Our Furry Soft Sharp Thing

October 16th, 2004 · 1 Comment · Writing

Stella (Alpha Bella) McMillan, aka, Little Cat, Big Girl, Stelly, Stelbow, and, when Murray is feeling particularly funny, Dawg.

In response to the L.A. Blogs Friday insight: Our Furry Friends.

1. Got pets? Give us a roll call!

We have one Siamese cat named Stella. We are absolutely ridiculous about her. We probably need something besides our cat to fixate on… perhaps a rescued golden retriever?

2. How did you and your pet(s) find each other?

We used to live in Austin, and we were friends with another artist couple. They had the world’s best cat, this lovely swirly gray longhair named Nadja. Once, they had a huge dinner party — Benee was from New Orleans, and was the best cook; we had jambalaya and french bread and salad and bread pudding and buckets of chicory coffee. Nadja the cat was so pregnant that she was about to pop. That cat flirted with every guest, playing footsie under the table and bumping her big belly against our legs.

When Nadja had kittens, three pure white ragdoll boys who were dumb as rocks and one delicate prancy, stuck-up, obviously brilliant Siamese girl, we wanted a kitten that would be just like the mother. Apparently, Nadja had had two boyfriends around the neighborhood, a dumb white Persian mutt and a purebred Siamese. It took me years to convince Murray that a litter of kittens can have different fathers, but there you go.

When they were old enough to take home, we went to visit the kittens. Murray was a dog person and was practically cat-phobic, I really had to convince him to consider a cat, but smart little Stella climbed up on his shoulder and promptly nestled in and fell asleep. He was charmed, and so she ended up coming home with us. She’s named after Frank Stella, the painter, and not after the Stella from “Streetcar,” just to clarify.

3. Cat owners: Do you have indoor kitties or do you allow them outside as well?

She used to be indoor/outdoor, and we always called her to come inside at dusk, because of the coyotes (yes, there are lots of coyotes in L.A. county). Then she got badly bitten by a possum, which it took a while to heal, and we decided to keep her exclusively indoors after that.

4. Every pet owner needs access to a good veterinarian? Where do you go when your pets need health care, and why?

We haven’t really found a good one. We had a huge fiasco with the whole possum bite incident, where she flipped out in the vet’s office when he tried to give her a shot and she escaped out of an examining room with a closed door with the needle still sticking out of her thigh. I blogged about it here. We haven’t been back to that particular vet.

5. During any extended stays away from home, do you get a friend to care for them, board your pets, or hire a professional pet sitter? Any recommendations for the last two?

Miss Stella travels with us when we go on extended trips and stays at home with a self-feeder and a nice neighbor when we go for 2-3 days. When we haven’t been able to bring her with us on long trips, we get a house-sitter.

She doesn’t think much of airplanes, but she’s wonderful in the car and is a dream in hotels. When she was a kitten, we used to take her everywhere with us on a leash, but these days, she’s much happier finding a sunny spot and sleeping the day away.

6. Had any close contact with some of L.A.’s native wildlife?

Of course, Stella has had some pretty close contact with a certain possum. We’ve seen a coyotes in our alley and up in the hills. I’m pretty sure that deer were sneaking into our backyard and eating our strawberries and lettuce.

7. Good or bad, what’s your most memorable childhood animal encounter?

I went to zoo school one summer when I was a kid and got to hold this boa constrictor. It was pretty cool.

8. What’s the funniest and/or most frustrating thing your pet does?

Stella is a water junkie. She begs for it even when we’ve just filled up her bowl. She likes for us to leave the bathtub faucet dripping so she can get water whenever she wants. She sits on the rim of the bathtub when you’re taking a bath and drinks the tub water, even if it’s hot and soapy.

She’s also a string junkie, and begs for Murray to run around the house dragging the string so she can chase it. She loves to give kisses and head bops, and is generally very affectionate. She’s certainly the best cat I’ve ever been acquainted with.

Category: Writing

One Comment so far ↓

  • Micah

    And don’t forget: unforgivingly hostile to other feline interlopers! 🙂
    Velvet was into water too, but pretty much only right out of the faucet. When we got home, she would get up next to the bathroom sink and wait patiently for one of us to come in and drip it for her. She wouldn’t touch her bowl water, usually. We miss her.
    That also reminds me of my parents’ cat Lucy (a tomcat, naturally), who got into the habit of following one into the bathroom and waiting for us to fill a cup with fresh water so he could drink right out of it. Them cats like their water fresh, lemme tell ya.

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