Monthly Archives: February 2016

Kitten Milestones

Nimoy & Yarn

Nimoy passed another milestone in her catlike growth the other night. Hubby, The Boy, and I were watching ZNation because The Girl was out with her friends. We can’t watch anything scary, startling, or involving zombies when she’s around. Just hearing it or walking into the room and seeing what’s on before we can pause it is enough to give her nightmares. Usually we watch in our room and lock the door, but she was gone so we took advantage of being able to use the bigger TV in the family room.

Anyway, The Girl was gone and we were watching TV. Jingles was outside taking advantage of the slightly warmer and dry weather. The Boy was playing with Nimoy, sort of, and suddenly Hubby remembered we’d never put tape on her paws – a grievous oversight.

Anyone who has done this knows what happens. For anyone who doesn’t: suffice it to say cats don’t like tape on their paws. I’m not sure if it over-stimulates their senses or what, but they react differently to this little problem than others they may be faced with.

Putting a harness on a cat who isn’t used to it is a similar challenge. Most cats interpret that harness (weighs all of a few ounces) as being a five hundred pound load that’s been dumped on them. They fall over, lie down and refuse to move, slink along the floor with their back ‘weighed down’ in a concave shape, or even drag themselves along using only their front legs as if their back is broken. Take the harness off and they’re fine. It’s magic!

Now tape on feet: it doesn’t hurt the cat, but I’m not convinced the cat knows that. It’s sort of like putting a harness on, disabling your loving feline. Sort of. It depends on the cat. I think of it as short-circuiting their traction control so they have to operate with a warning light irritating them.

So The Boy grabbed Nimoy in a snuggle on her back, feet accessible for Hubby. Nimoy doesn’t care for this as a rule, but for some reason she allowed it this time. Odd considering it was The Boy holding her when she doesn’t trust him at all (with good reason.) So Hubby applied and removed the tape a few times on his hand to remove adhesive so it wouldn’t be too sticky. We don’t want to be cruel after all. Then he stuck a small piece of tape covering her cute little jelly-bean toes on her back foot, then the opposite front foot.

Nimoy immediately started shaking her feet around trying to get it off. I collapsed into a chair laughing. Tape turned our kitten epileptic. The Boy set her on the floor to watch her try to walk, and she didn’t disappoint. Some cats refuse to walk with tape on their feet, others just do it weirdly. Nimoy chose the latter option. Forward progress was hindered by the incessant need to shake her feet to try to get the tape off. Then she tried to outrun the sensation, but only went five feet before she had to stop and shake again. Five foot sprint, shake those feet, five foot sprint, shake, and so on. She managed to leave the family room, so we sent The Boy to get her. It’s a tribute to this cat’s dimness that she allowed her tormenter to pick her up again and carry her back. Normal cats would hide at this point.

Hubby removed the tape and scratched her ears, and all was forgotten. It takes so little with this one.

Okay, so that was fun. Then The Girl came home. Was she outraged by our torment of her kitten? No, she demanded to see the show herself because I foolishly forgot to record it.

Round two went much the same way except The Girl saved her ‘baby’ before she ran off. Nimoy was kind enough to purr for Hubby after he removed the tape, completely forgetting he was the one who put it on there in the first place.

A couple of things struck me as odd about Nimoy’s introduction to tape. First, for a cat that’s notoriously vocal and loud, I’m surprised we didn’t get complaining whines when holding her on her back, nor was a peep of any volume, pitch, or duration uttered while she was ‘seizing.’ It’s out of character. Nimoy also doesn’t hesitate to bite and most of the time forgets to retract her claws, yet all parties involved came through uninjured. Blood should have been spilled.

Then we reminisced about when Darth Jingles was a kitten and we did this same thing to her. Jingles has a completely different outlook on life, let’s just put that reminder out there. She did the ‘broken back’ routine when she had a harness on for nearly a year, even though we started training her to walk on a leash from the day we brought her home. Nimoy, in contrast, thinks it’s attacking her and tries to bite it. Add a leash, and it becomes a toy. Try to lead her on the leash, and all hell breaks loose – as in “Oh hell no!” She lies down and you have to drag her. Or you can just wait a few minutes until she forgets the personal liberty infraction, then she hops up and you can guide her wherever.

Back to tape: when Jingles was little we did the same thing. She noticed immediately that she had something on her paws and it wasn’t the floor. The Boy set her down to walk and she froze. She took one tentative step, stopped, shook her ‘defective’ paws, took another step, stopped, shook her paws again. Then walked off. No drama. Jingles had a sort of “F— it, this is my life now” attitude. Given the over-reaction to the harness, we expected more. We tried tape on Jingles’ paws a couple of more times, hoping for some reaction, but nothing. No more shaking the paws, she just walked away with dignity. She was not going to reward this childish behavior by acknowledging it. Even as a kitten Jingles had charisma.

Although Nimoy plays with yarn. Jingles was half-hearted on the yarn thing, and only if you were holding the other end. As soon as you stopped playing, she stopped. Nimoy takes her war with yarn to new heights. A ball that started off as being stolen from my closet (attached to a blanket I’m crocheting in my spare time), unraveled its way (with help) to the hall, down the stairs, across the entry and around the foot of the table there, back across the entry to the stairs leading to the basement, and (this is my favorite part) got buried in the litterbox.

I awarded that win to Nimoy and detached the yarn string from the blanket. I have more.

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Something Wrong With Nimoy

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There is something fundamentally wrong with Nimoy. The Girl suspects she’s inbred. Just a little, like her grandparents were cousins or something.

First, her ears don’t flatten normally. Cats flatten their ears when they’re unhappy, but I’ve never seen Nimoy do it. She doesn’t like it when Jingles whaps her; she hisses on occasion, but never flattens her ears. She sort of does when she’s “hunting,” but it’s not the same. Her ears don’t flatten in the normal sense; they rotate sideways so she looks like she’s wearing one of those wide-brimmed flat WWI helmets. And her expression isn’t one of excitement or concentration, she looks concerned. Also maybe a little dimwitted.

Plus, this cat doesn’t know what to do with a box. Oh, sure, The Box Of Judgment is fine, she knows how to perch in there, but all other boxes are beyond her. She’ll climb them if it’s handy, pull something out of them – particularly packing peanuts to bat around and leave all over the house. There are a ton of packing peanuts and socks stolen from drawers left cracked which she hoards in her stash under The Girl’s bed. Weird.

I found a perfect, Nimoy-sized box the other night. I showed her, and she was unimpressed. She tried to get excited about it, I mean she bit it a couple of times. It didn’t do anything or smell or taste interesting, so she tried to walk away. I caught her and put her in the box. Nimoy just sat there staring at me, as if to say “Now what?”

Sigh. So I picked her up and rearranged her into a little sleeping ball and laid her back in the box. I tucked in her tail. She proceeded to bite her tail, but she stayed in the box.

So far so good. I got ready for bed and laid down beside her, the box sitting between my spot and Hubby’s for whenever he came to bed.

Seeing it was bedtime, Nimoy jumped out of the box and stretched out in Hubby’s spot. She even put her head against his pillow. Box aren’t for sleeping in, they’re for sitting in judgment of the house.

She is similarly confused by baskets. Except when you upend an empty laundry basket over her, then she accepts her confinement without complaint. She moves it around some, like a little Dalek, but mostly she just sits there. No playing, just a time out. Jingles considers laundry baskets to be toys. Any other type of basket is just a fancy box and is treated accordingly. We’ve held Nimoy while Darth Jingles played in a basket, but Nimoy just didn’t get it.

I seriously don’t understand this cat.

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Misnamed Cats (And The Box Of Judgment)

cats and box of judgment

 

The renaming of cats that began in December has continued, and it’s becoming absurd. It started with The Girl rechristening Darth Jingles as Darth Huffy because she’s in a snit about the new kitten, Nimoy. Nimoy is Star Trek based instead of Star Wars, so she was briefly renamed Jar Jar. It should have stopped there, but it didn’t. The Boy got in on it, offering up alternative monikers for his cat as Darth Grumbles, Q.T. McWhiskers, and Remington. Nimoy has gone through Winky (After the Harry Potter House Elf or more likely the derivative of Tinky-Winky from The Girl’s once favorite TV show: The Teletubbies. She’s now embarrassed about this obsession, as well she should be). Nimoy was briefly Nermal (grey tabby in the Garfield comics) also and I almost wished that one had stuck. Swinging to the weird again, the kitten passed through monikers such as Lemon Drop, Meringue, Yelly-bean (because she’s still so vocal), Stupid, Sweetie (as in “Hello, Sweetie,” the catchphrase of River Song from Doctor Who. I’d be good with that one too.), and Tiny Cat. Sadly, Tiny Cat is the one that’s most common now.

 

This kitten is going to have some serious identity issues. Well, she would, except I suspect she’s too dim to realize what’s happening. As you can imagine, she doesn’t answer to any name, but then again, she’s a cat. Felines aren’t known for coming when called unless there’s food involved.

 

The Girl has also taken to gushing about the adorableness of her kitten. There’s no point, she’s a kitten and therefore adorable by definition; waxing poetic about it doesn’t accomplish anything. Regardless, we get daily plus statements about how The-Cat-Formerly-Known-As-Nimoy, or (^><^), is ultra-special in some way. Well, special as in the unflattering implications of the adjective perhaps… Yes, Nimoy is special. Aside from that, frequently heard remarks go like this:

 

The Girl: Look at the markings on her face. She’s like a tiny cheetah.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: Her stripes are really pretty.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: And look at her color – she’s not gray and she’s not brown, she…camouflage.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: Those tiny pad on her paws, they’re so cute. And her teeth and claws are dainty but sharp.

Me: Yes, she’s a cat.

And so on. Actually The Girl is tired of me pointing out her kitten isn’t really special in any way, any positive way, so she’s started directing her observations elsewhere.

The Girl: She’s so sweet. Look at the way she bats at my nose.

The Boy: With her claws out, yeah, sweet. My cat’s better.

The Girl: She loves sleeping on the back of the chair and snuggling my head.

The Boy: Again: claws. My cat’s better.

The Girl: And she’s not a picky eater. She eats dry cat food or moist. Even the dry no one else likes.

The Boy: And she has semi-permanent gas, fantastic. My cat’s better.

Do you see a theme? She’s turned her attention to Hubby recently, who has a chronic habit of humoring her.

The Girl: Look, she’s –

Hubby: Uh-huh. (Continues typing on computer without looking or paying attention.)

 

Now Jingles responds to her Girl’s doting over the kitten differently. Very differently. As in ‘if looks could kill’ sort of different. To be fair, if The Girl or The Boy aren’t involved, Jingles is learning to tolerate Nimoy. (Nimoy is still the kitten’s official name, I just haven’t heard it used recently.)

 

We’re seeing a lot of cat wrestling now. Cat wrestling as in two cats wrestling each other, not as in someone dressed as a cowboy and roping cats. Oh, wait, that’s cat wrangling. Part of the problem is having two cats. Another part of the problem is we have only one “Box Of Judgment” and both want to sit in it and gaze with ultimate power over the household. FYI, the “Box Of Judgment” is a cardboard box that lays on its side and moves around the family room so it can be in the worst possible place at any given time. There is power there.

 

Anyway, Jingles pins Nimoy easily, I think that’s a given considering she’s three times the kitten’s size and weight and an accomplished hunter. So Jingles pins Nimoy, whaps her a couple of times on top of her head, then sits back to wait. Nimoy lays there on her back and sizes up the situation. Does it cross her mind that things are not in her favor and she should – just as a passing thought – be submissive to the irritable shadow hovering over her? Not usually. Nimoy reaches up tentatively as if to whap Jingles back. She’s yet to make contact with that ploy, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. As soon as she reaches up, Jingles quickly whaps her three times, then sits back to wait again. It typically takes several rounds of this before Nimoy decides it’s not working out in her favor, wiggles away, and scampers off. At some point she’s going to learn not to push Jingles over the line between playing and irritability. Unfortunately, Nimoy’s earned the name change to ‘Stupid’ (through pure observation), so it might take a while for her to learn to stop baiting the dark, cat-shaped shadow who rules this house. At least it’ll be entertaining while she learns.

 

 

 

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