Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This blog will be taking a hiatus for about a week. :( See you when we get back!

Sunday, August 28, 2005


He's 5 years-old today!

Happy birthday to you,
You live in a zoo!
And you smell like one too! ;-D

Friday we go pick up his new cat-tree. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A feline health alert.

I don't have cable but I watch Animal Planet when I can on t.v.'s that do. I enjoy watching those "Animal Cops" shows where animal control authorities or the local ASPCA rescue animals from humans not tame enough to take care of them properly. I eventually checked out the show's web site, and signed up for these ASPCA e-mail alerts. Here's one I recieved today:

It may be used to promote hair growth in humans, but even minimal amounts of minoxidil can result in a serious or even fatal situation for companion felines."

Now there was something I definately didn't know, and was thankful to learn about.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I love deaf cats.

You can vacuum them with the attachment with no fuss and no hissing.

As hilarious as that is, it is extremely practical because a medium-length hair cat can shed something fierce on an 85+ degree day. Vacuuming Diamond is like getting directly to the shedding before it hits the floor, (and my food, and the inside of my nose, and my dark clothing...) and Diamond starts purring like a machine and turning from side to side to give us more surface area to vacuum, anyway.

I promise, the next time we'll have photos; this time we were too busy laughing our heads off in the moment.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

There's currently a sign at the head of the Bill Chipman Trail that says there's a $500 reward for a lost wedding ring. H. and I decided to try our hand at looking for it. We even tried calling the phone number, and sure enough, the ring still hasn't been found.

It was a gorgeous day and the heat had let up a little bit. On the way down to the trail, I stopped across the street from the Professional Mall to let Diamond have a look at some reeds under a bridge where some sparrows were frolicking, and I thought I'd share the picture I captured:
Diamond looks for sparrows...

I love his ears, they're so cute!

Monday, August 08, 2005


Note to self: when blender is not in use, unplug it!!!

Diamond just about gave me gray hair Monday morning. I had the blender jug in the sink soaking. I walked into the kitchen to make the morning cup of tea, and found Diamond smelling the exposed components and his little paw right next to the puree button.

Bad human! Bad, bad!

Friday, August 05, 2005


Every once in a while someone will see Diamond for the first time in their lives, and shout, "Kittyyyyyyyyyy!!!" in a very undignified manner and attract unnecessary attention abnd all that jazz. Once, Bekkah and I went out for two hours and we decided to count how many times we'd hear it. 47 times in two hours. 47!!! No wonder I go deaf to it. Well okay no, it isn't as bad as the time in late August 2001 when I was driving down Glenn Terrell Mall headed towards Murrow hall. Three girls were approaching me, all shoulder to shoulder, two blondes and one brunette. The brunette in the middle lights up, points and Diamond and says, "Oh look at the pup... KITTY!"

I did my very best to keep a straight face and not stare back at them as we passed one another, but once I was far enough away I'm pretty sure I dragged my jaw on the sidewalk for a couple hundred feet, or laughed my butt off, or both. I'm sorry, but NO: if you can't tell a kitty from a puppy, you need to be exprelled from our fair University and re-apply. This ain't the U-Dubb, you know. ;-)

So yes, you guessed it from the previous post, you knew it was coming. Last spring, someone walked past me and said, "Kitty!" while I was with a group of at least three or four friends. Feeling particularly silly that afternoon, I muttered, "Chihuahua." under my breath. (It was actually the second or third time I had done it, but the first time while I was with friends.)

L: (LOUDLY) "Did you just call Diamond a chichuchua!?" All of my friends busted up into hysterical, shocked laughter. The next time someone said "Kitty!", H's husband said "Chihuahua," and it has stuck ever since.

I love the baffled looks I get. ;-)

The following is most likely a typically American joke, I've heard and read that other countries are far more lax about allowing animals in their establishments.

Two men were walking their dogs down the sidewalk one afternoon. They were just passing a restaurant, and decided they were both hungry. However, they both had their dogs with them, and didn't want to go all the way home to put the dogs in. Finally the first guy gets an idea. "Look, I'm going to go in, and tell them he's my seeing-eye dog. If I don't come back after ten minutes, follow and say the same thing." They agree, and guy number one enters.

Ten minutes later he still hasn't come back out, so the second guy goes in. "I'm sorry sir, but you can't bring your dog into the restaurant," says the waitress."

"Oh, but I'm blind, and this is my seeing-eye dog!"

She pauses, shocked. "Sir, you have a chihuahua for your seeing-eye dog?" She asks skeptically.

He looks twice as shocked. "They gave me a chihuahua!?"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The name of the journal, "Secret Service Cat," comes from an old joke. A couple of years ago a friend of mine, Bekah, lived here in Pullman. One of the jokes we developed about Diamond was based on dozens and dozens of people approaching me and asking, usually in a nervous voice, "Excuse me ma'am, but what does your service animal do?"

Usually when no one was around, (usually) we'd take turns asking each other that question and making up prank answers. One of my first ones was,

"Excuse me ma'am, but what does your service animal do?"
"Diamond is a member of the C.I.A. and is not at liberty to discuss his current assignment."

Plus, the great majority of people, particularly in a small town such as Pullman, WA, aren't accustomed to cats as service animals. I do believe there are more service felines in the bigger cities. Hence, the "secret" part.

You're welcome to play the game too in comments!

Excuse me, but what does your service animal do??

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Diamond's Story.

I don't know very much at all for certain about Diamond's life before I adopted him, although I really would love to meet his original family. He's got a very unique personality and I strongly believe at least some of that has got to come from how he was raised.

From what I understand of what the Humane Society workers told me, he grew up in a family home, but they had had to move into a new home that didn't have room for him. I suspect that the mother of the family was a blonde, because he still sometimes perks up when he meets women with straight, bobbed blonde hair. He was also declawed, something I don't personally believe in doing to animals. His original name was "Yaggie," but since his medical records showed that he was deaf, I was sure he wouldn't mind if I changed it. I still call him "Yaggie" when he's in trouble anyway. ;-)

I ended up fostering him twice. I fostered him for a week, then dutifully returned him to the shelter. On the way back to the shelter though, he moaned and cried in his cat carrier, and I finally took pity on him. I took him out of the carrier, placed him in the basket, and tied a piece of rope to his harness. He loved it from the very first moment! To my shock, he was also perfectly well behaved. I was impressed, but I carried on with returning him to the shelter.

I let a week go by, and then went back to find another kitty to foster. However Yaggie was still there, so I decided to foster him "one last time" and then "NO MORE" so I "wouldn't get too attached." This time, we spent nearly that entire summer week getting out of the house and having fun seeing the city, with Yaggie perched jauntily in the basket and waving his little paws at whatever struck his fancy. I was utterly amazed... and didn't realize that I was getting more daylight out of the house than I had in years.

The last night I was to have him before I gave him back to the Humane Society, on a completely unrelated note I sat myself down and tried to figure out my financial situation. But I couldn't do it without getting upset, and I had another major panic attack. That's when the magic began.

I remember very clearly that I was "trapped" in my panic, sitting on the couch, and Diamond was enjoying running around the house at high speed. Suddenly he stopped in front of me, and watched me intently. I could see him out of my blurred vision, but I couldn't move. He suddenly leapt up onto me and began sniffing me intently. He began to paw at me, and then he began to give me little "love bites" for lack of a better description, on my lips.

I slowly extended my arms and began to pet him, and as I stroked him I felt like I could breathe again. He stayed with me and snuggled until I had loosed up completely. Then he looked me in the eyes intently, gave a chirp that seemed to say, "Well that's better now!" and ran off to play again like nothing had happened. But I bawled like a child. The next day, I purchased him.

A while later, I introduced him to my physician, who saw the dramatic change in my personality, and literally wrote a prescription of Diamond for me, thereby giving me the right to keep Diamond as a service animal in my home, and allowing me to take him in public and into businesses with me.

Later that year, Diamond and I met a wonderful local woman who trains service dogs, and she trained me to train Diamond to behave properly in public. The training process for any service animal is about two years, and I'd say it took about that long for Diamond to learn to be fully cooperative.

My theory is that because Diamond is deaf, he isn't threatened by the cacophony of everyday outdoor noises the way hearing cats are, and this calm allows him to focus on other things. Because he's deaf, he and I have a polygot of lip-reading and hand-signal commands, and even specific ways of petting him, that we understand completely between the two of us. For that reason in particular, I generally don't allow strangers to touch him. It kind of sucks when a stranger reaches out and grabs at him, unknowingly and annoyingly giving him the signal for "Jump out of the scooter and walk." *Sigh*

Here is a photo of Diamond and I from 2003:
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Photo taken by Will Simpson.

Diamond will be five years-old on Auggust 28th!
Nicole's Story.

Hello, my name is Nicole I'm 30 years-old now, and I had a complicated story long before Diamond ever snuggled his way into my life.

Everywhere Diamond and I go, we get a lot of stares. Able-bodied people just aren't accustomed to seeing a woman in an electric scooter with a live cat riding in the front of the basket.

I was born with a fairly well known birth defect called Spina Bifida. I was also born with hydrocephallus, scoliosis, and clubbed feet. This added up to a great deal of surgery for me while I was growing up. I'm only partially paralyzed from the waist down though, so I can walk on my own inside the house. Outdoors I use crutches as needed.

I was adopted as an infant, and I grew up in an open adoption; which was rarer for my time than it is these days. I have full contact with my birth family and I love them as equally as my adoptive family. :)

I grew up using crutches to get around, but this was beginning to wear on my joints, and my physicians began to worry that I'd lose my ability to walk sooner than later. Around 1999, my physicians prescribed an electric scooter for me to delay the ravages of arthritus. I resisted getting the scooter for a very long time, because among some disabled people such as myself, there's a certain amount of pride in the physical abilities you do have and you don't want them to diminish. And I didn't want to gain weight. Eventually though, I let them talk me into it, because I want to be walking when I'm older.

I had an extremely hard time adjusting to the scooter. In my crutches, people just don't stare at me as much as they do as when I'm sitting in my scooter. While they're staring, people also just don't think about the looks on their faces, and dozens of people staring at you at a time, overtly and (they think) covertly, can feel so threatening sometimes.

Psychologically, I was born into a genetic shooting gallery. I had had symptoms of depression since my teens, but I just didn't know it. My birth mother has Unipolar, her twin sister has Bipolar, and their non-twin sister has Schizophrenia. Their brother is reputed to have clinical depression. I was first diagnosed with depression in the spring of 1998, and I took a year off from University to try to "find" myself again. But I think the introduction of the scooter in 1999 de-railed me even worse.

When I came back to WSU in early 2000, I moved into the dorms, but I didn't register for classes after the Spring semester. I had stopped leaving my dorm room very much at all except at night. I didn't truly realize it, but I had depression that aggravated into agoraphobia. (By the way, I'm not perfectly certain I have all of these dates entirely accurate, because my memory is sometimes fuzzy about the years I was depressed.)

I was finally evicted from the dormitories in January 2001, a move which seems harsh but may actually have saved my life. I found an apartment in the nick of time that was handicap accessible, two bedroom, covered by H.U.D., and had eight glorious windows. I spent the winter and spring letting glorious light back into my life, and I was beginning to heal. But I was unable to return to school because of the financial hold on my transcript, and I owed about $13,000, and had no way to pay it on a $520 per month income. I was still very depressed.

That summer, I decided I was a recluse, and if I was going to be a recluse, I may as well either have an animal or work with animals to have some company in my life. I knew my lease didn't allow pets, so my initial intention was to volunteer at the local Humane Society. I soon found out (In June 2001) that they had an overflow of cats, and were allowing people to foster animals in their homes. I decided that fostering a kitty for a week surely couldn't hurt my lease, and asked them to hand me any old cat.

They placed "Yaggie" in my arms, and I didn't know that my life was about to change...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My apologies for the quality of most of the newer photos. *Chagrined look* I'm working from an older school digital camera and I'm sure it's just 1 megapixel at best. I can't afford anything better at the present time. :/ Most of the photos are thus retouched a bit to (hopefully) improve the quality. However I never alter what's actually going on in the photo, none of my photos of my cat are faked. And if they ever are, there will be an accompanying disclaimer letting you know.

Insomnia SUCKS! Time to get some nini!
The Gaffaw of the Morning:

This photo is from this morning in Denny's. This is something Diamond does sometimes when he gets bored. He usually does it to communicate specifically that he would like to leave the current area and travel somewhere else. He also does this in the house when I haven't taken him out and driven him in the scooter "recently enough" in his not-so-humble opinion. Sometimes he'll even jump up there and leap back down before racing randomly around the house out of sheer high spirits, but no, in this photo he was indeed perched up there for several minutes trying to tell me, "Let's go Mom, I'm BORED!" We left soon afterward.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

I didn't get anything written today, so I'll just share this adorable photo of Diamond from Sunday evening at the Pullman Denny's:

Laaaaa laa laaaa!!!!!!!!
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