October 28, 2022

Zoo Boo Date with Baunilha


Dear Diary,

I try to make my dates fun with Baunila, my Portuguese girlfriend. Trouble is, like most girls, she gets all nervous when it comes to scary stuff.

I love scary stuff. I love to jump out at my sisfurs and make them scream with either fright or fury, though I still can't tell which cuz it all sounds the same. And I love to prowl the catio at night when flying predators are skulking about in the trees, swooping overhead like they might be hunting me.

Yah, that's a real tail-biter kind of feeling. Like I could become owl poop. Yow!

So since it's Octopurr and Halloween is coming, I thought I'd take Baunilha to a Zoo Boo. Purrsonally I had a blast. *big sigh* Not sure she did. But that's wimmen for ya. 



October 25, 2022

Jesse the Traveling Cat and Why I Wasn't Invited on Vacation

Hi evfurrybuddy, it's me Dori *wavy paws.* If yoo are reading this, I assume yoo have survived the weekend and the return of Monday with all it's despicable hekkishness. Purrsonally I am working on a serious letter to the gov'mint to abolish Mondays at the same time they kick Daylight Savings to the curb for once and for all.

So yoo may have noticed that I was virtually invisible last week to my social media frens. I am mortally wounded to the core of my little heart to be ignored, but my momma explained that she needed a bweak and unfortnately I was sacrificed along with her accounts and our IG Cattoon account.

HOWEVER, I am not just a pwetty face. I am also an adorable purranormal pwivate detective and while there were no ghosts or demons to deal with, I used my spidey senses to find out that not only Wabbit's social media accounts were extremely active, but also a brand new account for Jesse the Toothless Wonder popped up and pwactically overnight went from 116 followers to over 190. And all because he was invited to go on vacation with my momma and daddy.

Not me. I was not invited.

Not that I would have gone if I had been invited. I went to Blogpaws in Kansas City and spent the entire time hiding under the bed behind the headboard, and also behind the bathroom towels. Truly, if I hadn't had Candy with me, I would have probably fainted with the vapors in the truest sense of being a Southern Belle. Which I am, being from Mississippi.

So this is what happened:

Momma was ready to hit the road to some place chilly so she could wear jeans and sweaters, and walk through autumn leaves. She does this every year about this time, so it comes as no surprise to any of us when she hauls out her suitcase and starts running around making notes and piles to pack. However this time I noticed there was a pile of cat food dishes, and a leash and a harness. I fweaked, and hid under the bed, right in the center where Momma can't reach me. I know. I've done this many times.

Finally Fwank knelt down to peek at me all cute and scrunched up in a tight ball of stwess, and told me Jesse had drawn the short straw and was going on vacation.

Yay! I mean... oh too bad. Actually, Fwank doesn't like Jesse from something that happened years ago but Fwank holds a grudge and still isn't over it. And I love Fwank so much, so of course I support him by giving Jesse my very best Stink Eye whenever possible.

So that morning when the car was packed and Jesse was seized unexpectedly and stuffed into his traveling box, I was out and about, giving Momma last minute hugs and ankel rubs. We had a new sitter come to feed us, one who has such a calm demeanor that we all came out of hiding on the second day. 

Meanwhile, from what I've been able to put together from conversations upon my pawrents return, Jesse spent the first day of travel sleeping under the back seat. He didn't eat. He didn't poo. But he did come out to sit in Daddy's lap and to investigate the minivan. He thought it was like a house on wheels.

Fwankly, I am suspiciouis that Jesse was a willing participant on this trip. I looked at his Instagwam and saw him acting like he was truly enjoying being the center of attenshun. Well, naturally I enjoy that too, but I wouldn't pose for pictures the way Jesse did.

Here he is actually looking out the window at moving traffic. And he's not even barfing from motion sickness like Fwank does. Momma repeatedly told Jesse he was a "gud boi" and boy did he eat that up. He purred like he's never purred before, and he was extremely chatty, especially between 2 - 5 am.

So they arrived on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina and that night Jesse was left to have some quiet time while Momma and Daddy went to find noms. Unfortnately late at night not many places are open on the reservation, but they found a nice Kobe Express where their lovely waitpurrson showed them photos of elk standing on her front lawn. So Daddy was very excited that he might see elk as well.

When they got back to the hotel room, Jesse was no where to be found. He didn't eat or use his litter box. And they knew he did not escape, so the next thing they did was tear apart the bed. I assume memory of me doing this same thing in Kansas City tipped them off, and sure enough, Jesse was crouched behind the headboard. Yoo can't go under the bed, but there is a gap between the bed box and the wall, which makes it a most excellent hidey hole when yoo are traveling against yoor will.

My momma is allergic to strong bleach and she gets horrible rashes, so they always travel with blankets and towels and their own pillows. So after they pulled Jesse out, they stuffed the hotel pillows on either side so any future access to the hidey hole was foiled. From that day on, Jesse had a wonderpurr time being an only kitteh.

For those of yoo who don't know his backstory, Jesse was born under a neighbor's deck where his momma Peaches had found to keep her babies safe. Unfortunately when all but two kittens were taken away, Peaches made a run for it with Jesse and Jack, and when she returned the entrance hole was covered. So she brought her kittens to my momma next door, and found a forever home for them all.

Jesse has always lived outdoors. Even after Peaches and Jack moved inside, Jesse remained a garage cat because the two times she gave him a chance to be an indoor cat, he peed on stuff. I understand it was a dream of Jesse's to live indoors one day, and finally when we moved to FloryDa, that dream came true. He was once again a garage cat with Chevy and my daddy Nikolas, but when he got stomititis and lost all of his teeth, he had to spend a couple days at the V.E.T., and then a week in Momma's office. When he was well enough to return to the garage, Nik and Chevy told him he was no longer a part of their Garage Band and he was kicked out. So he moved into the house, and has been pretty good about not misbehaving. He has a cool box cave in the loft over the refrigerator, and at night he comes down to eat and socialize with my pawrents. He was pretty happy with the arrangement...

Until he went on vacation and then came home. That's when he got really upset. He wants to be the onliest kitteh, but he can't. He's 13, and he's set in his ways, and even if Momma loved him enough to find him a new home, she knows in her heart he wouldn't adjust too well. So the plan now is to work extra hard getting Jesse to acclimate into the Gang instead of staying on the fringe like he's done since we moved here.

Plans are to get him out and about more often. He did so well in the van, and also riding in Mosey, our stroller. Momma says the more confident he is, the less intimidated by Fwank (and me) he will be.

One thing... can anybuddy recommend a good body harness? Jesse wore a red bandana harness from Kitty Holster and also an orange from Cat Travel, but Jesse pulled in his elbows and got out of them both. Possibly Momma will try the harness again and slip one of Wabbit's tee shirts over it so Jesse can't escape.

So to wrap this up, yes Daddy saw Elk. Lots of them. Momma sez on the Cherokee Reservation the elk are like stray cats -- they're everywhere! In fact at one point when their GPS was acting up and Daddy pulled over, Momma looked up from her map long enough to realize she was staring at a family standing on the road right in front of the car!

The Cherokee Reservation had a lovely casino with top notch restaurants, and the land is beautiful with waterfalls and streams, and thick woodlands. Momma discovered Qualla Java coffee shop where everyone is so nice. Her favorite drink was the Spearfinger, a chocolate, caramel and vanilla latte that she ordered every day she was there. 

The street signs were in both English and in Cherokee.

And there were Bears everywhere! Bear statues that is. Bears play a large part in the Cherokee culture and artists from the clans of Bird, Blue, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Wild Potato, and Wolf all contributed to the Bear Project.

So, if yoo ever have the chance to visit Cherokee, North Carolina, be sure to take walking shoes and bring yoor camera. Here is the highlight of the trip for Momma when Jesse willingly posed in a box of gourds. His leash was missing so she used her iphone cord to make sure he didn't take off on a walkabout.

Until Next Time...

October 14, 2022

It's Official. Dori Turns Professional.


I have exciting news! It's official. I've turned pawfessional.

Pawfessional what? Meowdel? Nooo, although I got a lot of admiring compliments when I showed off wearing my new birthday sweater with the plaid skirt.

Pawfessional Bweaking Nooz Repurrter? Nooo, although my repurrting at the Cat Olympics in 2020 is still being talking about among the judges, and charges are still pending on whether or not I had anything to do with some of the disqualifications among the competitors.

Pawfessional singer? Well, yes. My hits Purrple Underpants, Lets Go Outside and Don't You Put A Bitey (On Me) are still on the Top 10 Greatest Hits List for Pretty Tabby Cats.

But despite all of my accompliments, I'm now an pawfessional froggy hunter.

This is how it happened:

So, Enquiring Minds want to know...

Have yoo ever had the lovely experience of catching something squishy in yoor mouth? And if so, what happened? Did yoo lick it? Did yoo bite? Did yoo *gasp* eat it?

Please let me know, as I'm building a case for my Momma who says anything we catch alive in our Catio is not on the menu and must be handed over without any growling or sassy talk.

Until next time...

October 11, 2022

Dori's Birthday Featuring Entries From Her Adoption Diary

Hi evfurrybuddy, it’s me, Dori. *wavy paws* Guess what? Yesterday I celebrated my birthday! Nooo, I’m not wevealing how old I am cuz us wimmen need to keep some mystery as we age. 

I got lots of presents. My my favorite is a soft cushion snuggled between Momma and Daddy’s pillows where I sleep at night. I also got a small soft pink blanket with poky dots, and a little pink ball. And I got a sweater dwess with a plaid skirt. I will meowdel for yoo.

I also got Friskies Cheesy treats - a huge bag but I have to share with my fursibs. And I got a package of Churu's that I really love a lot. So I had a nice day celebrating me.

Recently my momma was purging an enormous box of papers in her office, and she came across my baby diary kept during the first months after I was rescued. I've given purrmission for her to publish the first month here for yoor viewing enjoyment.

In case yoo don’t know my story, I was born to a black feral momma named Annie who brought me to the house where I got adopted. She also brought my twin sisfur, Patsy, my two panther brofurs Kepurr and Kopea, and my daddy Nikolas who still lives with us. It was late December, and I was two months old. We were a huge handful for the hoomons who eventually adopted me. We were wild and hissy and scared. However, we all were vetted and put on PetFinders to find homes. Only my brofurs were adopted, and the man who took them kept their names.

My momma Annie, however, did not want to be adopted. She was half blind from herpes (which she passed onto the rest of us) and honestly didn’t even want to be a mother. She never played with us, but Daddy Nikolas did. He loved being a daddy. So, after she wasn’t adopted, Annie returned outside along with Patsy and Nikolas. One day she left the yard, never to return. Patsy made friends with a neighbor’s Siamese and moved in with them. And daddy Nikolas is now a member of the Wonderpurr Garage Band with Chevy.

So! About my diary. I have restrained myself from editing out the good parts, even if I am hoomilliated with embarrassment. We all know shocking details from our pasts make for social media excitement.

My diary begins on March 16th when I’m four months old. This is the date where I ran free in the house for the first time. March 20th was the date I wore my first collar. It was red.

From here I will let my momma take over to tell my story:

March 21: I heard Buddy (my 24-year-old-tabby) grumbling in the next room. When I went to check on him, I found Dori all comfy in his bed. Buddy has passed the age where he is willing to cuddle with someone, so I removed her to her own bed.

Later that day I saw Peaches playing with Dori, chasing her around the staircase and through the living room. Today is also the first time Dori jumped on top of the kitchen counter. “Yay.”

March 23: I again found Dori asleep in Buddy’s bed, this time with Buddy, curled around his arthritic backside. She looked so incredibly sweet, while he wore a definite sneer on his white-whiskered face.

Dori loves to visit her family in the upstairs guest room where they’re staying until I find them homes. They always greet her like she’s a celebrity.

March 24: Dori is getting rather “full” of herself. I saw her pounce onto her dad, Nikolas, and beat the dickens out of him. All four kittens are rather wild, and while Dori is the tamest, she reverts to her semi-feral roots when she rejoins her family. Nikolas is incredibly sweet with all of the kittens, and never disciplines them.

Dori also challenges Herman, who has such an expressive face. So often he’s looked at me as if to say, “We really don’t need a kitten.”

March 30: Dori plays chase and hunt with Peaches, using the circle of rooms around the staircase. I love watching Peaches crouch and peek around the sofa or corner, then chase Dori who then chases Peaches back.

(The photo to the right is of Dori and her dad Nikolas before they were pulled inside to be found homes on PetFinders. They lived on my porch in a couple of the dog houses I always provided for strays during winter.)

Ray is giddy in love with Dori to the point where he thinks it’s cute when she climbs his leg into his lap to eat off his plate. She’s jumping the gate to eat Buddy’s kibble, and as a result she’s getting a fat tummy.

Dori loves to ride on a carpet runner with her daddy Nikolas in the cat apartment upstairs. I drag the carpet around the room with Nik surfing with Dori hanging on by her baby claws with her tummy sliding on the wood floor.

April 2: Dori spent the day with her family upstairs playing hide and seek under a blanket tent. She’s turning into a cuddlebug, preferring to sleep in my lap while I watch television. Ray wanted her to snuggle with him and tried to get her to lay in his lap, but she got up and returned to mine. Awww.

April 3: Dori loves to ride the carpet runner with Nikolas. She is clearly advanced compared to her twin, Patsy, who doesn’t want to interact with me. I’ve been working with Annie the mom cat with the hope she will be adopted, but I’m losing hope. No interest at all on PetFinders as older cats in this area struggle to find homes. Annie now looks forward to my attention, and even rubbed against my leg the other day. Nikolas loves being brushed. When the weather turns nice they will be released outside where I’ll continue to care for them. At least Annie won’t be having any more kittens.

April 6: Dori thinks the kid pool we use for a litter box in the cat apartment is fun to play in. She loves to help me find poop, and tonight she did a cartwheel while I was cleaning.

April 7: I used the squirt bottle on Dori when she mimicked Opie by swatting Herman’s tail. Herm has absolutely no sense of humor, and he’s been rather crabby lately. Tonight, Ray and I were in my office doing taxes, and Dori was being a brat to Herm. So, I squirted her a couple of times. She looked surprised. And Herm “got it.” He immediately moved to sit beside me, knowing Dori was not going to approach the mean lady with the squirt bottle.

April 9: Dori experienced her first real pain. She has been staying in my office to give the rest of the Wonderpurr Gang a break from her sassy kitten routine. At lunchtime I went to leave to feed the cats and as I closed the French doors, I heard an awful growl. I had accidentally closed the door on Dori’s tail. When I released it, she ran, afraid of me, like I had deliberately hurt her. Opie and Peaches came rushing, ready to defend their little sweetheart. Herm was there but, clearly, he doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about her. She does pester him like a typical little sister. I finally caught her and rubbed her tail and gave her treats so I’ve been forgiven.

April 11: I guess it’s the Kitten Stage she’s in, but Dori is clumsy. She flings herself at surfaces, but misses – often. Tonight, she threw herself at my desk, missed, caught the corner on her chin. I rubbed it and she seemed okay.

She loves the kiddie pool litter box. Today I saw her lying on her back like a kid at the beach.

While hanging out in the cat apartment Dori caught her bottom jaw under her red collar. When I found her, she had her mouth hanging open. I had a hard time getting the collar off her, as it wasn’t the safety type I usually use. So no more collars until I’m able to find her a safety collar small enough for her tiny neck.

Tonight, Herman and Dori slept with us. Herm was mad at Opie for pestering him, so I brought Herm to bed and Dori joined us. There were no events throughout the night. Herm slept beside my pillow with Dori sprawled between Ray and I. Around 4 am I awoke to see her lying next to me, beside Herm. Awww, she loves her big brother, Herman.

April 12: As the time nears to release Annie, Nikolas and Patsy, I make sure she spends quality time with them. She’s been teaching Patsy to play and not be so shy.

April 15: Today I released Dori’s family. Before I did I fed them a hearty breakfast. I caged them and put them in the kitchen while I dragged their cat trees, blankets and the carpet runner outside onto the backyard porch. They spent awhile outside sniffing the fresh air. Finally, I opened the cages. Anticlimatic. They casually wandered out.

Nik and Annie were thrilled to be free, especially Nik who rolled around on the patio in a sun puddle. Then he ran around the yard, literally skipping with joy. Later I returned to see how they were doing, and they all came running out of the woods when I called.

I also noticed Feral Charlie, a brawny black tom cat, was greeted by Annie and Patsy. He’s a mess, but they were so happy to be reunited with him. I went to bed feeling better than I have in weeks. Sad because they weren’t adopted, worried for their safety, but happy because their joy was huge at returning to the life they’d always known.

Sometimes colony cats are not meant to be kept inside homes. Annie seemed depressed the longer she was kept in that bedroom. And Nik seemed bored.

April 16: Today I saw Dori standing in the doorway to the empty cat apartment where she family used to live. Since Ray has started calling her his Little Peanut, there’s no question we are officially adopting her. I have hopes for her twin Patsy to simmer down as she ages, but as it stands now, she’s too wild to remain indoors.

April 18: Today I saw Peaches’ son Jesse, another one of my outside cats, bump heads with Nikolas. I guess they are now officially brothers. And, to my honest surprise, I pet Patsy. She had hissed at me the entire time she was living in the cat apartment, but today she seems happy and secure. She came to me while I was filled a plate with kibble and rubbed against me. Yay!

Also, my semi-feral Siamese, YumYum, is making friends with Nik, Annie, and Patsy. Yum is Jesse’s girl. As I made a porch tent for the cats, they gathered to eat dinner together.

April 30: Tonight, Dori and Patsy saw each other through the living room window. They pawed at the window. Heartbreaking! I opened it to allow them to smell each other through the screen and Patsy hissed. Apparently, Dori now smells like us, and is no longer her family.

I'm so glad Dori and her family found my home when they did. Ray and I have provided food, medical and found homes to over 100 cats who were adoptable during our adult lifetime. Not all were adoptable, but after they met me, they were not longer out there overpopulating, or sick from whatever milady they had picked up from colony life.

So, Dori had a nice birthday, and while she's not overly crazy about wearing clothes, she will indulge me. The sweater dress was just too cute to pass up. Here's the video of her meowdeling for you.

October 04, 2022

Hurricane Ian Report

We at It's a Wonderpurr Life are sincerely touched by the outpouring of concern by our social media friends during this past week when Hurricane Ian knocked on our door.

Compared to those who lost their lives and their homes in south Florida, we had literally nothing to complain about. 

We lost power at 4am on Thursday and didn't get it back until 10:30 pm on Friday, and our Internet didn't return until Saturday noon. We lost everything in our refrigerator/freezer. And we lost a four-foot roof panel on our Catio. But no trees fell, and we didn't flood. So your prayers for us were answered.

From 1981 - 1999 Ray and I lived in Jacksonville located in Florida's Northeast corner. During those years we never experienced a hurricane. I think at the time I recall reading Florida was in a thirty year cycle where the hurricanes were busy devastating people on the other side of the world. So having returned to Florida in 2020, this was our very first hurricane.

And like all newbies, despite reading about how to prepare, we were sadly clueless. We had a fridge full of perishables, and when I realized we may lose power, I ran back to the store to buy stuff that wouldn't go bad. Like mac and cheese... except I forgot to make it and also... without refrigeration... it will go bad. (Duh!)

Ray also ran out separate from me, so his grocery haul was giant muffins, cookies, chips, bread...frozen pizza. We've been married 44 years this November so sadly yes, we do think alike.

However with the wind at 50+ mph, our appetites were really the last thing on our minds. Our number one concern was that the pine trees behind our house would fall on us. We've had so many storms over the past weeks that the sandy ground is over-saturated. And since we had visible standing water before the hurricane arrived, I envisioned the high winds would create costly havoc for us.

As it was, the storm ripped off a roof screen on our Catio. We saw it happen and watched as it flew into the pool. Happily, that was the only damage, and one of Ray's golfing friends (think Joe Pesci in Goodfellas) called in a "favor" to get someone over as of tomorrow to give us a repair estimate. Totally appreciated... although I'm wondering what "favor" Ray will be subjected to when his buddy needs something in the future. Ah, fahgettaboudit!

After the storm passed a few members of the Wonderpurr Gang followed us outside to assess the damage. And while we were out there we saw a Great Horned Owl perched on a branch overhead. 

Talk about word getting out among the community predators!

While I ushered the cats back inside... because those birds are big enough to swoop a cat off their paws... Ray went to work building a wooden frame around the screen that had fallen into the pool. When I asked what he was doing he said he was building a patch that he would slide over the hole, thus preventing a hysterical wife watching one of her beloved fur kids be carried away to feed baby owls.

Now, I've been at the bottom of many ladders while Ray does his man-thing and there have been a couple of times when I swore I'd call a divorce lawyer once he was back on land. Kentucky comes to mind. We lived on five acres at the top of a very steep hill, and the house sat on an even steeper hill which meant Ray needed a fifty foot extension ladder in order to stain the wood siding.  

Picture this: Richmond, Kentucky, off I-75. Five acres at the top of a very steep hill surrounded by woodlands. It's mid-November with brisk high winds. Ray is perched precariously at the tippy-top of a 50-foot ladder, half-laying on the roof while applying stain. Kim, fashionably dressed in Kentucky couture - Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, sweater, wool jacket, tennis shoes with probably no socks and maybe a pair of gloves... seriously doubt there was a hat or scarf in sight -  is pressed against the bottom of the ladder freezing her bejeebies off, trying to hold it in place because the winds are strong.

Recalling this event, I asked Ray yesterday why exactly we did that particular job in No-freaking-vember and he replied, "I worried the stain would dry differently if I left it until spring." 

I also have ladder stories involving Ray perched on our Southaven home stairs trying to paint the twenty foot ceiling in the alcove. And of Ray on the same house roof tugging a tarp to cover damage after a huge tree fell on our roof. And he repainted our twenty-foot high living room several times during our 14 years there. I'm sure there are more occasions that I probably blacked out, so yeah, I have a severe ladder phobia that came into play when Ray said he planned to crawl up on our Catio roof to slide his patch into place.

And, of course, he went ahead and did it anyway, despite my concern that he would fall and break his neck, leaving me to figure out how to file insurance claims before I sold the house and moved the heck out of Florida.

For your viewing pleasure, this video reveals the snarky interaction between two people who have been together since their teens. The  man is totally in his element of Home Improvement while his wife is clearly not appreciating the finer points of his creative artistry.

Since this is a cat blog, I'm sure you are wonderpurring how the cats did during the storm. The answer: far better than Ray and I.

They knew something was going on, of course. Rabbit spent Thursday morning acting out beyond his usual AssRabbity antics to the point where I fed him kibble laced with Jackson Galaxy's Bully Solution, then sent him to his ZenDen to sleep.

The senior room became uncomfortable when the air conditioning had been off for a time, so I alternated Rabbit in his room while everyone else roamed freely. 

For those who may be new here, Rabbit is five years old, and a Turkish Van who is extremely intelligent, but has absolutely no filters when it comes to the welfare of his senior fursibs. Particularly Dori. Rabbit has been known to hunt her down, grab her by the scruff of her neck, and drag her into his lair under the couch. 

I kid you not. 

So once that happened, Dori filed a "westwaining odor" against Rabbit, and moved into the senior room.

My only regret was that Chevy and Nikolas aka the Garage Band had to spend two days without light. Nik was fine as he is a Child of the Darkness, but Chevy howled for a flashlight a few times and of course, I obliged.

There was lots of lap snuggling, kibble munching, and sleeping during the storm. And when power returned on Friday at 5 pm, we celebrated by dancing around the living room... except the power went out again a minute later.  

Ray has a theory that if the power companies boot everything up during the day, there will be a massive rush to turn everything back on, probably resulting in a power crash. So the companies turn the power back on after most everyone has gone to bed. And as usual, he was right. It came back on at 10:30 pm, this time permanently.

And so to end this incredibly long adventure, I'll leave you with a video I shot yesterday evening while Dori was in the Catio and suddenly realized she was being watched by an Osprey who belatedly heard about the hole in our roof and was hoping to pick "something" up on his way home to the wife and kids.

Until Nextime...

Blessing of Animals


As autumn arrives, people in various places may notice something odd.

A procession of animals, everything from dogs and cats to hamsters and even horses, is led to churches for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets.

This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi's love for all creatures.

Francis, whose feast day is October 4th, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town. He and his early brothers, staying in a small hovel, allowed themselves to be displaced by a donkey.

Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God's living things. "All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brothers and sister creatures." And there was testimony in the cause for St. Clare of Assisi's canonization that referred to her little cat!

That there are today over 62 million cats in the USA attests to the continuing affection we have for our furry, feathered or finned friends. We've even had a cat called Socks in the White House. Other popular presidential pets range from Abraham Lincoln's Fido to Lyndon Johnson's beagles, named Him and Her.

For single householders, a pet can be a true companion. Many people arrive home from work to find a furry friend overjoyed at their return. Many a senior has a lap filled with a purring fellow creature.

The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. Eye-to-eye, a man and his dog, or a woman and her cat, are two creatures of love.

No wonder people enjoy the opportunity to take their animal companions to church for a special blessing. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated.

At Franciscan churches, a friar with brown robe and white cord often welcomes each animal with a special prayer. The Blessing of Pets usually goes like this:

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen."

As the prayer is offered, the pet is gently sprinkled with holy water. Believe it or not, most pets receive this sacramental spritz with dignity, though I must admit I have seen some cats flatten their ears a bit as the drops of water lightly pelt them.

But the owner is happy, and who knows what spiritual benefits may result?

Usually the Blessing of Pets is held outdoors. But I remember it rained one year, and all were invited inside St. Stephen’s Church in Manhattan. It was quite a sight to see pairs of creatures—one human, one animal—sitting in the pews. The pastor joined right in with his beagle. Noah’s Ark was never like this!

Some people criticize the amount and cost of care given to pets. People are more important, they say. Care for poor people instead of poodles. And certainly our needy fellow humans should not be neglected.

However, I believe every creature is important. The love we give to a pet, and receive from a pet, can draw us more deeply into the larger circle of life, into the wonder of our common relationship to our Creator.

Written by Kevin E. Mackin, O.F.M. Resident of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Anthony Friary is composed of retired and active Friars living the Gospel values according to the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi.