Steely Determination.

Last night, after binge-watching several episodes of the most excellent Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria (June? Turning into a spinster before our very eyes? What?), I went to the door to call in that blight on my very existence, that gray bastard of a cat, Steely Dan. Often one finds oneself referring to Queen Victoria and a ’70s band/adult toy in one sentence.

And of course, Steely Dan would not come in. That cat does not come in. I didn’t even SEE him anywhere. As you recall, even when he was a teensy kitten


yes, he was once actually a teensy kitten

he could not be kept IN, and I kept just…finding him outside, even though I hadn’t LET him outside. Which was alarming. But that also alerted me to a knocked down…grill thing on my roof that had to be put back up and sealed, so, kind of a win. How he found that and figured out it was an escape hatch AT FOUR MONTHS, I do not know.

So now, the only way he’ll come inside is if he comes through the door himself and walks in, like he’s my husband. He’d be one of those husbands with the whole nother family. One of those husbands who although you totally suspect about the whole nother family, he’s still so handsome you’re still glad when he saunters in, white teeth flashing.

I called and I called and I called that gray-ass handsome bitch-ass cat last night. I hate it when he’s out all night. I worry. Occasionally, he’ll fight with the orange cat, although in truth it’s Iris who kicks Orange Cat’s ass the most. She’s really quite kerfuffled re Orange Cat, and I don’t know if it’s politics or race or what has them on edge with each other, but Iris and her half an eye is not a fan of that ginger bastard.

But back to Steely Dan and his prowling all night.

I think of giant pterodactyls swooping down to get him, which is realistic, and cat murderers with round bombs and bags with images of cats with red circles and slashes on them. Anything but the real things, like cars and dogs. The things that really scare me when you have a cat you cannot contain.

“Giant pterodactyls.” As opposed to those teacup pterodactyls they’re selling at those disreputable pet shops.

Anyway, as he always is, that gray animal awaited me at the back door this morning, famished like he’s on the prednisone. He leaped gracefully to his perch atop the fridge to eat his disgusting canned food that he’s a big fan of.


ware fud.


mmmmnommmnomnnom peeenk dish suk noomnommmmmnom

And then? After I was done feeding the normal cats, and giving Edsel his psychopath mood pills and allergy pills and grain-free dog food and WHY GOD with this dog, and after I made my coffee and so on? So, basically, five minutes later?



“Oh, Steely Dan, come ON,” I pleaded. “Please don’t leave again.” I mean, what’s so compelling? Do you think maybe he’s out taking up a collection to get me a new shed? Look at that poor rusted shed. I took the chic away from that shabby thing some time ago.

IMG_0331.JPGI tried to lure him back over with the promise of his exciting brother Edsel, but he wasn’t having it for very long. “edz too ssyko.”

IMG_0337.JPGI’ve captured the moment where I’m crouched, with the back door open, saying, “Kitty, kitty” as seductively as possible (please see spinster ref., part II, volume VII), with my camera in hand. Please also see “blank stare of cat ennui.”


give up ship, mom

I don’t know, man. He’s a spirited animal, is what he is. And is he, like, not needful of sleep, ever? I mean, sometimes he’ll come home and flop over and sleep like a mummified cat of Egypt for 20 hours, then demand food and (wait for it) open the door and leave. I’m like Ma Bailey’s Boarding House in It’s a Wonderful Life.

IMG_0068.JPGAnyway. I guess this is the hand I’ve been dealt. I’ve got the spirited cat, and when you CROSS THE LINE into three freaking cats, eventually you’re gonna get one that worries you.


we no trubble. shuld haff stayed at two.

Just as I was wrapping this up, I heard a noise.

IMG_0342.JPGHe’s decided to grace the house with his gray presence.

For now.

61 thoughts on “Steely Determination.

  1. What if SD has a second family that he checks in with ~ they have a little girl and she dresses him up in baby clothes, plays house with him and spoon feeds him porridge? He has to live his bad ass self with you just to balance out!
    Yeah, maybe notsomuch…
    Lovely post, pretty thin June.


  2. This was one of the funniest posts ever! I laughed out loud while reading while on the phone with my boss. So that was awkward. But your post was so worth it.
    “edz too ssyko.”


  3. Your photography of that cat is absolutely amazing. He is just beautiful! I would be all worried too, but what can you do? This post, well, ALL of your posts are so wonderful. You have a gift, June Gardens!

    Lovely post, lovely June!


  4. Great post! I love SD. Some cats just can’t be contained. That’s SD. I cracked me up that he just comes and goes as he pleases.


  5. Cool and steady as steel, the cat stopped and turned to stamp a sharp profile against the streetlamp. He took a long, last drag on his Lucky Strike and flicked the evanescent butt into the gutter. One more turn, then a slow step and his tail rolled and flipped to the right. Another step and it rolled and flipped to the left. Right flip. Left flip. Right flip. Saucily sauntering into the darkness as if to tell the universe to kiss his feather-tufted behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder what he does out there, roaming the streets? We have two neighborhood cats whom we call North Side Kitteh and South Side Kitteh respectively and they are like SD. I know who they “belong” to but they just wander around doing whatever cats do when they are out. I once saw one chase a mouse into the street and was very impressed by his/her prowess! I worry about them being coyote food but they seem to know how to handle themselves. I’ve never had cats (allergies) so I’m always intrigued by them!


    • Well, I know he eats mice, cause I’ve seen him do it. Also, I know he goes to other yards and hangs out, cause I’ve seen the “Is This Your Cat” reports on him on Next Door, which is humiliating, particularly when people ask if he’s anyone’s “kitty.” He is NO ONE’s “kitty.”


      • NextDoor irks me in this way. We have someone on ours who thinks they are the queen of finding missing animals. I think maybe she steals them out of their own yards so she can be the hero. Not really, but jeez.


        • Our neighbor did exactly that! Our little Bella got around the corner ahead of me one day on a walk (she won’t wear a leash – it’s her thing) and that beyotch scooped her up and put her in her fenced back yard before I could even round the curve. Then she posted on our neighborhood Facebook that she “found” this cute little dog. A dozen neighbors in 10 minutes posted “That’s BELLA. You know where she lives!” Found my ASS. And there I was wandering up and down the street calling her name and weeping. I was sure she had been snatched up by a pterodactyl. And not the mini kind either.


  7. When I reflect later tonight on what I learned today it will be that the band Steely Dan was named after a sex toy that was referenced in a book. I will also admit that I learned my brain power is diminishing because I had to use the powers of Google to figure out what a Steely Dan might actually be!!


  8. “disreputable pet shops.”
    This was the best. As one fine commenter above said, “he has no shits to give.”


  9. Great post! I heart SD and his wandering ways. I’m all about keeping your pets inside for safety. But sometimes, you just get a wanderer and keeping them inside would be cruel. Hopefully, he’s smart enough to keep himself safe. It’s that gray cat mentality: they’re very independent and will do whatever they want, in spite of your opinion. Which is why my gray girl has bullied my other two cats every single morning for the past two years at treat time, even though she knows she’s going to get yelled at and everybody gets treats. Trying to discipline them is just a waste of time. They’re going to do whatever the hell they want, no matter.

    My third cat is surprisingly the best behaved of the three. He’s also the youngest and only male.


  10. Now I SO want a teacup pterodactyl. But what if it needs a vet? Where in the world would I find . . .

    I may be overthinking this.


  11. June do you ever write a post that you think is hilarious only to have no one say so and then write one you think is ehhhh and people love it? Just curious as when I think I write something wonderfully funny nothing, but something I think is nothing special I get lots of LOLs….


  12. I sense a trend. MY third cat is out of control. He usually comes in at night, thankfully. He loves to gift me with all sorts of dead things.


  13. That goddamn cat. He has no shits to give. Wouldn’t you love to be able to attach a camera to him to see what he actually does and where he actually goes? I bet he has another house he’s working. He’s shifty like that.


    • I was thinking the same thing @yetanotherkelly, that would be so fun and enlightening to see what he does and if as @Stacey suggested, he has a mini motorcycle stashed somewhere!


  14. My third is the wild one too, but he’s a male and the other two are female. Big difference! SD is so pretty, all three of yours are gorgeous kitties.


  15. It looks like Eds has Steely by the tail. Hey, that’s a thought! Train Edsel to find and drag SD home by the tail. Great post, Joon, and you look lovely today.


  16. Fantastic post! So hysterically funny! I agree you should be a comedy writer. It looks like less pills did the trick. I don’t want to be a fair weather friend. I read yesterday’s post, I just fear I will say the wrong thing. Steely Dan would be the death of me, but he is super cool and fascinating too. We had three cats once briefly and the third cat was a stray and brought the drama.


  17. I agree, this is one of your best posts. There is too much to quote, but rest assured, I will steal all of your best phrases.


  18. What I love about SD is his chill sense of je ne sais quois. He is like the Steve McQueen of cats. Do you think he has a little motorcycle gashed out by that chicless shed?


  19. Steely Dan would worry me to death. When I had cats and they would leave the yard, I never stopped worrying until I heard the squirrels chattering their alert signal and see my cat sauntering home.

    Lovely post, lovely June.


  20. It’s posts like this that I always wonder how your brain works. I am also amazed that your day job is not full time humor writer. Man, there really needs to be a June Gardens book.


  21. He is really awesome and interesting but I understand why it worries you for him not to be in at night. Maybe once he gets older he may want to sleep at night? Who knows. Anyhow, I loved Victoria. I watched it on PBS when they first played it and I thought she should have gone for Albert’s brother Ernest as he seemed less dorky than Albert. But then I read in real life he was “riddled with the syphillis” since he like the ladies so much. The actress who plays Victoria is so pretty. The real Victoria? Not so much!


  22. Steely Dan leaves your house, hops a Greyhound, and travels to Baltimore where he rules over the local cat street gang that hangs out by my office.

    I saw a big gray cat sitting on someone’s lawn yesterday and man, did he exude confidence. Right then I knew it was Steely Dan.

    Love the sleeping SD photo.


  23. I’m with LisaPie up there, one of the best! Took the chic away from the shabby made me spit my coffee. Literally. I also thought you wrote Ma Bailey’s Hoaring House at first. [shaking head] Lovely post, Joob, lovely post. Still laughing.


  24. Ah, yes, the third cat. My third cat is also a “spirited animal”. And she is a solid gray cat – coincidence? I think not.
    I believe you get malaria from mosquitoes. At least that is what the Ingalls got in Little House on the Prairie if I recall correctly.


    • It was fever ‘n ague! From eating watermelons, according to Ma, who was not a doctor and obviously didn’t play one on TV.


    • Malaria is what I’m expecting, because I get several puffy mosquito bites whenever I stand outside watching the dogs perform their natural duties. Because of my fear that if I don’t stand there, an owl or hawk will carry one off. (6 pounds. The dogs, that is, or maybe owls too?) Little did I know that I should be more worried about the Speckled Southeastern Pterodactyls.


  25. I’m so confused. Does he just pass right THROUGH the screen? Or did I miss the part where there IS no screen? In any case, I do love SD’s free-spirited ways. That cat is gonna live all of life.

    Lovely lovely post lovely June! This post felt very June-ish today and it’s wonderful. Like a rollercoaster for m’brain.


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