Open Thread: Pets

Do you have any? Have any funny stories about them?

Ya'll have already heard about my Primary Cat and Auxiliary Backup Cat. My favorite story about PC and ABC would be that I had to stop buying and using candles because PC always took the candle flame as a challenging opponent. He would smack his paw straight down on the flame to extinguish it, but in doing so would end up with his paw in a well of hot melted wax. Then he would panic and fling hot wax everywhere, shaking his paw as hard as he could. Ruined an altar that way. And though he didn't like the hot wax, and this happened every time he batted at a candle, PC never learned.

ABC, on the other hand, "merely" held her tail stationary over the flame until her tail caught on fire. At which point I smothered her tail with a towel to put out the flame. While she stared blankly at me the whole time. *sigh*



redcrow said...

Catzilla is not *my* cat, strictly speaking, but currently he lives with me. (He was supposed to move out last year. Didn't happen.) He's very talkative, prone to follow people around, frequently demands to be petted, and can be very aggressive while thinking he's just being playful (as opposed to being intentionally aggeressive, which also happens sometimes). Resently he desided that he prefers my bed and my lap to those of his Rightful Owners. That worries me, because this year he *definitely* moves out, and I'm afraid he will miss me. I'm going to visit, of course.

Will Wildman said...

I am currently in position of a sealpoint siamese cat (Blue, for his eyes) who has two modes: Inert Heap and the frequent but brief Frenetic Patroller. The throwaway-joke-that-snowballed-into-canon is that he's deeply concerned about imminent communist invasion. CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

My original duo of cats comprised the Evil Death Cat and the Emergency Backup Cat, though near the end of Evil Death Cat's life, he met Blue. Consisting at that point of an exhausted little mass of stripey orange fur and bones, he made eye contact with Blue, a ridiculously large and muscular leopard of a cat. After approximately two seconds of staring into the Ocean of Infinite Fury within Evil Death Cat's eyes, Blue turned and sprinted out of the room, and for the rest of the day refused to return to that floor of the house.

Much earlier in their lives, Emergency Backup Cat made one of his regular bids for power by chasing Evil Death Cat around the house. Their mad dash circled the house and eventually reached the coffee table in the living room - Evil Death Cat darted on top, while Emergency Backup Cat cunningly took the shortcut underneath. He emerged on the far side and had a brief moment of trying to figure out where his quarry had disappeared to before Evil Death Cat fell upon him from above.

Evil Death Cat was a soft lightweight orange tiger-tabby, the absolute stereotype of friendly cats, but from day the first to day the last, he used his superior tactical processing and raw force of personality to devastating effect.

(Evil Death Cat famously dunked his arm in hot coffee at a young age and actually learned from the experience, although he never did figure out what all the fuss was about when he too set his tail on fire with a candle.)

redsixwing said...

The cat nicknames and cat stories already have me in stitches.

I had an Evil Death Cat for a while - really more of an Anti-Social Cat than anything, but you should hear my father's stories about her. She had no use for him, nor him for her.

Warning: animal violence.

Anti-Social Cat once brought us a weasel, which she had killed prior to discovering she didn't like the taste of it. She presented this weasel by dragging it onto the driveway and howling like a banshee until someone investigated, at which point she juggled it, as she would a mouse.

She also hunted rabbits - right up until my parents moved to an area with big, tough jackrabbits instead of cottontails. She caught a jackrabbit once, and to her unending shame, it won the ensuing fight and tore off, leaving her bruised and upset. She was frightened of them after that, and would run from the adults, but if she saw a baby jack, she'd kill it and drag it all over, howling her triumph to the heavens. She usually did this when there were small children around to be properly horrified at the spectacle of a bloodily dead baby bunny.

Alas, my beloved Anti-Social Cat passed away last year. I still miss her - I was one of the few people she liked.

I now have The Parrot, as well as a handful of other birds, and the things they get up to..

Gelliebean said...

We have three.... Indy, Chaos, and Sam (the Upper Management).

Sam believes that his humans aren't able to function properly without oversight and direction. We got him last summer from the shelter (so he'll be 8 sometime this year) and since then he has made it clear that he likes us, but doesn't quite trust us to remember how to do things without his presence. He will come and fetch us when the food bowl is empty, or when he thinks Indy has been outside too long.... He also decided that he would have to stop me using the snooze alarm, so started jumping on my skull the first time it went off to make sure I couldn't fall asleep again.

This morning when I went into the kitchen, all three were gathered around the water bowl which had been emptied overnight.... Indy and Chaos waited there circling, I grabbed a cup to fill it, and Sam jumped onto the sink to ram his head against the faucet and make sure I hadn't forgotten where the water was supposed to come from.

Chaos has recently taken to sleeping on top of the fridge, and to staring at the ceiling when I can't find anything there of interest.... She has a very odd voice and chirps more than meows. She's somewhere around a year old (we got her the same time and place as Sam) and I suspect she will always be tiny, hyperactive and the "baby kitty" regardless of how old she is. She also has a fascination with human grooming habits - has to be there to watch anyone brushing teeth or hair, my husband shaving, comes running when she hears the bathwater start..... It's the strangest thing.

Indy is almost 2, and he is the laziest, most 'dude'-like cat I know.... I imagine that if he were human, he'd take a great deal of pleasure in belching loudly. He's the only one we allow outside, and seems to spend most of the time lurking about underneath the house.

Will - I love the idea of an Emergency Backup Cat. :-D

Will Wildman said...

Will - I love the idea of an Emergency Backup Cat. :-D

Apparently it's a slightly more common idea than I realised, although Ana is the first I've known to use such a similar tag (with Auxiliary Backup Cat).

Emergency Backup Cat was a rescue (of 5 cats, the first was a shop cat, three were from shelters, and one (Blue) from a moving friend) who got picked up off the streets the day before a record-breaking blizzard buried the entire city, making him a very lucky cat indeed. He was always a bit doglike in his sociability, and his belief that all foods were good foods, and his overall bounciness - thus why he got named Tigger.

The next one just wandered into our backyard about a month after Evil Death Cat's conclusion, half-shaved and unable to decide whether he was hungrier for food or affection. I didn't want to crowd him, but he kept running between me and the food I had put out, until I followed him back and pet him while he was eating, at which point he transcended mortal joy and entered some plane of astral euphoria and decided he would just live with us now. Even after the rest of his long fur grew in, he still looks like a lion, contributing to being named Scotland (partly I just always wanted to call a cat Scotland), but his more common appellations include Puffington (when just being fluffy and adorable) and Loud Cat (when he just stands around yelling for hours on end, because he also has a lion's vocal capacity).

Jen said...

Spooky-cat was fascinated by candle flame, and wanted to get her nose right up to the flame. After getting "bit" a couple of times (but never enough to actually hurt her, as far as I could tell), she learned not to do that. But to prove her disinterest, she would sit with her back to the candle. And yep, one time she held her tail just so, and I noticed this burning smell and grabbed her really quick and I ran cold water over it (fortunately, she wasn't one to fight a bath), She didn't seem to be in pain, but she had a little bald spot under her tail for a while.

My current inside kitty, Squeaker, is a gorgeous smoke-gray Persian. He's very lovey, and when you pick him up he just relaxes into your arms. He has more hair than I've ever seen on a cat. Unfortunately, he's not a fan of being groomed.... He doesn't pay much attention to the candles, except to protest if I'm spending time lighting them while he wants to PLAY.

The outdoor kitty, Tigger, is a very sweet brown-and-orange stripey cat. He's taken in a neighbor cat, Taffy, who's owner collects animals but then doesn't give them much attention - or food, as far as well can tell.

depizan said...

Max, who demanded to be rescued from a life on the streets, finds water to be every bit as horrible as cats are supposed to. Because of this, he found my showering to be horrifyingly fascinating early on. Now he's gotten used to the idea that I make it rain inside and stand in it, but he still watches with concern when I take a bath (something I do less often). He is also most a lap cat when I'm playing MMOs - because playing around a purring fuzzball is clearly an improvement. Particularly when he tries to eat my headphones.

Susan B. said...

Growing up, I was pet, servant, masseuse, and frequent chew toy to a black-as-night feline named Champers. Despite his constant air of smug superiority, he was not the brightest crayon in the box. There was the time he got himself tangled in the lights around the Christmas tree and then startled himself, making the tree crash to the ground and nearly dragging it up the stairs.

Then there was the time we had a ladder set up in the living room, which had two-story high ceilings and second story windows with very narrow sills. Champers of course climbed the ladder and then leaped the extra five feet to the window sill, where he spent a contented five minutes staring down at the people on the path outside. Then he wanted to get to the adjacent window, but that required curving his body around the foot and a half of wall between the two windows. He had just barely managed to get his front paws onto the other window sill when physics caught up to him and he fell off. He managed to break his twelve-foot fall only by digging his claws into the wall on the way down, making an audible screech and leaving some pretty dramatic gouges on the wall. (At least he learned his lesson on that one and never tried it again.)


Nowadays I get to be Auntie Susan to my friend's Boston terrier puppy, who is so smart she could probably do my taxes for me. When Pixie was going to puppy-training classes, she picked up on every new command within a handful of tries (as long as she was sure she'd get a treat out of it). But when the time came to learn "down", my friend accidentally gave her the wrong idea on the first try when she held the treat on the ground, then released it when Pixie lay down and started pawing at her hand. On every subsequent attempt, Pixie started pawing at my friend's hand the moment she said "down", whether her hand was in the air or on the ground.

After many minutes of this, both dog and owner were clearly exasperated. Finally, my friend decide to take one more try. She showed Pixie the treat and said "down" while giving the hand motion. Pixie tried once more to paw at her hand, but then she stopped, cocked her head, looked my friend in the eyes for a good long moment (you could see the wheels turning as she figured it out), then slowly lowered herself to the ground.

Ana Mardoll said...

This whole thread has me laughing so hard I'm in happy side stitches. :D

hapax said...

Currently we are a bit shy of animal companions. There is the Evil Parrot, of course, who hates everybody and lurks menacingly while plotting world domination. "Companionship", however, does not seem to be part of The Plan. (Flying into walls, windows, open microwave ovens, and fragile knicknacks IS evidently in The Plan. The fact that I do not understand how this behavior will cow world leaders into submissions merely demonstrates that I am unfit for Evil Overlordship)

And then there is the Current Dog, who is possibly the stupidest dog I have ever met. She does have precisely one trick, which is when someone yells "Pants!", she will seek out hapaxson and pull his pants around his ankles. (I did not teach her this trick. hapaxspouse and hapaxson did not teach her this trick. hapaxdaughter denies teaching her this trick, but nobody believes her)

I toyed briefly with the idea of encouraging this as an anti-burglar technique, but the likely scenario -- burglar breaks in, hapax shrieks "PANTS!", dog rushes upstairs to wake up hapaxson, nose him out of bed, and denude him of pajama bottoms, hapax calls 911 while burglar twitches in surrealistic overload -- might be cinematic, but handing over the pearls would probably be simpler.

chris the cynic said...

Nameless cat, who is theoretically called Pandora but it never really stuck, came to us as a result of the circumstances surrounding the death of our previous cat (Hannah). Before Hannah died we were advised by the Vet to feed her with baby food, which we did. When she died we had baby food and nothing to do with it. We gave it to my sister, who knew someone with a baby. When she went to offer said someone the baby food, the friend immediately shoved a kitten in her arms.

The cat was probably about fist sized at that point, and she tried to antagonize the then-current dog (Cindy, who was not a small dog). When we told the vet of this seemingly suicidal behavior (in a meeting regarding Cindy) he correctly guessed that she was a calico.

She is no longer as brave around dogs, but she is much bigger. She now meows in a way recognizable as a sound a cat might make. Originally she sounded like a dying bird. She mostly ignores me. If she comes over to me it's because she wants me to open the door or give her more food.

While she has not done anything massively graceless of late, I remember a time she fell off a railing, tried to catch herself and claw her way back up, failed, landed on another railing which she fell off, tried to catch herself and claw her way back up, failed, and if I'm remembering correctly landed on a porch which she fell off, tried to catch herself and claw her way back up, and failed.

It is possible that she eventually landed on her feet, but any belief in the gracefulness of cats was definitely put to rest.

Current dog is named Wally, he was discovered in the Adirondacks, apparently it is not uncommon for families to summer there, get a puppy for the summer, and then abandon the dog when they go away. Which sucks, but I think that's one theory of where Wally came from. A friend of my mother from New York accidentally emailed her (mistakenly inviting her to dinner instead of someone who actually lives in the state) my mother responded jokingly, but when they talked about what had been going on in their lives the fact that we'd recently become dogless came up and friend pointed out that other friend had a rescue dog but nowhere to put him (apparently there are legal limits to how many dogs one person can take care of) and so we ended up with Wally even though we hadn't been planning on getting a new dog.

Wally looks just like a Mountain Cur but its impossible to know if he actually is. He's at the foot of my couch right now.

Rikalous said...

I don't personally have any pets right now, so I'll have to turn to the house of my parents for stories.

They currently have two poodles, Bitch Queen of the Universe and Neurotic Basket Case, and the Happy Friendly Dachshund Puppy. Curiously, the last doggy generation also consisted of a Bitch Queen of the Universe and a Neurotic Basket Case.

Bitch Queen of the Universe's two favorite activities are hunting varmints and playing bitchball. She cleaned out a nest of possums in the back yard early on, complete with bringing a trophy to the door, cat-style. Whenever she finds a gopher hole, she sticks her nose in as far as she can and stays there, tail a-wagging. Bitchball is a game she invented that consists of identifying a toy that Neurotic Basket Case wants and then taking it somewhere to lie down and do nothing with. Neurotic Basket Case is too frightened of her to ever contest this state of affairs.

The previous Bitch Queen of the Universe was less interested in furry varmints than the current model, but had declared vendetta upon all garter snakes. The fact that garter snakes apparently taste utterly foul was a minor inconvenience.

Neurotic Basket Case has remained a lap puppy despite the logistical difficulties of being full-grown at over a foot high. He also has a habit of licking the same spot on the couch over and over, which is remarkably reminiscent of the previous Neurotic Basket Case's obsessive licking of the same spot on the carpet.

Happy Friendly Dachshund Puppy has had trouble figuring out that Bitch Queen of the Universe doesn't actually like it when we he jumps up to bite and bark in her ear. Neurotic Basket Case also had trouble getting used to the strange, wriggly thing, but has warmed up enough to make some tentative efforts at playing with it. Happy Friendly Dachshund Puppy has recently discovered the presence of another dachshund puppy, who barks at him but refuses to play. For some reason, this other puppy has only been found in the room with a mirror that goes down to dachshund height....

Back when my mother was doing daycare, there was a rule that dogs were not permitted into the living room. After the daycare thing ended, the rule was relaxed to state that dogs could only have two feet in the living room. The dogs generally followed the rule by keeping their whole body except for the back two feet in the room. Eventually, this rule, too was relaxed, and dogs were permitted inside the living room, as long as they stayed off of the couch. Bitch Queen of the Universe interpreted this to mean that she was not allowed on the couch when humans were normally awake. If humans were awake at an abnormal time and found her on the couch, that was clearly our fault. Once Happy Friendly Dachshund Puppy showed up, the couch rule was abolished for good, and the four-legged ones officially have the run of the place.

redsixwing said...

hapax! hapax! Dead of the lulz over here. (Actually snickering into my sleeve hard enough to get Looks from coworkers.)

Do I recall that you have a Senegal parrot? "Lurks menacingly while plotting world domination" describes The Parrot pretty well, and he's an Senegal too.

He's The Parrot because he's convinced that he is the only bird in the house (pay no attention to the dove and the budgies, they obviously aren't Real True Parrots.) Maybe I should refer to him as the RTP in order to avoid confusion.

The RTParrot is still furious with me from our move. He got his licks in - he bit the ever-loving hell out of my hands not so long after we moved, for an infraction that has not previously bothered him so much - but he's taken up with thinking SixSpouse is his desired mate. He offers to feed SixSpouse on a regular basis, goes into dramatic furies of loneliness should ze leave the room without permission, and has offered to mate once.

SixSpouse declines all of this gently, of course, but RTParrot doesn't seem bothered by that.

Silver Adept said...

The current household is full of animals. There's Digger-Doglet, Bow-legged Doglet, her brother, Psycho Kitten and Daddy's Girl. We did have Explorer Kitten, but he's in the Summerland after a heart defect took him from us early.

Explorer Kitten was Psycho Kitten's brother, and both of them came to us because their mama kitten needed to be fostered (there were two others in the litter, and they got adopted out with Mom after a few months before birth.). He got the name because he figured out how to use the dog doors to get outside. We caught him once in the room before the outside, and we had our suspicions, but then we caught him outside, and that was the end of the dogs being able to use the dog doors to go out as they pleased.

Digger-doglet and Bow-legged doglet are brother and sister, and were also adopted by my Significant Other before she met me. Digger-doglet requires railroad ties and other such impediments, because she's been known to dig a hole, escape underneath the fence in the back yard and greet Sig. Other at the front door when called.

Bow-legged doglet is afraid of the Sneezie-Monster, and will run away from me if I sneeze anywhere around him and go curl up at sig. Other's feet. He also has a loving relationship with Psycho Kitten. (They're all neutered and spayed.)

Psycho Kitten and Daddy's Girl have a sort of playful relationship, which is basically Psycho Kitten chases Daddy's Girl, who growls and runs away, and then, at some point, turns around and chases Psycho Kitten, all the time growling at her.

And Daddy's Girl, well, she's the kitten gotten to be a playmate to Psycho Kitten. As it's told to me, I went into the adoption house, and she came right up to me and demanded to be petted. And then would follow me around and demand to be petted. I only remember the last of these incidents, when she came up the stairs, jumped into my lap and demanded to be petted. The funny thing is? She won't let anyone female pet her - flat ears, hissing, and then punching at the offending hand. (She'd been front-declawed before we got her.) Daddy's Girl insists on sleeping on Daddy while he's asleep and talking to him.

That is, when Digger-doglet doesn't get there first.

(All of your stories are freaking-hilarious, by the way.)

Arresi said...

Mine (also a rescue) is fascinated by my showers as well - to the point that he has (cautiously) jumped into the tub (we have a tub with shower attachment) out of curiosity. He doesn't do anything, just gets in out of the way of the spray, looks around, and then gets out. Mostly, he just sits in front of the bathroom register, on top of my dirty clothes, and waits for me to finish.

Arresi said...

I actually had written this as a note to my mother, but it seems like it'd fit in here (I'm so glad I'm not the only who gives their pets Capitalized Name-Titles.) For explanatory purposes, I live with my Dad and three cats, of which the big black cat Satch is the most attached to me. A black and white cat has been trying to convince us to adopt it as well. Mom lives elsewhere with her beagle puppy Lucy, and was going for an out-of-town job. The weird power dynamics could probably fill a book.

I'm sorry Mom, but the Dog cannot live with us.

When I woke up, the Dog decided that she really needed the Beta (aka the Girl) to pay attention to her. She was wriggling and whining, as she does, and the Big Cat That Sits Just Out of Reach noticed that His Girl was paying attention to another animal. He strolled over, and tried to figure out how to get past the oh-so-happy-to-see-him Dog. He couldn't quite figure it out, and batted at Dog a couple of times, so I picked him up and cuddled him. Once he was the One Nearest the Girl's Face, he was okay, but the Dog wasn't happy.

You see, she had just realized that in the House With All the Cats That Won't Play, she wasn't the Beta. Or the Gamma. Or the Delta. No, she was the Zeta.

And she started to whine. Then she tried standing very tall on the arm of the sofa so she was tallest, but the Big Cat That Sits Just Out of Reach just licked his paw. So then she tried taking the Beta's place next to the Man (aka the Sort of Alpha), but the Man and the Beta just patted her on the head, and the Big Cat That Sits Just Out of Reach ignored her. So she went back and tried to become the One Nearest the Girl's Face, but the Big Cat That Sits Just Out of Reach was very sure that being picked up by the Girl was more important than just wriggling your way up there. (Anyone could wriggle their way up there. That Black and White Cat That Keeps Coming Round could probably wriggle his way up there. The Girl's kinda careless about these things. ) So the Dog was still the Zeta.

So you see, Lucy can't stay here. Or Satch will get jealous, and then they'll end up competing for who gets to be the One Nearest the Girl's Face, and I'll end up getting smothered.

Lonespark said...

Cat stories are the best. LammasBaby just had a homework assignment involving the letter Q and pictures of quail, which led to recounting the war between dear departed Beastie and a whole flock of quail that lived in a stand of cactus in our front yard. After her final victory, there was quail-juggling at 4am. Feathers everywhere.

The funniest thing was probably when when she discovered snow. She wanted to walk across the yard, but she hated the sensation of walking in snow; she was incensed by its presence.

Vardulon said...

I had two cats growing up - Brutus and Gideon. They were extremely territorial, but incredibly careful not to leave our property. So long as no other animals wandered onto our lawn, there were no problems. But the second a mouse got a little too close...

The most interesting thing I ever witnessed them do happened on the day we moved into a new house. While all the doors were open to facilitate box-shifting, the cats were wandering around the yard, trying to get a sense of the place. I was in the front room when I heard a set of claws running down the hall from the breezeway. I peeked through the doorway just in time to see Brutus duck down a hall leading to the side door, then stop, nearly out of sight. A strange cat came wandering in through the back door moments later, cautiously sauntering forward. Suddenly Brutus pokes his head around the corner into the hallway, and gives the strange cat a look. It stops dead and they stare at each other for a few seconds - then the stray gets the point and turns around - and sees Gideon, standing in the back doorway, watching him.

The stranger looks back and forth for half a minute, with no idea how to play the situation. Finally Gideon takes a few steps into the hallway and moves against the wall. That's all the sign the strange cat needs - he bolts out the back door, never to be seen again.

Oh, cats. If only I wasn't so horribly allergic to them, I'd be surrounded by felines right now.

redcrow said...

Something about catzilla I didn't mention yesterday - he likes to talk on the phone. That's probably my fault. He used to spend summer - as well as warmer parts of autumn - on his Rightful Owners' dacha ("used to" because they said they're relustant to take him with them this year), and whenever I called and he was around, he started to rub his head against the phone and purr. Then when he came back to city, he spent more time with me than with them, and when any of them called, I asked if they want to talk to him. So now when the phone rings, catzilla runs to it, meowing loudly and demands to give a phone to him. If you dont let him to speak with whoever is on the line... well, let's say it can be painful. (Maybe I needed to nickname him Nice Fluffy Pacifist Kitty... but I'm afraid it's too late.)

Amaryllis said...

Did I ever tell you about The Dachshund and The Doughnuts?

We had gone out, and we had left a nearly-full box of doughnuts on the kitchen table. The table, mind you, four times the height of the dachshund, should have been safe. We came back to find the box still on the table, but perfectly empty. And the quilt on our bed, a mess of sugary slobbery crumbs.

The Dachsie must have jumped onto a chair, stretched over to the table, picked up a doughnut, jumped down again, trotted down the hall, jumped on the bed while still holding the doughnut, and enjoyed his treat in comfort. And then, jump down and repeat until the box was empty. Oh well, at least he got his exercise with his calories.

And he didn't even get sick from all that sugar!

(Just as well, cleaning the quilt was bad enough.)

Silver Adept said...

Oh, man, that's right, Amaryllis. Digger-doglet and Bow-legged doglet are chewers...and they will climb chairs to get to things. Like cat food. Or papers and receipts. What makes this worse is that Psycho Kitten absolutely adores batting at things that ccan move, even if they're on high places. Which sometimes means we come home to a doglet having chewed up something important that we're sure was safely out of reach, only to notice that Psycho Kitten was hanging around that area and batting at things a little while ago...

BaseDeltaZero said...

No, she was the Zeta.

Zeta is actually just the 6th letter in the Greek alphabet. You're probably looking for Omega.

chris the cynic said...

Yesterday I opened the door to let my dog and cat in the house, and it was immediately clear that a bird had pooped on my dog's head. He acted as if nothing had happened, but there was bird poop on his head, plain as day.

That's the difference between dogs and people. If a person showed up with bird poop on their head they'd have a story (where dogs do not talk.) Or maybe they'd be in a, "I don't want to talk about it," mood, but they definitely wouldn't be acting as if nothing had happened.

MaryKaye said...

We have five cats. We weren't supposed to have five cats, but four years ago the elderly kitty was at death's door with pancreatitis, and wouldn't play with our newly adopted son. So we got four lovely gray sibling kittens, because they came as a set and we couldn't decide amongst them. But now it's four years later, the elderly kitty just turned 21, and she is sitting on the bed right now complaining that her food bowl is empty. She only eats freshly cooked ground turkey dosed with a bone-meal-and-dried-clam product that is supposed to make it a balanced diet--apparently it does. She has also forgotten how to use a litterbox. But she's a tough old lady and not ready to die, as she tells me pointedly whenever food or water are the least bit delayed.

When she was younger she had a strong opinion that kitchen scrubbers belong on the stairway landing, and would carefully carry them there every night. She also had ways of getting revenge if left alone too long: she once excavated a dead potted plant, carried it up two flights of stairs, and shredded it on my pillow when I was gone for a week. The next trip, she removed all the yarn from the tassel on a wooly hat and put *those* on my pillow.

The male gray cat is Attitude Cat. When the others learned that we'd spray them with water if they were on the table at dinnertime, he marked out an invisible boundary line and will lie just his side of it, sprawling, daring us to shoot him. He only drinks from the faucet and will whap you on the shoulder while you're using the toilet if you forget to turn the faucet on for him.

The three gray females have the most complex cat politics I have ever seen; I can't sort them out. The long-hair is called Lap Limpet because she sits on you at every opportunity and is hard to remove. The runty one is Spooky Cat: she can't tolerate sneezing or other noises and dashes about wildly. She also carries stuffed animals up and down the stairs late at night while making an eerie half-strangled yowling noise. And then there's Manipulative Cat, who is very cute and seems to trade on it. She has a pose my son named "belly up to the bar" which she does on the stairs and also on people who are lying on their sides. Manipulative Cat is constantly trying to get into my bedroom, which is off-limits because elderly kitty lives in there. Apparently it is rightfully part of her territory.

I'm not doing ritual at this time, but elderly kitty's sister and housemate both burned themselves on candles. The housemate, who I think had feline Down's Syndrome or something similar, would curl up all of her whiskers in a candle and never seem to notice.

Charles Matthew Smit said...

Rusty has been ours for almost two years now. He was still very small when we got him, very kittenish, and his previous owner was a neighbor of ours who felt she could not care for him. She had announced her intention to simply release him and let him go feral, and my wife and I decided we couldn't let that happen, so we took him in. The owner told us, at the time, that he had his shots and his papers... and then, once we had him for a few days, told us this was not the case and she had never claimed otherwise. Regardless, he was (and is) boisterous, clumsy, and extremely affectionate, and we were glad to add him to our family. He grew like a weed (our current joke is that he is the model for the "longcat is long" meme), and we assumed this was a regularly scheduled growth spurt.

A year later, we met the woman who owned his mom, and found out that when we had gotten him, he was already more than a year old. He'd just been so malnourished that he hadn't grown or gone through cat-puberty until we took him in and started feeding him better.

In any case, he's a brilliant and devious animal (he's not polydactyl but he can open doors, he's very good at figuring out patterns and then deviating from them), and absolutely the slowest and most terrible hunter a feline could be. He's the only cat I've ever seen who has worse reflexes than I do, he mistimes jumps, often stops and sits down mid-pounce... my wife and I joke that we call him a bad cat not because he misbehaves but because he is simply bad at traditional feline pursuits.

cjmr said...

A similar story about our three cats and the smell that things make heating up--things like the curling iron, the clothes iron, the hot rollers.

Cat #1 burned her nose sniffing the curling iron once, and never tried to sniff anything with that smell again.

Cat #2 burned her nose on each item once, and henceforth avoided those items when they were making that smell.

Cat #3 had to be shut in another room if you wanted to use something that plugged in and heated up. He just. couldn't. resist. putting his nose on them.

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