May 25, 2011

The story of my grandmother’s cat - and one Canadian raccoon

(Pictured - not my grandmother's cat. This is my Deniska.)

Long, long ago, my grandmother had a cat named Sunny. She was a real tough cat whose responsibilities included catching mice in the basement. Sunny fulfilled her duties diligently all her life, and passed away in an unfair battle with a giant rat when she was far into her senior years.

One of Sunny’s main characteristics was a keen intellect, an astute awareness of human psychology, and an overwhelming passion for beef bones. Why bones in particular? Because, for an unspoiled cat like her, finding meat on that bone wasn’t the sort of thing to expect. (At this point, it might be appropriate to mention that there was no such thing as cat food in Soviet Russia.)

This story happened in the summer, during a holiday of some sort. A group of relatives came to stay at our house. We made lots of wonderful things to eat. One of those things was a broth with a choice cut of beef. The aroma that emerged form the most important room in the house – the kitchen – let Sunny know that she might be able to expect a nice beef bone soon. Time passed, and nobody offered it to her. What actually happened was, there was no bone in that stew; only meat. But how was Sunny supposed to know? She waited patiently all day, hanging around the kitchen in high hopes.
In the evening, the remainder of the broth was left on the table with the lid on. Once everybody was asleep, Sunny decided that it was time to take action.

She jumped up on the table where the pot of broth was left. Quietly, she moved the lid to the side, exactly to the point that it wouldn’t fall. She dipped her paw into the liquid. With her claws, she anchored the biggest piece of meat and, carefully, she pulled it out. She then pushed it off the table, where she ate as much as she could. Judging by the meagre remainders that my grandmother found in the morning, she managed to fit quite a lot.

You might ask – where did this cat’s knowledge of human psychology come in?
The thing is, Sunny decided to disappear for a while. When my grandmother went around looking for the cat to dole out a punishment, she was nowhere to be found. Instead of sticking around to do the time after doing the crime; Sunny just didn’t show up.

A couple of days had passed. Sunny, who had a habit of going to sleep on my grandmother’s pillow at a certain point in the afternoon, was still missing.
Throughout that time, my grandmother’s plans to reprimand the creature who dared steal from the broth was replaced by concern and then by panic. Everybody kept looking for Sunny without caring to remember her transgression.

And then, at the most strategic moment, she appeared, happy and pleased, as if nothing happened. She rubbed her head against my grandmother’s ankle, got a scratch behind the ear, and went to sleep on her usual spot.

I still like to imagine a little cat paw reaching into the warm broth...

And now, let me present to you a Canadian raccoon. He could smell the remainders of somebody's grilled chicken lunch, and decided that he must get to it.


  1. Hello Olga:
    What an absolute darling Deniska is. How we should love him, as much as we have loved the tale of Sunny and the meat stew. What an artful cat and, very definitely, alert to human psychology. He must have gone far in his lifetime, and what a pity that he came to a sad end outwitted by a rat - a Soviet one at that!!

    We trust Deniska is well fed on Canadian cat food. The signs are of a very contented and well cared for cat.

  2. cute pics and story... i have a cat that claws and paws everything, nothing is safe. a teeny tiny drop of milk in the bottom of tall glass, his paw is diving and licking until everything shines :)

  3. That's something else!
    That blew me away.

  4. Les animaux sont souvent plus intelligents que les humains. J'ai beaucoup apprécié l'histoire vraie de Sunny. Merci de nous l'avoir aussi bien racontée, Olga.
    Bonne soirée!

  5. Love the story - cats are special in many ways. That raccoon is too cute, great pics! :-)

    Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate them a LOT! :-)

  6. Olga, a beautiful story, great story. Long read. Cats have their own reason, always makes sure of. Ours, called Kamejk, will be two years, has more than 4 kg. Now the habit of going to the bathroom with us. I am waiting when will want to swim with us. I like her bath. and wish her the water. Greetings! Peter.

  7. Gracias por volver por mi casa Olga, y gracias a eso tambien he vuelto yo por la tuya, soy un desastre.
    La secuencia es encantadora. No somos los poseedores de la inteligencia, verdad?.
    Un abrazo

  8. Great pics! Lovely story! Kisses from Brazil

  9. They are very nice, i love animals

  10. Lovely story. I like your stories very much. There is always something like mysterious in them, isn't it. Like dreamy. I really enjoy reading your stuff.

  11. I always say never under-estimate the power of the animal kingdom!

  12. Smart 'coon.
    Animals are way more clever than we give them credit for.

  13. Nice story and stunnings pictures !
    Have a great day,


  14. Hehh..heee...
    Kyllä olet hienon kuva-sarjan onnistunut kuvaamaan.
    Supikoiran ruoan hankkiminen ei aina ole kovinkaan helppoa.
    Kekseliäs keinot keksii...!
    Onnittelu hyvästä tilanne-kuvauksesta..

  15. Olga, your story is so nice. And I remembered my cat. He also used such a strategy, but he disappeared for only one day. But one day was too long for us. In summer he was always in the coolest place where was the path of wind. In winter he was in the most sunny place.
    Thank you for sharing the lovely story.
    Have a nice week.

  16. ha, that's a fantastic story! Although I am somewhat partial to kitty stories :)

  17. Olga a perfect post my dear. Starting with your Denis who I just want to cuddle and tell him what a handsome boy he is. And I always love your Russian stories, this is one of my favourites. I can picture the whole scenario of Sunny being so clever as to quietly help himself to the beef and then disappearing like that. And then to top it off with a wonderful story told in photos of Mr Raccoon. Well done my friend.

  18. Beautiful image of your pet cat. And I love the story in pictures too of the raccoon.

  19. What a wonderful post! It is so 'cat typical' and I loved reading the tale. I don't know how cats know ... but they do.

    And the raccoon is so sweet ... and well photographed.

  20. What gorgeous pictures and a great story. Sunny was a very clever cat!

  21. Olga, your cat is charming and beautiful. The story is lovely.
    I have just published "Oda a un gato" It is a post of my cat with a poem by Pablo Neruda. I would love that you had known the poem (translated into English -> and I write my link to know more Dune =) -> http://demasiadacafeina.blogspot. com/2011/05/oda-al-gato.html

  22. haaaha! that was a delightful story about sunny, so hilarious!!! that's a smart cat - and i guess a smart raccoon too :)

  23. Your story made me laugh my heart out, Olga...
    Yesterday Othello stole a mango... I can't say I blame him for wanting it... It was nice and ripe and the smell was amazing... :)
    Best of days to you! XXX

  24. Les chats sont les plus intelligents des animaux domestiques, vous nous en montrez ici une admirable preuve par votre si sympathique récit.
    Relisons Colette Baudelaire !
    Excellente soirée.

  25. The graceful sense wraps your artworks.

    Have a good weekend...
    For your calmness and beauty.

    From Saga, Japan.

  26. Hi Olga, thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog and for becoming a follower. Curiosity brought me here to your blog and I love it! Great stories and photos! Monika xo

  27. Thanks - I did good and I sure had fun! :-)

  28. how does it happen that cats always have so clever faces:)

  29. nice story Olga, and what a great cat picture. David

  30. Cute raccoon, thanks for sharing pictures, small cat still remember my parents, when it was cold winter stayed by the fire to warm up and played with him.
    I wish you a happy weekend.
    a kiss.

  31. Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    Soviet rats were not to be messed with. I'm glad the Deniska has won your favour :) We do feed him quite well.

    Hi once in a blue moon,
    Our cat is only stubborn when he finds something interesting, like a bird or a truck. Maybe it's because he gets his food in abandon.

    Hi Paolo,
    Thank you. Glad it made such an impression.

    Hi Richard,
    J'ai beaucoup d'histoires différentes sur les animaux d'autres personnes. Cependant, mon chat est mon premier animal de compagnie propres dans ma vie. Je suis content que vous avez aimé l'histoire.

    Hi tinajo,
    Thank you for your comment. I'm glad we've found each other in the blogosphere. For me, it's interesting to read your posts. I'm glad your event passed so successfully.

  32. Hi Peter,
    One of my good friends had a cat who would jump into a fragrant bath before my friend could get to it. So, watch out for your cat!

    Hi Carmela,
    Estamos definitivamente no sólo los inteligentes. Tal vez ni siquiera el más inteligente :)

    Hi Gisa,
    Thank you very much. Kisses from Toronto!

    Hi Sergio,
    I love them too. They make our life more interesting.

    Hi Pet,
    I'm glad my posts can make such an impression. It's not on purpose :)

  33. Hi goodnufranch,
    I know that you're one of the greatest experts, with all the animals around you every day.

    Hi Lydia,
    Yes, they prove that they're capable of many things. I see that every day, observing my cat.

    Hi Pierre,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the story and the pictures! Thank you for commenting.

    Hi Eko,
    Olen iloinen pidit minun supikoiran kuvia. Hän todella osoittautunut älykäs eläin.

    Hi snowwhite,
    Aren't they amazing, these cats! Each one has a unique story and personality.

  34. Hi hila,
    I love kitty stories myself. I have an abundance of them. I'll tell you more later :)

    Hi Duncan,
    I'm glad to hear that your kid was entertained by my pictures :)

    Hi Dolly,
    Knowing your love for cats, I'm not surprised you liked this post. I'm glad I was able to impress you :)

    Hi Doug,
    Thank you very much. It means a lot to hear that from you.

    Hi aguja,
    I know you have several lovely cats. Looking forward to seeing their new pictures at your blog :)

  35. Hi Spangle,
    I'm glad you enjoyed this post. It's encouraging to know.

    Hi Úrsula CoCo,
    I enjoyed your post about the cat. In particular, I liked the picture with the paw.

    Hi Krystal,
    Oh, these animals! You can expect just about anything from them.

    Hi Lena,
    Othello is very cute...I don't think I would have been able to resist a mango. Of course, with my manners, I would have asked first :)

    Hi versus,
    C'est incroyablement flatteur et encourageant de constater que votre histoire prend une empreinte. Merci beaucoup pour votre commentaire.

  36. Hi ruma,
    Thank you very much for your visit. I always love getting your comments :)

    Hi Monika,
    Welcome to my blog! I'm glad I've found yours :)

    Hi Ola,
    Yes, surprisingly, you can read thoughts and emotions on animal faces.

    Hi David,
    This picture was made the morning when I was working on this post. My cat was in the mood for modeling. It's not very often that one can catch him in such a disposition :)

    Hi Ricardo,
    It's unbelievable how individual animals are, and how much joy they bring us. Thank you for your comment :)

  37. Great story about your grand mother's cat. The photos of the Raccoon are fantastic. Diane