Monday, April 26, 2010

And the winner is: Barack Obama Cat Jordan

Resting comfortably in the pictures from top to bottom are: Barack Obama Cat Jordan, Punkin Cat Jordan, and Ditto Cat Jordan.

I originally wrote this column in November 2008, when all the relevant facts were brand new. In the ensuing year and a half, we've had so much fun being a three-cat family again, after several years of being owned by only one, then two fur-babies, that I decided it was a good idea to update the details and introduce a growing circle of internet friends to our resident "fur-politician" and his "cabinet." Here's the story of how our current felines joined the family:

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, a momentous election was held, and the winner, who is both black and white, is named Obama. I’m not talking about the historic election that swept the first biracial person into the highest office in the land. I’m talking about the informal straw poll that was taken in our backyard. The victor in that contest was a beautiful black-and-white tuxedo cat officially dubbed Barack Obama, in honor of the nation’s president-elect (at that moment).

The oldest member of our brood joined us in spring 2006. Six weeks after our beloved 15-year-old, Ray Lee, passed into the next plane, we went to the local shelter and connected with a huge long-haired black cat named Ditto, who proceeded to relish in the joy of an only cat for most of that year. Ditto was so spoiled that when we gave dinner to strays on the veranda--actually bowls of cat food on the concrete outside our back door--Ditto was not amused.

Sometime during the winter of 2006-7, a lively orange cat became a regular at the al fresco table. A cursory equipment check and a scrawny physique (the result of malnutrition) led us to believe the visitor was a girl. A vet later disabused us of that notion, and "she" underwent a psychological gender reassignment, becoming an official "he."

Despite Ditto’s objections, by summer 2007 we named the new cat Punkin and encouraged him to come inside often for respite from the desert sun, hiding him carefully when we could so he'd be safe from Ditto's wrath. When we left Arizona City for Casa Grande, Punkin made it clear that he had to come too, and he became a full-time member of the family from that evening on. For the next year, these two continued to "discuss" territorial issues in our new house, often with far more drama than necessary.

With their own version of homeland security, Ditto and Punkin chased away any animal that intruded into their new backyard. The most frequent scofflaws were a dark-gray cat that is almost Ditto’s size and the little tuxedo cat, who was not much more than a kitten in those days. The day before the 2008 presidential election, a neighbor asked us if the tuxedo was ours after he’d sneaked into their house, in spite of their dogs. At that time, I found him to be a featherweight. But we were sure our cats still wouldn’t accept him, so he was released with instructions to go home, wherever that was.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Jim went to bed around 9:30 p.m. knowing the nation would soon have a leader with a Harvard law degree, but a small cry in the backyard led him to come out and lead me to the back door. When we opened it, this scrawny black-and-white cat sauntered in--smiling as broadly as a kitty can and followed by our two furry bouncers. Despite the fact that Ditto and Punkin can barely stand to be near each other, together they happily informed us that this new cat could stay.

So, it was official. Barack Obama received 100% of our popular and electoral votes. Our home is his domain, and we are his lackeys. If I open a can of cat food, our resident-elect is all ready to dig into the biggest bowl.

After a month of enjoying a regular diet and plenty of warm places to sleep, Obama had gained over two pounds--one-third of his previous body weight. His "gentleman’s equipment" (as Craig Ferguson is wont to say) is history, so there’ll be no little Baracks, but with good care and plenty of love, he has nothing to complain about.

Like his namesake, our Obama has brought peace and hope to warring factions. Despite their earlier animosity, Ditto and Punkin now tolerate each other--most of the time--and they’re absolutely gaga over their new little brother. Both of them will rub noses with him and even allow him to sniff their tails on occasion.

Obama brings vitality to the corps. When he says it’s time to play, somebody must join in the game. He loves string, and if nothing else, he can get a rise out of Punkin by taking a running leap over his brother’s orange head.

Like his brothers, Obama is extremely affectionate with mom and dad, and he quickly learned to relax and enjoy plenty of nap time, just like the other two. So, after several years of being a one- or two-cat household, we’re officially owned by three cats again. It's been over a decade since we’ve had that many cats. We can't imagine life without them. One or two should be enough, but somehow, they multiply--though they've all been "fixed." I don't know how, but it keeps happening that way.

And here’s a treat: Our cats are now on video. They’re the stars of the top three videos you’ll find listed on my YouTube page at:

On Inauguration Day, all three fur-babies joined me to watch the human Barack Obama and Joe Biden take the helm and bring calm and vitality to our ailing nation. And since that day, we've all kept a close eye on their progress, to make sure everything continues to go as well as it can, considering the opposition that has been pitted against them.

Just as important, we know the rest of us have work to do as well. That’s the lesson we hope Americans finally understand. We can’t just depend on our elected officials to do everything for us, nor can we allow anyone to push legislation that serves small groups of people and harms the many. We must take responsibility ourselves, for ourselves and everyone else. It’s time to get on with it. There’s work to be done. That's why I'm writing this Peace Blog, my books, and everything else. We are the people; we are the government; we are members of society, of the human race, and that carries with it a responsibility--whether we like it or not. We have to start caring not just for ourselves and possibly just our closest kin and friends, but for everybody. That's how a world should work. That's how the world will work!

SAD UPDATE: On a hot day in August of 2011, Ditto developed a serious respiratory infection. Barely hours later, he died in the loving arms of his favorite ‘kitty-pediatrician.’

Comforted by the fact that his suffering was brief, we cherish the idea that if there is a heaven, Ditto will among the many feline-children whose love we,ve enjoyed over many decades. He’ll be the huge black kitty resting quietly in his favorite hidey-hole, waiting for chin bumps and several long minutes of comfy lap snuggles.

WEB EMAIL STILL INACTIVE: One issue still on my To-Do list is to bring my website email back to life. Now that we're nearing the end of our long Spring agenda, I should be able to tackle the issue by early June. When that miracle occurs, I will definitely post the Good News here. More reason to keep in touch. Hope and Love to all!

The World I Imagine: A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace and my historical mystery novel, Lion’s Pride, are available through your local bookstore. They are featured at, Barnes & Noble, and most online bookstores around the world. Both are available for Kindle readers.

COMMENTS: The purpose of this blog is to share positive ideas for making changes that will help everyone, not just a narrow group of people. I’d love to hear more ideas for imprinting positive effects over a wide range of areas in our society.

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