The cats for now

It’s been quite a saga on the cats in our house over the last couple of months,[1] but we seem to have reached a resolution of sorts. Admiral Janeway is back with me. She’s missing a lot of fur because she’s been excessively grooming herself and pulling it out, apparently from stress, but she seems to be through the worst of that.

The final straw for my mother, however, was when the Captain came yesterday to visit—mostly to eat, it seems—saw her come in the front door and bolted in her direction. I thought it was because he was glad to see her. But no, he just wanted out.

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “A bully is getting bullied,” October 26, 2012,; David Benfell, “A Saga of Cats Continues,” October 30, 2012,; David Benfell, “Cat Politics,” November 9, 2012,

Trouble at the monastery

Having completed the “data gathering” (really a close reading) phase of my pilot study, I needed to clear my head and went for a drive. This habit is becoming increasingly frustrating; gas is much more expensive than it used to be and my finances are much more dismal than they used to be and so my range is increasingly limited, which means I’m treading the same territory over and over again.

Today, I decided to drive up by Odiyan, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in northwest Sonoma County, where I volunteered for about eight months roughly twenty years ago at an even lower point in my life than the one I’m going through now. I never met the Rinpoche, Tarthang Tulku, but the people I worked with were very nice. I left there hoping, however, that they would forgive themselves enough to work less than every waking minute (as a volunteer, my hours were shorter, but still long; had I stayed, I would have had to start working as long as they did).
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Cat politics

I hope the estrangement between my cat, Admiral Janeway, and me is over.

On Tuesday, there were two long petting sessions. But she still scampered across the bed rather than cuddling up to me or nestling in the crook of my knees (the latter being her erstwhile favorite spot). And when the Captain, our more recent addition,[1] also showed up on Tuesday, wanted to be petted, and seemed to be reclaiming his home after three days without a trace (yes, he’s been neutered), it seemed like she didn’t want to be in my room at all. My room has apparently been a point of contention between the two, and he is now bigger than she is.

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “A new housemate,” May 16, 2012,