Friday, June 27, 2008

Guest Post: A Word From Toby

"If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?"
--George Carlin

I just looked at the calendar and realized that next Tuesday is the beginning of July. Where did June go?? I have several summer projects and an anniversary celebration for my parents coming up by the end of July, and I really need to get busy on those rather than spend so much time blogging. So today, to save time, I thought I'd ask another household member to take over the blogging duties and write a guest post. But first, a little background on today's host.

I don't believe in reincarnation, but if there is such a thing, I know exactly how I would want to come back in my next life--as a cat. Not just any cat, mind you, but specifically Toby, the lord of our manor. Toby has his every need taken care of and spends his days sleeping and lazily exploring the grounds. Sounds like a great life, doesn't it?

Despite his aristocratic good looks and regal bearing, life has not always been easy for Toby. Nothing is known about his family, but his blue, blue eyes suggest some Siamese heritage. Like most of the pets here at the Prairie, Toby was a rescue cat. When older Daughter was in college, she dated a football player and became friends with some of his teammates. One of them asked her one day if she would adopt a kitten that lived in his apartment. I don't know all the details, but apparently he felt the kitten was being abused by one of his football roommates and knew Daughter was an animal lover. She naturally agreed and gave Toby a home in her apartment. He was rather nervous and skittish at first, but after some time relaxed and eventually became the laid-back character he is today. After college she and Toby moved in with us for a couple of years before moving to Arizona last summer. As much as she wanted to take Toby with her, she knew it was in Toby's best interest to stay here. He loves the farm: every morning and evening he explores the grounds outside and has even been known to climb a tree or two despite being declawed. And the farm has been good to him--once a trifle overweight, he's trimmed down with the exercise and now looks quite svelte.

And now, I will turn the keyboard over to Toby.

Thank you, Rose; I would be pleased to share a few insights with your readers.

Thank heavens, she has left the room. Now I can be frank and give you the true story on this family. The Woman fantasizes about being a mystery writer some day, yet she's never written more than the first page of a novel over and over again. I have given her many ideas from plot to characters, but she never listens, unfortunately. I don't know why; after all, Lilian Braun has done quite well with a feline protagonist in her mysteries. Instead, the Woman spends all her writing energy on this silly blog. Even then she has to rely on me as her muse and editor.

Some other aspects of her character that you may not know include the fact that she has a bad habit of hoarding. Just how many empty boxes does one person need? Of course, she is not as bad as the Man; he never throws anything away.

She even has three small aquariums in the garage, leftovers from a garage sale last year. It's no wonder they didn't sell; I've checked them out, and they are really too small to accommodate anyone but a small fish. I've recommended she throw them away, but once again, she hasn't taken my advice.

On the other hand, I did spend some time in her basement storage area this past winter and recommended a thorough sorting and re-organizing. Thankfully, she did take my clutter control advice, and now we can walk through the area and find whatever we need. I have been thinking about offering my services as a consultant to HGTV's "Mission Organization," but so far I have not gotten a response.

The Woman is also quite the scatterbrain. One day I had just settled in for an afternoon nap on a soft pile of freshly laundered clothes, when she came along and slammed the dryer door shut. I was forced to spend the entire night in the dryer until the Young Woman came to my rescue the next morning! The Woman blames it on the Young Woman, saying she had left the dryer door open with clothes strewn everywhere, but I fault her for not even taking the time to check who might be in the dryer. She was properly repentant the next day, but I gave her the silent treatment, nevertheless. It is important that such careless actions not go unpunished. Humans need to be trained properly to co-exist with us.

I used to have a companion, Max. In our youth we enjoyed recreational wrestling and other activities of the young. I am sad to say, though, that Max passed suddenly two years ago from an insidious disease. I miss him, but one must go on. May you rest in peace, old chum. There are other companions here in the manor, but I find them more annoying than entertaining. In particular, the pampered Pomeranian Young Woman refers to as Coconut is tolerable at times, primarily when he is relaxing or sleeping. At other times, he is simply an annoyance. He finds it quite amusing to play this little game of trying to prevent me coming inside after I take a little fresh air. I play along with him for awhile and let him think he has dominated me, but it really is quite tiring. I could easily overpower him, but I abhor violence and refuse to resort to fisticuffs.

There are also some other felines, but for the most part they remain outside. One female called Sasha comes in quite often and seems to be a favorite of the Man, but she is rather bossy and I've let her know in no uncertain terms who is the head of the house here.

My days are filled with activity. It's important to supervise the Woman in her housekeeping duties to assure that she does them properly. She is not a particularly meticulous housekeeper, although the house is presentable and she does prepare regular meals for me. The one area in which she is somewhat lacking is maintaining cleanliness in my downstairs toilet facilities. I really must speak to her about that.

Assisting in cleaning takes up some of my time, including the proper storage of out of season clothing in the bedroom.

Occasionally, I also assist her in her gardening. She took this photograph of me and published it on one of her posts because she thought it was "cute." How condescending! In reality I was trying to help her once again, measuring the depth of this planter and calculating the best types and number of plants to fill the container. It was my eye that concluded a purple and white scheme would complement the pink color of the planter.

I also assist the other humans in the house as well, although the Young Woman is not very responsive to my suggestions. I occasionally venture into her room; however, it is in such a state of perpetual chaos that I prefer to be elsewhere. The Man is a little more responsive though rather sedentary. When he returns home in the evenings, I sit by him while he ruminates over a crossword puzzle and subtlely give him hints to the answers. He has been known to sit for hours at a time watching a pointless game he calls baseball; during this time I try to nudge him occasionally to make sure he is still breathing.

The Woman finds it amusing that I have a penchant for empty bags, boxes, and even high closet shelves. She frequently interrupts me to take photographs to e-mail to the tall Young Woman who used to be my personal assistant. What she doesn't understand is that there is a method to what she presumes is my madness. There are small Humans that visit the house occasionally, and while one-on-one they can be polite and respectful, they can also be rather boisterous, especially in groups. I find it much simpler at these times to retreat to one of my previously discovered places of seclusion and enjoy the solitude until they have departed.

I find that an afternoon nap is quite refreshing and renews my energy for the rest of the day. Quite often it is the only time that I can sleep in solitude. At night the Woman and the Man like to sleep in bed with me, and it can get somewhat crowded. Apparently, they are afraid of sleeping by themselves.

Hobbies are also important to an overall sense of well-being. One of my favorite pastimes is bird-watching. I find that the large picture window in the living room offers the perfect vantage point for birding. The goldfinch feeder hangs from a tree directly in front of me, per my request, and I have spotted at least 8-10 additional species of birds in the front lawn at one time.
In the evening I take my daily constitutional: exercise is important for mental stimulation as well as for health reasons. In all modesty, this evening ritual has enabled me to keep my youthful figure. I prefer walking to more strenuous activities and find that sufficient to stay fit and trim. Occasionally stopping to enjoy the smells and sounds of nature is a pleasant and effective way to relieve the stress of the day.

Please note the stick at my paws in the picture above is for the dog, not me. The Woman and the small Humans are trying to train him to "fetch." He hasn't quite mastered the concept, not having the intellectual capacity that I have. Of course, I find such activities beneath me, preferring mentally stimulating games such as war maneuvers with the birds.

These maneuvers involve prowling stealthily along the ground for low-flying or unwary birds on the ground. Once my prey is spotted, I move in for the attack. I have startled many an unsuspecting bird this way. Do not fear, though; I would never harm a defenseless bird. It's all in good fun, although I do think some of the creatures have developed an actual fear of me; I have heard them refer to me as "The Great White Hunter."

Indeed I do have a very fulfilling life. The Woman has alluded to my dysfunctional family and and abandonment as a child, but I have put the past behind me. One cannot blame others for one's lot in life; in order to move forward, one must accept responsiblity for his own actions. I have created a pleasant atmosphere in my home so that it is a sanctuary for me, and supervising this family of Humans has provided me with a rewarding career. I plan to live here the rest of my life; frankly, this group of humans couldn't function without me.

It has been a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I wish all of you a pleasant and enjoyable weekend.


Toby, Esq.


  1. Toby you are soooo handsome, I have now experienced love at first sight!

    Tell your 'woman' to keep writing her book, she will get there in the end. I have only composed the first page in my head so far, let alone put pen to paper!

    It's so nice you keep them company at night. We humans can get very lonely without our feline friends you know.

    So glsd to have had the time to read your guest post

    Suburbia x

  2. Suburbia, We must have passed each other flying through cyberspace; I went to check your blog, and when I came back discovered you had been here!
    Toby is indeed a handsome man; the photos don't show very well his statuesque figure, though.

  3. Rose, I loved hearing Toby's story. He is very like my Toby (my guy doesn't have the pretty blue point markings he's a brown tabby) but of course I would never tell him his color is ordinary. Someday soon I'd like to tell his story on my blog. If I let him tell it, frankly we probably couldn't shut him up. He would be blogging about chipmunks, birds, his friends Ricochet and Aggie, my failures as his assistant, and on and on. Then he would be inviting everyone on the internet over for a stroll around his kingdom.

    How great to learn you're a mystery writer. Me too--well I will be one when I write my first book. We should talk about the process sometime, it would be fun.
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Toby,

    You would rule the world if you had opposable thumbs! I suspect that you are communicating with scientists to urge them on with this research!

    Keep up the good work with The Woman...she has wonderful blog posts, but everyone needs a break now and then:)


  5. To everyone who has already read this post, I realized later I had made a mistake: I meant to say "reincarnation" rather than "predestination." Must have been a menopause moment:)

    Marnie, I would love to hear your Toby's story. And discussing the process of writing a mystery sounds like fun, although I obviously haven't mastered the process yet:)

  6. Gail, I've never quite understood the significance of opposable thumbs. I manage quite nicely without them, thank you.
    I try to do what I can to help the Woman out.


  7. Dear Toby.....
    Just had to drop you a line and say I much prefer your posts to the woman you live with. Please don't let her read this....... you seem to cope quite well with the family and they are I must say a credit to you, keep up the good work.
    I do think you should encourage said lady to get that book started...I think there is such a talent there but her confidence is lacking.

    It has been an absolute pleasure to meet you. Do pop over to my blog I sometimes manage to get birdie photos, they just might amuse you..............

  8. Mr Toby, what a delight to meet you. I can see why you would have to nap daily to keep up with such a household as you master. I will look forward to reading more about your trials and enjoyments at the farm. You can share any of your secrets with me If you need to vent about the family. Actually you and Luna could probably swap stories.

  9. Toby, great guest post. You revealed some secrets that the Woman hasn't shared with us. How fun to get to know the real 'goings on' in your family. Maybe inside of the Woman writing a book-you could. 'Tell alls' are quite popular now.

  10. Ladies, thank you.

    Cheryl,I will keep your comment our little secret. I shall endeavor to encourage the woman; as they say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Actually, I have visited your blog before and find your photos of birds and wildlife quite charming. The world could use more humans like yourself.

    Lisa, Yes, I do lead a busy life. I've enjoyed looking at all your photos of birds as well; you have some unusual species I've never seen before. As for Luna, I am a little wary of meeting strangers, especially of the canine persuasion.

    Beckie, Thank you for the suggestion about the "tell-all." I will have to do some thinking about that.


  11. What a delightful post! I enjoyed your comments thoroughly Toby. You are good with words and tell it like it is!
    p.s. that dryer incident must have been scary!

  12. Tobes, you are one cool cat!
    Rose, I was bummed to hear George Carlin died. :(
    ~ Monica

  13. Hi Toby thenk for replying to my comment, I know how busy you must be with all your responsibilities.....
    Tku for looking at my blog and glad you like the bird photographs...
    Have a fun weekend with the family....

  14. Dear Toby,
    Great White Hunter that you are and most excellent writer. Please write your book. Toby Tales would be an excellent read for children as well as adults. I would think we all could learn from your experiences.

  15. Toby..... that was quite a lovely tale or should I say tail! A great style of writing! Tell the Woman she had better watch out or you will take over.

  16. Isn't it funny how we can zip around in space like that. Sorry I missed you , you could have come in for cake and a chat!!

  17. Dear Toby ... I feel I can write to you as an equal since I have blue eyes and a mix of Siamese and Main Coon this is Sophie, of course I should introduce myself (where have my manners gone ?). I think you are a very handsome fellow .. we share so many similar qualities and deficits (front claws taken away .. big sigh) .. I am a little chubby .. but that is to be expected to girls when fixed .. I hope you like chubby girls ? more to hug and hold ?
    In any case .. I just wanted to drop a line and say you have a fan here in Ontario .. I hope you don't mind me being Canadian .. eh ? ..
    Hey Toby .. what makes you think you are so tough eh ? .. I .. me .. you can call me Emma, all "tomboy" girl .. I can take care of that annoying speck of dog for you no problem at all .. small fee of cat treats are required but I'm sure you have your own stash right ? .. anyways .. I thought I could offer you a helping hand in NOT getting caught in a dryer again .. did you YELL you head off by the way ? snort giggle snort .. since I haven't been allowed in the laundry room in my life I can poke fun at the whole scenario ? hehehe
    Ok .. I'll shut up about that and be good now.
    Signed the two Kingston Girls in your fan club .. still Canadian EH ! once you have tried Canuck Cats .. well .. you never go back ! : ) : )

  18. Wendy, Thank you for the kind words. The dryer incident was a little unsettling, but I managed to stay calm and sleep through most of it.


    Garden Faerie, I can remember laughing hysterically at George Carlin's routines when I was a teenager. He was an original.


  19. Cheryl, I'm glad you got my reply. I've been in seclusion for awhile--two of those small humans spent the evening here last night.

    Q, Thank you for the excellent suggestion. Toby Tales has a nice ring to it. I've mastered the mouse and the printer, so perhaps I should strike out on my own in the field of writing.

    Maggie May, You are too kind. I've had quite an adventurous life; perhaps I should begin my memoirs.

    Suburbia, I'll relay your message to the woman. She would enjoy cake and a chat very much.


  20. Sophie, Pleased to make your acquaintance. Actually, I must confess I have seen your photos and read about you when the Woman visits Joy's blog. I don't socialize very much, but if I were to step out for awhile, you would be a charming companion. Size does not matter to me; it's what inside that counts.

    Your friend Emma, however, seems a little too rambunctious for me. I don't want to hurt her feelings however; I suppose it can be excused since she is so young.
    If I am ever in Canada, I shall be sure to call. Perhaps a quiet dinner and an evening at the theater?


  21. Toby, you are indeed a handsome cat and your humans are a credit to you. I think you would get on very well with Zara, a Queen, who is kind enough to share her house with me and my family. Like you, she also generously agrees to share her bed. She is very beautiful and I think you would make a lovely couple. I will send you her mobile number.

  22. What an intelligent, charming and handsome cat you are, Toby. Our Toby Soprano is not nearly so eloquent when he gets at the keyboard. He generally says sdfgadufjvzb \u794fkj pt or words to such effect.

  23. King Buddy and Queen Cinnamon have directed me to inform Toby that, while they are very pleased to hear he has such a lovely home, and was rescued from abuse, their neutrality and friendly diplomatic relationship with him will end if he dares to make an incursion on the borders of their domain. Such agression will be met with much loud yowling, and the exercize of treaties with stronger powers. In other words, just stay away and everything will be hunky-dory.

  24. Mean Mom, I am rather hesitant about blind dates. Perhaps you could send a picture of Miss Zara along with her mobile number?

    Jody, Toby Soprano? Give him my kindest regards, but please do not tell him where I live.

    Joyce, Please assure Buddy and Cinnamon that I do not venture beyond the boundaries of my own estate. I trust they will show me the courtesy of doing the same.

    Yours, Toby

  25. Your Toby is a handsome fellow, Rose, and I'd say he's definitely of Siamese heritage somewhere along the way. :) Toby is Turkish, so perhaps they're even related, way back. ;) If you hadn't seen him already, I put a photo up here:

    Thanks for introducing me to your Toby. :)

  26. Toby, how lovely to meet you and how eloquently and well you write. I was enthralled by your tale of living with yor family. I do hope you will share more of your everyday life with us in the future.

    By the way, you are a very handsome cat.

    Now I have a message for your woman. This was written as a comment on a post on my blog, guest written by George, my, ahem, dog:
    There is a lady called Rose who has commented on your George post - as 'Toby' - and her post by Toby is great - you should read it! I think both of you should be writing novels from the POV of your animals. You both have them totally down pat. Isn't it funny how characterful they can be?

  27. Toby, I enjoyed your charming story of your daily struggles trying to educate the humans. I have made some strides in the last six years living with my bipedal can opener, but it's a very slow process, requiring regular review of the basics. She does have the wisdom not to live with a canine (though I am worried that she seems to like the dogs of her niece, but thankfully they live several states away), and I am never subjected to the high-pitch and erratic movements of the small humans, for which I am grateful.
    ~ Fiona

    Toby, I also love my outdoor garden, and I love my human, who I've known since I was a kitten. She's really my mom. I'm scared of dogs and small children. I'm almost 16 but I sometimes still run up a tree.
    ~ James


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