There is only one Doodle Way.  And as soon as Doodle figures out what it is, I'm sure she will enlighten us all.
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Why, yes -- as a matter of fact I CAN read with my butt!

This is Doodle.  Welcome to her world..

What can I say?

For the most part, it’s what a cat’s life is about anyhow – just . . . doodling.

In the photo to the left, Doodle is reading Mad Magazine with her butt.  Doodle reads lots of things with her butt.  The stack of newspapers we're collecting for recycling ... software manuals left on the table ... you name it, if it has a horizontal surface, Doodle reads it with her butt.  She has to be one of the best-read cats I've ever seen.

Like her roommates, Tink and Gord (and now, Squeek and Max), Doodle is neutered.  Also like her roommates, Doodle has every single tooth and claw that she was born with. 

She is like nothing else so much as a fuzzy, interactive stuffed animal.  She is so cute it makes our teeth hurt, sometimes.  She's cute when she's sleeping.  She's cute when she's playing.  She's even cute when she's pooping, and that's quite a feat.

Doodle is the easiest cat of the original three cats to love (and it doesn't seem to make much difference to Squeek, at this point).  It's not because she's a lap cat -- she does like to sit on your lap once in a great while, but not all the time, like Gord, or usually for very long.  When she does get up in your lap, she's like a fussy maiden aunt who's never quite comfortable no matter how much effort anybody makes -- she butts her head on your hand, turns around, kneads and generally makes a minor nuisance of herself until she's settled, purrs there for perhaps five minutes, then she's off again.

But unlike Tink, who never bothers, Gord, who never gets off your lap, or Squeek, who never stops moving long enough, those little breaks of Doodleism are more engaging than either 'never' or 'always.'

She also talks to us.  Oh, admittedly it's usually either "play?" or "food?" but still.  Gord never says anything but "FOOD???"   and Tink only speaks when the food is between the counter and the floor, or you're standing on her tail while she's trying to eat.  Or, once in a great while, Tink sings at the bookcase in our front room -- a beautiful, unearthly little tune that we have no clue about.

Doodle has at least five distinct phrases that mean things.  One of them, "hink?" means play, of course.  The "po-te-weet" is a sort of general purpose, "are you with me, human?" that she uses any time she's trying to get you to follow her somewhere, usually to a window she wants opened.  There is also a set of three little trills that attend feeding time.

Oh, yes -- and then there's "IF YOU DON'T STOP BITING MY ASS, I'M GOING TO SHRED YOUR EARS OFF!"  Thus far, only Gord hears that one.

Yes, just to prove Doodle does sit still periodically.


vital statistics:

Age: Born approximately May 1999

Type/Coloring: DSH red/black tortie with white locket & belly

Weight: 8.5# (varies between 8-9, usually about 8.5)

Circumstances: Stray found at my mother’s house on Thanksgiving

Even as far as cats go, Punk — who has come to be called, mostly, ‘Doodle’ or ‘Doodlehead’ — isn’t exactly a rocket scientist. She’d been hanging around under my mother’s back shed (or crying at the front door) for most of a week when we went down for Thanksgiving dinner in ‘99.  She weighed five and a half pounds when we took her to the vet the next day, and was pretty thinly-furred on her back end for late November, which led us to believe she probably hadn't been cared for in some time.

As you can see, she has rather remarkable coloring.  Doodle is a moggie American shorthair tortie-and-white (more information on her coloring in particular, and the genetics of cat markings in general, can be found here).  She has too little white and too much brindling to qualify as calico.  People often remark on the unusual coloring in veterinary waiting rooms (where, unfortunately, some of Doodle's apparently minor physical maladjustments bring us up periodically).  She's a pretty little mutt, I'll give her that.

Now, at what is presumably her full growth,  she’s up to eight and a half pounds — when we found her, she weighed just a hair over five. She was filled full of shots and wormer by the vet (who, on return visit later for boosters, didn’t answer my questions about her mild but chronic diarrhea to my satisfaction, simply handed me a bottle of Kaopectate in response, and who was promptly sacked), tested, inspected, detected and sent to sit on the Group W bench . . . well, no. Or sort of.  Wanna read Doodle's medical rap sheet?  Go HERE.  It's pretty boring, but it's a great example of how expensive it can be to mean well.

Anyhow, she came home and promptly set about trying to get in Tink’s good graces by pouncing on her tail, stalking her in dark hallways, eating her food and otherwise refusing to leave her alone.  Tink had worried for a long time about the "other cat" -- now the other cat was a reality and Tink was, for a time, very unhappy about it.

Which is how she ended up with the name "Punk." That, and she bit all the way through my thumb when we bathed her, soon after carrying her in the house. She and I were both on antibiotics for a week, after that one. And, by the way, if a cat — even an indoor cat — bites you, my D.O. advised me 80% of cat bites get infected and require penicillin. If your cat bites you, may as well just make an appointment. Chances are you’ll need to see your doctor for a ‘scrip.

In addition, our little orange and dirty-looking, greenish-golden eyed cat reminded me of Johnny Rotten from the sex pistols, especially the night we bathed her. So she ended up having the ‘official’ name of Punk. But her rather charming habit of always purposefully doing nothing discernible has also earned her the affectionate nickname "Doodle." Tony and I are, as a matter of fact, thinking of writing a book called "The Tao of Doodle." If there weren’t already so many "Tao Of" books, we’d do it. She’s a pure Zen cat, actually — she’s always right where she wants to be, as long as we leave her alone and let her be there. Doodle’s one of the happiest cats either of us has ever seen.

A brief moment of dignity, the shortest step of the Doodle Way.

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The picture above is from September 2K.  I hit the downstairs bathroom after reading my Email, early one morning, and I heard this rustle beside me.  Knowing Doodle's fascination with getting 'in' things, especially bags that crinkle, I figured she was trying to insert herself into the toilet paper wrapper.   It was funny, and it was only a few steps to the camera . . . and since I had to, finally, pick up the bag and shake it upside down to get her out of it, it wasn't hard to get a picture. 

Doodle, for all she's not the most friendly cat to anything or anybody other than us, was the first of the cats to actually approach Max without being scared witless of him.  So far, she seems to have accepted him without being either very frightened or very curious.  He's there, he doesn't eat her food, and she still gets attention -- hey, what's she got to complain about?

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In the words of the inimitable Jim Morrison, 'this is the end.'FIN