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There was a time, as I fondly recall, when I was an only child.  My litter box was always impeccably spotless, a can of the finest tuna was presented to me every day, and I was constantly petted and reminded what a special (and might I say talented) cat I would always be.

Then this showed up.

ImageI was minding my own business on the veranda, eating the flowers, sitting on the outside of the railing.  It wasn’t til that moment that it occurred to me I might as well jump.

Jack was adopted from the local Humane Society, aged 3 months.  Little did mom and dad know that they would soon be moving to a sketchier side of town, where abandoned animals would soon be showing up on their doorstep every few weeks for FREE.

Before leaving Coral Gables though, another animal would infiltrate the special bond I once held with my mom.  Her name: The Darkness. Image It suited her well.  Her presence cast a shadow over my hopes of ever attaining Favourite Child status again.  And no, it wouldn’t end there.

Fast forward a couple of months.  Laura learns of a house with a dock available to rent, and so for the sake of First Violin (as Phil calls Annie Laurie) we leave our lovely, bright, safe, peaceful, cozy apartment in Coral Gables, and move to Little Havana.  The only upside, as far as I’m concerned, is that everyone here is considered a cat, even Laura (the local men call pssst, pssst, pssst… anytime she walks or bikes around the ‘hood. Funny enough, that’s the same thing they did to all of us in Cuba!)

So here we are in Cuba  Little Havana, and Laura and Phil go to a local Mexican restaurant on Calle Ocho.  Stepping outside after dinner, a tiny kitten with eyes barely open runs into the road, screams at the oncoming headlights of a dozen cars, darts back under a truck, and proceeds down a sewer drain.  That is, until Laura grabbed her by the tail.  ImageDid you know that 2 uncontrolled breeding cats, plus all of their kittens, and all their kittens’ kittens, if none are ever spayed or neutered, add up to close to 80,400,000 in ten years? We can’t let this happen (imagine how lost in the shuffle I would become!)

Ocho (also known as The Shovel; you need to see this thing EAT) was taken to be spayed a few weeks later. He came back neutered.  Why is it so hard for humans to tell the difference in cats? It wasn’t the first time Laura made this mistake (I used to be called Earl).

We reached critical mass at this point, and The Darkness, as naturally wild as she was, was better suited to outdoor life. She went to live with her Granny in a quiet community in the suburbs, and now enjoys the freedom of the outdoors, and needs only to fight a peacock for her food. Life could be worse.Image

But as the saying goes, as one door closes, another one opens, and that was the front door of our house.  Foster walked into our driveway one rainy afternoon, obviously starving, appeared to have been abused, and we would quickly learn, had serious separation anxieties.  No fence was high enough, or gate tight enough, or soil rocky enough to keep him from jumping, squeezing, or digging his way out. Image If you’ve ever owned an old Volkswagen, you’ll know there’s no way to quietly ‘sneak away’, and everyday when Laura left for work in her ’69 Beetle, Foster was right behind her, chasing her many city blocks, narrowly dodging traffic.  He just couldn’t stay.  I missed him when he found his new home. I actually didn’t mind him staying with us. He never touched my food bowl.

The End.  Pffff… I wish!

Heading out to breakfast one morning, in the vicinity of Magic City Casino (where is this magic city they speak of?) three dogs are running along the sidewalk, and one runs into the road. And to answer the question I know you’re all asking, No, Laura and Phil did not make it to Denny’s that morning.  Image

Ella was the only one slow enough to be caught.  She is named for Ella Fitzgerald.  She can’t exactly sing, but she can do jazz hands.

Finally (for now) when Laura carried this one in, I had a very zen moment. I simply took in the scene, acknowledged it, and let it go.  I didn’t even get up to say hello.  I know she had no other choice, as he ran, terrified and badly injured, along busy 22nd Avenue, saved only by traffic coming to a stop on account of one of the local tug companies forcing the opening of the 22nd Avenue bridge, as they towed a freighter downriver. He’s one lucky dog.Image

Laura’s Humane Society of Little Havana is gladly accepting donations to offset costs of spaying, neutering, vet visits, and canned tuna. Donations can be made by simply buying her book from any of the options on her website, and hey, you not only get to feel good about helping out our little furry friends without voices, you get a book out of it too!  

So I have to wonder, who will she find next?

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As the protagonist of Written In Water: An Uncharted Life Aboard A Wooden Boat, the book never would have come into being without my presence.  Therefore, I’ve convinced Laura to allow me to apply my paw-stamp signature to a few of Laura’s signed copies.  Just mention in your PayPal request that you’re a fan of Sailing, From My Side of the Litterbox.  

Laura tells me there will be limited quantities available, so go to her website and order your copy today.  You might be able to sell it for millions on Ebay after her appearance on the Today Show!!!

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Laura has finally published her book that we’ve all been hearing so much about, and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.  What is she going to find to complain about now?Image

It is really more about my epic journeys aboard Annie Laurie and Nirmala, than anything else. I feel that could have been reflected a little better in the title.  Perhaps “Captain Effie Conquers Cuba”, or “Captain Effie: In the Wake of Captain Vancouver”, or possibly “Captain Effie: An Intrepid Young Feline and her Scatterbrained Mate” would have been more appropriate titles. What do YOU think?


It’s been over a week since I promised to update ‘tomorrow’.  Laura purposely sabotaged my efforts at keeping up with my blog by leaving town unannounced, and changing the password on our shared laptop.  Shameless.  I don’t get angry, though. I get even.

Learning to type as a left-pawed outcast has been a long, difficult road of personal sacrifice and discovery.  Laura gave me the driving force I needed to achieve this dream though by smathering her own blog with lies of varying proportions.  They made me look like a fool.  I could cry about it, or I could DO something about it.

Excerpt from Laura’s blog:

With no experience on a boat, you cannot know issues regarding seasickness, or their ability to deal with rough weather or other precarious situations. Everyone must start somewhere though, and I decided to go out on a bit of a limb and give her this chance to prove her capabilities.

Her curiosity about every last inch of the boat kept me up all night, she had to know every little detail. What’s in there? What does this do? Is it always this cold? Can I have that blanket? Where’s my bunk? She does tend to talk a lot, which I guess will be alright, as I myself am a woman of few words.

You know, Laura never even asked me if I had sailed before.  I had in fact spent a month aboard another 30-foot boat on a transatlantic, arriving from Ireland just days before I was doomed to her vessel.  This other boat (that shall remain nameless) was the cat’s ass.  Hot, unlimited showers (we had a water maker), a full galley with refrigeration and an oven (the captain made the best tuna melts), as well as charts for all of our destinations, a working autopilot, depth sounder, and liferaft  (yah, I know, sounds like standard items to have aboard, until you meet Laura).

Oh I had experience all right; sailing the way it should be.  Why she insisted on running her vessel like slave-ship Amistad is beyond me.  And as for my “curiosity” (cats have a wide range of emotions) as I roamed the boat, I was only being prudent. I was checking for leaks!!


       I’m a cat, and a hesitant sailor. The press gang found me late one night, and by the time I awoke from the blow to the head, would you believe I was on a bobbing, leaky wooden boat bound for Cuba? 
   

       My mom, Laura, loves to blog about our adventures at sea together, but her ability as a writer is questionable, and she’s prone to exaggeration.  It’s about time I started sharing MY side of the story.
     

       I thought I’d start a little friendly competition by starting my own blog. I have some catching up to do, as she’s been writing for years, but I must prevail in the interest of Truth.   While I gather my thoughts, why don’t you have a peek at her stories:

     NOVASCOTIANSAILOR.BLOGSPOT.COM

     Tomorrow, I will share how it really began.