I’m having a sort of cat-related breakdown. Let’s take a look at my feline assets here:
Indoor cats: 1
Outdoor cats: 1
Indoor/outdoor cats: 1
1+1+1=3. We have three cats. We’re not really supposed to, I only agreed to two. The second actually required some persuasion from Hubby and The Girl. By way of clarification: the indoor cat is Nimoy, the indoor/outdoor cat is Darth Jingles, and the outdoor cat is Celery – a stray the girl brought home and the homes in the cul-de-sac have been feeding for a couple of years now. She’s not technically ours, she’s a stray. She’s also skiddish as hell and allows only a handful of people to come with in striking/petting distance. Of that handful of people, three live in my house. Also, we’re the ones who provided a cozy covered box on our porch with a towel nest inside that she snuggle-slept in out of the wind, rain, and snow all winter. She gets cat food and leftovers. And pets. And helps me weed, although ‘help’ is subjective. Celery doesn’t know it, but she’s going to get catnip planted this summer. Jingles doesn’t like it, but she might so we’re planting it.
Setting aside our stray, I’m fascinated by the differences between Darth Jingles and Nimoy. Jingles is a really good cat. She’s well behaved and was easy to train as a kitten. She’s smart. Nimoy is a dimwit and has to be taught everything multiple times before it even begins to sink in to her tiny brain.
Jingles is afraid of vacuums but the blender doesn’t even warrant an ear-twitch, Nimoy is the opposite. Jingles goes outside day and night, Nimoy has only recently decided sitting in the window is safe. In fact, she lay on the window sill a couple of weeks ago, watching and sniffing all the new and interesting varieties of pollen floating in the air. A breeze kicked up, startled her, and she wouldn’t go near a window for days. Nimoy doesn’t like bags, paper or plastic, and only recently discovered boxes might be okay as forts. She’s still testing that theory. I can bring Jingles running from anywhere in the house by loudly shaking a plastic bag open.
On the subject of outdoors, Nimoy couldn’t go out if she wanted to because she hasn’t figured out how the front door works yet. Years ago, when Darth Jingles was little, Hubby hung bells on our front door. Okay, I did, but it was for Christmas and I took them down again. He put them back up. He taught Jingles to bat at the dangling bells to signal that she wanted to go outside. Jingles not only learned that lesson, but reinforcement taught her a more refined version. It isn’t a request, it’s how the door works. First, the door has to be unlocked by one of her humans standing ready. So she has to lead us there. Guests don’t count, although she’s learned to sneak in and out with them. Then she has to actually ring the bells, not just touch them. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t want her to go out, if it’s late or we know it’s going to rain for example, so we remove the bells. At this point, the door is broken. Meowing will not fix the door. The door will be broken until morning. Hubby thinks this is all very clever; no doubt Jingles thinks it’s annoying, but that’s the way the door works. It works against us too. If we don’t want her to necessarily go out, but we didn’t remove the bells and pass close enough to the front door for her to ring them, we have to let her out. It’s the rules. Nimoy doesn’t understand the bell system, although Celery seems to. She hears those bells ring from outside and is there waiting because the door will open and Jingles will launch herself out of the door. If the door unlocks without bells, she doesn’t have to step aside for Jingle’s inevitable catapult down the steps.
Anyway, Nimoy carries off socks and hides them under beds, sofas, chairs, the coffee table, or wherever else she favors to hide that week. Jingles chews on paper, preferably homework. True story: three years ago I had to write a note to The Girl’s Chinese teacher explaining why her carefully written out homework was mangled almost beyond recognition. Jingles was still a kitten at the time, but she still hasn’t outgrown the taste for homework. Also receipts. Last year I discovered her palate has expanded to include tax returns. Nothing in an envelope though, she doesn’t like the taste of the USPS.
Both cats have a phobia about me falling in the toilet and insist on lying on my feet to anchor me in my vulnerable state. Nimoy is significantly more dedicated to the task, whining to get into the bathroom every time I close the door with her on the other side. She comes from other rooms when she hears that bathroom door close, running in a panic to get to me and prevent a disaster. Unfortunately, Nimoy is more likely to cause a toilet-related disaster as she’s jumped into previously used toilets three times now. Never with me, I’m careful, but I’m clearly living with people who don’t pay attention to mentally deficient felines. Curiosity killed the cat, cat.
Nimoy might be occasionally problematic because she’s got ADD. The diagnosis is going around; there’s no reason kittens can’t have it. It’s either that or she’s chronically stupid and I’m trying to be fair about her condition. Also, I’m seriously reconsidering her name. It’s not that she doesn’t deserve the honor of being named after a Star Trek great, but it’s become almost a sick joke. Jumping in toilets (and getting baths in the sink), stealing socks, being afraid of wind, snuggling up next to Hubby’s butt to sleep with her nose practically right up his – you get the picture I’m sure. Nimoy loves smells. Any smells. Burp or break wind her direction and you’ve made a new friend. I’m not a fan of that sort of comedy and now I’m living with it. I’m sure it’s also why Jingles refuses to acknowledge her as cat enough to hang out with and why I hesitate before calling her by name. It just seems wrong. “I just farted in Nimoy’s face so she’s happy.” See what I mean?
Jingles watches our activities and projects, but only helps when asked. Nimoy helps us do everything. She’s constantly underfoot and Hubby stopped trying not to step on her. She helps us build Lego projects, she helped me sew The Girl’s prom dress (a whole other story), she helps prepare meals and do dishes, she helps do laundry and household chores. It’s tedious. Then she helps us sleep at night by walking over us, bouncing back and forth between beds and pillows, and putting her nose right in our faces to make sure we’re still breathing. Never hubby if he’s snoring, that’s apparently obvious and doesn’t require checking. Jingles helps me sleep at night every now and then by simply coming home. Otherwise I worry. Then she sometimes sleeps on the pillow beside me reserved just for her or the down comforter folded over to be extra fluffy over my feet. Or with The Boy, but he doesn’t appreciate it. Besides, there’s nothing like having a little black cat curled up next to your head when you fall asleep. It’s peaceful. Until 2 am when the extra-fluffy tabby wanders in during her bed hopping rounds and your pillow-mate sits up and starts hissing.
Yeah, two cats, yay. I need to find a permanent home for Celery before she becomes official, I won’t survive a third.
P.S.: Nimoy is deeply offended by zippers. Someone want to tell me how that works?