The cat that trumped Austin City Limits

Two weekends ago, I flew to Texas to go to Austin City Limits (a huge music festival spanning 3 days) with two of my closest friends, Sarah and Vessie. We met while studying abroad in Paris way back in 2004, they were my bridesmaids a year later, and we’ve been getting together about once a year ever since.

We got tickets for Friday, and spent all day listening to music and trying to find a shady spot to establish ourselves. Thankfully the heat there was dry, so as long as you could find a spot out of the sun, it was delightful and perfect in every way.

I also was able to avoid the portapotties 100% of the time. Yes, this may mean that I was actually dehydrated–but I consider it a small victory.

I heard from my friends the toilets actually weren’t so bad. Lucky for them.

Anyway, Vessie has been getting into photography lately. Since my Nikon was outlawed by the rule-makers of the festival (no detachable lenses!), we left my camera behind and Vessie took over with her fancy point-and-shoot. At first I was disappointed . . . but what I got was a wonderful rest from my usual role as photographer. It was amazing. Yes, that role is self-imposed, and yes I usually enjoy it a lot–but for once, it was very freeing not to be the one behind the snappity-snapping. I just got to chill out, man, and be one with the music or something. I am pleased to say that after carting my camera, 2 lenses, battery recharger, and external flash across the country, I didn’t take a single picture the entire weekend . . . until our final morning there.

Because, you see, there were these cats. Layla and Clementine.

And their furriness is unmatched. Peerless. Luxuriant. Decadent.

They require frequent combing to avoid snarls in their kitty armpits and on their kitty haunches. And the sight of Sarah combing Layla in the morning sunshine . . . well, my Nikon and I could not resist.

“Hey lady, that’s a little too much snuggling. Pick up that comb and get back to the grooming! Look at my fierce teeth!”

Did you know that cat bites are actually poisonous? If you get a deep bite, go straight to the emergency room, no joke. It happened to my uncle Brian, and it very, very scary. You’d never guess that those meowing pink little mouths are just a clever concealment for a deadly weapon.

I find it hilarious that I spent a fantastic 3-day weekend with my friends, brought my camera will full intentions of documenting our doings, and yet the only pictures I ended up taking were of these cats. Some may say this proves that I don’t have my priorities straight . . . but a snuggly furralicious kitty trumps it all: close friends. Music Festivals. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. The Austin skyline. The beautiful sunset. Mexican food. Thai food. The most scrumptious brunch I’ve ever had (and oh, do I ever need to introduce you to a Bloody Mary if you’ve never had one).

I grew up with three cats, so snuggling a furry animal feels . . . right. It feels like coming home.

Why don’t I own one myself, you ask?

Well, the answer involves hairballs and litterboxes.

Once, when I was 10 or so, I was sleeping in on a lazy Saturday morning. One of the cats came up for a late morning cuddle. Her name was Foca.

She threw up on the bed, on top of the blanket near my feet. Then she flopped down for a snooze.

What kind of a manners are these, for a lady cat?? Then again, not only did she sport a jaunty white moustache, but she also suffered from brain damage at a tender age, so I don’t know if she even understood the term ‘ladylike.’ I mean seriously, who goes around throwing up on peoples’ beds and then settling in for a snuggle as if nothing had happened?

The kicker is, I chose to keep on sleeping, and ignored the vomit for as long as possible. And it wasn’t just a hairball–it was her entire breakfast.

Thankfully, our other two cats Biscuit and Frisky took it upon themselves to clean up after her and simply eat the vomit. They were responsible cats, and had a very loose definition of ‘gourmet.’

And that’s why I don’t currently have cats.

But then I see furry paws like these . . .

I need a litter of kittens delivered to my doorstep by 8am sharp! Do you hear me FedEx Standard Overnight Kitten Delivery Service?

. . . but I don’t know what my husband would say about that. I might be stuck with litterbox duty for the rest of my natural born years. And who wants that?

After seeing Layla get all the attention, Clementine got jealous and came over for a photo op.

She posed serenely. “None of this skanky lolling around for me, thank you very much. I’ve got class,” she meowed.

“That Layla will do anything to get her picture taken. But I’m a decent cat. And you may not have noticed, but my whiskers are extremely photogenic.”

“Just don’t get too close with that lens or you’ll make my whiskers look fat.”

Sarah loves her kitties . . .

. . . and I love Sarah’s kitties.

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18 Responses to The cat that trumped Austin City Limits

  1. Oh, kittycat love! Layla looks like a much furrier version of our cat, Harryboy. And I adore the mustache-sporting cat! Those are the best markings on a cat I’ve ever seen! Thanks for the smile this morning.

  2. Tracy says:

    What cute kitties!!

  3. giselle says:

    Oh Jenna! The litterbox is so worth it. I looooove my cats to death and can’t imagine living with cats. Ever. Now, march yourself to your local animal shelter and take home two cats, pronto. You won’t regret it for a minute. And they will be forever grateful. :)

  4. foongfest says:

    Wait wait… you were at ACL too? Crazy.

    • Jenna says:

      Yeah, it was awesome. There were so many people I couldn’t have picked out a familiar face in the crowd though–the word “mobbed” comes to mind.

  5. Cassia Kathleen says:

    Jenna I highly recommend the cat-getting adventure. I am stuck with litter duty for the rest of my days but it doesn’t even matter. I love my kitty boys, they make my grumpy mornings smilier and my happy moments purrier. Do it!

  6. Sarah says:

    adorable kitties!!

  7. Layla says:

    Hey! She has my name :)

  8. Sarah R says:

    Awww! Thank you for the photo tribute to my furry children!

  9. Joanne says:

    Those truly are some gorgeous cats. What beautiful hair! They would make me want to be a cat owner…and I am SO much more of a dog person.

    Glad to hear you had fun at the music festival!

  10. Jen says:

    Great pics and LOVED the story about Foca.

  11. Veronica says:

    Oh, they are soooo sweet! I haven’t had a cat for almost ten years. I used to be a cat person but I got a puppy foisted on me with the threat that it would get taken to the pound if I didn’t take it, and ever since then I’ve been a dog lover. I still like cats but they just don’t compare!!

  12. Paula says:

    I love Sarah’s kitties too! And I agree that kitties trump all. Cleaning the cat box is a small fee for the love they give and short hair kitties don’t get to many hairballs… So I say, get a kitty! :)

  13. Holly says:

    You should get a little dog like mine- no shedding, no litterboxes, and still cuddly and cute. :) They do tie you down to your house, though, since you have to let them out to potty.

  14. Twinky Satterthwaite says:

    OK, here I come!

    First of all, try the toilet training system for cats so you don’t have to deal with a litter box!

    Second of all, wait until you have a little troop of adorable children who will want you to get a kitty, and then enjoy the double delight of kitty and “dream come true” for wide-eyed kidlets!! Don’t you remember how wonderful it was when Biscuit arrived????

  15. cca says:

    i am from dallas and LOVE austin! glad you had fun!

    Such pretty cats!

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