And Max explained reality to him ...
While being interviewed recently for MOST AWESOME CATS IN THE UNIVERSE MAGAZINE, Max was asked a potentially divisive question. To wit: Who is in charge, in this multiple kitty household? Sitting beside Jake the Wondercat, she thought about it for a moment ...
Jake muttered something about him being in charge, being the guy and all ...
And Max explained reality to him ...
"I'm not only in charge," Max told the interviewer, "I'm the reigning QUEEN of this little corner of the Universe."
_Jake, referred to as Big Boy Cat when I'm on Twitter, might have been named Gargantua if I'd known how big he was going to grow up to be. He and his brothers were born here in the house 2 1/2 years ago, and Jake's body is long, his tail is long, he's super tall, he has a huge head, and freakishly long legs. I sometimes wonder if his father was a Great Dane. Or possibly a gazelle. He's also goofy. It's very endearing. Most of the time. He loves to dangle his legs over the edge of ... well, whatever is there. He's confiscated one of my exercise bikes because the seat is his favorite perch. And thus, my favorite photo of him:
_Yes, that's the cats' room, full of cat stuff: food bags, boxes of litter, toys, and whatever they drag in there. I'm going to straighten it up one of these days. And five minutes later, Jake & his brothers will make it look like a tornado went through it. It's cat thing. A boy thing. A how-can-we-drive-the-human-crazy-today thing.
That used to be my exercise room. Two bikes, a treadmill. Somewhere along the line, I ceded that territory to the cats. Oh, I fought it for a while. But they won. They always win. It's another cat thing. That's okay. I don't mind. Sigh. Besides, they're kind enough to allow me to use one of the bikes now and then. The good bike. The one that doesn't squeak when I pedal it. The one with the seat that Jake has NOT turned into a chew toy.
I should also introduce you to Mr. Monkey. He's Jake's beloved stuffed orangutan. Jake carries him all over the house, sleeps with him, tosses him up in the air playfully ... and occasionally tries to chew his face off. Amazingly, Mr. Monkey still has one. No mouth. A little stuffing escaping under the chin. But his eyes are still there. So far. Here is Jake reaching out to him, a few nights ago:
_Well, now you know my Big Boy Cat. Someday I'll tell you about his two brothers and describe the goofball insanity that is my furry boys at 4 a.m.
It took me a long time to deal with the loss of my closest l'il friend & best-ever cat, Scully, and I plan on doing a sort of RIP page about her, just for me. But I also have other cats and I'd like to get back to writing about my life here in CatWorld (Yes, I'm honest about it. It's their world and I'm just a guest). I've always enjoyed writing my cat blog, my 8 million readers enjoyed it (ok, maybe it's more like 8 readers), and I feel ready to do that again. Besides, the litter of silly kittens I had has grown up, and there is no shortage of crazy antics going on around here. So now you have something to look forward to ;-}
The tons of snow dumped here on the East Coast today, on top of last week's piles of the white stuff, are an inconvenience to most, a serious problem for some, and a danger for the stray cats and dogs trying to survive in it. For those of us who worry about strays, it means slogging through the snow on days like this, bringing food and water to places they congregate. During the worst of it, they're often stranded elsewhere, but will eventually venture out to their favorite haunts.
Oh, and for those people who don't like stray cats ... or the people who feed them ... I say, many of you are the reason there is a huge stray cat population in this country in the first place. Unfeeling people who take in cute little fluffy kittens for their kids to play with, then when the kittens grow and reach puberty, instead of getting them neutered, just dump them out the door with no conscience, no remorse, no sense of responsibility. And what do you think happens to them after that? Let me be the one to explain basic science to you: they go in heat, get pounced on by every male cat within miles, and end up pregnant, thus expanding the population of the very stray cat colonies you so dislike. Can you say, DUH!, boys and girls?
But I digress.
The point is, I got out in the snow today -- and with warmer temps than during the last storm, it didn't feel so bad -- did what I could for the kitties, and came home to a cup of hot coffee, some crumb cake (Mmmmm!), and cats of my own who are spoiled rotten. Yes, they were out on the streets when they were very young, until I rescued them. But I doubt they remember it. Their main interest is in convincing the human to do their bidding. And food. Frequently, a combination of the two. Yet, even though they're indoors, they seem to be getting as sick and tired of snow as I am. Maybe it's because the view out the windows is so monotonous lately. White stuff falling constantly ... white stuff covering yards and sidewalks ... empty streets full of, yes, white stuff. Max has always been fascinated by people and cars. Not birds. Not other cats. But no one ever said Max is normal. Scully, on the other hand, loves to watch birds hopping around out on the sidewalk or from branch to branch on the rosebush, as if they're a favorite TV show. But during the past snowy week, very few people are venturing out, even fewer cars, and even the birds are apparently holing up somewhere. Thus, no birdy performances. Consequently, Scully is not a happy camper. Asked her opinion of the dual Blizzards Of 2010, she responded, "Pffffffffft!":
Scully and Max would like everyone to know that their Xmas gifts this year are nowhere near as fun as last year's, but the wrapping paper rocks! Thus, the human is not allowed to pick it up off the floor. Nor the pretty, curly ribbons. Ditto for the big, bite-able bows. The paper -- the one with snowflakes on it, the skinny one with Xmas trees, and especially the biiig one with Garfield and Odie on it -- are reserved for catnaps. And the occasional rowdy game of "Quick, Stick Your Paws Under This Thingy, 'Cause Who Knows What We Might Find Hiding There!" Not to worry. Once the novelty wears off and boredom sets in, all Xmas-y sheets will be shredded into various-sized pieces, as well as enough confetti-sized bits to require the human to drag out the noisy suck-up-dirty-stuff machine and make them disappear. However, in keeping with the festive atmosphere of the season, games of "Let's See How Many Times We Can Knock The Little Stuffed Rudolph Off The Top Of The TV" will continue to be played until the end of the holidays, in the hope of breaking last year's record of 147. Meowy Xmas, Twitterverse!
Do your cats play with toys, ignore them, or do their best to dismember them?
Doling out some new toys one at a time to see which ones Scully and Max consider worth at least nudging, and which ones they totally ignore. Scully is not in the mood, and wanders away. Surprisingly, Max is attracted to the toy I think is cute -- vaguely teddybearish, it consists of a purple stuffed-felt head, hands, and feet connected by white twisty, curly, spidery torso, arms, and legs that hang like yarn.
Holding it in her mouth, Max drags it, the little purple feet trailing on the floor between her front paws, like a mother cat carries its kitten. Is that adorable, or what? She carries it up onto the sofa. Nuzzles it a little. Takes it back down onto the floor. Up on the sofa again. Down on the floor. Shhhh! Don't tell her she's getting exercise. Later, she disappears with it, and I find her in my bedroom, up on the bed. Licking the purple teddybear ears. Awww, how sweet.
It disappeared for a while during the day, but Max can't be expected to play constantly, and Scully has no interest in anything that doesn't smell like Friskies.
Then came bedtime, with both cats curled up on the bed with me, as usual. Slept a few hours (I rarely get more than that, and they prefer most of their sleep in the daytime), stretched (all 3 of us), and found ...
The purple teddybear. Or what was left of it. Holy crap. It looks like Jason from "Friday The 13th" got hold of it. It's just a head, a torso, and one arm. And a little pile of ... stuffing? Oh yeah. Looks like white fiberglass, but it's some sort of stuffing. Teddybear head deflated. Teddybear brains lying there on the comforter. A head in my bed. More evidence that Max paid more attention to "The Godfather" than I'd like, when I watched it a while back. I pick it up, and it's soggy. Go into the kitchen and find one dismembered teddybear leg hanging over the edge of the water dish. Now I know why the rest is sopping wet. Obviously, Max had a busy morning, and teddy did some traveling. And bathing.
I eventually find the other leg over by the TV in the computer room. The other arm? Who knows. Maybe keeping company with a dust bunny, batted under a piece of furniture I haven't vacuumed in a while. Ok, that could be any of the furniture.
So much for the new toy.
And Christmas is coming. Kittycat heaven. New empty boxes to play in. Crinkly wrapping paper on which to stretch out and nap, or lie in wait to attack each other. Colorful bows to bat around. And brand new toys to mutilate.
Someday I want to be reincarnated as a cat ;-}
It all starts with something new to worry about. Not only do I have to be careful I don't catch the H1N1 virus, but now it turns out that cats can catch it, too! Damn evil bug. Now it's after l'il kitties? Soooo ... I didn't buy that cute toy that was sitting loose in a bin at the store. No cellophane, no buy. Instead, I bought a pack of toys that cost 4 times as much. Scully & Max do not see this as a problem, since they are cats, which means they are worth four times as much as ... anything and everything. It's a cat thing.
By the time I got home, soggy and chilled from the rain, but my purchases nice and dry in plastic bags (sorry, carbon footprint -- it WET out there), all I cared about was drying off and warming up. All Scully and Max cared about was playing What's In The Bag? What's In The Bag? What's In The Bag? I think that's more of a dog thing, usually -- ya know, those hyper little jump-up-and-down dogs -- but even on a good day, Scully is obsessed with plastic bags and Max is obsessed with ... driving me out of my mind. Hey, everybody needs a hobby.
Bags on kitchen counter. Cats eyeing kitchen counter. Bad combination.
Time to play Let's See How Many Times We Can Get The Human To Say "Leave The Bag Alone!" Many times, it turns out. Many, many times. A whole frickin' sh**load of times, in fact. Because I'm figuring, who knows what germs were on the hands of the store clerks, after handling items touched by innumerable snotty little tots (must be a kid thing -- the need to run their hands over absolutely everything in the store), so could H1N1 be on the bag?
But we're also still playing What's In The Bag? What's In The Bag? What's In The Bag?
Ok, ok, I know when I'm beat. I shuffle over to the counter, one fuzzy slipper on, just a sock on the other foot, and toss the bags into one of the cabinets. Wipe down the counter with hydrogen peroxide. Problem solved.
Fast forward to 1:00 a.m. Go into the cabinet, take out bags to put items away. Discover ...
Brand new tub of cream cheese. Ya know ... WARM cream cheese. Warm, should've been refrigerated cream cheese. Warm, too damn expensive to throw out, but out it's gotta go anyway cream cheese.
Two cats watching the human wail, "Aggghhhh!" I swear I heard them chuckling. Like I said, everybody needs a hobby. And Drive The Human Crazy is a fun one.
Want to have people look at you oddly? Push a kitty stroller down the street. A dayglo pink one, at that. You get noticed. A lot of people don't realize it's for cats. They think you have a baby that's so hideous, you've enclosed the stroller so that no one will see him/her and be traumatized. What a kind and caring fellow citizen you must be. Yet, morbid curiosity being what it is, people feel compelled to squint and stare at the black mesh, perplexed expressions on their faces, as they try to see this baby only a mother and P.T. Barnum could love. Explain to them that it's a cat, and they seem both relieved and oddly disappointed. Then there are the people who are well aware of kitty strollers, yet still lean down, try to peer through the mesh, and do everything but say, "Cootchy-coo," as if it actually were a baby. Meanwhile, groggy kitty, post-vet appointment, is on the inside looking out, with a Cheech-and-Chong-like, "Heyyyy, wha's happenin'?" attitude. Thus was Max's journey home from the vet a few days ago. Don't worry, minor stuff, including ear mites, so she's fine. I suspect she enjoyed being stoned. How else to explain the goofy cat-grin and uncharacteristic affectionate mood? Possibly, she was a stoner in a previous life and was channeling her former self. But, all good things must come to an end, and by that first night, the battle over ear drops began. It was fun while it lasted :-}
On top of 8 trillion other things I have to do this week (a possible slight exaggeration), ear drops twice a day for Max the cat now, who really doesn't want them. I mean, reeeeeeally doesn't want them. Have you ever watched Olympic wrestling? Not that she doesn't find the initial step amusing. That's a definite impish grin on her face as I try to catch her. She knows I'm not in her league. Moving at the speed of light (or close to it) she goes straight from the floor to the back of the sofa in one leap, across the back of it, onto the nearby chair, bounces off the cushion and up onto the server, skids across that (what the hey, I didn't need two matching candlesticks anyway, one is perfectly sufficient), onto the floor, doubles back and zips under the length of the coffee table, out to the kitchen and up onto the counter (so kind of her to miss the coffee mug that I stupidly left close to the edge) ... there's one thing I can guarantee -- if I get reincarnated as a cat, I will be way lazier than this ... off the counter and out of the room, and then, suddenly the game stops and she sits there in the middle of the living room floor, washes a paw, and looks up at me with a, Well, let's get this $%#& over with expression. Let's me pick her up, changes her mind, and the wrestling begins. How do cats twist and turn like that? Do they have a spine? If so, is it made out of Silly Putty?
But eventually the deed gets done and she stares into my eyes with that, Ok, where's my treat? I better get a damn treat! look. And of course she gets one of her favorites. Wouldn't it be nice if we adult humans got a treat for every unpleasant task we had thrust upon us? Boss drop a pile of folders on your desk just before 5:00? Here's a handful of chocolate-covered cherries. Bus running late? How 'bout some chewy nougat? Doctor about to stick a scope up your ... uh ... here's a giant, super-duper-sized, heart-shaped box of top-of-the-line chocolates. Seems fair.
Now it's time to brave the chilly drizzlies outside to go get cat food. Ok, I'm pushing it. Really, I have a business thing to take care of, a library book to return (yes, there are still actual paper books in existence, and some nice people in a big stone building willing to say, "Here, take some home with you"), yes, some cat food to pick up, and then for damn sure, I'm going to buy myself a treat.
Scully & Max never met a gargoyle they couldn't destroy. I have several small stone gargoyles that sit on the back of a shelf. Cool-looking figurines that I, gargoyle aficionado that I am, would love to display more prominently, if only for my own enjoyment. I used to have four of them. Now I have three. Cat lovers can probably picture how that came about. Yes, one cool little figurine met its demise after encountering The Furry Fists Of Death, which sent it sailing off the windowsill, through the air, and onto the floor. I think some of it is still under the refrigerator. Try sweeping while being ambushed by furry attackers. As any cat could tell you, swatting pieces of broken knick knack across tile can be the highlight of a feline's day. But today I brought home a gargoyle big enough to stand its own ground. Probably. Hopefully. As you can see in the photos, Max even gave it a kiss. Can't help wondering if she paid attention months ago when I watched "The Godfather" on TV. 'Cause the "Kiss Of Death" would not bode well for the new gargoyle. Was that a conspiratorial look that passed between Scully & Max as they gazed upon this stony new visitor? Only time will tell.
Writer of horror, sci-fi, other genres. Servant of cats. Multiple cats, who kindly allow me to live here (at least until they figure out how to open Fancy Feast cans themselves). Contact me at: GargoylePhanNB@gmail.com