Category Archives: Teenagers

10K, Tossing The Cat Out, & A Nap

There are a couple of days left in the NaNoWriMo challenge. I think this is the first Thanksgiving in years that I didn’t write at all, which sucked because I had to make up for it the day after and felt completely brain damaged by the attempt. I have almost 10,000 words left to write. It’s doable, but I’m not used to cutting it this close on my goals. It makes me uneasy, and that doesn’t help the creative process.

Another thing that doesn’t help the creative process is The Boy getting his driver’s license. Add to that his plans to add some pep to my old car that has been kept around for the kids, and I’m fit to be tied. I thought the car was fairly peppy before, so I shudder to think what he means by “add more pep” to it. Something I think I’d rather not dwell on.

Darth Jingles has taken on a couple new habits that caught my attention. She likes to sneak outside when The Boy heads off to school. Being a black cat, she hides well in the shadows and she has the sort of pep in her tail The Boy is probably shooting for in the car.
Generally, Jingles has her collar on, but The Girl likes to take it off when the cat comes in. It’s a treat and Jingles loves to be Ninja Cat without her bell on. Plus she enjoys her humans’ pets and scratches more when we can rub her neck for her too. Spoiled cat.

When Jingles goes out without her collar, lately she’s come back in within a couple of hours. Then begs to go out again. It’s like she realizes she’s “naked” and gets the cat version of self-conscious, prompting her to come home. Our cat is a prude.

That’s one new oddity. The second is now that the weather’s turning, and we have regular frosts and even light snows, she’s delaying her pleas to go out until the sun comes up and melts the frost. Really? She has a black fur coat but she’s waiting for that little temperature boost? This is particularly annoying to me because I get up to boot The Boy out the door, then I go huddle up in bed again and write or read. Having the cat interrupt me either when I’m furiously typing to document some transient inspiration, or at a really good point in my book, is really irritating. It’s never when I’m staring at a blank page and trying to figure out what to write. It’s never at the end of a chapter when I’m reading. And she never has figured out how to wait patiently for me to finish typing a sentence, let alone complete a thought.

To that end, if Jingles doesn’t leave the house with The Boy now, she gets booted to The Girl’s room. Or that was the plan as of a week ago because of my late start to the NaNoWriMo challenge. The problem with that popped up the day after I initiated the new policy: The Girl.

I mentioned Jingles isn’t patient when she wants something. Food, her collar, attention, whatever. Neither is The Girl. She came stomping into my room at something like 730 in the morning, upset that I shoved the cat in her room and Jingles woke her wanting out. My train of thought immediately derailed, inner peace escaping for hours to come.

Now cats can be trained to a certain extent, and people accept that there are some things that are simply beyond a cat’s ability to process. Appropriate hours to eat, sleep, and play, for example. I think most people are also of the opinion that an 18-year-old college student should be trainable, at least more than a cat. I assure you this isn’t necessarily the case.

Plan C was to simply close the doors on Jingles, mine and The Girl’s. This left her free to roam the house and if she really wanted outside, she could approach Hubby with her request. You’d think I beat her. Jingles wasn’t cool with this plan. It left her with Hubby and no witnesses. Sure, she had the entire house (minus two rooms) she could wander and hide in to avoid Hubby, but that’s not good enough. He’s in her house and she doesn’t have anyone to cater to her. She could walk up and meow at him. He’s pretty fluid in bratty cat and would understand the request. No, it doesn’t work like that in her walnut-brain. Her interaction is with her family, not the “Great Furry One” and she won’t budge on that edict.

We like to imagine Jingles styles hubby “The Great Furry One” because he has an enviable beard and an even more enviable ponytail. Seriously, it’s sickeningly thick with almost perfect waves. One of The Girl’s friends calls him Fabio.

Moving on, I think the biggest relief from the end of the month won’t be the end of NaNoWriMo, it’ll be the end of the battle with Jingles. She gets a little, um, bitchy when she doesn’t get her way. I know that’s technically a canine term, but it applies to this particular feline. Also, then I’ll have time (in theory) to start Christmas decorations.

First, another 10,000 words. Then a nap.

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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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Midnight Madness

Let me tell you about Friday morning. Hubby wakes at midnight after hearing a crash. I sleep with earplugs, and a face-mask softly blowing air at me, so I don’t hear anything, including him jumping out of bed like I did something obscene to him.

He quietly listens to the house for signs of trouble or an intruder. Nothing.

Nimoy is immediately suspect, but she’s groggily looking at him from her place between our knees. For the moment, the kitten is off the hook.

Analyzing his memory of the sound, he thinks it sounds like glass breaking plus something else. Some sort of impact. And he can’t tell if it came from inside or outside. It’s a beautiful and cool night so our bedroom windows are open. He looks and doesn’t see anything.

Getting what passes for dressed at midnight, Hubby checks on both kids, they’re asleep. Jingles is awake but on the foot of The Girl’s bed where she frequently is when home at night. She always wakes when we check on the kids.

He wanders the house: checking all windows, doors, and closets – just because. Nothing.

Hubby goes outside and walks around the house. Nothing. He looks over neighbor’s fences – nothing.

Giving it up as a hallucination, Hubby comes back to bed.

Fast forward to four in the morning. The Boy tiptoes into our room, wakes Hubby, and informs him of some problem. He sits up.

Now I didn’t wake before with all Hubby’s activity, but the Motherhood-sense that something is amiss jars me fully awake. We follow The Boy back to his room. He woke to play an early round of video gaming with friends and discovered the splintered shards of a Corelle plate scattered about his room. They’re tough table settings, but when they do break, it’s like a war zone.

Hubby recognized the incident immediately. When he checked on The Boy, he left the bedroom and hall light off, and had to walk in to the darkened room to make sure the lanky teen was in fact in his bed. He’s so skinny he kind of blends into the sheets and pillows. It’s a miracle Hubby didn’t step on any of the microscopic (or larger) glass shards between the door and the bed.

So we figured Jingles, who likes to sleep on The Boy’s top bunk – in fact it’s hers, must have either used the freestanding shelves that are part of The Boy’s desk to jump to or from her top bunk perch and knocked the plate off that The Boy shouldn’t have had in there in the first place and it broke upon hitting the main desk surface in almost the exact center of the room. Thankfully the plate was empty. Unfortunately he had a box fan on in his corner so the smaller particles got widely distributed. I found tiny bits of Corelle from the wall behind his door to his closet doors, bed to the bookshelves under his window – in short, everywhere.

Yes, I vacuumed my son’s room at four am. Then he got out an edge vacuum and crawled around on his knees to cover the perimeter of the room. Hubby collected the big pieces, then had a handheld vacuum and sucked sparkling Corelle confetti from The Boy’s keyboard and behind his monitors. Thanks to the fan for that one we think.

The Boy really likes darkness when he sleeps, so he has a blanket hung from the top bunk to seal in his bottom bunk. We had to vacuum that then pull it down, but it meant his bed was protected. Like it matters, I need to change his sheets anyway.

Meanwhile The Girl gets up to see what all the activity is about. She insists it couldn’t have been Jingles (still snuggled at the foot of her bed) because she’d been in her room all night. Ah hem, not all night. No, Jingles started with The Boy. We guessed the broken plate startled the cat and she took off for safer sleeping places.

The really interesting part is the breaking plate woke Hubby, two rooms away with a gentle breeze upsetting our blinds and faint noises of the neighborhood outside to provide ambient cover, but failed to wake The Boy sleeping four feet away. It’s not surprising, the kid can sleep through anything (fire alarm going off two feet from his head when he was little and had the top bunk – not kidding; plus his alarm clock every single school day) but it is interesting. It means I’m going to have to continue getting him up for school this year. Oh, goodie.

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The Bromeliad – Sock Debacle

It’s a hellish day and I’m getting little done. The Boy is off at a friend’s house playing marathon games of something and being virtually violent and mischievous. Good for him that it’s somewhere else. The Girl left this morning on her first adult adventure, aside from her first job which she now believes is the worst job on earth. Not really, there are lower paying jobs out there that expect you to do even worse things, but hers is menial with inconsistent hours, no benefits, minimum wage, and management sucks. It’s a good first job because she can only go up from there.

Anyway, The Girl soaked her tiny bromeliad before she left and put it in my bathroom window where it would get filtered sun and would dry slowly so it wouldn’t get root rot. She’s trying to be a good mommy to her little bromeliad. Except she hasn’t been a good mommy to Nimoy, who in a fit of jealousy as soon as The Girl left, absconded with her rival. I noticed quickly (thankfully) because the cat doesn’t normally run through the house carrying something green and spiny.

First, let me say I’m really too old to chase a cat. Cat herding is an idiom, not an actual occupation, and I would suck at it if it were real. Second, let me remind you that this particular cat is an idiot. Once she realized Grandma was chasing her, and unhappy, she doubled back and ran under The Girl’s bed. Okay, she’s cornered. Except I don’t have any kids in the house who can crawl under the bed and won’t for hours to days. I have no idea when The Boy will decide to come home, (It’s a weekend, in the summer.) and The Girl won’t be home until late Tuesday night. I have a responsibility to that bromeliad. Maybe the cat. I’m not sure how Nimoy will fare if she eats the bromeliad.

We have a supply of those stupid grabber sticks that my mother-in-law uses to pick up things that fall on the floor. In theory they’re supposed to be used to grab things that are out of reach on shelves, but they don’t really support any weight and are useless for that. Anyway, the grandkids always play with hers, and break them, so Hubby saw some and bought twenty so we always have one in the car when we go visit for family gatherings to replace the broken one. They can’t keep extras at their house or the grandkids would break them too. Personally, I vote break the grandkids, but Hubby tells me I don’t get a vote and his sisters agreed after hearing their precious babies might be disciplined for something. For once, I needed one of the gadgets.

So I lay on the floor for a half an hour pulling things out from under The Girl’s bed. Now in fairness I should say The Girl’s room is generally the tidiest in the house. Her OCD is phenomenal. Nimoy, however, prefers her bed to hide socks under, and I was discovering why The Boy seemed to be wearing the same socks for days on end. I thought it was my imagination, or that maybe he really did have more pairs with that odd pattern than I thought; but no, he’s apparently running low and didn’t feel the need to tell anyone. Nimoy likes The Boy’s socks best. I can sort of understand that, the cat has a thing for smells, and The Boy’s socks … you can see where I’m going with this. No excuses anymore, not that he offered any, The Boy will start changing his socks again!

That was the beginning of my Saturday morning.

Finished with the bromeliad-sock debacle (the bromeliad was finally retrieved, clinging to a sock, looking none the worse for wear, and placed in a slightly safer place to get a little filtered sunlight, don’t worry about it) I turned my attention to lunch. Except now Hubby was missing. Huh. I looked around, found two whiny cats – one pouting because she perceived she was in trouble (true) and one pouting because she wanted to go outside and no one would let her (sort of). Does a ‘not true’ and a ‘true’ balance out to zero or what? In cat terms it equates to whining.

Jingles wanted to go out: true from her point of view. No one would let her: true from everyone’s point of view. All her humans knew something Jingles didn’t: Rain. I suspect Jingles was at least somewhat aware of the concept because she’d been out for days and came home early yesterday afternoon. I thought it was because she sensed bad weather on the horizon and wanted to be in, but clearly not. Bad weather was here and she wanted to go out during the eye of the storm. But she was beggy, and whiny, and manipulative, and I caved and let her out because I’m a pushover. Then I stood at the door waiting for her to change her mind.

We had a little black kitty-loaf on the steps for a bit, not because the sidewalk was wet so much as the neighbor’s golden retriever was out playing ball. When Sookie plays ball, she uses the entire cul-de-sac. Since Sookie’s owner, Mr. Patient, offers to mow almost all of our yards in exchange for being able to keep the trimmings, we all let Sookie romp on our grass for her occasional ball games. She doesn’t leave any little presents and is on good relations with kids and cats, so why not?

Now I say Sookie is on good relations with the cats, but the cats are occasionally unaware of this. Darth Jingles is skittish about the large golden retriever. She has a very standoffish policy about dogs. Usually. Sookie was dyed purple briefly by the neighbor’s children last summer and Jingles found that entertaining enough to suspend her extreme personal space policy, but when the dye wore off her graciousness did as well. She also played a perverted sort of whack-a-mole with the Chihuahuas behind us and a couple doors down. They dug a hole under the fence and she sat on the other side and whapped them as they stuck their noses through. It was awesome, until the owners fixed the hole, damn it.

So Sookie was playing ball, and the ball occasionally landed in our front yard, and Jingles crouched and bristled whenever the dog came to retrieve it. No hissing or running home to Mommy though, and the dog didn’t notice the little shadow by the mint bushes. Eventually Jingles took an opportunity to slink through the mint and evergreens and away from the safety of the front porch so I closed the door. It was cool enough out that I threw open some windows and started lunch in anticipation of Hubby being home eventually. After a few quick texts, I discovered he was running errands. Then I discovered Jingles in our living room window, on the ledge outside, watching me. Huh. Apparently it was a safe place to watch the dog play ball. Also, I need to wash the screen. Add that to the to-do list. Click photo, on to lunch. 2016-06-11 13.42.34Hubby came home, had lunch, and left to help a neighbor. Then Jingles came in – furious at having been tricked into going outside in such miserable weather. She’s not talking to me now. I closed some windows because it’s now raining again, and broke up a cat fight because Jingles is in a mood. Yay – trapped inside with a bitchy cat and something for her to pick on. I shouldn’t have succumbed to her whining and let her out in the first place.

Text from The Boy: he outlasted his friends, they fell asleep, and now he’s bored. He wants me to come pick him up, also he wants coffee so he can stay up longer. I considered that. If I give him coffee, he will stay up now, but then he’ll probably crash hard in early evening and sleep all night so I might get something useful from him tomorrow. Hmm. I broke up another small cat fight on the way out the door. Of course The Boy couldn’t have come home a couple of hours ago when I was lying on the floor pulling his socks out from under his sister’s bed? At least I know he’ll claim Jingles and take her to his room for the rest of the day. No more cat fights. No more peaceful weekend without the kids either.

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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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Cat Herders

Herding cats

The Girl once had so many interests she couldn’t decide on a career path. We told her it wasn’t a big deal, I mean a lot of college kids change their majors and she wasn’t even close to graduating from high school yet. Now she’s close, and she settled on Marine Biology. She wants to talk to whales. Oh, joy.

The unfortunate part about having a teenage girl with a newfound passion for whale calls, is that I have a teenage girl with a newfound passion for whale calls. Practicing them. At home. Out loud. Darth Jingles has come to grips with the oddity that her girl makes loud, strange noises while wandering around the house and yard, but Nimoy is still freaked out about it. The poor kitten just about jumps out of her skin when The Girl emulates a … I’m going to say blue whale … and she sprints to the safety of Grandma (me). Remember, if The Girl is her kitty-momma, then I’m kitty-grandma. Grandma is much safer to associate with than her mom, and I kind of see how this whole grandparent thing works now from a different perspective.

Before Marine Biology, The Girl had passions for paleontology and anthropology. She still does, in evidence is how many documentaries about mummies we watch. Yay, mummies – the well dressed zombies of the ancient world. I can say that here, but I can’t usually mentioned zombies and mummies in the same paragraph because, while The Girl likes mummies, she hates zombies and everything to do with them. That being said, we recently saw a thing about ancient Egypt and the things they put with mummies. Not just the royal ones everyone gushes over. Proper burial was a big thing back then. Do you know what they used to mummify and bury with people all the time? Not whales, thankfully. Actually no, that would be amusing. The next time Egypt goes on a mummy-making kick, someone suggest whales to ferry the dead to the afterlife, okay?

Cats. Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there. They mummified and buried cats with people. Mummified cats was such a booming business that apparently they raised cats for the purpose. Cat ranches. It stands to reason if there were cat ranches, then there were cat herders. Right?

The Girl and I just about fell on the floor laughing when the narrator mentioned cat ranches, both of us went immediately to cat herders.

For those who don’t know, ‘as difficult as herding cats’ is an idiom referring to how challenging it is to bring differently-minded people together to accomplish a goal. More to the point for the purposes of this tale is that EDS once did a commercial about cat herding. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/vTwJzTsb2QQ . It’s worth a look because this clip is why my daughter was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe. I’m not sure where exactly the phrase comes from, but it doesn’t matter.

Literal cat herding – the Egyptians did it.

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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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