July 12, 2022

Princess Bed Hog

Written by Hans Christian Andersen, The Princess and the Pea is a fairytale that makes even modern royalty look undemanding.

It tells the tale of an incredibly picky prince who was having trouble finding himself a bride. 

Actually he knew who he wanted for his bride but she was a married woman who chain-smoked, and frankly she thought the whole idea of being under a microscope as the wife of the future king was rubbish.

Oh wait. That was a more recent prince. 

Anyway, he was forced to look far and wide… rather, told his staff to look far and wide… yet continuously found himself paired with women who he didn’t believe were princesses because of things like bad table manners or being too thin. Or too fat. 

Or too old. Too naive. Too racy. 

Too serious. Too chatty. Too quiet.

Jeez man, make up your mind.

Then one dark and stormy night -- a prerequisite in all good fairytales -- a mysterious lady turned up at the castle door requesting somewhere to sleep for the night. 

For whatever reason, she told the prince she was a princess, because obviously a princess would be out on a dark and stormy night without palace bodyguards, her butler, her dresser, her chauffeur or executive chef. 

The prince let her in. Despite her soggy dress and dripping hair, she was a looker.

However his overbearing mother had been born royal, married royal, and bore royal fruit. She would never be caught dead running around at night in soaked clothes, unaccompanied by her ladies in waiting. Therefore she had doubts on the stranger's claim and hatched a plan to test the girl's regal status.

The supposed princess was offered a preposterously magnificent bed, topped with over 20 mattresses, with a single pea hidden among the ludicrous amount of bedding.

 Somehow, she managed to climb into bed and upon waking the next day reported that she couldn’t sleep because she had been in great pain and was bruised by something in the bed.

 The prince declared that only someone accustomed to the finer things in life, such as a tower of mattresses, could have experienced pain from a pea, and so the two married.

Not only is this bizarre because someone could feel, let alone get bruised by a single pea among a ridiculous amount of bedding, but also because she agreed to get married so soon. 

I mean, she didn’t even get to ‘sleep on it’! What? What?


Today's fairytale features Elly, our very own Panther Princess who lays claim to numerous beds throughout Casa Wonderpurr. 
I only recently became aware of Elly's bed domination when I placed a cushion on a newly recovered chair and saw her immediately jump onto to it, and take a nap. 

From that point on, no one else used that bed. I started taking photos of her in various beds around the house. And noted that no one else used those beds. Elly is one of my sweet but sassy former colony cats. She is FIV+, but never combative so she lives free and easy among the Wonderpurr Gang. 

There are two Hallmark stories that accompany Elly's life with us. The first being when my beloved Noah brought her to me from the woods, just like he brought me Candy. However Noah was sick and passed not two weeks later. His final gift was Elly.

The other story is how desperate she is to remain an indoor cat. She had been indoors for about two years when we had the carpeting replaced shortly before we put the house on the market. We told the carpet installers NO CATS OUTSIDE. So when Ray saw a tiny black cat on our back porch that overlooked the woods and creek, we were upset. She probably was lying in a sun puddle near the front door when the installers went out, pushing her outside with them. Anyway, she headed for the woods as I ran around the house to get her. Knowing how feral she can be when it comes to being handled, I felt dread that I would lose her. The woods hide a creek that was steep and dry. If she decided to run, she could fall and there would be no way I could rescue her.

Instead I didn't try to go to her, rather I called her out. We carried on a conversation for some time with me calling her name and she answering me with a tiny meow. Finally she emerged from the woods. Oh, I didn't tell you: it was fall and there was a thick carpet of brittle leaves I would need to carry her through to get her back inside. No one was more shocked than me when she let me pick her up, and walk ever-so-slowly through the leaves. With each step I clutched her tightly. How would I get her inside without her EXPLODING all over me? Talk about murder mittens, she's tiny and mani-pedis are a definite No No. But when I rounded the house and reached the front door, I somehow mustered the confidence to hold her with one hand to open the door, and then FLUNG her inside. Needless to say she scampered off, overjoyed to be back inside.

Elly's favorite person is Ray. She's been a touch-me-not until we moved to Florida. Now she dominates his attention when he sits on the couch, or on the floor, or goes to bed. She barely waits for him to lie down before she jumps on his chest to demand pets. 

Small but fierce, she is one of three (Candy and Frank) not impressed by Rabbit's pushy personality, and will smack him across the puss when he tries to goad her into running so he can chase her. Rabbit isn't truly a bad boy, he's just... just... *sigh* An AssRabbit.

We love our Panther Princess, and cannot imagine life without her.

Even if she is a bed hog.

July 05, 2022

Woody Boyd - a Real Yankee Doodle Dandy

Celebrating the memory of the incredible Woody Boyd, a cockatiel born on the Fourth of July 1987.

In hindsight I should have called him Yankee Doodle.

We adopted Woody from a not-professional breeder cuz we were young n stoopid. But he was so sweet and incredibly smart.

He came to live with us maybe around 12 weeks of age. I had him saying his first word inside a week: Pretty. Which morphed into Pretty Pretty Pretty which morphed into Pretty Boy.

He learned his name. He called himself Woodo. “Hello Woodo” he would say into a mirror.

I recall saying “I don’t believe it” to him. He flew to my shoulder and pressed his beak to my mouth, his way of wanting to learn. He picked up that phrase incredibly fast and used it a lot.

I also taught him “I love you” but it was difficult for him. Still I said it often and he learned it. In fact the little smarty pants used it when he behaved badly and I’d scold him. “I wuv yoo” he’d coo sweetly and all was forgiven.

He could be a little stinker. He loved to perch on our shoulders and would nip a mole or our ear. Then laugh wildly.

I also taught him to whistle various melodies, among them the theme song to the Andy Griffith Show and Jingle Bells. However he would create his own songs by mixing the tunes to suit his mood.
Woody meeting Genny for the first time 1987

We had a tiny tortoiseshell named Mandy and a gorgeous white Turkish Angora named Genny. Woody loved Genny. I mean LOVED her. He would tear apart a box of tissue and tuck it into a shoebox to create a nest. Then he would coo and chat (mimicking conversation) to coax her over. She was very good natured and would inspect the box while he showed off for her. He didn’t like Mandy and would chase her to nip her paw or tail.

Ray built a plexiglass playpen the size of our kitchen counter for Woody. He filled the floor with ground corn cobs and we put in toys and swing. He would sleep in his cage at night, but the moment I opened it he would shoot over to his playpen. That's Buddy (who lived to age 24) in the photo above with our second cockatiel Harley. The playpen was a huge hit for many years for birds and cats both. In fact we still have it boxed in the attic just in case we ever adopt another bird. Unfortunately that won't be for quite awhile considering we now have cats from colonies and one unpredictable AssRabbit.

We allowed Woody freedom to move around the house, although he had one wing partially clipped to keep him from flying off.

We would take him outside riding on our shoulders to enjoy the sunshine. One time he flew and landed on the grass. From out of nowhere a stray cat shot out of hiding and grabbed him. While we freaked and ran after the cat, Woody screamed at him using words. The cat clearly was unnerved to have his prey yell at him. He dropped Woody who ran through the grass back to me. After that we clipped his wing and tested him to see if his flight feathers had grown back before taking him out.

Woody loved to drink out of our glasses, and sample food from our dishes. One of the last memories I have of him is the day before he passed at age 2 from kidney disease (bad breeding) as he sat happily in a bowl of peas, swallowing them while laughing like a crazy man. It's a poignant memory. We loved him so very much. 

While Woody Boyd was with us only two short years, he made a huge impact on our lives. 

We missed him so much, we ended up adopting another cockatiel named Harley - should have been Harleigh as he turned out to be a she. 

And because she was a girl, she didn't possess the same ability to talk. However she was a character in her own right and lives on in our memories as well. Mostly on how she was boy crazy and loved Ray - and any man who entered our home. Our friend Bob would come over and laugh while Harley perched on his shoulder, taking bits out of his pukka necklace. We also have memories of Harley jumping into a big bowl of popcorn set out for guests, and laughing happily while throwing popcorn out of the bowl.

That's our Siamese Holly with Harley in the photo, circa 1992.

I miss having birds. While we lived in Jacksonville from 81-99 we also adopted an abused red parrot named Caija, and I rescued two parakeets from PetsMart whose wings had been clipped on both sides preventing them from flying up to the perch where their food and water bowls were. That's another story.

Every July 4th I take a moment to remember Woody Boyd, whose huge personality continues to live on despite his short life.

Hope you enjoyed Woody's story. I have so many about my beloved fur kids, I plan to share them more frequently here on Wonderpurr.com
Until Next Time...