Tag Archives: cats

Free Lola

18 Dec

This morning I woke up to my cat leaping over my face like Free Willy.

I was nestling in the arms of sweet, warm slumber when I heard the jingle of a small bell and felt the woosh of air over my face (along with the slight brush of fur from her floppy feline stomach).  By the time I fully came to, the tinkle of her bell was across the room and she was casually poised by the doorway as if just entering the room.

Lies.

Ever wake up to a cat looming over you? I have. It's terrifying.

I think sometimes of how I’d like to set up a small camera over my bed so that I can see what my cats do while I’m sleeping.  I’m sure they exhibit a variety of unacceptable behaviors that would just further enrage me.  I read somewhere that people who let their pets sleep with them have their sleep disturbed a lot more throughout the evening than those who do not.  I thought it made a lot of sense and decided to close my bedroom door from that day forward so as to drinking the nectar of slumber in peace.  But Lola pawed the door to bump it and make this ever so slight thudding sound that I would hear just as I was drifting to sleep.  I would try to wait her out, convinced that if I just ignored it she would give up and go away.  But she’s stubborn and when I didn’t open to door in response to her pawing, she scratched.

It’s hard to sleep when you’re envisioning your security deposit burning up in hellfire.

So of course I let her in, knowing full well that all I did was validate her actions.  From then on she knew that even if it took a full fifteen minutes to get me to do so, she would get in.

And now she Free Willys over my face at night.  So there’s that.

I think this will be the beginning of a lengthy experiment.  How can I get my cats to leave me alone when I’m sleeping without waking me up from desperate pawing, scratching, meowing, or other enraging behaviors?  I predict it will involve a lot of cat nip.  I’m not above drugging them.

Let’s hope this isn’t indicative of my future parenting methods.

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Feline Battalion: Report!

10 Dec

My cat has launched a war.  I am without ample defense.

I was sitting in the living room when the first strike hit.  It was earlier this week and Dave left town in search of a dream (read: car).  Hobbes lashed out with unhappiness by knocking everything off the top of the fridge.  When I got up to find the cause of the clatter he had disappeared, leaving boxes of cereal and pill bottles in his wake.  He promptly followed up by standing at the front door and caterwauling.  

I should note here that Hobbes gets walks.  Yes, Dave takes him on walks.  I do not.  I refuse to walk a cat and things being as they were, Hobbes was devastated that the human who clearly loved him more was gone from his life.  

I tried talking sense into him.  I tried petting and loving and distractions of all kinds.  I tried meowing back.  But when none of those things worked and his cries grew stronger for my efforts, I thought I might harm him in some deep and violent way.  So instead I grabbed our bottle of catnip spray and soaked him.  He dripped with joy, rolled around, and promptly fell asleep.

Human: 1.  Cat: 0.

But the war didn’t stop there.  When I came home from work yesterday, a box of food that is normally well-guarded and out of reach was blatantly strewn across the kitchen tile.  The food wasn’t even devoured, which shows that it was a display of power rather than a desperate act of hunger.  Without damning evidence, I was unable to determine which cat was responsible and held my wrath for a later opportunity.

Human: 1.  Cat: 1.

In an attempt to wind down from carrying the burden of my corporate chains, I set up my laptop, got some food, and invited the cats to come share in my cozy couch contraptions by the light of the Christmas tree.  When I finally got everything just right I breathed a huge sigh of relief, slouched back into the couch cushion and grabbed my fleece throw made of boiled baby lambs.  But instead of warm, fluffy goodness, my hand plunged into a pile of cat gak.  Hairball. And I had just washed that blanket.

Human: 1. Cat: 2.

Since throwing up on my cat’s belongings wouldn’t do much to even the score, I was without ideas for effective retaliation.   I had given up hope and resolved to hiding in my domicile, terrorized by my bully cat and his gak until Dave could come save me.

Dave returned yesterday with glad tidings of great joy (read: car).  And as he opened the door to greet me, Hellcat darted out the door and into the cavernous halls of our apartment building, never to willfully return again.  Dave, seeing this as an opportunity to exercise good parenting, retrieved him and told him that if he had just waited until Dave was ready, he would have happily taken Hobbes outside.  But since he had to have things on his own terms and be so inconsiderate, he would now have to wait.

Human: 2.  Cat: 2

I’m worried about where this may go.  There are even numbers on both sides now that Dave has returned but he and Lola have yet to officially join the war.  There’s also a high possibility that if Dave expresses support for the humans, Hobbes will obey while he’s around and then take out his wrath on me when Dave’s not here to police him.

This is the next step in my transition to crazy cat lady: the suspicion of mutiny in the ranks.  Last night I heard a cold, lonely cat wailing in the wind and per Dave’s issued protocol, told myself that cats were never intended to be domesticated and that it is only us that makes it such, that it will survive without my assistance, and that Dave will kill me dead if I bring another cat in the apartment.  It was effective after fervent repetition  But when Hobbes gave me the stink eye later on in the evening, I thought of that cold, lonely cat and how it would undoubtedly be on my side if I took it in.

This is how it starts.

My Cat’s Christmas Protest

26 Nov

My cat has taken up residence in the box that harbors my (fake) Christmas tree.

Actually, the tree harbors it no longer, as my apartment is now officially decked with boughs of holly.  So many, in fact, the Dave has begun to question whether my holiday spirit is too strong for him to tolerate.   He was even a little embarrassed for me to light up our Christmas tree for fear the neighbors would think we jumped the gun.

Besides Dave’s naysaying, Christmas decorating comes with a slew of obstacles.  Well, really just two: Lola and Hobbes.  Together, they’re a tag team of holiday terror, batting around ornaments that haven’t yet been added to the tree, eating half the garland strand before I notice and pull it from their intestines, and chewing ever so loudly on the tips of the artificial tree.

This year Lola carried out all the duties on her own.  I wondered where her partner in crime was until I went to put the Christmas tree box back in storage and instead found it as the new home to Hobbes.    It was adorable when we started, but now it’s day two.  I’m starting to think this is some sort of Occupy movement.  Is my cat against Christmas celebrations?  Is he fighting against the consumer-focused aspect of the holidays?  

I never knew he was so political.

There was only one other time that Hobbes took up residence in a box.  It was a banana box – one of those great rectangular ones that are relatively shallow and have a hole cut into the top of them.  I had finally gotten around to emptying items from it that I never really needed to have in storage in the first place and instead of taking the box right to the trash, I let it dwell in my living room for a day.  When I finally went to take it to the garbage, I found Hobbes inside, the curve of his rotund paunch resting ever so gracefully against the thin wall of cardboard.  We thought he would eventually move on, but he didn’t.  Every time we passed through the living room, he was inside. 

Since we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away his favorite toy but also didn’t want a banana box hanging out in the living room, Dave and I decided to decorate it.  We sat down one night and painted the box brown, with blue waves and fish on the bottom half.  We secured a pole to one corner of the box and hoisted a handkerchief to the top, thereby making Hobbes the captain of his own sailboat.

My favorite was when he stood up in the center of the box where the rectangular hole was and it looked like he was sailing the seas.  I’d have given him an eye patch if he weren’t so squirmy.

The problem with the Christmas tree box is that it’s just so darn big.  I really can’t justify redecorating it and keeping it around; it’s enormous.  Plus, why get him all excited only to throw the tree back in and haul it to the basement in a few weeks?

Still, I’m not sure I have the heart to evict him.  I might fashion it into a canoe.  Or I could make it simple and hoist a banner that says “Occupy Christmas” across the top of the box.  

Let’s just hope the neighborhood cats don’t catch wind and come join the cause. 

Things My Cats Do to Upset Me, or, The Case for a Teacup Piglet

14 Nov

Don't let the cute curl-up-and-sleep pose fool you. Look closely: she has one eye open.

  1. Even if I pet them for an hour, they will still ram their heads against my various limbs, knocking cups, books, and handheld electronics to the floor in their fervor.
  2. They always nest on freshly cleaned clothes if I don’t put them away immediately.  
  3. They can’t handle it when I bring things from the outside world.  Each item gets sniffed, snuggled, and batted around. 
  4. I’ve bought a myriad of cat treat brands to finally find one that Cat A will eat and another that Cat B will eat.  Yesterday I went about my usual business and fed each their respective preferences only to find that Cat A cares for neither now and Cat B likes them both. They have no respect for me.
  5. It is impossible to have a basin of water in the house anywhere without one of my cats seeking it out immediately, dipping its grimy litter-laden paws inside, and scooping out little licks worth of water to lap up for fun.  When at the dinner table, great precautions must be taken.
  6. When I’m sleeping at night, I often awake to the gentle gnawing of a cat on a plastic bag and it makes me want to tear my skin off. 
  7. They continually barf up hairballs and clumps of food on things they know I need the following day, thereby forcing me to take immediate emergency cleaning action, which I despise.
  8. Sometimes they’ll lie in the bathroom sink and refuse to move so that I can wash my hands, forcing me to pick them up out of the wet basin, leaving them covered in toothpaste and my hands covered in wet fur.
  9. When I get comfortable at night, they come lie next to a bend in my body so that I have to monitor my movements throughout the night to avoid clobbering their soft bodies with my monstrous limbs.
  10. The way they dig at the plastic on the litter box instead of at the litter. For ten minutes. WHERE DO THEY THINK IT WILL TAKE THEM?
Sometimes when I look at all these things together, I realize I’m living in a prison of my own design.  I also begin to lust heavily for a teacup pig, who would commit none of the above offenses. 
Unfortunately, my cats would annihilate it while exercising habit number three. 

He knows he's a monster. Don't buy in to the face.

Where Cats Come to Die

12 Nov

There was a dead cat in the front lawn of my apartment building the other day.

Its body kind of lined up directly with my window.  I think the power of my crazy cat lady aura has gotten so strong that cats have begun to drag themselves to my apartment to die.  It’s like they know I’ll take care of them.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I first saw it.  Mostly because it looked like it was just sleeping in the grass, except for the breathing and what-have-you.  But also because I was pretty certain that if it’d been hit, the side that I couldn’t see was probably going to scar me for life.  So I called the Bureau of Animal Care and Control but it was emergency hours only and they told me to call back in the morning.

I went back in my apartment, wrote a reminder for the AM, and went about my bumming around the place.  But I had my windows open and every time someone passed the cat on the front lawn, it was like a little piece of theater.  They were all such honest, genuine, and varied reactions.  I, like a crazy lady, peeked through the blinds in my living room to watch and to ensure that no one did anything odd to it. 

For some reason, people love to play with carcasses.

Almost everyone who went by it came back to do a double take, kept walking, came back out of guilt, picked up something nearby, and then poked it to see if it was dead.  After assessing that it was, they moved on with a furrowed brow realizing that they hadn’t really thought it through and didn’t know what to do now.

I figured that at the rate at which people pass by my apartment and the number of hours until the Bureau was open, that cat was going to get many more curious pokes than it would have liked (kinky). After all, it came to my apartment to die so that I could stop that sort of thing from happening.  I’m a cat lady; it trusted me.

So I scribbled up a maniacal note that said 

“Yes, unfortunately this cat has passed away.  The Bureau of Animal Care and Control has been called.  They will handle.  

Thank you for your concern.   – A Fellow Animal Lover”

After I stuck it into the soft ground with a pen as a stake, I went back in to watch the people pass and was glad that the scene had changed.  People stopped, felt badly, read the note, smiled crookedly, and moved on.  I had removed the curious poking part altogether.

When I woke in the morning, I called the Bureau and then looked outside to check the scene.

The cat was in a box.

I talked to Dave, who has been working some terribly odd hours lately, and he noted that when he came in during the wee hours of the AM, the cat was in the middle of the sidewalk.

So this is how the story went: someone wanted to play with a carcass, moved it to the sidewalk, played with it, and left it there.  At that point in time, my letter must have looked like an odd half-attempt at caring, since it was being featured beside a cat’s body that had clearly been tampered with. Then someone came along, saw the scene, and decided to put it in a box with some leaves over top so that when the Bureau came they still had a cat to remove but it wasn’t in the middle of the sidewalk all gutted and gross.

That made it look like I found a dead cat, put it in a box with some leaves on top, and then put a note to tell people the problem was being handled.

The next morning, the Bureau removed it. I can’t imagine what they must have assumed of my neighborhood, but I hope that at least the cat knew I tried my best to get it a proper taking care of.

Then again maybe it’s best that word doesn’t get out to the other cats that my front lawn is the place to croak.  Transitioning into a cat lady is bad enough.  Transitioning into a crazy cat lady that dead cats crawl to from near and far in order to get a proper burial?

That’s on a whole other level of nutty. 

For a cat in a box story that is much happier, check out Maru – one of the world’s coolest cats.

I Have Met the Grumplepuss

28 Oct

Yesterday whilst on my way home away after work, I encountered the Grumplepuss.

I have used this term freely to describe persons with unnecessarily negative attitudes.  I had no image for the term, nor did I think to create one.  But yesterday in a Ma & Pa record store, I looked to the front counter to find the folks in charge and was instead greeted by this at the register:

The Grumplepuss

This, ladies and gentlemen, is obviously a Grumplepuss.  Though, her terrible attitude is not her fault entirely.  As Dave chatted away with the owner, Grumps loved up on me a like a soldier home from war.  After I gave her a few pats at the front counter, she jumped down to follow me around the store until I was finally convinced to sit down and give her some sweet cat lady lovin’. 

Even when content, a Grumplepuss can only look so pleased.

It was during this love fest that I noticed her terrible breath, her unkempt coat, and the gunk that had gathered around her eyes and lingered there for what looked like months.

Poor Grumplepuss has some negligent owners.

I thought about taking her home for a weekend to give her a good cleaning and return her afterward.  I also thought about sending a gift certificate to the business for a free grooming for her.  I’m sure there are lots of great ways that I can frame the conversation, but it still wouldn’t detract from the fact that I’m saying “Hey.  You obviously don’t take care of your cat.  Here’s money.  You have no excuse.”

Eventually the Grumplepuss curled into a half-moon, so that she no longer even looked like a cat, but rather an indiscernible, furry animal from the wild.

Unfortunately, she found it difficult to get comfortable and kept meowing a pathetic little meow, which made me think that perhaps more was plaguing her than met the eye.  Maybe I should send a vet gift certificate too.  Can I even do that?

One of several Grumplepuss attempts to get comfortable.

She eventually resolved to lie on my bag, though at first she was fighting with me to crawl inside it.  Maybe she was asking me to please take her away from the record store.  Maybe she was crying for help and was surprised someone actually pet her instead of saying she was a frumpy, dirty cat.

Or maybe I’ve taken the next step in my Crazy Cat Woman journey, where I am convinced I need to rescue even the cats that are already with an owner in a warm place.  Sooner or later, I’ll think they’re all trying to talk to me.  Some will be telling me to rescue them, others that my apartment is burning down, still others that tell me to collect more cats.

Maybe I should stick to the gift card approach. 

The Almost Lollipop Tuesday

11 Oct

You knew it was coming right? The week when I would completely fail at doing anything new or exciting? The week where nothing was worthy of being logged in this, the 2011th year of Our Lord: the year Jackie wrote a blog post every day.

No? Didn’t see it coming?  Well it has.  Breathe heavily.  Hold yourself.  Try not to regret visiting this page today.

I don’t really have an excuse.  I could have planned better.  I could have laid out my last Lollipop Tuesdays of the year so that I’d know what I was doing each and every week.  But instead I ended up driving around the butt crack of the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio looking for an idea.

Usually when I procrastinate for Lollipop Tuesday, I’m in my own stomping grounds and can uncover an idea or two.  But last night I was out of my element.  I’d forgotten my wallet at home, had no money for tolls, and driving through a back woods area on my way back home, searching with Dave for some fantastic, free, adventurous idea.

Buggy rides were considered.

I also parked the car outside a house that had a large sign stating “Swans for Sale”, pondering the possibilities.  I envisioned setting one free somehow.  But then, I didn’t know the going price for swans these days.  Not to mention not having any idea what kind of place a swan might prefer to be as opposed to the back yard of some crazed nincompoop that preens it and buffs its eggs in hopes that some grandiose swan aficionado will wander in any day to claim it.

Really, try as I might I had no idea why one would buy a swan.  Come to think of it, I should have pretended to be one such aficionado and gone in the house interrogating the seller about his quality of inventory.

We also passed a paintball place, but even if I had money with me (which I hadn’t) I had a very broken, very bruised David fresh off a bicycling accident with me.  Not such a good idea I would think.  Unless I just gave him the gun and ran.  He could’ve shot the bejeezus out of me and we could spend these next few weeks in commiserating pain.

But instead I made it back to good ol’ Pennsylvania with neither wounds nor swans to aid me.  And though I considered wandering into town for hot wings I have to sign a waiver to eat or conquering a food contest at my local ice cream store or  walking through a cemetery at night, all of those things seemed pretty lame.  Let’s face it: I carved a pumpkin a few weeks ago.  I don’t think you’re going to buy a walk in the cemetery after that cake week.

So here’s the deal.  I have no Lollipop Tuesday, but I do have a revised schedule for future ones.   Revised as in it exists now where it formerly did not.  That’s quite a revision.  I have wonderful things in store.  Classes I had to look up, buy admission to on Groupon, and adventures I staked out.  They’re laid out and waiting for me to conquer one each week until the end of the year.  I’d take the time to recite them to you here, but then why would you ever come back?

So I failed.  Super failed.  I’m ashamed.  And I shall spend the remaining eleven Lollipop Tuesdays in the year highly aware of this, my moment of failure.

I’d like to make it up to you, so here’s a pile of kittens:

 

Happy Almost Lollipop Tuesday, folks. 

The Homecoming

15 Jun

The world returned my cat to me at approximately 8:05 yesterday morning.

I was getting ready for work and could have sworn I heard a mewing coming from somewhere.   I stopped everything and listened as closely as possible – as if the slightest movement could spook the sound I could have been imagining.

I thought about the blog.  I thought about you all telling me to search the walls, search the ceiling, the trash can, the inside of the couch – everything.  My mind was absolutely overwhelmed with possibilities.

Luckily, Dave was much more clear-minded and opened a window to look outside.  There, he found our little Hobbes, sitting below the window all wide-eyed and mewing at the top of his lungs for someone to pull him out of the big, bad, outside world.

When he excitedly called Hobbes’ name, it was my cue.  I immediately threw on whatever the closest body coverings were (which happened to be a native american patterned shirt and a leopard print blue mini skirt – no joke) and sprinted out the front door with wild abandon.

Unfortunately, there is a bus stop directly outside my apartment.   There’s nothing like a braless, native-american-themed hoochie mama sprinting out her front door to really spice up the cubicle conversations for the day. 

I consider it a service to them.   

I found my little Hobbesinator right below David’s bedroom window, where he crouched into a little ball of feline frustration and continued to mew his heart out all the way back inside.  And up the stairs.  And into the apartment.  And in the middle of the living room.

Oh right – food.

I was so gosh golly excited to see the little furball (and in one piece!) that I seemed to overlook the fact that he might be, oh I don’t know – hungry?  

He crunched and crunched and slept and slept all day.   He’s even endured my poking, prodding and flea-hunting.  What a champ.

And so the great kitten mystery is over.  I spent my entire day smiling and celebrating his homecoming and thinking of how many concerned readers tuned in, left encouragement, and offered to send thoughts and prayers.  And while I can’t prove whether all ya’ll’s concerns and prayers were the reason he returned, I’m pretty darn sure they were.  

Thank you.  

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Oh My Darlin’ Clementine…

13 Jun

Day two on the homefront; my cat population is still cut in half.

Lola is loving it.  Absolutely soaking it up.  She’s rolling around, stark white belly fur to the ceiling and cares to the wind.  I keep trying to get the information out of her but she just stares at me.

I think she knows.

I’ve been thinking: maybe the whole rapture thing was kind of well-calculated.  Maybe it really did happen but a few weeks too late and it only applied to cats.   Maybe I’ve experienced some sort of cat rapture.  

Lola must be filled to the brim with sin.

It’s been suggested by one of your fellow readers that the drug lords have taken Hobbes.  Perhaps as ransom for my silence.  I’ve been waiting around for them to call me and make their demands, but they haven’t.  Maybe they’re trying to make me sweat it out a little longer.

I went the traditional route, too, you know.  I’ve been around the inside and outside of the apartment several times.  Too many times, probably, for someone who likes to think of themselves as sane.  Too many times for someone who is a licensed driver, anyway.   I remembered this one time when I was little that we lost my cat for like, a week.  An entire week she just wasn’t around.  Then one day my brother opened his sock drawer and there she was.  Scared the living bejeezus out of him.    It raised a lot of questions.  Like didn’t she ever get hungry.  Or was she only in there part of the time.  And why didn’t my brother need clean socks more often than once a week.

But I checked the dresser.  I pulled out all the drawers.  I’ve checked every tiny little place that he might be able to fit his tiny little head and there’s no Hobbers.  No Hobbesy.  No Hobbesinator.

So here I am, making light of it.  Not because I’m heartless, but actually because I’m incredibly distraught over the whole thing and I can’t seem to muster up a topic that doesn’t have to do with my missing cat.

Plus, it’s really just ripe for comedy.  I mean, I almost started off this post making a joke about how I’m only at half cat-pacity.  Ah ha! HA!   Heh.  *ahem*  But I didn’t.

At least I still have some wits about me.

 

 

photo by "foxtongue" Click image to check out their Flickr PhotoStream.

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Amber Alert

12 Jun

photo by "foxtongue" Click image to check out their Flickr PhotoStream.

I seem to have misplaced my cat.

It was at dinner time last evening that I realized I had completely neglected to feed my cats breakfast.  For some reason it completely evaded me and I wasn’t given a reminder by the always-hungry Lola.   So after expecting both cats to come racing for their first meal of the day and then place a call to the Humane Society against me, I was surprised to find that Hobbes was missing in action.

He’s a pretty lazy cat, so I assumed he had moved to a nice cool space to sleep the day away.  That, or he was boycotting me and my affection since I have the ability to entirely forget to feed him.   But I couldn’t find him anywhere.  No nook, no cranny, no crevice.   He is nowhere to be found.  

I am truly boggled by this.  I have the door to my apartment shielding access to the labyrinth-like hall and then there’s another door that blocks the way to the big, bad, outside world.   In order to be completely missing, he would have had to get out the door without me noticing (which is difficult since I’m always right at the door when it’s open) and then somehow wander the halls without being noticed until he could slip out the main door as well.

There are a few options that could be at play here.  First, perhaps he’s still in the apartment.  I’ve checked every single negative space three times over.  Drawers, high surfaces, beneath furniture, inside totes, in the pots and pans cabinets – everywhere.    I don’t think this is likely unless he was suddenly incredibly sick and did that crawl-int0-a-tiny-crevice-to-die thing.  Which would be tragic.

Second – perhaps he was stolen.  Snatched in the night.  Maybe he sneaked out my apartment door and some neighbor who had always wanted a cat but not had the opportunity to get one saw it as a sign that he was meant for them.  Perhaps Hobbes is nestled sweetly on someone else’s bed eating someone else’s cat food, while the neighbor neglects to call the number listed on his collar.

Or third – he could have actually made it outside.  This is the least preferable.  Though he is a lover of the outdoors, he is such only by observation.  When we have taken him outside in celebration of his wildcat roots, he promptly lies down in the sun and is inactive.   The sun has a sort of koala-meets-eucalyptus effect on him where he is rendered passive and incapable of action.  But I have checked all immediate areas outside my complex and found cats of all shapes and sizes – none of which were him.

So I am minus one cat and truly baffled as to how it happened.   I’m trying not to be too sad about it right away – I put up a poster in our apartment so that if the second option was correct, someone might have a change of heart and return him.  If I don’t hear anything in a few days I will be so very heartbroken for his poor, incapable, furry self.  I would take solace in the fact that it’s springtime and he could be out getting frisky with the sexy neighborhood felines, but alas he is a eunuch.    So here’s hoping he returns.

And that this isn’t indicative of a problem I’ll have keeping track of my offspring someday

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