Cat Blogging

30 Mar 2012 12:46 am


Sabby in the pink.

is nineteen years old. He’s still feisty and fierce, loving, and loyal and extremely jealous. Sabby loves whom he loves and other cats and dogs had better not get in his way.


A recent photo of Sabby. He still has the look although our vet tells me he is almost blind. But Sabby still leaps from chair to table to chair and recognizes each one of us so there has to be some sight left.

Sabby hails from upstate New York, born in Watertown in January, 1993. We got him from a soldier and his wife who were moving to Germany. The couple had two dogs and Sabby and they could only take two pets with them. They chose to take their dogs so we snapped up one year old Sabby. His real name is Sebastian, named for the crab in The Little Mermaid. We took Sabby home and introduced him to Abbey, our female cat we fell in love with in Panama. For Sabby and Abbey it wasn’t love at first sight.


Abbey was two years old when we moved to Fort Drum, New York. She moved from a very tropical climate to a very cold one. The first winter she caught a bad cold that almost killed her.

But we were a family. Sabby, Abbey and our sweet dog, Pattertwig.


Sabby sat at the door on the inside watching Pattertwig on the outside. It was cold at Fort Drum, New York.

A few months later, deep in the winter, Captain joined our family. The cat triumvirate was complete. For years poor Pattertwig was ruled by the three. Sabby, having been raised along side two dogs always seemed the most comfortable with Patter.


How could Patter deal with the three of these picnicking cats? She did it with her own intrepid optimism.

One day when we were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Abbey did something that really annoyed Pattertwig. Normally peaceful Captain never got into internecine opportunities but he was pissed big time at Patter. Sabby, who always considered Patter his “bud” was also really irritated at Patter and both male cats went after her. It made the very atmosphere in the room very tense. The humans had to intervene. Patter, Abbey, Sabby and Captain all had to be put in “time out” for a time.

Fort Sill was the last post all four were together. Sabby and Abbey went to college in the fall of 1999. Patter went to stay with his grandparents because on the advice of the vet she wasn’t considered healthy enough to fly overseas to Germany to our new post. Captain traveled with us to Heidelberg, Germany.

It was really hard breaking up our pet family, not to mention, leaving our daughters and son behind in their college and military careers.

When we returned in 2002 I wanted my pet family back but Kate was getting married and Abbey was staying with her. My parents wanted to keep Pattertwig and she had really been good for their health. They took her for walks, or rather she took them for walks.

Sabby came back to me when we returned from Germany. (and Captain) It was funny watching Captain and Sabby getting reacquainted. A lot of hissing and screaming (mostly by Sabby)

He was later joined by two new cats we had met in Germany, Amos and Bear. A friend had asked me to keep them while she and her husband moved to England and then later when they moved back to the states and had some difficulties she called me and asked me if I would keep them for good. I said yes, and she flew them from Tennessee to Arkansas. They stayed for a time at college in Oklahoma. The weekend Kate got married Bear died of a heart attack.

Sabby could tolerate Amos but he always liked Captain a lot so the reunion with Captain was a good one, after a lot of hissing from both of them. Our precious Captain died August 6th, 2007.

Only Sabby, of the original pet family was left. But he was not to be alone for long. When my daughter left for law school she left Amos and Asta with us. After graduation Asta left with her, leaving Amos with Sabby. It took a while but Sabby and Amos became buddies.

We lost Amos to cancer on February 5th. Oh, Amos. I miss him badly but I think Sabby even misses him more. Sabby is friendless now among the feline set but there is still Penny, a puppy we discovered in our back yard a year and a half ago. Sabby and Penny are now in a state of détente.

So, it’s Sabby and Penny now, ruling our household. Nineteen years of Sabby in our lives has been a blessing. I hope for many more.

21 Nov 2010 11:18 am

My niece, Marlane Barnes made her first appearance on television Friday night. She played the role of Tina in iCarly, iStart a Fan War. I admit I am biased but I think she was a smashing success.

Marlane graduated from the University of Texas (Austin) in May this year with a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting and moved to LA in June. By July she had been cast in iCarly.

She moves on to Twilight this December when she plays Maggie, an Irish Vampire in the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.

We all wanted her to go to law school but instead she went to Hollywood. Marlane is following her dreams and more power to her.

13 Jul 2009 08:45 pm


Doodle art by Laura Lee Donoho

Nicholas Wade comes to the defense of cats in John Tierney’s blog. He writes:

Cat-lovers, to arms, or at least to pen! A litany of unwarranted aspersions on our feline companions is to be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an otherwise objective publication.

Cats “are more attached to places than people” is the first calumny.

“Cats do not perform directed tasks,” is the second.

It gets worse. “Their actual utility is debatable, even as mousers.”

These deplorable judgments are part of the authors’ thesis that cats took a different route to domestication than did other domestic animals.


Science, in its very essence, judges facts, not love. When Science attempts to enter that unknowable realm, it fails. Those who know the love of a cat have the experiential knowledge no scientist can comprehend. That is, unless they have their own cat at home. I much prefer poets, writers and philosophers when it comes to explaining the cat. Take Mark Twain, for instance. He said this, of cats:

A home without a cat - and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat - may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?

Mark Twain

Pudd’nhead Wilson

Yes, our late Captain loved his Poppy best. He would not allow anyone to hold him on the shoulder except for his Poppy. Our home is still bereft of the meows, purrs and love of this magnificent cat and it always will be.

And yes, Captain kept the mice at bay.


Our late cat, Abbey was attached more to her people than her places, despite the notions of the scientists at the National Academy. Abbey was especially attached to our children and very protective of them. Our first winter at Fort Drum, New York was very hard on our health. We had moved from the tropical land of Panama to freezing New York and didn’t seem to have any immunity to the viruses that bore down on us.

Our daughter, Charlotte became very ill with a horrible sore throat and high fever. Abbey liked warmth, that is true but I don’t believe that was the reason she stayed so close to Charlotte. She kept vigil with her even after the fever broke and until Charlotte recovered. A few days later, Abbey fell ill. She became so sick we were afraid we would lose her. The vet didn’t know what was wrong with her and couldn’t tell us whether she had caught the virus from Charlotte but we knew that must have been the case. Abbey was an inside cat, despite the photo above. She recovered in a week and resumed her loving ways.

When our oldest daughter, Kate married, Abbey went with her and lived happily with Kate and her husband until she died of a stroke. She is still missed.


Then, there is Sabby.

We have had the privilege of sharing our many homes with him for sixteen years. He is a North Country cat, born in Watertown, New York and at one time our family was run by a triumvirate of cats, Captain, Sabby and Abbey. Sabby is the most possessive cat we have ever had. He is very intense but extremely loving. He’s also an incredibly intuitive and intelligent cat.

He uses his ability to “perform” to get our attention. Sabby likes to flip paper and paper box lids. He is ambidextrous at this activity and will perform this directed task every time it is requested. I suppose he does this because he chooses to but he also basks in the attention it gets him. Earlier in the year I had surgery and complications and spent twenty days in the hospital. When I returned home it was obvious that Sabby had missed me. He was definitely happy that I was home and wouldn’t leave my side. I awoke at night and discovered that he was staring at me and possibly checking my breathing.

I am Sabby’s pet.

He is very protective of me. He loves me. Scientists have no idea about the love domesticated cats can give.

Eighty million Americans do.

Sissy Willis does.

We who are the lucky ones,

we who love cats,

shall ne’er lack their love in return.

And gentlemen at the National Academy of Sciences

now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed

They know not cats.

Sorry, Will.


Ahh. There’s the Friday Ark for all of us who love and are loved by these magical creatures.

28 Dec 2008 01:29 am


The wonderful Sissy Willis and her husband, Tuck have had the saddest news today. Their beloved cat, Babe has died. Babe along with his sibling, Tiny have been the sweet stars of Sissy’s blog, sisu and her whimsical photography and writing about the two zany and beautiful kitties have always brightened the darkest day for many.

I count myself among the many.

Babe was born in an attic closet twelve years ago in Sissy and Tuck’s home. Thanks to Sissy there was no hiding Babe’s dazzling light under a bushel.

Babe recently starred in Sissy’s latest beautiful Christmas card.

I send my sincere condolences to the Willis family. It always hurts to lose a pet because they are members of the family but to lose them in the Christmas season is an even deeper hurt.

Sissy’s blog friend, Ellison offered a loving tribute.

Oh, Babe, I will miss you.

16 Dec 2008 05:23 pm


A photo from my cousin, Nancy in Iowa. She got it in an email from a friend. Poor cat. The things they have to deal with when their humans decide no fences are needed.

23 Nov 2008 11:56 am

Check this out. GenderAnalyzer determines the gender of the writer of a blog by plugging in the URL. I found this on Instapundit who is only 64% manly. The details of the info were from Gateway Pundit who suffered an even bigger blow to his manly pride.

Here are the GenderAnalyzer Results on the writer of Wide Awake Cafe.

We think is written by a man (69%).

That’s a blow to my female pride, my girly girlishness!

It’s true, I just celebrated our Victory in Iraq Day yesterday, November 22, 2008, but that shouldn’t mean that I am more manly, just that I am a human being. I am a big football fan but many woman are football fans.

I don’t blog about that stuff you do with the yarn although I have a friend who blogs about it.

I do blog about art often.

I’ve done my share of cat blogging.

I spend some time on this blog writing about my family, my grandparents and our family history.

I blog about politics and culture because that has always been an innate interest since high school. I’ve been interested in military history because I am married to a man who has filled the bookshelves in our home with books about military history and I have found them fascinating.

When Bob watches The Band of Brothers for the sixth or seventh time I am there with him. If that has made my blog a little more masculine so be it.

But I still don’t get it.

If I were so masculine I would be able to do the technological changes I would like to do to my blog. It’s not something I’m proud to admit but it’s true that if I were of more of a techy mindset I would be able to upgrade my computer without constantly having to ask my husband how to do it. I would be able to change the ink cartridge in my printer. If I were more handy with my hands I would be able to open DVD covers.

If I were more manly I would be tall enough to change the light bulb in the laundry room without a ladder. I would be able to use a drill. I would be able to make some simple improvements to my house without having a disaster happen and I would be able to simply turn a doorknob which I am unable to do sometimes.

69% male. Hahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!

05 Aug 2008 11:35 pm


It’s been a year since we said our last farewell to Captain the Wonder Cat. On August 6th, 2007 our Cappy died.


I was going through some old boxes of memorabilia and found the ad I made and put up around Fort Drum after we found Captain on that cold night in January, 1994

I had to advertise that we had found him but I was hoping no one would claim him. We had already named him within a few days after finding him. I was thankful no one ever claimed him because he was already an important part of our family.

It’s been a year but I still miss Captain and so does my husband and the rest of our family.

Captain was the best.

02 Mar 2008 04:44 pm


Socks, once the official White House cat during the Clinton administration, now purportedly lives a life of anonymity with Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s enabler-secretary. Hillary had no more use for the feline when the vacation from history during the nineties was over, so Socks was sent packing. Buddy the dog, useful during the Impeachment days for friendly photo-ops, met an even worse fate.

How Socks must approve of Barack Obama, another cool cat, who seems to be on the cusp of defeating Hillary the Stiff. How ironic that Hillary and Socks share a display case in the Clinton Library.

Socks the cat deserved so much more, as most cat lovers understand. Perhaps he is a happier cat living with a woman who dished out her unrequited loyalty to a president more interested in winning at any cost than in ever admitting the truth.

Some Republicans in Texas are crossing over this Tuesday to vote for Hillary in order to defeat Barack Obama in their (valid) belief that Obama will be a much harder opponent for John McCain.

I say, let nature take its course. Nature can be cleansing in its severity. Even Democrats in their overweening desire to regain the White House are opting out on Hillary.

I truly hope Socks is still alive and able to snooze near a television tuned to the news this Tuesday.

17 Nov 2007 03:39 pm


Sabby’s been busy lately. He’s imbibed in a little too much catnip in the above photo.


Sabby loves having the run of the house and seems to be adjusting to life as a single cat. We tried letting Asta and Amos out of the Charlotte Wing to meet Sabby but so far, it hasn’t worked out well, at all. Amos loves to be held and Sabby got so jealous he started to pant. Then Asta jumped Sabby and he screamed like a woman. We will try to merge the cats later on, when our law student is home for the holidays.

Sabby has warmed up to our grandson and likes to watch him play. He lowers his head to him so they can share a head bonk but being a nervous type kitty has to assert his authority every once in a while.


This photo looks worse than it really was. Pajama boy was talking to Sabby and Sabby answered back.

02 Nov 2007 02:24 pm


It’s Art Conference time. I went down to Little Rock this week for the Annual AAE Fall Conference. This year my oldest daughter had legal business to do in Little Rock so we went together and instead of staying in the hotel with my fellow art teachers, my daughter and I stayed at The Rosemont Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast in the Quapaw Quarter Historic District of Little Rock.


We shared a cozy room with a sleeping porch. There are pets on the premises. Figaro meowed at the door in the morning and we invited him in. Fig visited for a while as we were getting ready to leave and seemed regretful that we had to go.


Figaro followed us down to the dining room and lingered as we said our farewells.


What might have been a hectic stay in Little Rock was comforting, relaxing and fun. The Rosemont is full of antiques and every room has a library full of books. We loved seeing The Cat Who books on the shelves. The breakfast was delicious, served in the dining room on gleaming antique china with genteel silver. Susan, our hostess, made us feel welcome and comfortable with her warm, Southern accent.

The house reminded me of our visits with my husband’s late grandmother, Mama Wera.

Not surprisingly, Bill and Hillary Clinton were visitors to the house back in the bad old days but I won’t hold it against The Rosemont. The place is immaculate.

Speaking of Hillary, I’ve been busy with life, art, my grandson and family so I didn’t watch the debate the other night which revealed Hillary to be nothing more than a Chatty Kathy doll, with a string pull in her back, programmed with seven or so responses. Something went haywire during the debate and Tim Russert actually asked some probing questions. Chatty Hillary went all-jello, and we saw the harridan (who presumedly expected much more softball questions from the former Democrat operative) melt down. She didn’t want to reveal that she supports New York Governor Elliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants but was put in a tight little corner by Tim Russert. (with a little bit of anemic help from Dodd, Edwards and Obama) Her clumsy attempt to escape the trap made her look like Bill Clinton without the charm.

Now her campaign is crying like a bunch of Baby Rays, accusing the other guys at the debate of being mean. Criminy, how will she respond to our nations’ enemies when she can’t even get through an actual debate?

Hillary really must not like men very much. She quickly retreated into the arms of her sisterhood at Wellesley. I suspect that move won’t play well with the electorate at large.

I’m glad my line of work is art, and not trying to fool the American people, which is what Hillary Clinton has been doing all of her adult life.

Peggy Noonan muses, People who’ve studied Mrs. Clinton often ask why her ethical corner cutting and scandals have not caught up with her, why the whole history of financial and fund-raising scandals doesn’t slow her rise.

Scandals and corruption aside, what else would you expect from a woman who could give her cat away?

UPDATE: Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard has the Quote of the Day regarding cats:

You do not want to mess with a cat lover. You will lose.

Lots of cats can be found at the 189th Carnival of the Cats hosted by

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