Miso, King of the Castle
I just know this Miso story is going to be a long one considering all his dear exploits and adorable and not so adorable ways.

Miso and His Pedigree
Miso is not an ordinary Siamese cat, oh no. He has at least three kinds of colour points in his pedigree. When I answered the advertisement for a Siamese kitten, the owner tried to describe his breeding background. I was confused, you may get confused.

I went on over to take a look at the last of the kittens. Mother cat was very friendly and was extremely beautiful. She was a Balinese. These cats have slightly silkier fur and she was almost white, with lovely blue eyes and a leggy build. Little Miso was brought out from whatever cupboard he was hiding in to be inspected. He looked very like mom but there was a faint stripiness on the legs. So what exactly is he? I asked. Well, his father (unfortunately a victim of coyotes) was a Chocolate, lynx point, cross, I was told. Reassured that he was all Siamese even if a bit mixed up, I proceeded to check the little fellow out. He certainly was cute. He didn't care for the two noisy toddlers he lived with but loved the male adult. He had a beard, and to this day Miso loves hairy men best. So I carried him off to our place with him yelling all the way. Little was I to know this was not just a phase. Miso yells and thumps and howls all the time he is traveling but emerges from the ordeal none the worse for wear. I eventually asked the vet about it but she assured me he would be better off without tranquilizing.

So here he is now at just over three years and what a lovely boy. He has the most incredible blue eyes, almost sapphire and yes, they are crossed. That is an endearing Siamese trait, I think. His ears are very dark brown along with his paws and tail. But his legs and some of his tail have greyish stripes. Then on his sides he has these almost holographic spots. There is a cream chin, chest and tummy, which along with the long skinny legs pronounces him a Siamese extraordinaire.

Miso Has to Have a Friend
Miso is a very sociable cat. He has been the life and soul of many a party we have given. As I mention above, he is fond of men. But he likes everyone really and does his best to visit all and sundry at a gathering.

He has to have a cat companion due to his early influences. When we adopted him he was the last of the litter to go and probably should have left home sooner. Therefore he was used to having mom around. When I brought him home we still had dear 20 year old Junior with us and as far as Miso went it was love at first sight. Junior died just before we left to go to the cottage in the spring and no sooner had we arrived than our neighbour's cat Bloom arrived on the doorstep wanting to move in with us. Bloom had to spend at least half a year on his own as his companions felt unable to have him with them in the city. So he was desperate for companionship. We welcomed him in and of course little Miso kitten just adored this large elderly male cat. Just transferred all that love he'd given to Junior on to Bloom. (Poor old Junior's demise was I think hastened by Miso's adoring attentions.) Dear Bloom took it all quite well and we all got on together until his companions and our neighbours came up in May. Miso and Bloom came on walks and I think Bloom taught Miso all he knew about hunting and being a canny forest cat. It was Bloom who probably saved Miso's life in the Cougar Incident. When we returned to town in the fall we took on Nori to give Miso companionship. (See - Nori goes to the Country.) I remember Bloom catching a squirrel and Miso was watching very carefully. I didn't approve of this but cats do make excellent hunters and it's good to know they can survive without us.

Miso just hates it if we leave him behind, but sometimes it's not suitable for him to go along with us and he does kick up a stink, and sulks a bit when we get back.

Miso Likes To Be By The Sea
Miso got used to being by the sea from an early age. He eventually got so bold he would go right to the edge of the water and poke his paw in the water if he saw something that interested him. I would bring out some poor starfish or sea cucumber for him to examine. All those waving tentacles got him quite excited. The best was the sun starfish as it is a fast moving critter and would be gliding back into the sea in no time at all.

I found he was curious about the rowboat , so one day I let him jump in it and give it a good going over. The next time he jumped in I cast off and took him for a row. I found out by trial and error just what he would tolerate. As long as he was close to the shore we could row along quite a way. I tried a trip over to Centre Island but he found it to far and started complaining. I tried landing there but he was so disoriented he almost ran off on me. I grabbed him just before he took off into the dense underbrush. He was happy to be back on our beach, that's for sure. But it didn't put him off and we have had many nice rows on calm evenings. I took the boat down into the cove where the store is and all the tourist boats are moored and he found it most interesting. Most Yachts had dogs aboard , which caused him to be a little tense, but he enjoyed the tour and was admired by all. He loves to go aboard our regular boat. When we are leaving to come to Vancouver we just take his cat carrier and put it on board and he just pops inside quite willingly. Of course once we take off he starts the yowling as he doesn't like speed and noise at all.

As I go to the beach to do Yoga and swim he is always happy to come along. Many is the time we've been sitting quietly on the ledge close to the water and we have seen Otters, Mergansers and various sea citizens gliding by. We both sit quite still and hope not to be noticed. When a seal does the breaching Miso is quite intrigued. Many a seal has swum up to us to check us out. I guess seals are a water cat really.

Miso Loves To Go Walking
Miso is very fond of a walk. I take him on the little walks, like down to the beach. To make it a bit longer we can get along the beach and go up our neighbours path and on to our house. Then there's the walk along our main trail. This trail goes all along the property and ends up down in the Store and busy section. I don't like him to go there as it likely we will meet a dog, but one day I thought I had sneaked away and was almost at the gate that leads onto the downtown boardwalk and up he pops. It didn't look to busy so I decided to continue on . Miso trotting gamely at my heels. We did meet one dog but it was fat and lazy and Miso jumped up on a railing. I went into the store to mail letters and he was waiting for me when I got out. I was a bit anxious about him and heaved a sigh of relief when we got away from the boardwalk area and onto a more secluded trail. The walk I had planned was a big loop and took about an hour. We stopped and rested here and there but Miso was quite eager to keep on going. Naturally he was thrilled when we got close to our house and he recognized the area.

The longest walk he has been on so far was the walk to a place we call the Lookout. It goes across our end of the Island and ends up on a high cliff looking east. Walking briskly one can do the round trip in an hour and a half. With Miso along that day it took a lot longer. Every squirrel that showed up had to be stalked until he was sure it knew he was there. Then off we'd go again. Some yowling ensued when he felt a bit lost. I got nervous when he did this as that certainly advertised our presence. With the chance a Cougar might be nearby ,that made me uneasy. But we eventually made it too the Lookout. It was a hot day and most of the walk is through deep forest so when we came out onto the cliff meadow it was extremely hot. Miso didn't like that and started down the cliff to get in the shade. I just got him in time, before he got onto a trajectory that I couldn't follow. I decided we'd better head back into the wood right away. With Miso following we rested a little in a pretty shady glade, and then started back. By the time we got home it had taken 3 hours. We were both quite weary. But Miso is always willing to go off to explore. Mostly I worry if some wild animal might fancy him for a meal. West Redonda is a big and mostly uninhabited island and it is possible the Wolves, Bears, and Cougars are out there.

Miso is Very Acrobatic and Loves High Places
I don't think there are any cats that don't enjoy heights, but siamese cats are renowned for thier love of high places. Miso was just a little fellow when we went up to out cottage at Refuge Cove for the Spring , Summer, Autumn seasons. That was the year we were doing a big renovation,and we had to get a big structure framed up and finished before Winter set in. So Miso got to be accustomed to noisy machines like saws, drills, and generators. He was so happy with all those timbers to climb. As the structure went up , Miso went up with it. Sometimes getting into impossible spots and having to be rescued by the carpenter as he, Miso, hung by a claw from a dead end he'd so easily climbed into but not so easily could get out of. We were getting the roof plywood on and had it covered with the great big tarp when it decided to get sunny. We popped up onto the roof and started folding up the tarp. At one point we gave it a sort of shake right near the edge, and out flew Miso into the air. He flew out and landed on the mossy ground. We were quite horrified but Miso after a bit of self inspection found himself all in one piece and was eager to get up and at it again. Once our extension was completed he found another way to get up on the roof and to this day he and Precious, who does pretty well everything he does, get up by jumping from the back veranda railing onto a bit of the roof that sticks out there. They get down very well, but Miso sometimes likes to pretend he can't and I hop up on the railing and he jumps onto my shoulder. Miso is very good about being helped out. No struggling or scratching from him.

Another amusing anecdote occurred when Richard was putting up a clothes line. He had a very long ladder up against this tall tree and was fixing the line onto it. Miso was most peturbed by the sight of Richard up so high. I thought he would run up the ladder, but not him, he just charged up the next tree until he was just a bit higher than Richard.

He also has his safe high spot. This is a half wall and when he's up it he can see anything coming up the path and stairs to the door. He had a fright one day and came running into the house growling and got up into this perch and looked so alarmed that I became alarmed also. As it was not that long ago that the cougar incident had occurred I was easily spooked. I ran out onto the back veranda to see what it could be. My heart was pounding a bit. Surely Miso to be in such a stake must have seen some terrifying sight. I leaned out and looked down the beach path where Miso had come from ,and there creeping along was a small grey cat! Imagine my relief. Since then I have found out that intruding cats are about all that other cats are scared of. Miso will sit on top of our guest cottage to get a good look at things also. Of course dogs are a worry and Misos tree climbing abilities have stood him in good stead there. Most of our nieghbours have dogs and they are not reluctant to chase the cats up a tree. I guess the love of hights is just a good survival tactic. After all those Cougars spend lots of time hanging out in trees and get treed when being hunted.

At the condo we have a few rather tame places for Miso to go to. Mostly up on tops of cupboards and along the mantlepiece. But this winter we bought one of those fancy scratching posts with a house on top and that is a hit. Miso loves to sit in the house all nice and warm and yet be able to see out the windows to the bird feeder. When he's feeling frisky he leaps and climbs and swings all over it. He and Precious also have a kind of King of the Castle game with it and some times he gets the top spot and other times she does, but when it's afternoon nap time they share and curl up together.

I can't understand why he hasn't jumped off our upper balcony and into the tree that's right up against it. But for some reason he hasn't and that's where he sits on a nice day, watching the world go by.