Monthly Archives: December 2015

Cat Wars

Not long ago in a living room a variable distance away …

Capture

Yes, I did.

Background: The Girl has a kitten but The Boy already has a full-grown cat. The kitten, Nimoy, can usually catch her tail, and then chews on it for a full minute before she realizes it’s not prey, it’s her. Darth Jingles hunts rodents, birds, reptiles, and butterflies. Any insect really, but she prefers butterflies.

Darth Jingles is black like the dark soul she’s partially named after, slinks through the house like a ninja, and doesn’t use her claws when playing with her humans. Usually. Hubby is an exception. Nimoy thunders like a horse, which is odd because she’s tiny and just barely stopped waddling. Her claws and teeth are in constant play and razor sharp (which is odd because we clipped her claws in self defense). Both have bells on their collar, but in Darth Jingle’s case it does little good. You hear her jump or run, but otherwise she’s silent as the grave. Nimoy can’t breathe without initiating a silver tinkle of tiny bells. Seriously, the cat’s noisy. Jingles ‘speaks’ when it’s necessary, Nimoy won’t shut the hell up and she’s loud enough to hear over the TV.

There have been a few minor scuffles, but nothing to speak of and Darth Jingles has made no effort to put Nimoy in her place. It’s like Jingles knows this annoying ball of fluff is The Girl’s pet and she’s not allowed to rough it up. I figure one really good whack should do it. Maybe. Nimoy’s dim, so maybe two. But Jingles just leaves or settles somewhere out of reach of the tiny annoyance. The tension is killing us. Also, snow, so both cats are inside all day and the cats and kids are doing this strange dance to keep the curious kitten (did no one tell her about curiosity?) and the cat with cabin fever away from each other unless supervised. Then there’s me, walking around, opening doors and “Releasing the Katzen!” to just get it over with.

Darth Jingles has been provisionally renamed “Darth Huffy” because she’s fed up with this kitten nonsense but won’t do more than huff her displeasure. Mostly at The Girl who awarded her the new name. Nimoy, who was named after Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame in particular and who died earlier this year) is an issue. Not the cat, her name. Actually, I like “Nimoy.” I think it’s cute and told The Girl I may borrow it for a character sometime. She shrugged. Naming one cat in the Star Wars universe and another in the Star Trek universe doesn’t seem at all unusual in our household. But changing “Darth Jingles” to “Darth Huffy,” however temporary, maybe, tips the scale for Star Wars.

It has nothing to do with The Force Awakens, which we’ve all seen and I won’t discuss. Although The Girl won’t stop bursting into our room at odd hours with new theories about where the new trilogy (assumed) is headed.

Anyway, we have a Star Trek cat in a Star Wars house. For naming purposes, in reality it’s the other way around. So I put it to the family last night as we sat around playing Cards Against Humanity. (Yes, I’m an interestingly questionable parent to cave to both kids’ request for the game for Christmas. Worse to actually play with them.)

So Darth Jingles/Darth Huffy and … ? Hubby thought about it and looked at Nimoy settled in The Girl’s lap batting at the cards as she played them.

“Jar-Jar.”

The Girl, unfortunately, was drinking milk and snorted it out her nose at her dad’s answer. Not in laughter like me and The Boy, but indignation that anyone would suggest such a thing about her kitten.

For the rest of the night, three out of four humans called Nimoy “Jar-Jar” and the male members of the house kept talking to her in an annoying, nearly unintelligible manner. It’s really weird to hear Cards Against Humanity hands in that voice. Just saying.

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Feline Showdown

2015-12-12 11.06.22

Here’s the thing about cats – you introduce a new one to the house and it starts a minor war. I feel like our cats are modeling their conflict after the 100 Years war. It’s overly pessimistic of me, but I’m not seeing much progress in their attitudes on the situation.

So I kept Jingles inside all day yesterday to force her to acknowledge we have a kitten: Nimoy. Is that not the best name ever for a kitten? She’s a gray tabby with medium length hair that I’m praying will be shorter as she matures, but have a sneaking suspicion will fill out and she’ll be a cat with long hair that we have to brush to keep it from turning to feline dreadlocks. *takes deep breath after horrible run-on sentence*

Anyway, I kept Jingles inside. The cats have met face to face a few times, but thanks to humanoid intervention, bloodshed has yet to ensue. I’m concerned that they will meet without one of their humans nearby and then there’ll be a problem. Hence my attempt to gain a feline peace treaty, or at least form a lasting truce.

So they met. There was growling from Jingles, and stunned silence and wide-eyed caution from Nimoy who moved tentatively to the protection of my side after being cornered by the fireplace when The Boy plopped himself down with Jingles in his arms.

I should probably take a moment to describe the relative qualities of the contestants in yesterday’s competition for … whatever they were trying to convince the other of. Nimoy is a 2 ½ pound ball of fluff that meows as loud as a car alarm when lonely (all night, also like a car alarm). Her attempts to communicate can be heard in every corner of the house (but not through headphones if she’s downstairs and you’re upstairs with the door closed). Jingles is a sleek and muscular 8 pounds of furious, cat-shaped angst. There really is no contest here about dominance, which was the reason why The Girl has a kitten instead of a cat. I would rather not wake to a cat fight under my bed at 2 am (again) when the cats run free at night. At the moment, we’re keeping them separated with almost pathological desperation.

What did each cat communicate yesterday? I don’t speak cat. However, from what I could tell, Jingles sent forth a concise “I don’t like you” vibe. Nimoy responded with “I’m harmless.” Jingles rebounded with “I still don’t like you.” Nimoy edged to my side, widened her eyes, and proclaimed she was “cute.” To which Jingles responded with “I will cut you.” About that time, The Boy got tired of sitting on the floor and took Jingles back to his room.

I should also point out Hubby’s role in the feline dramas. Jingles blames him for everything bad that has ever happened to her. Everything. Even if Hubby is the one who saves the cat from – oh, say the time The Girl tried to give her a bath, it’s still his fault that The Girl had the idea in the first place. Jingles knows Mommy (me) wouldn’t do anything so unforgivable as bathe her, and I know she understands the kids are our offspring, so The Girl clearly got that obnoxious tendency from Hubby (it’s how genetics works) and therefore it’s his fault. Until now, The Girl has never been held responsible for her own actions. Neither has The Boy, but his widespread immunity holds.

Now let’s look at Nimoy’s view of Hubby: He has a beard. She likes his beard. It’s fluffy. *bat, bat, bat* Not a big thinker, that one.

While Jingles has declared my pillow to be her new nighttime bed, it’s usually only on the outside edge, away from Hubby, or along the top. I’m really glad we have a king bed so there’s room for the three of us. I added another pillow just for her, on the edge of the bed and shored up by the nightstand. She’s good with this arrangement because I make an effective barrier between Hubby (who is seriously in trouble for this kitten nonsense) and her. As a rule, Nimoy isn’t allowed in The Boy’s room, or mine. I see this as allowing Jingles a couple of safe havens that are hers to allow her to escape the obnoxious furry car alarm and depressurize before she kills something. (Jingles hunts, Nimoy can’t hold onto a ribbon.) So it was a really bad situation last night when Jingles precedes me up the stairs into my room, to find the door was open, and Nimoy was curled up on her pillow!

Jingles jumped up on the bed and froze, staring at the naughty fluffball. I shifted the laundry to one him and grabbed Jingles in the other arm before something unfortunate happened, and began yelling for The Girl and mentioning phrases like ‘child endangerment,’ ‘call feline social services,’ ‘custody battle,’ and ‘going to be grounded’ before starting to count backwards from ten, in German.

Note to parents out there: if you really want to freak out your kids, don’t just count – do it in German. The language itself sounds angry so it really adds punch to those numbers.

The Girl showed up, rescued Nimoy, and I made a big show of changing the pillowcase for Jingles. It’s going to be a long winter.

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