Tag Archives: cat

In & Out – A Kittyish Decision

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The forecast today called for 25% chance of rain with thunderstorms in the afternoon. I always read the forecast to The Girl when I wake her in the morning – it’s to encourage her to get out of bed. Mostly it works. She’s smallish and can’t quite reach me when she takes a wild swing in my direction without sitting up first. In order to shut me up, she is forced to get up first. Sad, but true.

That’s not the point of my story, however. Just because The Girl gave in and got up doesn’t mean Jingles was convinced. She had a lovely warm spot snuggled at the foot of The Girl’s bed – a nest between a stuffed octopus, turtle, and manta ray (more commonly called a “sea flap-flap”). The Girl has a plush nautical theme going on, she sleeps with a blue whale. Again, beside the point.

I pet Jingles and gave her the hourly forecast, earning a glancing blow from my daughter as she stomped around her room gathering her clothes. The upshot was: I had to convince the cat to go outside this morning to kitty it up before it rained this afternoon. Yes, kitty is now a verb.

Oddly, it took some work to convince that cat to go outside. “Now or never” doesn’t usually work, but it did this time and she went off, gallivanting around the neighborhood, trying to lose her collar again. Two hours later, it started raining. Earlier than forecast, but not hard. She wouldn’t come in. Jingles sat on the walk up to our door, staring at me as I now tried to convince her she’d had enough kittying and it was time to come in. Then she ran off. Little brat.

Harder rain and the crack of thunder proved more convincing than I was and Jingles finally came in, tracking little muddy kitty-prints on my tile entry. Brat. I do have solace in the knowledge the downpour is temporary. The rain will cease and she will be at my door again demanding to go out. I will point to those muddy paw prints and laugh evilly as I refuse to open the door. Because I’m a trite, little person who punishes the cat for doing what she does. Then The Girl will let her out as soon as my back is turned.

It’s nice to be able to take comfort in the predictable things in life.


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Sea Kittens and Snuggle Sharks


I woke this morning, like I do on many weekend mornings, to the cat being tossed on the bed and The Girl scampering away before Darth Jingles could gather herself to give chase. As usual, by the time I rise to see what’s up (as if I didn’t know) all I see is a splay-legged black cat in the middle of the bed and the retreating backside of my eldest offspring.

Jingles looks at me, a look of complete disgust with the situation. Hubby snores and she grants him a passing glare. I check the time: 8:45 am. All right, I got to sleep in a bit. Everyone in the house has a cold, and I’m starting to feel the effects myself, so I wasn’t really ready to get up.

I look at Jingles and try to decide if she’s going to let me roll over and go back to sleep. I decided it was worth a shot. Long story short – I was wrong. She was willing to let me go back to sleep, but not able to. She prowled around the foot of the bed for a moment, which I expected. I figured she’d find a nice place on the down comforter – her blanket because it smells (I imagine) like baby ducks = prey – and then settle down. It’s her spot, therefore she should like it. No. She circled like a restless tiger. Then she found my feet, but didn’t attack them amazingly enough, and followed my leg upward. All right, so she was heading for another favorite spot – the back of my knees.

She landed there and perched for a while, long enough for me to almost fall back to sleep. Then she decided to move up to the small of my back. Fine. Almost asleep again, she turns on the purr motor. What? Why? Whatever, fine. Concentrate on going back to sleep. Now. No, wait, she’s moving again – and takes up position on the pillow beside my head.

Okay, just no. Sweetheart, I love you, but no purring in mommy’s ear. I pick her up and pull her in front of me, snuggling her in my arms. Right, back to sleep. Scratch the cat behind the ears, then back to sleep. Let her get in a better position. There you go. Right there, with her nose tucked up under my chin. Jingles, I’m trimming your whiskers when I get up. And knock off the purring. Right, scratch behind the ear – no, sweetie, I can’t scratch under your chin, it’s under my chin. There’s a logistical problem with my arm doesn’t move that – oh, you’re going to move again to make it easier. Thanks.

And so on.

Somewhere in this long, drawn out, not-being-able-to-go-back-to-sleep process, I decided Jingles could be classified as a snuggle shark. This shows you how my sleep-deprived mind works. That naturally made me remember years ago when PETA decided they could get people to stop eating fish if they made over their image. The fish, not PETA. They devoted a website to this venture, and it was so absurd of course the news picked it up and helped them along. They proposed rebranding fish to be called “sea kittens.” True.

This flitted through my mind as my own little snuggle shark decided to start attacking my feet after all. I mean, I doubt Jingles would really care about it either way if her tuna were labeled sea kitten, she’d still find it a tasty treat and beg for it on a regular basis. And I vaguely remember mentioning this ill-conceived idea to the kids in a moment of weakness, to produce the expected outcome: The Boy asking for sea-kitten sandwiches and The Girl giggling while she took a marker and crossed out “tuna” on the cans in the pantry and wrote in “sea kitten” instead. Eventually that blew over and things returned to normal, just as my morning settled down as soon as I let snuggle shark outside to search for more suitable prey. And now I’m up, so I may as well get some things done.

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I Survived Christmas 2014

2014-12-25 09.22.36I Survived Christmas 2014 – I think I could write a novella and name it that. Between out of town relatives that my moody teens barely spoke to, unexpected snowfalls, burst pipes, and cat angst and relocation, I think this holiday has been memorable. Let’s talk about cats because no one really cares about moody teenagers. It’s what they are. Especially when you’re down a cat.

Remember how, many moons ago, we added Princess to the family to solve the problem of the teens fighting over possession of Darth Jingles? Then the cats didn’t get along. I figured these things take time. Yeah, well, the cats decided otherwise. Hubby broke up a lot of cat fights, so that made him extra unpopular with Princess. She was The Girl’s Siamese and would only lower herself to mingle with the other household peons if we had food. Although, honestly, the cat weighed a ton. Food was the last thing she really needed.

In her little kitty mind, Hubby threw down the gauntlet – he didn’t share his morning bowl of cereal. Not that he didn’t let her have the milk after he’d eaten the cereal, because that was an established routine. Princess upped her demands and wanted his Cheerios. Hubby refused. That sort of uppity behavior was not to be tolerated. She stared right at him, and peed on his socks. It went downhill from there. Princess targeted Hubby for a week for her revenge potty warfare and probably didn’t know she was in danger of becoming an outdoor – only cat with snowfall looming on the horizon.

What saved her? Well oddly, in an attempt to cut down cat fights at night, we’ve been tossing both feline arses outside all day to work off some energy. Little did we know Princess went from our house straight to Mr. & Mrs. Patience’s house and hung out with their dog. (Mr. & Mrs. Patience have four teens of their own and all of their kids’ friends and neighborhood teens hang out at their house. They even feed them. What would you call them?) When Mr. Patience opened the back door to let their dog in, Princess went in too. She jumped up on their sofa beside the dog, curled up, and slept all day. We’d wondered why she still had energy to prowl and cause mischief all night after being outside all day.

Hubby dropped in on Mr. Patience to ask about – I really don’t remember or care – and found our cat on his sofa! He called me and I came over to see. I was mortified. Mr. Patience laughed, he didn’t mind cat sitting our little hellion. In fact, he had a friend over the other day sitting there on his sofa, petting our cat, and commenting she was going to steal this cat because it was so soft and docile. Really? Well actually…

So Princess found a new home (with three other cats, two dogs, and some birds) on a trial basis. She fit in well and they kept her. The Girl was a little put out, but understanding. Darth Jingles is like a new cat. She is extra lovey and purring all the time. It’s like she’s either really grateful we got rid of the interloper, or she’s trying to prove she is cat enough for the family and we don’t need another one. Either way it works.

Okay, it did work – until we left her alone Christmas Eve and went to Hubby’s parent’s house. Jingles has been alone all day before without trouble, but apparently doesn’t like being left alone at night. That or she knew it was Christmas and the last two years we’d taken her with us to see the Grandma who likes little black cats. She likes to play hard to get, which isn’t hard when you’re playing with a frail woman over eighty. Anyway, we came home to find paper and ribbons all over the living room, a lamp knocked over and chipped, and ornaments knocked off the trees. Yes plural on the trees, each kid had their own to decorate.

Whatever, I didn’t even scold her because we did leave her home on the holiday. Our fault, moving on. She wouldn’t have enjoyed it. We spent most of Christmas day trying to soak up water from the downstairs bathroom after a hose came loose under the sink and gallons of hot water flooded the bathroom, hall, and utility room. They’re getting a Shop-Vac for Christmas next year. Hubby’s parents are impossible to shop for, and now I know what they don’t have. Using a Green Machine to suck up gallons of water was, well, it was inefficient. They also don’t have a box fan, so there’s one birthday down.

On the plus side, The Girl wanted a white Christmas and she got it. The winter storm warnings indicated we wouldn’t get snow where we were, but they were a little off. Only off by about eight inches or so, no big deal. Enough for her to play in and it’s kept the cat mostly house bound. It’s okay though. Since we relocated Princess, Jingles has been much nicer, even to Hubby. Smart cat.

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A Pathetic Princess

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“Don’t tell your father that” is one of the worst things you can say to a teenager. Wait, let me back up.

We have a cat: Darth Jingles. Both kids fight over who gets to trap the poor overloved thing in their room when it’s time for bed. Usually, The Girl gets her first because she puts herself to bed much earlier. Then The Boy sneaks in and steals the cat after his sister’s asleep when we finally threaten/blackmail him sufficiently and he’s run out of stalling tactics.

The Girl has been tired of this arrangement for a while and expressed a desire for a second cat. Insert my previously mentioned utterance: “Don’t tell your father that.” The Girl is generally well behaved, but I essentially just told her that he’d cave. What is a teenager to do with conflicting signals like that? Exploit the loophole. She told her brother, who relayed her carefully outlined plan to Hubby who, for reasons I’m not clear on, decided a second cat was a good idea.

Fine. So now we have Darth Jingles, a black cat with an attitude, and Princess, a lilac Siamese just as lovey as you can imagine. Things have not been going well.

To begin with, Darth Jingles was notified of our plan to end her only-cat status, but she clearly thought we were joking. She’s not fond of the interloper and initially hissed at her at every opportunity. Princess (for reasons I’m unclear on) took this as an invitation to come closer and attempt to be friends. The kids spent a lot of time keeping the cats apart and speaking softly to Jingles to let her know she’s still loved. She imprinted on Hubby instead of the kids, although she’s fine with hanging with them, and loves bacon and ham. I lead her around the house with a strip of bacon and The Boy taught her to meow in a particular half-purr way that sounds like “hammm?” then rewarded her with pieces of ham. Peachy.

Then Princess decided to be a pill and started pulling at her stitches from being spayed. Yeah. Long story short, she got rewarded with a cone. Neither cat is fond of the contraption. It freaks Darth Jingles out. No more hissing – Yay – instead, she runs from Princess when she sees her. Princess of course doesn’t care for it either and spends a lot of time looking pathetic and running into the edge of walls and furniture because she lost her peripheral vision. It took three adults to put the cone on her, including the vet, so while we theoretically only had to have her in the cone at night or when we weren’t right there with her to make sure she didn’t pull at her stitches (that then had to be left in for four more days instead of being removed the next day as we were hoping), Hubby and I decided it would be less traumatic for everyone, Princess included, to just leave the thing on her.

A cat with a cone on her head can feed herself, but she makes a terrible mess, that was the first thing we learned. The second was that she couldn’t bathe herself. Fine, so we brushed her nearly all day long because she also can’t scratch and she really likes being brushed. Really. I’m serious, grooming is kitty heaven for her. She doesn’t care so much for it when I wipe her down with a damp washcloth, but she’s a good sport.

Princess tolerated the cone, almost, and the night before we took her back to have the stitches removed, she wiggled out of it. And started on her stitches again. And tore them open. The vet was displeased, but not as much as Princess when the cone was next attached to her harness instead of her collar. (Yes, she walks on a leash – better than Darth Jingles even, although she isn’t as good about car rides. And it is like one of Dante’s circles to get that cat into a carrier, so it’s just as well she’ll take to a leash.) As a bonus, because she tore open the incision, they had to stitch her back up and Princess has been in the cone for the past week. She glares at us a lot. You adopt me just to humiliate me? I don’t know exactly what passes for kitty-cursing, but it’s crossing her mind.

To be extra amusing, Princess is really playful for a two-year-old cat. It’s awesome to watch her chase a ball and run into things. She can dive under the bed with a cone on her head, something I wouldn’t have bet on. I’d like to go back in time and stop The Boy from training her to beg for ham. It was cute, but it’s gotten out of control.

At first whenever anyone walked in the kitchen, we had this little Siamese underfoot: “Hammm? Hammm?”

Sigh. “Fine. Here, take some ham. Shoo.” (Reinforcing the behavior was a bad move on my part.)

She widened her perceived feeding area to the dining room. “Hammm?”

“We’re eating acorn squash. It’s not ham. You don’t want it.”

“Hammm? Hammm?”

Sigh. “Fine. Here, have some squash. See I said you didn’t – oh.” Yes, she eats acorn squash. She also eats watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and applesauce. She gave Cheetos a great effort, but just really wasn’t into it. Darth Jingles happens to enjoy pretzels, so I was actually thinking the Cheetos would go over better. Then again, what can you expect from a cat who eats squash?

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Darth Jingles

ImageLet me tell you about our cat. You know supply and demand economics? Well, she’s a little black cat of no particular pedigree that we picked up from the pound for $5 during the ‘kitten giveaway’ season. That’s when many households have ‘Free to good home’ signs posted in their yard with a picture of kittens or puppies. You know what I’m talking about. Of course $5 included getting her fixed, so hey, that was a bargain.

She never took to Hubby but did her job scampering around and keeping the kids entertained. Then she’d come settle on ‘The Mommary’ for love and quiet time. Yup, right there on my chest. When she outgrew that, she’d hang out on the back of my chair and chew on my hair. The cat has a thing for hair.

The cat has a thing for a few oddities. First, she doesn’t care for moist cat food. A bit odd, but fine. If she doesn’t appreciate the hassle or expense, I’ll just feed her bulk dry. It makes her happy. Second, she doesn’t like leftovers either. If I’m making stew, she does not want a bite of beef, either raw or cooked, but will lick the gravy off it. Ahem, cat, you’re a predator, you eat meat! No, she really doesn’t.

Actually, she likes ham. If you cut it from a ham roast, if it comes from a ham steak, she’s not really interested. This is unfortunate for her because we fry ham steaks fairly regularly for breakfast for The Boy, but we rarely just buy a ham to cook. Occasionally, but rarely. And she doesn’t like ham lunch meat either.  

She does like baby food. Occasionally I’ll put a little in with one of the lizards and we caught the cat begging, so . . . Yup, loves it. Weirdo. She also likes dried seaweed. Yes, it’s true. Begs for it. And Cheerios.  And fake plants with long, grass-like, leaves. They’re her favorite cat toys until she destroys them. I’m so happy I can get these at the dollar store.

We have a theory that, when we got her as a kitten, she imprinted on my son. This would explain her disproportional preference for ham, taste for seaweed (he eats those thin sheets you buy for sushi like they were chips), and also her hostility toward Hubby. The Boy fights with Hubby (he’s almost 14, so this is normal, loud, and irritating) therefore the cat shuns the man of the house in support of her boy. She also sleeps with The Boy more nights than not, usually in a little Easter basket that she can just fit in – snuggly – and stays in there all night.

She has bells on her collar and jingles as she scampers through the house. You know that quote from It’s A Wonderful Life – “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings”? Well, in order for there to be angels to get wings, people have to die. (Yes, we’re a morbid household to realize the truth behind that sweet thought). When our cat jingles through the house, we imagine she’s wiping out entire villages in some poor country you hear about on the news a lot. She’s ‘making angels’ – there, that’s a nicer thought, isn’t it?

So, our cat, jokingly called ‘Darth Jingles,’ is a seaweed and baby food fixated grim reaper wrapped up in black fur and purs. Now you know our dark secret.

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I Know What The Fox Says


What does the fox say? “It’s cold out!” And it probably follows up that statement with “Where are my cat-dinners?” (See my blog post “Seven Cats Later . . .” from April of this year for why it would say that.)

Yes, it’s cold. Yesterday it didn’t get above freezing. And it’s time to get serious about this Christmas thing because I was thinking about other things and helping the in-laws over the long weekend. So now I’m planning the cookie baking marathon, because I have to get those suckers baked and mailed soon. And the tree(s) have to go up and the outside decorations really should have gone up before it snowed (damn!) and there’s going to be some words over that one I’m sure. (Crossing fingers this snow melts even though I know kids are praying it doesn’t because they want to make snow marbles – you know, leave water balloons with food coloring in them out to freeze solid then remove the balloon? Yeah, neat mess.) At least The Boy is cool with earning Xbox time by shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. He likes doing it. Whatever, I’m so happy to reward that behavior.

The good thing about the snow, which the fox is discovering, is that The Cat doesn’t like it. That little black furball starts whining to go out when The Girl gets ready to leave for school at 0630. No. It’s still dark and she doesn’t get to go outside before sunrise. So we hold her back and The Girl slips out the door. She mopes around while The Boy gets ready for school and whines and generally makes our morning miserable as she shows her displeasure. Finally, 0730 comes around and The Boy is ready to go. The sun is up, Hubby is ready to drive The Boy and his cello to school.

They open the door.

The Cat leaps out into freedom. Crisp, cool freedom. White fluffy freedom. Frigid freedom.

By the time Hubby returns from dropping The Boy off ten minutes later, The Cat is tired of her damned freedom and is ready to come in to the warm confines of the house. I’m serious. She’s huddled by the front door on the mat, alternately picking up one front paw then the other to try to keep them warm. She’s such a spoiled baby.

So, apparently there will be no ‘Black Cat Lunch’ on the menu for the local fox this winter.

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