Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Tail Not Hers

We have dramas, again. First: rain. Now I like rain. Well, not freezing rain, but a nice downward mist or refreshing summer rain – even if it’s bordering on tropical storm variety – or a spring rain that brings the promise of a new season of gardening… yeah, I sort of like rain. I prefer not to be out in it too long, and the cats prefer not to be out in it at all. So, rain, this means Jingles was inside being all angsty. That’s the second problem: the angst of a cat trapped indoors by her mortal enemy: water.

I have a theory on why Jingles tolerates Nimoy. Sure, I know the plan was to get a kitten so there wouldn’t be any question about dominance. Well, there shouldn’t have been any question about dominance, but Nimoy is a little dim, as I’ve mentioned before. I don’t think it’s the “she’s a kitten, I’m dominant, therefore I can afford to be gracious” attitude that Jingles has so much as “there’s something clearly not quite right with this one.” It’s just not polite to pick on the mentally disabled; apparently that extends to felines.

Nimoy means well. She tries very hard to keep me from falling into the toilet – she knows from experience it’s unpleasant. And while Jingles likes to ‘play’ with me while I take a bath (I have to take bubble baths if she’s going to join me so she can bat at the bubbles), Nimoy seems genuinely concerned about my welfare sitting in all that water for so long. She paces along the edge, throwing worried looks my direction and peering into the depths to see if the tub really is full of water. Every now and then Nimoy reaches out to try to catch my shoulder or arm and pull me to safety. I really wish she’d stop  because she uses claws to hook me and reel me in. For that matter, I’d be fine taking a bath on my own, but I’m not trusted alone in the bathroom. It’s kind of like having a toddler again.

The problem that arose the other day when Jingles was inside because of the rain, and angsty, was this: Nimoy persisted in playing with a tail that was not her own. The owner of said tail quickly lost patience, then the beatings began. For the most part I sat back and watched Darth Jingles set Nimoy straight on tail-etiquette, but after an hour I decided to intervene. Yes, an hour. No, you don’t get to lecture me on my slow response time, focus instead on the persistence of this absurd kitten.

I mean technically she’s still a kitten, but she’s eight months old now; at a certain point they’re supposed to learn things. When the grumpy black cat reaches out a paw and whaps her on the nose, Nimoy could conclude she did something to earn the rebuke. Maybe pause to think – skip back on the 8-track in that thick skull of hers and review the data – what did she do that made Jingles feel the need to beat her? Don’t blame Jingles either. Occasionally it really is the victim’s fault. If I were beating her that’d be different, but this is cat on cat action here. Jingles has patience, but it can’t be endless or Nimoy would never learn. I will pamper and spoil my cats, but only to a point. No paws on the kitchen counters or table, or pantry or cabinets (remind me to tell you about how we learned that one from experience). Jingles made those concessions in kittenhood and everywhere else in the entire house seems to be fair game.

Darth Jingles can’t be held responsible for the other bits of drama, instead The Girl steps up to take her place in center stage. First, a reminder: I’ve mentioned our invisible spiders before. They’re small to medium sized arachnids that happen to be the exact same color as the carpet. On the wall, they stand out – not like a black spider on a white wall, but enough. It’s that time of year where spiders are once again on the move, and because the temperature keeps bouncing up and down, some are finding their merry way indoors.

The arachnid migration is causing a problem in a few ways: primarily in that The Girl is terrified of spiders and can’t bring herself to step on them even with shoes on. She’s eighteen now and we still have to save her regularly from being trapped forever in a room by a spider lingering a foot away from the only door. Worse is when she sees the spider, screams, scares it causing it to lose its footing, we come trudging to her rescue with a tissue only to find the source of all horror has disappeared. The Girl (now supervised with the promise of immediate intervention should the creature appear again) sprints from her room and refuses to enter it again until she’s found Jingles and confined the cat to her bedroom for two hours to make sure she’s had sufficient time to hunt, kill, and devour the spider. Then she’ll sleep on the sofa in the living room anyway just in case. I’d like her reasoning on why the living room is safer, but I’m honestly afraid to point out the hole in her theory.

A similar and related problem with the new influx of spiders is Nimoy. Now when I say influx, I should clarify, I see maybe one a week. We’re not talking infestation here, just more than mid-winter levels of legs in the house. Now, our darling kitten has taken on a new tendency that has much of the household on edge: staring. Not just staring, she stares, wide-eyed and startled, at a spot on the wall just above your head or over one shoulder. And keeps staring at that spot. Now however much I tell myself I’m being paranoid because I’ve fallen for this before, she won’t stop until I break down and look.

Nothing. Just wall.

Either Nimoy finds the texture of our walls absolutely fascinating, or she’s hallucinating. It’s possible she’s toying with us, much like Jingles does with the occasional mouse, but I doubt she has the intellect. Given The Girl has seen spiders recently, she’s completely freaked out by this new behavior in her kitten.

It gets worse.

The Girl isn’t the only one who’s discovered bugs, Nimoy has too. You guessed it, she discovered the invisible spiders. Now Jingles did this once upon a time – spent time seeming to play with an empty spot in the middle of the living room floor. Closer inspection might reveal something we didn’t want to find, so after the first discovery we all decided closer inspection wasn’t necessary – Jingles picks up her toys. Unfortunately Jingles is stealthier in her maturity and we don’t see her doing this anymore so we sort of forgot about it. Extra unfortunate is that while Nimoy isn’t known for picking up her toys in terms of tidiness, she does pick them up – to move them to a more convenient location. Her claws get caught in the carpet.

Invisible spiders become visible on tile.

Sigh. That’d be fine if Nimoy actually picked them up to move them, because I bet that’d be the end of it. I mean given the relative size of a cat and a spider, I can guess the final result. No. That’s no fun, she herds her new toy to a better playground where she can play with it easier – and The Girl can see it easier. The Girl shrieks, sending Nimoy scampering off to hide and leaving a frantically sprinting spider unattended. Not once have these spiders still been either findable or reachable by the time Hubby or I arrived for damage control.

The Girl is freaking out about all the spiders in the house. All? Hubby got clever. He floated the idea to our little bundle of anxiety that there’s only one, and it’s toying with Nimoy as much as Nimoy’s toying with it. Intellectually they’re probably evenly matched. She wanted to believe that, so she did.

Then the highly improbable happened: Nimoy actually made her first kill. Intentional kill. I suspect she learned not to bite spiders before because it puts a swift and premature end to play-time, and she’s never exhibited hunting behavior so she was never in it for the kill. Any spider mortality at Nimoy’s paws & jaws was purely accidental. This time though …. If The Girl was there it wouldn’t have happened, but she was busy and The Boy was happy to not only recognize Nimoy’s changed behavior, but leave her to it. Nimoy corralled and herded her toy spider for nearly an hour before cornering it and pouncing. The cat may be a little dim, but she’s dedicated. Then she sat by her prey and meowed to get our attention. Of course we fawned over her, rewarding the behavior and all, forgetting Hubby’s story that there was only one spider in the house and Nimoy had just killed it. Another apparently moving in a couple of days later didn’t settle well with The Girl. I haven’t seen the newcomer yet. It was gone by the time I answered my theoretically adult daughter’s high-pitched shriek of dismay.

Speaking of rain, two cats trapped inside, and a high-pitched shriek of dismay, I need to go rescue something from something. Reminder: we only have one invisible spider in the house. One. It lives in the living room and plays tag with the kitten. One spider. That should keep The Girl from sleeping on my couch.

 

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