Saturday, July 25, 2020

Cats' Bowls and Dogs' Dishes

Memorials come in all shapes and sizes. I have my Memorial Wall, with the pictures of the cats I have lost hung above the urns containing their ashes. But there are other remembrances, too, hardly to be recognised as such.

Earlier this month, I wrote about once more making available the little ceramic cup that was placed near the floor of the bedroom so that Cammie could have a drink in convenience and ease after her first stroke. Since cats never drink enough water, especially during the hot months, the return of Cammie’s Cup produced another easily-accessed source of water for my beasts. Initially meant primarily for Josie, she and Renn have used it so much that its contents are frequently at a low level. So I have replaced it with the larger Cammie’s Bowl.

The princess never used the bowl. It is, in fact, not one but a pair of identical bowls, one of which I use for the outsider-cats (after the raccoon family smashed the big glass bowl originally serving that purpose). I have decided to use the second in the place of Cammie’s Cup. Periodically, they will be washed and exchanged. But whichever is being utilized inside will be known, for the duration of that interior use, as Cammie’s Bowl. It provides sustenance and refreshment in the same place as the cup, and in the same spirit.

In deciding on this change, I was reminded of another bowl that I have, and which has been in use for at least forty years. Made of strong and thick plastic – it’s rather sad that even such a cheap material as plastic was made better in the old days – this ordinary bowl was long known in my family as the Dog’s Dish.

When I was a youth, my family had a cockapoo called Finnegan. She had curly black hair, except at her chin, where it was white (that white spread and diffused as she aged); like Tucker now, Finnegan loved ice cream, and she would often receive a share in the Dog’s Dish. Thinking about it, it was probably not a good receptacle for the purpose; it should be shallow, with a heavier base, so it could not be moved about by a tongue lapping up the last particle of cream. Yet she never complained. I suspect it was used simply because it was an odd bowl and cheap. But I use it for ice cream still, and for potato chips, and fruit slices…

There is Tungsten’s little ceramic dish, and Josie’s original plate that broke, Bear-Bear’s cat-bed, and Cammie’s saddle-tree… All items which, though not officially named, nonetheless remind me of my lost friends. We all cherish the photographs we have of those family members who have gone ahead, but sometimes it is the more ordinary, the more mundane items in life that stir the strongest memories. Like the whiff of a scent, a slant of light, a few bars of a song not heard since childhood, our memories are sometimes reawakened by the every-day; memories that are themselves every-day, and ordinary, yet which remind us of the extraordinary people, places, times – and animals – we once knew.


  1. We still have Celestial Chucky's woolly sock, the last one he ever tried to herd to the front door, laying out. He's been gone for nearly three years. I've thrown out all of the other socks, but that last one remains.
    Hugs and purrs as you remember your angels.

  2. You're so right, John. It's the everyday things that we come across unexpectedly that awaken the strongest memories. Sometimes the memory brings us happiness and sometimes it brings us sadness. But in either case it's so important that the family, friends and pets we've lost remain in our heart. That way they are never really gone.

  3. Up until earlier this year, l had a dog..
    Yes! a dog, who used to scratch at my
    front door, about 7.30 most mornings,
    for his breakfast, Freddie was a Jack
    Russell..and 17yrs of age, he'd been
    scratching at my door for several years,
    can't remember how it came about but it
    did..needless to say he was a character..
    When he was eating breakfast, l'd go out
    and chat to his Mum..on one occasion, after
    a while, we we're wondering where he was..
    l popped back indoors, and, in the front
    room was Freddie, on the sofa, drinking out
    my tea mug..on the small table! Bless!
    He passed over last January, and his Mum
    gave me one of his leads, his food bowl, and
    some photos..! The lead is by my bedside..
    the bowl is in the kitchen..!
    I do miss the little fella..Bless him..!

  4. Yes. Sights and smells, even if fragrant perfumes, foods, the slant of the sun's rays on the floor...or on the grass outside, many things that are everyday are what I have always thought of as time machines in a manner of speaking. They bring memories both happy and sad. We can- and sometimes do seem to go straight back to a time in our lives after having seen something that catches our attention.

  5. Loved reading this post about memories! To this very day, every time I hear a single engine plane in a bright blue sky, I'm transported to my youth in Minnesota.
    Have a great weekend, John! Are you counting your days till you vacation in Idylland?

  6. It's true, we have several important memory keepers here too.

  7. After nearly 8 years, I still find a stray long white fur from Seney,stuck to a piece of furniture or clothing. I keep those, as
    I loved her for nearly 20 years. So, today, I enjoy seeing Precious
    drink from a glass since Seney also did that same thing. Happy memories of our pets.

  8. Lovely post John. I have photos of course, but I tend to rid the house of items that are reminders in that first rush of grief, as if I can make it go away. But there is the spot on the bed where Sami always slept, the cupboard door that Silas banged to get at the other cats' food. But I will never forget the kitties that graced my life.

  9. Yes, so many things bring back memories and we are glad of the good ones. I only have to smell Lily of the Valley flowers and my memory instantly transports me to my childhood home where the was a bed of them outside the front door. We left there when I was five but that memory has never faded.
    I don't have any toys from the boys. Their favourites are buried with them, but everything else went to our local shelter. That doesn't stop the memories though, so many come rushing back all the time.

  10. We dont drink much water. Iza used ta drink a lot, but she had troubles. TBT here: I have never seen Ayla drink water. Marley does some. Laz never. Wet canned food seems to provide enough. But there is always a bowl of fresh water available. Laz loves is kibbles, so he has to get water somewhere. I bet he is a "secret drinker"... LOL!

  11. A post that touches on the true meaning of a life with pets and the care and love we provide them. We have a dish that was originally bought for our Buddy Budd. Dad watched how much he ate so he would have breakfast on the table, lunch in the office (Dad was still working) and dinner in bed. Dad got two little pink plastic dishes with cat faces in them for Buddy and they are now known as Buddy's dishes. (not the best for wet as they are low and it get over the side) Now Toby gets his meals on the table in them (the others will steal his fancy feast.) Small things but reminders that touch the heart