Friday, December 23, 2011

'Bye, Cats!

Shalom, chaverim! As Elul and I make our lurching, halting progress towards completing our packing, I took some time out to make my last visit to our local no-kill animal shelter to engage in what has to be the best volunteering gig ever.

My wonderful cat, Man Ray, died this past year after spending all his fourteen years on earth with me. I miss him tremendously. We knew it was very complicated and expensive to bring in a cat to Israel when making Aliyah from America,  though, so we chose not to adopt a new cat while we were still here. But since I went into unremitting, full-blown, kitty withdrawal psychosis, that's how I ended up volunteering to be a Cat Cuddler.

Man Ray expressing his intense interest in the practicing of my Torah portion

Being a Cat Cuddler means I go to the cat department at the shelter, sit quietly in a corner, and just pet cats and let them sit on my lap. The staff is stretched and overworked, and while they give every animal there the best of care, they really don't have the time to just sit around and cuddle them. Some cats are very hungry--not for food itself, but just for loving attention, soft words, and the lap of someone who doesn't care if they shed on it.

As Elul will somewhat grimly attest, he did not marry me because of my clothes-horse nature. In fact, I'd be more likely to wear the clothes OF a horse. That's why whenever he picks out clothes for me to buy and I wear them, I always get compliments. Whenever I wear something I buy, however, the roar of deafening silence fills the room. So it's no big thing for me to come home with pants covered in cat hair, dried drool, or even the finest traces of litter "remnants."

But while talking about cats is fun (for me, at least), posting pictures of them and trying to write amusing captions in their voices is even MORE fun. So without further ado, here are some pictures of cats at the Tri-County Humane Society of Boca Raton, Florida. (

"Are your heart strings being sufficiently jerked to the point of breaking, as I give you my best Stoic Forlorn Stare? Good, it's working!"

"My eyes may be a little goopy, but I'm still a stud--the ladies can't get enough of me! Too bad we've all been spayed or neutered."

"Yeah, I came down from Jersey for a little business deal dat didn't go down too well. Whaddyagonnado? Fageddaboudit!"
"You are getting sleepier...and sleepier...and when I meow you will feel an irresistible compulsion to shove that other cat off your lap and let ME have a turn."
"Yes, it's true that my refusal to use the litter box caused three different adoptive families to return me. But hey, I'm still the cutest one in this joint!"

I don't know much about the state of animal shelters in Israel, but I'm determined to put out feelers as soon as we get to Nahariya. In the meantime, please don't forget the enormous number of animals who are ending up in shelters in record numbers as this relentlessly crappy economy grinds on, and drives more people out of their homes and into places who can't or won't accept pets. Even if you don't have money itself to donate, shelters can always use old blankets and towels, throw-rugs, grooming items and all sorts of other things. Just call one up and ask what they need the most, and they'll be happy to tell you.

And again, Happy Hanukkah!

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