Monday, December 8, 2014

My Werewolf

Cats are one step away from terrifying jungle predators. Well, maybe half a dozen steps. As evidence of this, I submit these pictures of Renn. Does this creature not resemble some kind of lyncanthropic monster brought low by the silver bullets of the peasants just in time? Look at the teeth; look at the eyes. A crazed killing machine!

And you should have heard him whine like a little weenie baby when I had to move him afterward. Blood-curdling!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Can't Work Under These Conditions!

Last week, the electrical switch controlling the dining ‘area’ lights in my house ceased working and, though it has since been repaired, I had to move a standing lamp to the dining table. This enabled me to write, and also to see what I was eating, no small consideration when one is a cook on my level.

Renn has joined me from time to time on the table when I write. He usually sits and looks out the window. With the darkness falling earlier these days, however, the blinds are drawn sooner, and Renn has nothing to observe outside. He has compensated for this by finding something new on the inside.

The lamp was by my armchair in the sitting room. Renn has seen it there, but a new location renders an old object a novelty to cats, and my big boy has been sniffing the lampshade and staring at the light bulb, not something I like to see him do.

He has also discovered that proximity to the light bulb brings a greater amount of heat. This is something of which he has taken advantage. I don’t object to his continuing search for greater comfort - he is, after all, a cat - but sometimes it usurps my elbow room; in this case, literally. You may observe that, while I have space still in which to write, it is somewhat cramped, and the large cat lying quite firmly within my field of vision and arm’s reach is a bit of a distraction.

But the lamp is now returned to its proper place, and Renn, though he still keeps me company on the table, doesn’t lie down across it. He now just sits near my papers and sweeps them with his long, strong, floofy tail...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Good Cause

This entry in my blog is a bit of an aside. Its subject is, in fact, another blog, called Feral Cat Behavior (it is written in the U.S.; that’s why ‘behaviour’ is spelled that way.)

Regardless of differences in English north and south of the 49th parallel, Feral Cat Behavior is the blog of a cat-rescuer who works against great odds. She and her husband, who has some strong medical issues right now, and a few volunteers, have rescued and revitalised many cats through the years. Despite the title of the blog, most of the cats she helps are abandoned or lost, socialised to some degree. She dedicates her time and resources to them. And speaking of the latter, she doesn’t have many of the financial kind at present.

Seventeen young cats need spaying and neutering very soon. Her veterinarian has given her twenty per cent off the going rate for the surgeries, but she still requires money to help these little creatures. She is aiming for $1,589 (U.S.) by Christmas.

This lady lives in a part of the world which doesn’t seem to value cats, especially strays. And with the Yuletide three weeks away, people understandably have other uses for their funds. But if you can spare a few dollars or pounds or yen, she would be very grateful. Her work constitutes a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation.

Even if you can’t spare any money at this fiscally-trying time of the year, a kind word or two would be appreciated as well. You can get to the blog by selecting its title at the bottom of my side-bar (yes, I spelled 'behaviour' the Canadian way there; don't digress); the site's address is I need not remind many of my readers of the benefits of saving cats, but if you would like a nice memento, look at these three.

Monday, December 1, 2014

One More Discovery for Cammie

Cammie keeps on surprising me. The weather here is very cold: with the wind-chill, the temperature fell to -31° (Celsius; though when it’s that cold, it doesn’t matter what rule one uses) a couple of nights ago. The cats of course have their fur coats, and I have three heating pads in cat-beds or towels for their added comfort. One is in the parlour, and Cammie enjoys it more and more. But at night, Kola is locked in the parlour to prevent any nocturnal attempts on his peace of mind by Tucker. The Floof King uses the heating pad then.

Except for that, Cammie hasn’t used cat-beds much. But on the weekend, I found my Siamese princess comfortably curled up in one of the heated beds in the sitting room. I’m glad it wasn’t the one Tungsten habitually uses. I don’t need the orange one having another excuse to dislike her roommate.

Cammie’s expression is, unfortunately, always that combination of melancholy and misery that you see here. Despite that, I think she was enjoying herself, because soon, she was snoozing away the day.

It’s fun to watch a cat learn and discover. Just when I think they get into a habit, they change it. Now that Cammie has  found that this bed gives off warmth, she will remember it and, though she may not always use it, it will be there for her when she wants it. And with cats, that’s the most we can provide for them.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Josie the Less

Once again, it seems, Josie isn’t getting much coverage in my blog. She’s too unassuming, too diffident for her own good. It’s not that the Great White doesn’t cause her share of trouble. She will take every opportunity to get at Tungsten’s food bowl, which contains tastier, though not better, hard-food than her own. She will sometimes swat at Kola - though at least once recently, I have seen the Floof King actually chase Josie up the stairs from the basement, so maybe that relationship is evening out. But by and large, she doesn’t do much to get herself noticed - at least while I have my camera handy.

Though here she is doing what I like to call the ‘eye/ball’.

But the real reason for my Chubs’s appearance today is to announce that she has lost weight. Josie is half a pound lighter now than she was six months ago. She is still hefty (7.04 kilograms) but not as  weighty as she was in June (7.25 kilograms). I attribute this leavening to the soft-food I feed her. It is Merrick brand and, unlike most good food, my beasts seem to enjoy it, and have for some time. Josie in particular looks forward to soft-food meal-times. I buy five flavours regularly, the five that are popular in my house, so that variety is maintained. Josie will eat all five, and a good-sized portion at each serving. Now that I think of it, I have not seen her at the hard-food bowls as often as was the case. I would like to reduce the amount of hard-food served still further, but the reasons I can go only so far in that direction need another story. For now, I don’t want to detract from the Great White’s achievement.

Who knows? In time, I may have to stop calling Josie my Chubs...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Mystery of the Mice

A mystery has come to my house recently. It involves the fuzzy mice that constitute the large portion of my cats’ toys. Everyone has or has had (before they were lost forever under couches, dressers and beds) the small fuzzy mice for cats to play with; they perform yeoman service in our household, scattered about the floors for the cats to attack and knock about whenever they feel like it.

Lately, they have been coming to the bedroom while I sleep.

This does not unnerve me, for two reasons. One, I know these toys are benign and mean no one harm. Two, I don’t believe they are moving of their own accord. Each morning for the past two weeks or so, I have woken to find at least a single, often two, sometimes three, fuzzy mice on the floor of the bedroom.

It has been different mice each time, or at least not the same ones, and they are not always left in the same location. In fact, one found its way onto the saddle of the taller cat-tree in the bedroom.

This narrowed the range of suspects in the case considerably. Renn enjoys snoozing in that spot during the day, but never at night, when he is comfortably curled up on the bed. Quite often, at least in the late hours of the night (as opposed to the early hours of the morning), the saddle is occupied by Cammie, who rests there after a full day of annoying Tungsten, telling the others to keep their distances and generally exerting her personality. She will lie in the saddle and look out into the dark and contemplate existence, alternate possibilities, time travel and such. Or whether to go and eat something. But only she uses the taller cat-tree after bed-time.

But if the mystery of who brings the mice to the bedroom is, to my satisfaction, solved, the question remains as to why she does it. She does not bat them about the house until they end up there; I would hear that and wake. No, she evidently carries them in her mouth, or perhaps slides them in with so little violence that the movements are silent. Is she bringing toys to keep her company during her nocturnal vigils? Are they trophies? Are they little furry things to care for?

It’s one of the riddles that will remain unsolved until that day when all riddles are answered. And it may not be the least important riddle to be answered then.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Crushing Tucker's Head

I have described the game Tungsten and I play. Now I will write about something Tucker and I do. I call it ‘Crushing Tucker’s Head’.

Tucker will periodically come up to me and rubbed his tubby body against my leg. Sometimes he’s saying ‘I like you.’ Other times, he’s saying, ‘I like you; play with me.’ On those occasions, I will chase him into the sitting room, where he will throw himself full-length on the rug, stretch and squeal as I grab his head. Then I pretend to crush that big melon. (Actually, I just rub his furry noodle, and he pretends I’m crushing it.) He squeals and reaches up to grab my hand, so he can drag it down to bite it. He has the proportions of a human infant, however; his stubby little forelegs are short, and have trouble seizing my hand. Once in a while he is able to pull it away and successfully nip it. This surprises both of us, and he pauses, worried that he’s done something wrong. (Tucker is about as violent as a Quaker.) I usually answer that query by doubling my efforts to crush that softball-sized noggin, and we’re off again.