Monthly Archives: September 2016

Chocolate Mint vs Jingles

Jingles is part of that 20-30% of cats that are immune to catnip. We didn’t think to test Nimoy before she took off, so when/if we can get her furry little butt back, I’ll toss her in a bush of catnip. She’s already borderline insane, I can’t wait to see what she’d be like high. Anyway, while Jingles doesn’t care for catnip, and The Girl has grown chocolate mint and spearmint in the garden for years, this last week Darth Jingles suddenly noticed the mint. Sort of.

The Girl has sprigs of mint growing in pretty little bottles to pass on to friends. These are chocolate mint, if you care at all. Also, catnip is in the mint family. I imagine you see what’s coming.

She had them in her bathroom window, up out of the way where no cat ventures so they weren’t an issue. But one rainy night when Jingles was in her room comforting her with cat-like reassurances that she doesn’t need another cat and we should just stop looking for the one we lost, The Girl had her mint in her window for some undisclosed reason. It probably had something to do with her brother.

Anyway, this cat walks by and through the chocolate mint in my front flower beds nearly every day without paying attention. Celery (our adopted stray) does too – no notice of it, other than a passing appreciation perhaps that it’s a decent place to hide. By the way, mint is advertised as a great ground cover. Why yes, it is! It also covers the lawn and the chocolate mint has launched an attack on the juniper that used to be nearly two feet away.

Back to the other night. Jingles wanted to look out the window and brushed against the mint. I should mention the mint barely has any smell until you touch it. Touching it is what releases the scent, and wow!. This plant engages in chemical warfare. So when Jingles brushed up against a tender sprouted leaf – the young plant released a puff of a sort of mint smell. (Other people say it smells like mint, I personally think chocolate mint smells a bit like a nice strain of marijuana, but that’s me. Wishful thinking perhaps.)

Back to Jingles. She brushed against the mint, stopped, sniffed, squinted, sniffed more, brushed against it again, sniffed again, and settled down to make herself comfortable by her new best friend. The Girl was in giggles when evil kitty wrapped a protective paw around the bottle and nuzzled the plant. The giggles ceased with the experimental nip. Not that it mattered, Jingles isn’t a vegetarian and this didn’t change her opinion on the subject. One nip was enough to satisfy her curiosity and she resumed the occasional whisker-brush to keep the scent coming.

I don’t know how much scent one small cutting can produce, but The Girl rotated through her cuttings so each had a chance to be fondled by her cat. It wasn’t so they’d keep producing the aroma for Jingles, she just wanted to be able to tell her friends when she presented them with their new little plants that each had been personally approved by pure feline evil. Now we have to hold each up to the idiot cat for some attention and hope they survive. I can totally see Nimoy eating them. I suspect The Girl had the same thought because the mint bottles are back in her bathroom window – with the bromeliad – out of sight/reach while we wait for the return of the little idiot who took off a few weeks ago. The Girl is content to keep Pokemon-ing and looking for the missing feline. Maybe she should take a sprig of mint with her.

How catnip gets cats high:

http://www.seeker.com/how-catnip-gets-cats-high-1792496502.html

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Nimoy is MIA

A little over a week ago we had a mishap. It started innocently enough, The Girl went Pokemon Go -ing (I assume I’m allowed to make that a verb by now) and took a gym. I know, who cares? Well, she took the gym from a pair of 13-year-old boys, who turned around and took it back – killing her Pokemon in the process. This shouldn’t matter. She’s five years older, and more mature anyway. But it’s apparently a Pokemon thing, so it mattered. She went back out right after coming home and retook the gym again, killing the offending Pokemon in return. Whatever. The same scenario repeated with another trainer The Girl didn’t have anything strong enough to take on the next day and she lost. So the following day, last Tuesday, when she went out Pokemon-ing, she put a harness on Nimoy (who is getting a little chubby and could use the exercise the game is designed for) and took her kitten for a walk. I gather she decided she needed moral support for her venture this time.

Nimoy is not nearly as enamored with Pokemon Go as The Girl is, let’s just get that little factoid out in the open right up front. Neither is Jingles, but Jingles is an active cat, so The Girl doesn’t feel the need to take her for walks to enforce an exercise regime on her. Also, Jingles dislikes her harness and leash, but long ago learned there was little point to fighting it. Nimoy isn’t that smart.

I’m going to take a moment to enlighten non-cat owners on the subject of cats and leashes. Yes, you can walk a cat on a leash. Unless you train them to accept this form of torture from kittenhood – early kittenhood – it’s more trouble than it’s worth. You also can’t just clip a leash on a collar, they’ll squirm right out of it and take off like a bat out of hell. No, you have to get a harness, like for ferrets. And it may seem cruel, but cinch that harness down pretty snug because cats are slightly more slippery than most people give them credit for. Even the extra furry ones.

The first time you put a harness on a cat/kitten, they tend to fall over as if you’ve just broken their back. Honestly, a harness doesn’t weigh eight hundred pounds, but you’d never know by watching a cat. Don’t cave in. If you take the harness off, they win. If you  walk away and leave them lying there, (view it as a sort of work-in-progress of “Beaten Cat Performance Art”) eventually they get tired of not having an audience and low crawl away. Also, cats have fairly short attention spans and – hey, there was that speck of dust that floated by….

The point is that they’ll get used to the harness. Then you’ll repeat the process when you add the leash. Then start over again when you’re holding one end of the leash. The look of indignation on Jingle’s face when she realized we expected to lead was priceless. We’ve since learned our lesson. She leads and we just sort of stop following if we disagree with her chosen direction. We stand there while she tugs on the leash and allow her to change her mind then resume following her in our acceptably submissive manner.

Nimoy was a whole other matter. The Girl was still doing the “gently tugging her along” thing. Most of Nimoy’s experience with her harness and leash wasn’t for going for walks, it was to allow The Girl (occasionally me or Hubby) to hold her with confidence she wouldn’t run off. I suspect, since Nimoy doesn’t actually care for being outside, that it was more of a comfort for her than us – you know, that we wouldn’t run off because she was attached to us. At least I always suspected that was how Nimoy saw it. It was her security blanket. Leave it to The Girl to prove me wrong.

So The Girl and idiot cat went for a walk. We got a frantic call that the cat slipped her harness and disappeared. Why? Was she scared off by a virtual Pokemon? It wouldn’t have surprised me, but no. It was the garbage truck. Something any of us should have been able to predict. Great. The cat wasn’t the idiot this time around, it was us.

The scene of the crime was only a couple of streets over, so Hubby made The Boy put actual clothes back on. (The Boy comes home from school and get straight into an old t-shirt and threadbare sweats from maybe five years ago because they’re comfy. They’re also rags and he’s not allowed to leave the house in them.) Hubby drove around, The Boy and Girl walked opposite directions, and I circled our cul-de-sac, all calling for Nimoy. I caught every neighbor. The Girl caught Jingles. The Boy caught a bad attitude, which caught Hubby’s attention. No one caught Nimoy.

Side note: since she was wearing a harness, she wasn’t wearing her collar. I assumed she was chipped, but after checking two days later at the animal shelter, they looked up her file and told me she wasn’t. How they managed to charge me for every other imaginable thing on a two-page long checklist and miss that is beyond me, but there you have it. The Girl began to panic in earnest at that point and printed out pictures of her generic tabby. Now her walks are to make sure signs are still up. I can see this going well.

nimoy

Here’s a picture of a cat with no distinctive markings. She’s a really fluffy tabby that doesn’t answer to anything in particular, although we like to call her Nimoy. Hobbies include eating, sleeping all day, unrolling balls of yarn, and walking across your face at 3 am. Also, she’s paranoid about bath tubs but jumps in the toilet, and doesn’t get along with other cats or kids. Don’t try to adopt her because she’s litter-box trained in theory, but occasionally misses. She’s not graceful, so if a cat meeting this rough description falls off your car, fence, or roof, it’s probably ours and most of the house would like her back.

 

 

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