can stop reading now…

When King Henry the First died in November, we had no intention of getting another cat anytime soon. Not only were we grieving his sudden dying, we had  planned a Scotland vacation for ten days in June. All our cats had chosen us by just appearing and staying and loving. We were sure our next cat would do the same.

But 2020 disrupted life as we know it. Maybe for a long time to come, who knows? So mid-April, mid-pandemic, we made an appointment to visit the local humane society. We had viewed the cats online first (Who would have thought we would Ever. Do. This.) and I had liked the little one-year-old grey tabby named Teacup. When we phoned, they told us she was reserved for another family. But please come and look at the others.

We weren’t allowed in, but we sat on the back deck and they brought us out cats one at a time. We looked at all ages and all colors, and it turned out Teacup had not been taken after all. She was a teeny, tiny kitty who had been in a home of thirteen cats. No, they assured us, she hadn’t been abused; thirteen cats had just turned out to be too many. (!) We laugh about her ravenous hunger now, blaming it on her being the tiniest of thirteen and never being able to push her way in to get any food. She will eat anything from pizza to grilled salmon to tortilla chips that have fallen on the floor. She will clean out any bowl, no matter its contents. At dinner time, she sits and begs food like a dog. When the refrigerator door opens, she is there. I’m sure that someday she will step right inside…

How can we resist this?

The vet said we could give her as much food as she wanted for the first few months, and she has gone from a 5-pound mini-kitty to an 8-pound smallish cat with a bit of a tummy roll. Teacup seemed to us a stupid name for a kitten. I’ve since read that it is really a thing–tiny cats are called Teacups– but it certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue. It only took a day to decide to call her Mini. She comes running when we call her. Especially when  you say, Mini, Mini, Mini… and you have the treat jar in your hand.

Our other cats came to us as 3-year old male adults with plenty of experience. They were loving lap cats who didn’t play much. Mini plays with everything. Miss Mini was born to move stuff around: she knocks pens, combs, rubber bands, earrings, hair ties off tables to get them on the floor so she can play one of her favorite games–hockey. We find leaves brought up from the basement in every room, pieces of paper moved from tables to the floor. She skitters around the house like a small tornado leaving the rugs in the bathroom in disarray and attacking feet as if they were stink bugs. She runs between legs with abandon and camps out in front of the refrigerator door or the cupboard where she knows her kibble is kept.

Both our other cats were worldly strays–tomcats who loved the outside. At the Humane Society they tried to make us to promise we wouldn’t let Teacup outside. She’s timid, they said. She won’t like it and it will put her in danger. We didn’t exactly promise, but we said we would be careful with her. Mini desperately wants outside. She sits at every door and tries to escape when the door is opened. But each time she manages to escape, she suddenly realizes she hates it outside. After the first disaster, we realized that just shaking the treat jar gets her back inside where she belongs. But lately the falling leaves have been driving her crazy. She wants every single one that she sees flutter by the door. Mr. H.C. actually let her out the other day so she could chase a flying leaf. She brought it inside and batted around the floor until it fell apart.

This is a favorite box and when she crouches down in it, she cannot be found…

And yes, she is a snoop. She loves to sneak into Mr. H.C.’s workshop–it’s a dead giveaway–her whiskers are covered in cobwebs or sawdust… Mini has never met a cupboard or closet she didn’t love. She used to bury down at the bottom of the bed underneath the sheets. We have broken her of that habit, but we often have to wander around calling her because 1. She might have snuck outside when the door opened, or 2. She has a ton of hiding places where she could be catnapping illegally. Mini still has one bad habit. When she thinks it is time for Mr. H.C. to get up, she jumps on the bed, attacks his hair, and then zooms out of the room as if he won’t know who did it. This is repeated until he gets up and feeds her. She does not do this to me. (She must know it wouldn’t work…)

Mini on her favorite chair.

Our male cats were the strong, silent type. Not Mini. She talks all the time. She meows when it’s time to get up, she meows when it is time to eat, she purrs while eating, she mews to remind us that she needs a dessert treat, she yowls to remind us that she Really REALLY wants to go outside. She greets us when we come home, she answers when we ask her questions. We carry on regular conversations all day and she usually has to have the last word. Yesterday morning she sat in the living room caterwauling for reasons known only to her. She runs for the joy of running; I think she talks for the joy of talking.

When a cat lives in a house that is still being renovated, she either has to take to the basement when the air compressor starts up (that’s what Henry did) or just be brave and become a construction cat. Mini, the skittish little kitty is fearless and nosy about all construction messes–she loves it when nails fall on the floor. She jumps on the desk, knocks off rolls of tape, and chases them all over the room. Yesterday I found her carrying a pair of tweezers around the house. Today she stole a fuzzy new mini roller cover and carried it around as if it was her own little kitten. (It was a fuzzy white little thing, after all.) And like all cats, she loves the fact that the furniture in the room gets moved around daily. And of course, after work, there’s always time for the nap.

Proof she loves her leaves…and the porch.

On this last most beautiful day of Autumn, I relented and let her run out on to the porch when I went out to give the herbs one last watering. She was good for awhile, chasing the leaves and soaking up the sun. But then her curiosity got the best of her, and she just stepped right over the porch rails onto the 3″ ledge that runs all the way around the porch. She just sidesteps on the ledge, and soon, there she is on the steps that lead to freedom.

She is our little pandemic kitty, and she does her job well: She makes us laugh.

Meanderings on Comfort…

We used to jokingly call him King Henry The First. He died on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, a cat’s life, well lived.

I never felt right feeding birds while he was around; scattered bird seed was limited to very heavy snows when Henry was kept inside.

So in December I bought a small feeder, some suet and black sunflower seeds. I hung everything outside the mud room window where Henry had once liked to lurk in the bushes. It took the chickadees a few days; the juncos were next; and then a band of blue jays appeared and I knew we were in.


I stood at the window often in the early winter trying to get some good bird photos with my iPhone, but it made them nervous each time I moved, so eventually I gave up and just enjoyed watching them and keeping track of who visited. There was no Henry to hog the chair by the window, only the two humans who politely take turns…


Lately I’ve had time to stand quietly at the window again. Spring is here and the birds still seem delighted to be fed. Earlier this week I transplanted a dozen sunflower sprouts to a spot in the sun. Spring has come. Flowers are blooming. Fruit trees are starting to blossom. I have started seeds in eggshells and planted some peas and lettuces. The rhythms of nature have not changed, though the human world is now a discordant bang.  Or perhaps a better analogy is the door to the world we knew slammed shut.

Where is your comfort when so much has been taken away?

Cat lounging on porch swing

My big physical comfort was Henry. There’s nothing like a warm cat cuddling on your lap, purring at you, touching your cheek with his gentle paw… We decided to not get another cat until we came back from our ten day Scotland vacation in June… Yeah, that’s gone too… And now I have no cat to physically comfort me, and no Scotland to look forward to. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not much; I know that. 

We all have lost our comfort-able-ness, haven’t we? Some of us have lost more than others, but we all can lament on what’s been taken from us. We can mourn (it’s okay to mourn our losses, no matter how small) and then we must find new ways to regain our comfort. (Just as an aside, I looked up ways, and the online definition is methods of reducing damage...) 

The word comfort made me pause the other day, as I considered where my comfort comes from…

And what came into my head were the words to one of the best loved praise songs ever written:

My comfort, my shelter,

tower of refuge and strength,

Let every breath, all that I am,

Never cease to worship you…

Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zesch.

If our comfort is in work, family, health, money, entertainment, friends, houses, skills? It’s all up in the air, isn’t it? On hold. That’s not to say, those aren’t good things, but they aren’t the best thing. Earthly treasures disappear. Quickly, as we have learned.

I don’t write about faith often. It’s a tricky thing, and one that I denied for much of my adult life. It’s an unseen, not-easy-to-prove way in our modern, rational world that needs proven science to be considered authentic.

Cat in window

But sometimes the mystery is what we need to cling to when other idols have turned to clay. (That’s a biblical metaphor, by the way…)

I know believers aren’t supposed to quote scripture to prove their beliefs, because what non-believer cares about the Bible? But this quote on faith is one that I’ve grown to love: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.–Hebrews 11:1. Faith is so personal, yet those of us who have it long to share it with those who need it. Because we know how it has changed our lives. For good. For better. For best. It doesn’t eliminate struggles or pain; it simply reminds us of God’s promises, reminds us to be grateful, reminds us to love, and reminds us that dying as a believer is not the worst thing — it is simply the beginning of a new journey.

Kitty looking over back porch

These days, if your comfort is cold, and you are thinking hard on what is important in your life, give faith a chance. Not all Christians are looney-toon right wing nut cases. :-) Some of us are probably your friends. We are struggling to make sense of all this too, but the three things we do have are comfort and hope and faith–the assurance that things unseen are truths we know in our hearts, our minds, our souls. And it gives us a glimpse, a gift of peace that’s not present in this earth-bound world.


Here are some places to meander:

Read this: The Gospel of Luke in the New Testament; Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis; Letters from a Skeptic by Gregory Boyd, Corona Virus and Christ by John Piper; Be Still and Know that I Am God

Watch this: Hope in Times of Fear by Tim Keller;  A moment of Comfort by Kathy Troccoli;  Choose Faith, not Fear, a sermon by Nicky Gumbel

Listen to this: Shout to the Lord, sung by Darlene Zesch; In Christ Alone by Celtic Worship; No Longer Slaves sung by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser;  Finding God, sermon by Timothy Keller






shadows on bare trees

With the fading light goes warmth.
On vacation for the winter.
Gone South
with the birds.

Instead of following the birds,
Follow the cat.
He knows the warmest spot
In the house.


gratitude for my cat who keeps my feet warm