In Which I Startle New Kitty’s Acquaintance

There I was, talking on the phone to the Professor in the garage, with the door to the outside world cracked a tiny bit so that I could watch the bird (we seem to have a baseball team’s worth of cardinals this year), when new kitty came hollering in the garage from said outside. Mrrrrrrroooowororowoowroroowechech. And hot on her tail was a black cat. He came into the garage. I stood up. He looked at me like “What the fuck is this thing?” and then he hightailed it back out of the garage.  He then tried to play it cool, skulking off like it was no big deal that he’d just encountered the new kitty’s ape. But I could tell he was shaken.

He was beautiful, though. I didn’t see any white on him–just solid back. And big. But his tail looked as wide as a raccoon’s, which is how I knew I’d scared the shit out of him.

When You Wake Up Wondering if There’s a Cactus in Bed With You

Last week, I awoke with a cut on my fingertip. This is odd because I sleep on a mattress and not on a bed of nails or with a sword dangling over me. My bed is, by definition, a soft, not cutting thing filled with soft, non-cutting things.

Oh, which reminds me! Not only did I have that cut, but then on Monday I burned that same finger, right on the cut, by touching too-hot lasagna. My finger is cursed!

Anyway, back to my story–the cut, not the burn. Where did this mysterious midnight cut come from?

The answer came last night. I woke up because my finger–a different finger–felt like it was being grasped by a cactus. Not hard, but it felt like ten tiny needles were holding it in place. I opened my eyes, as you do when you’re wondering if sentient cacti have crawled into bed with you and there was the orange cat, holding my finger with his claws, staring at it, like he was trying to decide if he could get away with biting it.

As best as the Butcher and I can figure, I must be twitching my hand in my sleep and, since the orange cat has taken to sleeping with me since the arrival of the dog, the cat has been having to resist the temptation to attack my hand for months now.

Last week, it apparently just got too much for him.

Lovely Weekend

I got no writing done, which is not ideal, but the dog went over to his friends’ house with the Butcher yesterday and, after a couple of hours, demanded to come home, where he just lounged around the house with me. So, that’s nice. I did accidentally throw a cat at him, which was not good, and he barked at the cat, very close to the cat and made his “I could bite you, you know!” faces at her, but he didn’t bite her (of course) and I think the cats are figuring out that he’s just kind of a lug, but harmless.

Oh, yes, here’s how you accidentally throw a cat at a dog. You’re in the kitchen, cutting up meat for your maiden attempt at paprikash, when the cat you thought was safely outside (for this very reason) comes out of nowhere, from some direction behind you, and lands square on the big chunk of as-of-yet not cut up meat. You will, just be instinct, holler, “What the fuck?!” grab the cat, and toss her away from the meat. But, of course, even though this happens in a split second, the dog has decided that, at his new house, it must be customary for everyone to get as close to the meat as possible, so here he comes. And there will be a kind of cat-dog mid-kitchen collision that ends up in barking and hurt feelings.

But, America, I have to still eat that meat! I feel fairly certain that I got all the cat cooties off it, but I’m glad I’m not serving it to guests.

The recipe I found for paprikash is basically an onion, two red peppers, a shit ton of meat, some garlic, and liquid that is beef stock, tomato paste, caraway seeds (I think, some kind of seeds) and all the paprika I had in the house. I added some Worcestershire sauce just because the smell kind of seemed like it needed it. And then the Butcher is going to put the liquid on the meat and veggies and stick it in the oven in a covered casserole dish all afternoon.

I’m already convinced that the next time I make it, I’m not going to want two red peppers, but I’m also already convinced–without yet tasting it–that I will make it again, just because it smells so fantastic.

I’m sure the cat hair and toxoplasmosis will only add to it.

The Song of Her People

Considering what a terrible, unproductive waste of a weekend this was and how both tired and unable to sleep I have been, I was not amused to be woken up at five this morning to a singing cat. My first thought was that it was the fire alarm running out of battery life. But no, it was just the squeaky cat squeaking up a storm. It woke the Butcher up, too, and he got up and I heard him rumbling around the house. That seemed to quiet the new kitty down.

When I got up just now, I saw the dead mouse on the dining room floor. Good job, new kitty! And I can’t fault you for bragging triumphantly about it, considering how brave you had to be to hunt, on the ground, where the big, scary dog might get you.

The big scary dog, who did not bother to get up and even explore why you were singing.

Anyway, as they say about both mice and deer–where you see one, there’s another, so I set the trap and put it in the silverware drawer, which seems to be where the mice like to get when they get in the house.

I also want credit, for the record, for fixing the toilet AND setting a mouse trap, even though I still feel like crap.

How the Dog Came to Be Pissed at Me

The backstory is that new kitty HATES Sonnyboy. So, if she can be outside, she will be outside, sometimes for a couple of days. I wish she’d just follow the orange cat’s lead and be a gruff, no shit-taking asshole that the dog is now curious about, but kind of afraid of, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Yet. Anyway. Who knows about cats? So, yesterday, I left the back door open a crack during the day, but blocked by the garbage can so that interior dogs could not then get outside, hoping she would come in the house quietly, not alert the dog, and get something to eat (this didn’t really work, because she’d obviously caught and killed something to eat earlier in the day and was wearing some of it on top of her head, as you do, and even I smelled her come in the house and I don’t have a dog nose. I mean, folks, she let me wash her head. With water.) and then I forgot about it. The back door.

So, I’m sitting on the couch, talking to my dad, when I hear some barking–not inside the house barking, though, so I discount it as being barking I need to pay attention to. Onward I chat with my dad. More barking.  Then I hear barking like someone has stuck his head back in the house and I’m all “Oh, shit, Dad. The dog is outside. I have to go.” Cue me running to the back door, through the garage, and outside where the dog is standing literally at the back door, barking out into the night.

He turns, slowly, and glares at me. He is super pissed. Did I not hear him barking for like five minutes? It was super important that I be outside five minutes ago helping him defend the house from… who knows?  A shadow? A passing cat? The ghost of whatever new kitty killed? But the danger has long passed. And I am a terrible person for leaving him to face it alone. He comes back in the house. Heads straight for the Butcher’s room and goes to sleep on his bed, even though the Butcher isn’t home yet, because he would rather hang out in the empty room of the person who would stand with him against monsters in the night than sleep on the couch while I read, because I suck.

I couldn’t even be mad at him for going outside because how pissed he was at me for not joining him was so funny.

This morning, of course, all is forgiven and the new kitty is snitting about on the front porch because the dog ignored her. So, you just can’t win with that cat.

Does this Count as a Therapy Dog?

The amount my parents love animals kind of breaks my heart. They never smile so easily as they did meeting and hanging out with Sonnyboy. He’s pretty fantastic, it’s true, but the truth is that they’d be that way about almost any dog. Or cat. Or snake. Or goldfish.

So, we had a really nice evening just hanging out and talking and being charmed by the dog.

I have the first couple rows of the red afghan pieced together, too. It’s pretty marvelous.

The thing that’s bugging me about 2013 is that, even though it sure seems like the year of things I feel ambiguously about is over, it’s made it more difficult for me to trust the nice week I’ve been having. I feel like I’m being set up to be knocked down again. And I have to figure out how to let that go and how to just enjoy the nice times for what they are.

The cats continue to be kind of upset at us. But I think they’re figuring out that the dog is just a doofus. This morning, the three of them were in the kitchen together and there was some hissing, but no one ran. If they can just learn to stand their ground, everything should be fine.

The Ghost Dog Cat

Last night, I heard Sadie in the den, growling at something. This scared the shit out of me, as you might imagine. But I was determined to face the ghost dog myself because I have had some bouts of insanity recently and I just could not bear the idea of having to go wake the Butcher up to investigate the ghost of a dog I love. I mean, it’s not like, in death, she’s finally going to rip my throat out or something, even though, in life, she could never work up the ambition.

So, I went into the den, where the noise was ongoing and loud and I flipped on the light and the orange cat looked over at me like “What? Someone‘s got to growl at things out the window.”

Yes, it was him, doing his best impersonation of the dog. I didn’t see what he was growling at out the window, but I bet, whatever it was, it thought the cat was weird as fuck, all growling like a dog.

Cats. I just don’t know.

The Orange Cat

The other night, I dreamed that the Butcher, the orange cat, and I had to go to K-Mart to get a Halloween pumpkin Reese’s Peanut Butter, um, thingy. Pumpkin. Just one. I don’t know what we needed it for, but we did. But the asshole orange cat kept putting white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cups on the conveyor belt, like he was trying to wipe the store out of them.

And then I woke up and found out those really are a thing–white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cups.

And thus I was grossed the fuck out.

New Kitty is So Weird

newkitty

Sorry this is so blurry, but it’s hard to catch her at some of her weirdness. Here she is sitting in a puddle. Yes, in the shallow end, but she’s just sitting away in the puddle. One of my friends, on Twitter, says this is pretty typical behavior for a Maine Coon. Except that she’s so tiny. I mean, she’s smaller than the tiny cat was. Ask anyone who’s ever petted her. But she looks like a Maine Coon in many other respects–the furry toes, the rectangle body, the raccoon-like tail, the vocalizations.

I like to think that someone has a Bonsai Maine Coon breeding program here in town and she’s just an escapee.

The End of This Nonsense

cat

I was trying to get both the cat and the dog into the frame, but failed. but the thing on my lap is also resting on the dog’s head. This is how we have to do it these days. Everyone must be right on top of me, because I might someday leave and not come back.

Did I tell you that, when we got home from my parents’, the dog ran to every room to see if she could find the Butcher and, when she realized he wasn’t there, she went back outside and tried to get back in the car?

I’m the paltry second prize. But a second prize they’re willing to fight over.

The Butcher is coming home, though. So, that should make these guys happy. I’m happy, too. And sad for him. I’m glad he was brave enough to try for something he wanted and I’m sorry it didn’t turn out how he hoped.

Tonight, I cleaned the litter box wearing a bandana over my nose and mouth, like an old timey bank robber. Time I spent sneezing afterward? None. Ta da!

Tonight, I cleaned the litter box wearing a bandana over my nose and mouth, like an old timey bank robber. Time I spent sneezing afterward? None. Ta da!

One Last Thing about the Brief Tiny Cat

When I took the box out of the back seat he was in and I poked him and asked him if he was dead, there was a moment between that and when his paw moved. And I felt like he was reluctantly coming back from some place to move his paw, and that someplace was somehow below us and around us. I don’t quite know how to explain it. It was like he was pulling himself together from someplace way outside his body. He was nearby, but he mostly wasn’t in that body anymore.

On the other hand, I keep waiting for my phone to ring and for them to tell me that they got him to the vet and the vet saved him. Even though he was clearly not moving in the box anymore. Even though the woman I left him with looked like she was about to cry every time she looked at him. Even though there was something wrong with both his legs and obviously some major internal damage. Even though I didn’t leave them my number.

My brain just really, really wants that to be true.

The End of that Tiny Cat

little kittenIf you think about it, it’s weird that two pictures is more than most cats in the history of the world ever had made of them and yet, I’m sitting here crying because this little guy only had two pictures made of him. That I know of. Maybe he’ll be the Robert Johnson of cats, and a hundred years from now, his cat fans will argue over a third picture, but no one will be able to say for sure.

He drank a ton of water and then dragged himself into his food. I couldn’t tell if he ate any, but he enjoyed it. I got ready for work, found a box and an old towel, and put him on the towel in the box. He left a huge puddle of piss on the floor. He objected a little to being put in the box, but seemed content to be put in the car.

We listened to the radio and he was quiet.

When we got to Animal Control, he was stretched out in the box, his one leg all cock-eyed, and his ears sticking up. He was very still.

“Did you die?” I asked him, poking him. After a second, his paw twitched, as if to say, “I would, if you would give me some peace here, woman.”

When I took him into Animal Control, he didn’t even move when the dog that had been brought in right before him barked.

“I found a cat,” I said. “I think he’s been hit by a car.” The woman behind the desk brought over a carrier and then she looked at him. Her face fell and she said, “Let’s not move him. I’ll just take him back to the vet.”

But I think it was obvious to both of us that there was nothing the vet was going to be able to do, but to make sure he was gone.

I think, at least, my experience of it was that he was so scared out by the side of the road that he just couldn’t relax enough to die. But you know he was someone’s pet, because when he saw me, he seemed relieved, like “Oh, here’s a person. That’s good.” That’s not how feral cats act about the arrival of people. So, then, he had some water and maybe some food and he was in a warm, dry, comfortable place and that was that. He could let go.

A Tiny Cat Comes to Tiny Cat Pants

kittenThis year of stupid shit that breaks my heart continues. Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were out walking when we heard a cat meowing loudly. I looked around for it, hoping that it wasn’t one of my cats following me clear down Lloyd.

It wasn’t. It was this guy, laying on the side of the road. Even from the other side, it was clear something wasn’t right. We got closer. He made no effort to escape us. And then I saw that he probably had been hit by a car. You can see in this picture that his right back foot doesn’t face the right way. He’s covered in piss and shit. But he doesn’t holler when you touch him or when he tries to walk on that leg, which leads me to believe that there’s probably some nerve damage.

Something seems to be wrong with his eyes. But he saw us to holler at us, I think.

I put him in the garage and chased all the other animals out. I gave him water, which he drank like a fiend. And I gave him food, which he fell asleep in.

I don’t know how he can live, frankly. I’m hoping Animal Control will take him and just make him comfortable and then end him.

When I picked him up–because what can you do but pick them up?–I told him “it’s okay, everything’s going to be okay.” And then I cried because I’m a liar.

I hate the person that left that kitten.

I Lived

I went grocery shopping and made a baptismal dress for the pending baby and am working on another baby blanket, like the one the pending mom admired when she was here. I made myself dinner and then slept for ten hours. So, I didn’t get up early and go get the oil changed.

The orange cat killed the mockingbird. It was inevitable, as the mockingbird had gotten quite daring in how willing it was to swoop right down upon the cats and divebomb them. Lesson one in being a bird: don’t get so close that the cat can catch you.

Today I’m cleaning the house. Then having company.

And tomorrow I’ll get the oil changed. One way or another, I think I’m about done moping.

The Butcher raised this guy from a too-small-kitten, taught him to walk up stairs and to wrestle. And then decided that three days cross-country to live in a tiny condo with another cat was an unfair thing to do to a guy used to going outdoors and roaming an acre or more of land.

The Butcher raised this guy from a too-small-kitten, taught him to walk up stairs and to wrestle. And then decided that three days cross-country to live in a tiny condo with another cat was an unfair thing to do to a guy used to going outdoors and roaming an acre or more of land. So, here’s my new old cat.

Now It’s the Dog’s Turn to Look at My Butt, I Guess

So, even though the dog enjoys walking at the park, which is a much more challenging walk than our morning walks, she has started being a big baby about walking in the morning. She walks behind me like a recalcitrant schoolgirl, who’s not that anxious to get to class. But then, when we turn around, she still walks behind me like she regrets having to make the effort to get home. And then, when we get back to the yard, where she can run free, she still walks behind me like that’s just where she wants to be, creeping up on me.

And today, guess who hit her?

No. Not New Kitty. The orange cat. Who also waited yesterday for the Butcher to put down his glass of milk so that he could stick his whole face right in the cup.

No more Jason Statham movies for that cat. He just starts strutting around the house like he might fight any one of us at any minute.

Speaking of Jason Statham movies, we watched another movie where he kidnaps/rescues an Asian chick!

It’s gotten so noticeable now that the Butcher was all “He’s our generation’s Jessica Fletcher, isn’t he?”

And our friend, T. was all, “What do you mean?”

And the Butcher said, “Where you start to think maybe he just fakes solving the crime he’s busy committing.”

I’m just saying, if you’re an Asian woman and you find yourself in a Jason Statham movie, just go ahead and get in his car. You’re going to end up there anyway, so you might as well save yourself the effort of trying to escape your fate. Hell, maybe if you get in his car before the gun fight starts, he’ll have time to run you through the drive-through at McDonald’s before the bullets start flying.

In all seriousness, I would love to read someone’s commentary on this. It’s apparently a pretty appealing fantasy to Statham’s audience, seeing as it’s featured so often. But I’d like to read someone smart’s thoughts on why.

I like to keep all my euphemisms for women's genitalia in one spot.

I like to keep all my euphemisms for women’s genitalia in one spot.