JULY 2013 -- I’ve found a new way to frustrate the Big Owner, and the beauty of it is: I
wasn’t even trying. He likes to watch television from bed. He’s always watching the latest
news and late-night shows before he sleeps, flipping from channel to channel like most
humans do (They can’t sleep like a cat, can they?) I was curled up at his feet getting dizzy
from the strobe effect of changing channels when I decided to stand up and conduct
some personal grooming. Whoa, the channel surfing stopped! But the Big Owner hadn’t.
There he was, propped up on his pillows with the remote control in his hand pushing
buttons with abandon, without results. The television was frozen on one channel. “Darn
cat!” he muttered to his wife. Then it occurred to me. My hulking cat body was blocking
the remote control signal to the TV. Perfect, I thought, as I returned to my grooming. This
will drive him nuts. “Move, cat!” he grumbled. He tried kicking me with his feet, but I surf
those leg tsunamis pretty well. The rest of the evening it was the remote vs. the cat. Want
to place any bets as to who won? It was a good day.
June 2013 -- T he Big Owner and his wife are getting restless. They are
constantly fawning over me. Every time they see me I am showered with
hugs and squeezes, pats and pets, kisses and - ugh - warm human nose-
rubs. I'm not an Eskimo.
But the humans have stepped up their appreciation of me as of late. I get
double helpings of food, and I'm back to sleeping under the Big Owner's
allergic nose. I want for nothing, and get away with everything. I think they
are breaking down.
But what I mean by breaking down is that I think they are toying with the
idea of....OMG...after a long year of suffering...adopting a kitten!
It was a good day.December 2013I heard the bells on Catmas day Their old familiar carols play Beguiled and petite the tinkles repeat, For peace on earth, good will to humans.I thought of how this day had come, The belfries of some in Cattendom. In my furry ear the now uncertain song Of peace on earth, good will to humans.In despair thus bow'd my kitten head: "What peace on earth," to me I said, "I’m locked outside, no food, this ‘song’Of peace on earth, good will to humans.”Each step it rang more loud and deep: The man who did this to me is a creep; The bells they chime, the message sublime, Of peace on earth? Good will to humans?The bells of Catmas tolled ‘round my neck. To protect avialae. Ha, they make me a wreck! He tied them to me. My owner’s a demon... Bye-bye peace on earth AND good will to humans! (With all due respect to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.)
AUGUST 2013 -- Poor, poor Big Owner. He wants to sleep-in on some days, and I want him to get up and feed me. Nothing seems to be working for me lately, jumping on the bed, walking on his pillow, purring in his ear, drooling on his head, licking his nose, kneadingis belly (with claws) -- fail after fail. He was building immunity to my feline powers of persuasion…until I stumbled on a new weapon. Part of my morning routine is to rub up on whatever is on the night stand or headboard. The ‘scraping’ sound often precedes things falling over, another effective (but not perfect) wake-up tool. This time I rubbed up against the Big Owner’s bed lamp. Too big to fall over, but the glass shade makes an eerie sound as I rub along its edges, it acts like a bullhorn filling the bedroom with noise. It was only partly effective, the Big Owner stirred but didn’t fully wake -- it’s hard to get this guy out of REM! I rubbed my noggin on the lamp and by chance my cold nose touched the metal casing. Poof, like magic the light turned on! I touched it again, it got brighter. This is cool, it’s a touch lamp! The Big Owner sat upright immediately and looked around, his eyes squinting from the burning light. After a confusing moment he leaned over and tapped the lamp with his finger - it shut off, and so did he, plopping back onto his pillow and not moving again. I circled ‘round and managed to touch my nose against the lamp once more. Presto! Let there be light! Touch again, it’s bright as day! A rather loud grumbling rose from under the covers. Then like a volcano, the sheets erupted and the Big Owner’s hulking body thrust itself up and out of bed, staggering through the house to my food bowl while muttering unintelligible phrases to himself with every shuffle of his feet. Poor, poor Big Owner. If he’d only feed me when I first request it, I wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics. It was a good day.
I like my new brother.The Big Owner is suffering greatly these days. He just returned from the hospital after total hip replacement surgery. It was almost comical to watch him lurch to his bedroom and collapse into bed, complaining about the discomfort to anyone who listened, including the dog, but particularly to the Mrs. Big Owner. There was not a lot he could do on his own, so his list of requests was always an adventure, “Can you get me water? Can you close the curtains? Can you get me a pillow? Can I have something to eat? Can I have more?” Taking care of that man was a no-win scenario. So even more curious was the move by the Mrs. Owner and the teenage son to go out shopping on the first full day of the Big Owner’s arrival home. They disappeared after lunch, and then, after considerable time, arrived back home in a whirl of activity and excitement.“What did you get at the store?” the Big Owner asked? That’s when they presented to the Big Owner their find, a brand new...wait for it…kitten! “You’ll love it”! they both proclaimed. “And he’ll keep you company while your recover for the next few weeks.” The look on the Big Owner’s face, well, it was pricelessly nonplused. But he did recall in his mind that he rubber-stamped the idea of a new cat some time ago. Must have been a weak moment. And like THAT, I had a brother. An orange tabby. But the arrival of my bro wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about having a playmate for lonely old Mars. It was all about the Big Owner, who sat in bed barely able to move his left leg. A large scar running down his anterior, every move elicited a groan or a collection of grunts.“What better medicine than a new kitty!” the Mrs. stated to the Big Owner as she showed off the new fella. Standing by his bed they held up the furry feline, his eyes wide with excitement and nervous anticipation of his new home. “Here, you hold him and get to know him….” And she spoke to the cat, “Here, meet daddy.” And with that, the two set the kitten down in the Big Owner’s lap. Big Mistake.The Mrs. Owner temporarily forgot the lap is where the incision was made. My new bro, while just a kitten and light as a feather, was still very anxious, and equipped with sharp claws. The Big Owner found this out when the dog decided to use that moment to bark at the new cat. With that, the claws dug deep into the Big Owner’s lap and thigh and, to add to the disaster, pushed hard as he leapt away from the dog. The Big Owner’s scream was heard throughout the neighborhood, or at least from next door where the family later inquired, “What happened over there?” What happened? Just cat mischief. That’s starting off on the right paw.It was a good day
The kitten (if you can still call him that) got a sample of the outdoors. And now he’s been pining and whining near the back door trying to get out ever since he accidentally discovered the new frontier when the Big Owner left the door open a few weeks ago. After that one taste, he just had to have more. The first time he escaped it was just a few feet on to the back deck. His senses were so overwhelmed he stopped in his tracks and the Big Owner scooped him up, no problem. The next time, however, he made it a few more feet to under the barbeque. That took a little more coaxing by the Big Owner to reign him in, but he was captured and brought back inside. The third escape was made possible by a momentarily inattentive Mrs. Owner and the kitten scrambled a few more feet down the stairs to actual grass. It was the first time he had set paw on real turf. Mother earth. He stopped to process this new sensation under his pads and thus he was captured without incident. But kitten knew he had to have more. He loved the new world.Despite the humans’ precautions and focus on keeping the kitten indoors, he knew his moment would come. Every day, every hour was spent analyzing the humans’ route in and out of the house. Procedure, technique, formula, habits and customs were all processed looking for weakness in the system. And believe me - with humans there is always a weakness.The humans were good guards, attentive and alert for a long time. But then something came along that disrupted the cycle: Halloween.With the first trick-or-treater that rang the doorbell, the Mrs. Owner was absorbed in the fun of the annual custom. She opened the door and greeted the costumed monsters with cackles, compliments and candy. I could see this coming for a mile. The routine was broken. The door was open. The guards were distracted. And with that, baby flew out the door into the darkness.Mrs. Owner dropped the candy bowl and screamed, lurching forward for the cat. The kids toppled back in fear. Accompanying parents, judging this was some cruel Halloween prank, quickly shepherded their kids away from the earsplitting madwoman. The house was shut down for trick-or-treaters for twenty-plus minutes while the owners, kids, and some costumed volunteers searched the grounds with flashlights (and cell-phone light beams) looking for the kitten. He was captured in a neighbor’s yard, once again overwhelmed by what he sensed around him. But he had gone father that he’d ever gone before. And he knows next time he’ll go even farther.Since then the vet suggested a harness and leash to introduce the kitten to the different surroundings little by little. Not sure when the last time the vet put a leash on a cat, but if he wants to keep his hands and digits for retirement he might re-think that one. It was a good day
January 2014t’s time for cats to abandon New Year’s resolutions. Such a silly human ritual - an age-old ‘reset button,’ so to speak (or mew). It’s based on human weaknesses, of which we have none. So if cats are to be associated with resolutions, then they should be in making resolutions FOR humans. I’ve got the list for mine:The human shall resolve to feed me three times daily…with freshly opened cans of cat food, not the other half of the can from the earlier feeding.The human shall resolve to allow ingress and egress as requested by the cat. Upon hearing any scratching at the door, the human shall be ready to assist said cat upon request - even if the human is half-asleep in the recliner…at 2am human time.The human shall resolve to steer clear and walk AROUND cats that may be standing in any humans’ path. The days of pushing cats aside with your foot are over.The human shall resolve to surrender any sleeping space on the bed if the cat is there first. We took a long time to get comfortable. You can contort your body to fit whatever open areas are left.The human shall resolve to surrender any sleeping space on the bed upon my arrival, even if the human is there first. I’ll usually announce my arrival by standing on your head until you move.The human shall resolve to reward cat with kitty treats for good behavior. Good behavior shall include just being in the same room with the humans.The human shall resolve to scratch or pet my body on my favorite places. You’ll know where those are when I purr. You’ll know what’s off limits when I draw blood with my claws.The human shall resolve not to scold me for bringing mice, insects, snakes, birds or other outside creatures into my house. When I’m done with it I’ll leave it in a conspicuous place for you to dispose of it.The human shall resolve to speak to me in an adult manner, and not lower oneself to use ‘baby talk.’ I can understand what you say perfectly. I just choose not to acknowledge it.The human shall resolve to not disturb me from a catnap, which is usually in the owner’s recliner. I’ll leave when it’s time to move, mostly at feeding time.The human shall resolve not to complain if he steps with his bare feet into a small pile of cat puke. He shall see this as an opportunity to fully wash his feet.The human shall resolve not to complain about cat hairs on his bed, clothing, chairs, carpets, curtains, and all other places with which I come in contact. He has the choice to have them cleaned (at great expense) or just appreciate there is more of me to see every day.I wish my owner the best in keeping these resolutions. As for me, well, you can’t improve on perfection. Happy New Year to the rest of you.