Some Short Notes on Day-to-Day Events

The Cats' Waterbed
We have the pleasure of sharing our house with two 4 month old tonkinese cats. We were aware of the charm of the breed so we acted quickly when two tonkinese kittens were featured in the December 27 television news. It was the weekly feature showing animals available at the County Humane Society.

We immediately called the Humane Society to leave a message telling them of our interest. We followed up with a call to the television station in hopes of catching someone who brought the kittens from the Humane Society. No luck but we determined to be first in line next morning to acquire these cuties.

We arrived before the shelter was open but we persuaded them to let us in to adopt the kittens. The kittens have been our chief entertainment ever since. We call them television celebrities.

An early chore was to find names for the pair - 1 male and 1 female. They were adopted as Cat 1 and Cat 2. I searched the internet in hopes of finding the names of the children in "The King and I" in the belief that exotic names were appropriate. No luck! Soon we started to talk about "where's your brother?" and "what is sister doing?" In no time at all, the names became Bubba and Belle - appropriate southern names.

The kittens have been delightful company. In mid February we had some guests for lunch who had 2 grown tonkinese. They had expressed an interest in seeing our kittens. They brought gifts - a toy called "Cat Dancer" and 2 hand-made beaded collars. The kittens were thrilled. We decided the luncheon was really a christening party.

We had a winter vacation in the Bahamas in late February. We couldn't bear to leave the kittens in a cattery so we arranged for a fine young lady named Heidi to take care of them in our home. When we arrived home, we found a welcoming note from her: "Welcome home :-) The kids were purrrrfect & playful. We had a good time."

We have a swimming pool adjacent to our lanai. In the winter heating season it is covered by a blue thermal cover like bubble wrap. Belle has discovered that she can walk on water when the cover is in place. She's also found out that it is a great, warm waterbed for sleeping. You only have to be careful when you near the edge. (She has managed to get a couple of minor dunkings.)

This morning she got a shock. It had rained overnight and water had collected on the top of the cover. She jumped on and suddenly discovered that her paws were wet and she got wetter the more she moved around. She set a new broad jump record getting out!

Needless to say, the kittens are the pride and joy of our family here in Florida.

March 14, 1997

The Learned Egret
While waiting at a stoplight recently, my wife and I had occasion to study a street-smart egret. He was a common egret sometimes associated with herds of cows. He had learned to survive on the streets of a bustling community.

The corner was the intersection of a busy divided boulevard and a cross street. We waited on the cross street for the light to change. Since the boulevard traffic was favored, we had a long time to observe the egret. He gave new dimension to the time-honored question of "why did the chicken cross the road?"

We first saw him when he stepped off the curb to cross the side street on the far side of the boulevard. He walked confidently into the crosswalk when the light changed to stop the cross street traffic. He seemed to know he had the light with him and the pedestrian's right of way in the crosswalk.

When he got to the corner after completing the crossing, he turned to face the boulevard. He waited for the light change to stop the boulevard traffic. As soon as the light changed he walked right across the boulevard in the crosswalk. He stopped on the island when he arrived at the middle of the boulevard.

Next, he waited for the left turning side street traffic to stop. When the left turn light changed to red, he contimued on his way across the remaining lanes of the boulevard. Throughout, he followed the pedestrian safety rules of crossing with the light, looking right and left before stepping into the street, and walking in the crosswalk.

We wouldn't have believed had we not seen it. How could this bird teach himself skills which we seem to have trouble learning?

January 31, 1997

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