Tag Archives: Cats

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:



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Halp! I Can’t Sleep!

Let us skip back in time a bit, to when I made the mistake of mentioning to my Neurologist Physician’s Assistant on a routine checkup that I’d been feeling fatigued for some time. I wasn’t worried about it, between my Multiple Sclerosis and all the drugs I’m taking for one thing or another because of my Multiple Sclerosis, the cause of the fatigue didn’t seem like a big mystery. It was just annoying and I would prefer it gone. Walk up the stairs, have to rest for an hour, down the stairs, rest for an hour, do the dishes – that wiped me out for a couple hours. A doctor’s appointment? Crap, Hubby has to help me up the stairs and I’m useless the rest of the day. Just fix it!

Sleep study.

What? No! I sleep.

Yeah. Apparently I don’t do it right. I’ve been doing it all my life – almost every night in fact. But I don’t do it right. Really? I used to be able to sleep off anything. It amazed Hubby when we got married. We both get a cold. I sleep for twelve hours straight – cured. He suffered for two more days. Life turns to crap – I sleep for extra few hours for a few days, shrug it off. He takes anti depressants. Of course now we know I have an immune system that can kick anything’s butt and I’m not prone to chronic or serious depression, but it seemed like sleep was my cure-all at the time. Shows you the power of circumstantial evidence.

Anyway, so they decide on the fall-back diagnosis of sleep apnea. Really? I sort of suspect they decide that when they can’t figure out what else it is. Hubby has sleep apnea. I hear him stop breathing and kick him. He listened to me when we were trying to figure out if I simply wasn’t getting a restful night’s sleep and didn’t notice anything. He’s an insomniac so staying up to listen to be breathe wasn’t much of a hardship. I also don’t snore often, so it wasn’t that. The diagnosis took both of us by surprise.

Fine. So I got a stupid little machine that everyone promised would fix everything. This is the part where my life went to hell.

First, let me say I went through this vicariously with Hubby. He confirmed that he did get more restful sleep with his little machine. He also warned it would take getting used to. A week or maybe two. Second, insurance wants to make sure I give the devil’s own instrument of torture a fair shake because they made me sign a contract in blood. Okay ink. I have to sleep at least four hours every night, at least 80% of the days each month for three months, plus I have to have follow-up doctor appoint regarding the machine from hell, plus I have to follow the doctor’s and manufacturer’s directions on device. Failure to comply means I will be billed for the entire setup.

Okay then. I should mention this thing has a cellular connection, and I have a good signal in my bedroom from Verizon Wireless, so I assume they’re getting feedback on everything I do with this stupid thing. I don’t know what network it’s connected to, but if Verizon has a signal here, I’m confident AT&T does as well. Damn it. I should also mention this thing has sensors so just wearing it doesn’t count. It knows when I’m asleep and adjusts the airflow accordingly. Nice and soft when I’m awake and trying to fall asleep, then it ramps up to a ‘smack me in the face’ level where I wake up with the immediate impression I’ve stumbled into a tornado.

Sometimes I do the insomnia thing and I stay up most of the night writing or whatever. When I’m tired, however, I can normally lie down, close my eyes, and be asleep in twenty minutes. Hubby is irritated and jealous. I can sleep for eight hours. Longer if I’m not feeling well. If I’m hurting, my body recognizes I’d rather not be awake just now and so I’m not.

Fine, so I have an evil machine by my bed. Hubby too, but he doesn’t count. Let me explain.

Nimoy sleeps with Hubby and I more often than her girl, which is annoying because we got Nimoy for The Girl! Jingles tends to favor The Boy, and The Girl really wanted a cat of her own. So I got a cat. The Girl is seriously doubting her future as a crazy cat lady.

When sleeping with me, Nimoy tended to prefer my pillow. She’d stretch out above my head and proceed to radiate heat so I woke up with my head sweating and itchy. Isn’t that sweet? Add face mask attached to by nightstand by a big tube and a steady stream of air blowing out the little holes toward wherever I faced. Nimoy wasn’t happy about the change, but she shifted her spot and dealt with it. Now she sleeps on a pillow between Hubby and I, stretches out sideways and tries to push us both off the bed.

Jingles is another matter. When she’s in, she likes to come up and sleep on “her” pillow, positioned between mine and the edge of the bed, held in place by the nightstand, and have a short cat nap/mom time before waking me and asking to be let out. The anti-apnea contraption does not please her.

I made sure the tube ran under her pillow, acknowledging in advance my little black cat wouldn’t care to sleep with it. That wasn’t enough. She doesn’t like face-huggers on my face in the night.

I should point out that the cats have seen Alien. The entire series. I know this because The Boy has a video game based on it and watched the whole series with Hubby and I not long ago. He’s also watched the first two on his own a few times. Jingles knows what an alien face-hugger is, and was deeply disturbed to find me with one.

Her answer to the alien menace? Get it off mom!

Yes, I woke at an unpleasant hour one morning to find Jingles stretched out on my pillow above me in Nimoy’s place. She had her back feet planted against my annoying mask and was pushing it off my face!

On one hand, smart cat. On the other hand, it was really annoying.

I reached over and turned the little machine off, and removed the mask. Mission accomplished, Jingles requested I let her outside. I was up anyway, so I complied.

She didn’t come in the next night, but the night after she was back (rain does that) and I woke again to the same mask-attack from my cat. Reluctant to ‘reward’ her behavior this time, I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

I should mention since wearing the stupid little mask that is supposed to help me sleep better, it now takes upwards of an hour for me to fall asleep, I don’t stay asleep, and I feel less rested when I get up. This is contrary to what everyone assured me. So when Jingles started waking me early, I was understandably annoyed. I couldn’t always just remove the mask because that would provide the wrong feedback for the cat. It’s a “who’s training who?” situation. Also, I have to get four hours of sleep registered on the little machine, and that’s hard sometimes. It’s never in a solid block so I’m grateful that wasn’t a requirement. I can’t just get up, I have to go back to sleep and try to get another hour of actual sleep per my insurance company.

Rolling over didn’t phase Jingles. Now I was in reach of her front paws. After being whapped in the face a few times as she explored the gadget, she sunk her claws into the straps and pulled.

Are you kidding me?

Get up, turn the machine off, take the mask off, let the cat out.

We used to sleep with our door closed to keep Jingles from beating up Nimoy in the middle of the night. As it turns out, a cat fight on your bed at 3am is also disruptive to a decent night’s sleep. Huh. But Nimoy and Jingles have been doing much better and we’re able to leave our door open to let them roam. This is partially in the hope Nimoy will return to The Girl’s room. (She used to start there – with the door closed to keep her in – then around 1am she’d wake up The Girl, drive her batty, and my darling daughter would take her in and dump her cat with us and close her in.) Nimoy hadn’t been sleeping with her girl, but there’s always hope.

Hope is dashed. Nimoy will have to just sleep with us because I’m not leaving the door open for Jingles. Not if she’s going to attack my sleeping accessories in the wee morning hours.

And what has Nimoy been doing while I fend off her dark companion? She snuggles closer to Hubby and doesn’t even wake up. The whole mess is beneath her notice.

Bratty cats.

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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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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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Misnamed Cats (And The Box Of Judgment)

cats and box of judgment


The renaming of cats that began in December has continued, and it’s becoming absurd. It started with The Girl rechristening Darth Jingles as Darth Huffy because she’s in a snit about the new kitten, Nimoy. Nimoy is Star Trek based instead of Star Wars, so she was briefly renamed Jar Jar. It should have stopped there, but it didn’t. The Boy got in on it, offering up alternative monikers for his cat as Darth Grumbles, Q.T. McWhiskers, and Remington. Nimoy has gone through Winky (After the Harry Potter House Elf or more likely the derivative of Tinky-Winky from The Girl’s once favorite TV show: The Teletubbies. She’s now embarrassed about this obsession, as well she should be). Nimoy was briefly Nermal (grey tabby in the Garfield comics) also and I almost wished that one had stuck. Swinging to the weird again, the kitten passed through monikers such as Lemon Drop, Meringue, Yelly-bean (because she’s still so vocal), Stupid, Sweetie (as in “Hello, Sweetie,” the catchphrase of River Song from Doctor Who. I’d be good with that one too.), and Tiny Cat. Sadly, Tiny Cat is the one that’s most common now.


This kitten is going to have some serious identity issues. Well, she would, except I suspect she’s too dim to realize what’s happening. As you can imagine, she doesn’t answer to any name, but then again, she’s a cat. Felines aren’t known for coming when called unless there’s food involved.


The Girl has also taken to gushing about the adorableness of her kitten. There’s no point, she’s a kitten and therefore adorable by definition; waxing poetic about it doesn’t accomplish anything. Regardless, we get daily plus statements about how The-Cat-Formerly-Known-As-Nimoy, or (^><^), is ultra-special in some way. Well, special as in the unflattering implications of the adjective perhaps… Yes, Nimoy is special. Aside from that, frequently heard remarks go like this:


The Girl: Look at the markings on her face. She’s like a tiny cheetah.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: Her stripes are really pretty.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: And look at her color – she’s not gray and she’s not brown, she…camouflage.

Me: Yes, she’s a tabby.

The Girl: Those tiny pad on her paws, they’re so cute. And her teeth and claws are dainty but sharp.

Me: Yes, she’s a cat.

And so on. Actually The Girl is tired of me pointing out her kitten isn’t really special in any way, any positive way, so she’s started directing her observations elsewhere.

The Girl: She’s so sweet. Look at the way she bats at my nose.

The Boy: With her claws out, yeah, sweet. My cat’s better.

The Girl: She loves sleeping on the back of the chair and snuggling my head.

The Boy: Again: claws. My cat’s better.

The Girl: And she’s not a picky eater. She eats dry cat food or moist. Even the dry no one else likes.

The Boy: And she has semi-permanent gas, fantastic. My cat’s better.

Do you see a theme? She’s turned her attention to Hubby recently, who has a chronic habit of humoring her.

The Girl: Look, she’s –

Hubby: Uh-huh. (Continues typing on computer without looking or paying attention.)


Now Jingles responds to her Girl’s doting over the kitten differently. Very differently. As in ‘if looks could kill’ sort of different. To be fair, if The Girl or The Boy aren’t involved, Jingles is learning to tolerate Nimoy. (Nimoy is still the kitten’s official name, I just haven’t heard it used recently.)


We’re seeing a lot of cat wrestling now. Cat wrestling as in two cats wrestling each other, not as in someone dressed as a cowboy and roping cats. Oh, wait, that’s cat wrangling. Part of the problem is having two cats. Another part of the problem is we have only one “Box Of Judgment” and both want to sit in it and gaze with ultimate power over the household. FYI, the “Box Of Judgment” is a cardboard box that lays on its side and moves around the family room so it can be in the worst possible place at any given time. There is power there.


Anyway, Jingles pins Nimoy easily, I think that’s a given considering she’s three times the kitten’s size and weight and an accomplished hunter. So Jingles pins Nimoy, whaps her a couple of times on top of her head, then sits back to wait. Nimoy lays there on her back and sizes up the situation. Does it cross her mind that things are not in her favor and she should – just as a passing thought – be submissive to the irritable shadow hovering over her? Not usually. Nimoy reaches up tentatively as if to whap Jingles back. She’s yet to make contact with that ploy, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. As soon as she reaches up, Jingles quickly whaps her three times, then sits back to wait again. It typically takes several rounds of this before Nimoy decides it’s not working out in her favor, wiggles away, and scampers off. At some point she’s going to learn not to push Jingles over the line between playing and irritability. Unfortunately, Nimoy’s earned the name change to ‘Stupid’ (through pure observation), so it might take a while for her to learn to stop baiting the dark, cat-shaped shadow who rules this house. At least it’ll be entertaining while she learns.




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Cat Wars

Not long ago in a living room a variable distance away …


Yes, I did.

Background: The Girl has a kitten but The Boy already has a full-grown cat. The kitten, Nimoy, can usually catch her tail, and then chews on it for a full minute before she realizes it’s not prey, it’s her. Darth Jingles hunts rodents, birds, reptiles, and butterflies. Any insect really, but she prefers butterflies.

Darth Jingles is black like the dark soul she’s partially named after, slinks through the house like a ninja, and doesn’t use her claws when playing with her humans. Usually. Hubby is an exception. Nimoy thunders like a horse, which is odd because she’s tiny and just barely stopped waddling. Her claws and teeth are in constant play and razor sharp (which is odd because we clipped her claws in self defense). Both have bells on their collar, but in Darth Jingle’s case it does little good. You hear her jump or run, but otherwise she’s silent as the grave. Nimoy can’t breathe without initiating a silver tinkle of tiny bells. Seriously, the cat’s noisy. Jingles ‘speaks’ when it’s necessary, Nimoy won’t shut the hell up and she’s loud enough to hear over the TV.

There have been a few minor scuffles, but nothing to speak of and Darth Jingles has made no effort to put Nimoy in her place. It’s like Jingles knows this annoying ball of fluff is The Girl’s pet and she’s not allowed to rough it up. I figure one really good whack should do it. Maybe. Nimoy’s dim, so maybe two. But Jingles just leaves or settles somewhere out of reach of the tiny annoyance. The tension is killing us. Also, snow, so both cats are inside all day and the cats and kids are doing this strange dance to keep the curious kitten (did no one tell her about curiosity?) and the cat with cabin fever away from each other unless supervised. Then there’s me, walking around, opening doors and “Releasing the Katzen!” to just get it over with.

Darth Jingles has been provisionally renamed “Darth Huffy” because she’s fed up with this kitten nonsense but won’t do more than huff her displeasure. Mostly at The Girl who awarded her the new name. Nimoy, who was named after Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame in particular and who died earlier this year) is an issue. Not the cat, her name. Actually, I like “Nimoy.” I think it’s cute and told The Girl I may borrow it for a character sometime. She shrugged. Naming one cat in the Star Wars universe and another in the Star Trek universe doesn’t seem at all unusual in our household. But changing “Darth Jingles” to “Darth Huffy,” however temporary, maybe, tips the scale for Star Wars.

It has nothing to do with The Force Awakens, which we’ve all seen and I won’t discuss. Although The Girl won’t stop bursting into our room at odd hours with new theories about where the new trilogy (assumed) is headed.

Anyway, we have a Star Trek cat in a Star Wars house. For naming purposes, in reality it’s the other way around. So I put it to the family last night as we sat around playing Cards Against Humanity. (Yes, I’m an interestingly questionable parent to cave to both kids’ request for the game for Christmas. Worse to actually play with them.)

So Darth Jingles/Darth Huffy and … ? Hubby thought about it and looked at Nimoy settled in The Girl’s lap batting at the cards as she played them.


The Girl, unfortunately, was drinking milk and snorted it out her nose at her dad’s answer. Not in laughter like me and The Boy, but indignation that anyone would suggest such a thing about her kitten.

For the rest of the night, three out of four humans called Nimoy “Jar-Jar” and the male members of the house kept talking to her in an annoying, nearly unintelligible manner. It’s really weird to hear Cards Against Humanity hands in that voice. Just saying.

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