Alarm – Cat Wisdom Card of the Day

When we think of an alarm, we think of the shrill. The loudness. The warning. The “Get the f*** out of here, she’s got the carrier, she’s going to shove us in and we’re going to end up at the vet.

An alarm might be persistent…and something that might not go away easy.  It’s always amusing to watch the Big Cat try to hit the snooze button every morning..only to be alarmed a few minutes later.  With four cats as alarms, there really isn’t a snooze button, and there really isn’t a few minutes of peaceful interludes.  So, we ask, why does she put  off the inevitable?

What if the inevitable wasn’t all that bad or all that loud.  What if it was a purr. Soft and alluring, telling us something is going on, but not what is going on.  An alarm is exactly that…a sign for us to stop. listen. and maybe to feed the cats. treats. now.


The Facial

Phoebe’s Log – March 9

My eyes adjust to the stillness of the night.  Her body is  motionless. Her breath is low.  She doesn’t move.  Something shifts.  A deeper breath? A hint of dawn?  Crosby snoring? Whatever it is, it triggers me. I can’t help it.  I am awake now.  

I listen again.  It’s her breath, she is stirring.  It is time.  I uncurl out of the nest of blankets eyeing the direction of her head.  Good I note, Crosby is there on the side of her where I won’t step on him.  Crosby looks at me half asleep.  “What ? Oh jeez” he says, rolls his eyes and goes back to snoozing.

I march up to the Big Cat’s head announcing my arrival with extraordinary purring. The hand goes up, scratches my head and then promptly flops down again.  Yes, Big Cat.  It’s 3:41AM I know you are awake. 

I settle in against her arm, her neck.  My front paws are pushed forward into her neck. It really doesn’t feel right.  I mean…I don’t think she cleaned herself properly before going to bed. I push my paws a little more into her neck – exfoliating her skin.  She squirms a little, trying to escape perhaps? She is paralyzed in the between of time – waking or sleeping…or perhaps it’s just a desire to be asleep. I’m not sure.  I purr.  I know it keeps her under my spell.   I move to her jaw line.  I move in closer and I lick her cheek.  She bats at me a little. Just a little. I purr. I dig in a little more.  

Exfoliate, rinse, repeat.  Occasionally, I’ll gnaw on her skin if there is a nitch.  The Big Cat turns over to her other side.  I walk on top and over her and continue the process…finishing up and settling in for a few minutes to make sure she goes back to sleep. 

In the darkness, I hear Crosby chuckling. “Hush,” I say to him, “Big Cats pay a lot of money for this kind of treatment to their face and neck with soothing spa like music…It’s called a facial.”  I don’t think that’s what she is thinking right now,” he answered, “I can smell your tuna breathe all the way over here…”  I stick my wet nose against her face and purr, “It’s the ocean baby, nothing beats the smell of the ocean and sound of the waves”

The Shaman’s Cats – II

Phoebe: The drum is thumping in the background. Crosby is at it again. Hijacking the Big Cat’s journey we’re going back into the kitchen. I am grinning because I am fluffy and soft and I lie on the Big Cats chest. Crosby sits at the Big Cat’s head seriously studying her face. It’s no hope for the Big Cat. We’ve got her.

Crosby: And so it goes or rather comes – the second part of the journey. I am Crosby, King of the Kitchen; Seeker of Treats; Master of Obtaining Treats. On the second installment of the shamanic journey we go for the MidWorld. The MidWorld is analogues to the waist level to arm /chest of the Big Cat or the top of the stove, the table – that region. The mid world is where it all happens…or so it seems. I like to call it the apparent reality because it is where Big Cats think of as the Now – the actions, the tools that create the Now. This includes operating the sink, stove, open/closing the refrigerator door, and perhaps banging on cabinets. Sure, you may argue there are refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom and cabinets can be high out of reach…but Big Cats must bend from above to get to below. And below to above. It all balances out.

Phoebe: I am purring to the beat of the drums…

Crosby: In the MidWorld, yellow is the dominant chakra. Power. Power to do good and power to do not so good. We’ve noticed that you, Big Cat have burned multiple pots in this world recently…Sure, you may have forgotten the pots on the stove on occasion. You know…that’s not so good. It’s a sign that your power chakra is out of whack. From above and below, the energy flows and if there are blockages…you lose multiple pots. Yes, something so innocent as forgetting that you had water on the stove. Do you understand what I’m saying.

Phoebe: I nod my head. Big Cat looks at me and also begins to nod her head. Good she got it…If she didn’t I’d have to swipe her her gently of course…claws about half way out. Retracting claws for now.

Crosby: Above and below you have energy from the heavens and earth. Use that energy to clear your yellow chakra. Breathe in…Breathe out…don’t forget to purr as you pull the energy up up up through red, orange and ah, yellow. When you work with the elements of fire, water, wood, and metal all at once, it’s important to change the vibrational element to match the intention. Sound helps, a conduit as you would say.

Phoebe: Crosby, time check. He nods.

Okay, Big Cat. One final breath. You are aligned and at peace. We are almost done….I’d like to turn your attention now to the sink. Good. Look up a little and to the left…yes, you see a door. You know what is behind that door? Treats. Yes. Our treats. It’s what keeps the balance of power “in-your-favor” so to speak. understand?

Phoebe: Once more, the Big Cat nods. In fact we all nod…. “and catnip…” I softly cooo in her ear.
Crosby: And so it’s time to go back. The drum beats rapidly and then slows down. Once more, deep inhale…purrrr as you exhale…Remember to listen to your inner cat….

Never miss an opportunity to treat yourself

Crosby’s Log – 20 January 2014

Direct communication with your Big Cat is key to happy household.  Every once in awhile, however, it’s useful when a third party intervenes on your behalf. So it happened the other day when Big Cat was conversing with her friend, Tuna*, over the phone. And Tuna happens to be one of those that can have a conversation with us mind-to-mind.

Let’s get something straight.  Cats talk. We talk all the time.  Depending on the frequency, some others can hear us loud and clear.  As connected as Big Cat was over the wireless device, our thoughts hooked into the conversation. After a slight awkward moment of silence…Tuna said: “Your cats are talking to me…”

“Oh really?” responds the Big Cat

“Your male cat is telling me that you haven’t been talking to him lately…and that the female cat gets more attention…”


Guilt has set in.  Phoebe takes every opportunity to sink her claws into anything that gets the Big Cat’s attention.  In particular, furniture and skin work really well.  It’s extremely amusing to hear the Big Cat yelp. I, on the other hand, prefer to sit and be zen like.  Ready to be bowed to or picked up and scratched behind the ears. 

As the conversation progresses, the Big Cat lowers her head in guilt and shame.  She promises to be more mindful….which is great because now my mind is racing as I pass my thoughts to Tuna.

“He is still angry….” she continues, “He doesn’t get enough treats anymore and when he does get treats, Phoebe, gets more of her fair share than he does.”

The Big Cat explains that the vet has told her to cut down on the treats to keep us trim and healthy…and then puts her hand on the receiver, turns to me and says:

“Liar you get more treats than Phoebe and you know it…” 

Phoebe may have her scratch and slash technique to get what she wants, but I really know the way to sweet victory. Now it’s time to go in for the kill… As the Big Cat returns to her conversation, I gaze at her longingly, blink my golden eyes and let my lashes slowly open and close carrying softly the whisper “You love her more than you love me…” 

Direct hit. The call ends. We walk to the treat cabinet and glory be – it’s raining treats once more. 

*note: We renamed Tuna after one of our favorite treats. 


The Shaman’s Cats


do do do, do do do, do do do…the stereo hums out the steady beat of a drum.  The Big Cat is lying on the middle of the floor, arm over eyes.  I arrive just in time.  I sit by her head.  I purr to the beat of the drum, do do do, do do do.  I shake a little fur into the air.  Phoebe joins me on the other side.  “Do, do do,” she purrs drooling a little on Big Cat’s neck.


The Big Cat stirs. We know it’s time.  I jump into her head first.  Phoebe, not even a cat length joins just behind me.  


The trip to the lower world has just been cat-jacked to the middle, middle world.  This dimension where she has a lot to learn and where we can guide her.   Where, we by her side, safely show her things she would not otherwise see from the perspective of the a cat’s eye. An ancient and mystical Cat eye.  Inspiration for the good luck charm protecting against the “evil eye” popular to this to-day in middle eastern cultures and the world at large….




Of course Crosby has to lead her into the kitchen.  Tail over his head he walks confidently into the kitchen.  The Big Cat follows, muttering.  For all we know, she probably thinks she made it to the lower world.  I give her a light swipe to keep her moving and a gentle awareness of our presence. 



I stop. I clear my voice.  Phoebe swipes at the Big Cat who proceeds to sit on the floor.  Phoebe sits and nods.


“This is down,” I say.  Phoebe rolls her eyes and plants herself.  I ignore her and keep going.


“Down is the earth.  The foundation of life, the grounding force the keeps us…. grounded.  Look all around you.  This is  footprint of the kitchen where we walk.  Observe the flatness of it all at this very spot.  Through the laminate flooring, beyond the cavern of the basement,  we connect to Mother Earth.  We are a part of the earth. Listen to her messages.”  


I sit in front of the Crosby Cave.  In ordinary reality,  it’s a carrier with the blanket over the top of it, tucked away under the kitchen table.  It’s where I like to snooze and keep tabs on kitchen traffic.  In this dimension, it takes on a whole new meaning. 


“As Shaman cat, I go into the Great Turtle, a symbol for Mother Earth to reground, refocus and contemplate the meaning of that which I choose.  Time is slowed once I enter and within minutes I become Turtle Cat.”


My eyes half closed.  I sway a little and twitch my tail.  The drum beat plays softly in the background.  


“Footsteps across the kitchen floor are no longer footsteps.  They are waves of energy and if you stand real still, it can be felt the energy flowing up from the earth.  Red energy.  Energy of the first chakra.   From red to red-orange and beyond that is what I see from the Great Turtle.  On a good day, a dash of purple now and again shows us healthy movement upwards.  Red energy slowly rebuilds and a sense of ease and purpose returns. I sit and take it all in. Slowly, I am grounding.  Only when the time is right OR when you are standing anywhere near  the treat cabinet, I emerge refreshed and sound.   Have you, Big Cat, a space to host the Great Turtle?  How much time do you spend reflecting and grounding?”



“Clearly, not enough,” I interject. The Big Cat looks to me. “And while you are at it, you might want to use a little Flourite in your Great Turtle to keep you focused…you know from the ground up..”  Perhaps, I’m a little too blunt, but keeping a still mind during meditation isn’t one of the Big Cat’s great strengths. 


Crosby eyes me. 


I turn to give myself a lick on the side. 


Crosby jumps to the counter.  Treat cabinet. 


Suddenly, the Drum beats a little louder, a little faster.  Damn, it’s the call back.  


Crosby and I quickly escort the Big Cat back to Ordinary Reality.  Mental note: Switch to the 30 minute soundtrack instead of 15.


To be continued…..

of Weather or War

Phoebe’s Log – September 8, 2013

At the top of the threshold between the open basement door and the kitchen, he sprawls. His lanky and long self divides of the upper and the underworld. He purrs so slightly, closes his eyes, looks away to the basement and then eyes her ever so carefully…watching her every move. She is washing the dishes.

He waits – a hunter stalking his prey. Neither one willing to make eye contact yet slyly steal glances at the corner of their eyes. I watch and listen to Al’s music in the background. It’s the romantic album – la la la la. I purr along watching the tension between Crosby and the Big Cat grow progressively heightened. She doesn’t like leaving the basement door open, yet knows it’s futile to keep the door closed. He doesn’t really want to go down to the basement, he wants treats (and for that matter, so do I). He is patient, waiting for the moment when he feels like making a move. After all, it is good to keep the Big Cat on her toes.

Suddenly there is a creak from the basement below as a disembodied voice shouts out from the basement, “How’s it going Crosby?”
“All’s well sir, All is well,” Crosby responds, “Just waiting for treats.”
“You need me to come up and knock a door or something?”
“Na, just feel like doing a little stalking for now.”

The conversation goes on for a bit between Crosby and the centuries old spirit living in the basement. I’m not particularly fond of engaging the spirit while Crosby, on the other hand, enjoys it…and by all accounts, the spirit is harmless. Just an old soul periodically checking in on his favorite haunt. He and Crosby talk now and again. Mostly weather, which Crosby knows something about by looking out the window & politics – which Crosby knows little about except for the rants by the neighbor next door regarding the Mass Ave Corridor project. Somehow, something is lost in translation when a cat tries to explain a bicycle, a bike lane and rush hour traffic to an 18th century ghost.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the back door. The romantic music hits a high point. Crosby thumps his tail disgusted at the disturbance. It’s the neighbor.

“War! To War” The ghost cries out and retreats to another dimension to prepare for the bicycle invasion and unavoidable metallic carnage on the streets of Arlington.

The Big Cat exchanges a few pleasantries with the neighbor and is given what appears to be a declaration of War OR perhaps it was a piece of mis-delivered mail (one can’t be too sure).

Crosby makes eye contact with the neighbor and strolls over in the middle of the exchange. The neighbor giggles at the sight of him. Sigh. Yes, what now, turn the romantic music up? Finally, the back door shuts. Without skipping a beat, Crosby turns his attention to the Big Cat. “Jealous, are we?” Eyes locked in a showdown Crosby mumbles in a low sweet tone hypnotizing the Big Cat. Without breaking stride, Crosby moves across the kitchen and leaps on the counter, eyes the treat cabinet and commands…“Hurry woman,” he says, “Toss the treats, toss the treats and then we can talk about the weather…or war”

Treat Poem – I

Crosby’s Log – 11 August 2013

I rule the house
through a patter of paws
lest not the faux-fur mouse
escape my exquisite claws
Til I miraculously hear
a faint shallow ting (pause and imagine the ting of a scrumptious treat here)
of a tuna treat not so near
a bolt of fur as shot thru a sling
collect with a crunch the morsel and sing
until the next treat she better well bring




Phoebe’s Log – July 24, 2013

The silver car slides into the driveway. As stealth as the engine is, I know it is there and I know who it is. The tell-tale Dunkin Donuts iced tea with extra lemon appear first in the air as the rest of Carolyn emerges from the car. “Hello Phoebe,” she sings. I just stare at her blankly, while my tail whips the couch in below her line of sight. Crosby squints his eyes and raises his chin a little – a signature salute to those passing by the kitchen window.

Once in, Carolyn goes through an even more formal greeting exchange by ceremoniously tossing us treats galore and then settles into her favorite chair with a book. This week, it is the classic “The Little Prince,” the story of a boy who came to Earth from an asteroid after travelling to several other planets.

It’s an inspirational story – especially to us cats because, quite frankly, sometimes we feel as though we were sometimes dropped into Earth from some outer space asteroid, evolution aside…Our powers are much more keen than that of a human and as Carolyn begins to read, I shift a bit. Crosby sits and stares lovingly into Carolyn’s eyes and hands, while his tail gives me the two twitch signal. It’s time.

I go and sniff Carolyn’s ankles and down to her shoes. It’s unmistakably Cambridge and alien cats that live with her. I inhale slowly. Prior to coming here, she fed them turkey flavored treats…I inhale again. I see the cats receiving more – tuna treats and plenty of them. Oh happy, happy. I give her a little nip…before moving to the next chapter – leaving her house.

Cement sidewalks and stop signs. Plenty of stop signs in Cambridge and cars…I put my paws around her leg and I hear horns honking and buses going by on the busy streets as she navigates her way around the rotary and through the drive thru, “Extra lemon in the ice tea,” I hear her say….as she slips away into traffic…Too many cars. I’m not liking this. I give her a bigger bite. Carolyn only shakes her leg…I release my claws and see her calmly sipping her iced tea. Oh joy.

Next, she stops at a store and goes outside. And this is where it gets really interesting. Before she gets into the store, I spot feathers and beady little eyes looking at her ready to swoop down and attack. Bird! In my vision, I try to warn her. I wrap my paws around her ankle a little firmer, claws gently pressing into her ankle.

“Phoebe,” Carolyn says, trying to shake me off a little. I just give her a rub and dance away a little.

Crosby thumps his tail. I return to the ankle…you can tell a lot about where a person has been by investigating their feet and ankles. You see, every step taken is a connection to the ground. Even through shoes, socks, and concrete there is a connection to where you’ve been and the energies surrounding your environment. There are things that we are sometimes not aware of….in this case…Carolyn was unaware of the Bird poised and ready to mark her car. I could see it from the soles of her feet, errr, ankle.

“Take your shoes off,” I say.

She did not. Clearly, there were limits to her threshold for pain.

I turned and twisted my body and tail for a display of sportsmanship against her foot and then I got to business. I imagined the Bird swooping in and I sank my claws more firmly into her ankle and I bit that Bird. err, the ankle. She tried to fly away…Oops. Too late, I was carried away by the image of the Bird and dug in further, my hind legs propelling into action.

“Phoebe!” Carolyn yelped and raised her foot.

The end. I let go. And danced away. I foiled the Bird and saved the day and a trip to the car wash.

“Bravo!” Crosby said.