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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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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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