Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Object of Ick

Pepe has had a tough-to-clear cough since his first year living at this house. Every few years it gets frequent and persistent enough that the human has brought him in for a check, including X-rays, and to receive a dose or two of long-acting antibiotic. Since switching to the new vets’ office, we’ve learned that he likely has a condition that used to be called “kitty asthma” and now is called chronic bronchitis. Since his teeth extraction, Pepe has been on liquid steroids, which are definitely helping with the cough. He used to be a real challenge to medicate, but the frequency of his dosing has made him much more compliant. Still, the syringe full of meds that the human has to manage to squirt into his mouth is something he loathes.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

The Human Strikes Back

Finally, the human had had enough of the water bowls being flooded multiple times a day. She picked up the water-bowl rack and emptied what residual moisture was still in the 2 bowls. She hurried the water-saturated dish drying pad over to the sink and wrung it out as best she could, then set it aside to dry before sending it to the wash again. She dumped half-a-liter of water out of the rubber boot tray and set it aside to dry off a bit.

Next, the human pulled out a big and heavy ceramic water bowl that had recently been retrieved from the basement and washed. She filled it with a few centimeters of water, then placed it on the boot tray and a dry dish-drying pad. The bowl has steep sides that are close to 18 cm tall, and is nearly the same wide. The bowl is so heavy that no kitty feet are going to be able to move it. And, the human reasoned, the sides are tall enough that should the Splashy One start scooping water and tossing it, that the water will likely hit the sides and roll back into the bowl. In fact, if you look carefully at both images, you can see little water droplets on the walls of the bowl from repeated attempts to do just that.

We shall see if the human’s evil plan works. The Merkitty loves puzzles, so we can be sure she’ll take some kind of offensive action as soon as she’s figured out what to do. In the meantime, she does muck up the water once or twice a day, but at least the whole area is staying drier than it had been with the rack. Score 1 for the human!

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Recheck

It was time to take Pepe and Mac back to the new vet’s office for a recheck from their recent dental work and the extraction of a (mercifully) benign tumor from Pepe’s tail. The monsters were surprisingly tolerant of being scooped up and placed in their carriers and toted to the vet’s. We arrived a few minutes early, but the office seemed exceptionally busy that day, so we ended up having to sit outside and wait for a room to become available for 30 minutes. Neither cat put up a fuss, which was a miracle in itself. Upon their recheck, the vet was pleased with the progress both kitties had made in healing. <<<Yeah!>>> They were just happy to get home, even if they had to wait another week before they could have dry crunchies again. <<<Crunchies in water are an afront to nature!>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Flood Alert

The Merkitty seems fully recovered from her dental surgery. To demonstrate, she’s been flooding the water bowls downstairs so frequently that the human barely gets the bowls refilled than they are emptied again. It is a multi-times daily activity of late. Oddly, in hot weather when you might expect the Watery One to play in liquid refreshment, she does not. Only in the cold of winter (or approaching winter) does this annoying (but also amusing) behavior manifest. Still, it’s good to know she’s feeling good enough to be mischievous again.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Corky & the Nippy

As a treat, the human brought in some fresh catnip leaves for the kitties.

Corky decided to have a bit of fun. First he stepped on the fresh nippy and whipped his head left and right — presumably checking to see if he had any kitty competitors who might try and steal his wildwood weed.

Content that it was just him and his leaf (the human and camera didn’t count), he started scooping it up in one and then another of his paws and tossing it around. Every so many tosses, he’s pull the leaf into his face, give it a good sniff, and then bite down on it before tossing it in the air again.

Eventually, he just ate it and retired with a nice mellow buzz.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

The Prisoners are Getting Restless

Mac and Pepe are healing up well from their little adventures on Tuesday and their pain meds have been dialed back accordingly. Pepe has been chasing a feather wand all over the bed, and Mac has been insistent on being held and cuddled while she attempts to do headstands in the human’s arms. With less medication keeping them subdued and sleepy, the prisoner cats, who have been isolated from the other two for three days, were starting to get bored and cranky. After clearing it with the vet’s office, and giving them their evening meds, the human set them free last night.

It was wonderous getting a really solid night’s sleep and not having to get up to check on them and dose them at odd hours, since their med schedules were a bit different. It also was sweet having all four cats taking turns cuddling with the human. (Corky and Fireball had spent a lot of time camped outside Pepe’s and Mac’s room this week wondering why they were in there.) At 4 am this morning, right about the time their evening meds would have been wearing off, the human awoke with Pepe on her chest and Mac on her head insisting they were hungry. Up popped the groggy human to dispense food, mix up meds, and dose her unwilling charges. Back for another couple of hours of sleep and then it was up for the day.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

But Where are Pepe and Mac?

Yesterday, the evil human removed all food from the food dishes at 11:00 pm. Needless to say, the monsters protested every hour on the hour for the rest of the night. Although the human popped up bright and early, she still didn’t feed the monsters — a real change in the normal schedule. Turns out Pepe and Mac both had dental procedures scheduled this morning and the 2-legged was supposed to have both of them in at 7:30 am for pre-op tests. She managed to capture Pepe and put him in his carrier, but the wiley Smirky One evaded capture. After 15 minutes of coaxing and chasing, the human gave up and figured it was better to get one cat to the vet on time, so she left with a very upset Pepster. The human came home, found Mac’s new hiding spot, and set up a perimeter, then slowly got closer and closer. Finally, after many attempts at crawling under the bed only to have Mac pop out the other side, providence or Mac took pity on the frustrated human and Mac hopped onto the bed, ducked down in a kitty bed, and proceeded to hiss at her tormenter. The human picked her up and put her in the carrier and off they both went.

Before she left, the 2-legged did take pity on Corky and Fireball and put soft food and crunchies down for them. When she got home and came up to check on both boys, she found them cuddled in a kitty bed together enjoying comraderie and the heat of the far-infrared mattress pad (affectionately called the warm-warmy in this house). Clearly, they both wondered what happened to Mac and Pepe, who are going to need a couple of days to chill out after some teeth extractions. These poor kitties have been unfairly paired with the world’s worst human. It will be months before the 2-legged can walk up to either cat and not have them plotting their escape route just in case. On the bright side, the vet staff do courtesy nail trimming while the kitties are under, so at least that’s one thing the human won’t have to tackle for a few months.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Tentative Paw Dangling

The kitties are back to paw dangling.

Here is Mac, the smirky one, with only a single paw part way out of the brown puff in what looks to be a tentative paw dangle.

It may just be that it’s gotten quite cold suddenly and it feels good to be warm — even those hot paws of hers.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Not Quite Hidden

Sometime this spring, Fireball figured out how to open up the closet door in the big bedroom. He’s been hanging out there for months, completely abandoning his usual haunts under the blanket draped over the stairs. He’s often been joined in the closet by Caesar, Mac, and even Corky. Not wanting him to lay on the hard floor, the human put the pink puff in the closet to Fireball’s delight. Lately, the human comes into the bedroom only to find a little red tail peeking around the edge of the door. The rest of the red kitty is in the pink puff completely oblivious to the fact that he’s not quite as hidden as he thinks. <<<Ah, cats!>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Almost Back

Thanks to all the kind people who sent their condolances.

Life without Caesar takes some getting used to, but this house is slowly getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

The human was really worried about Fireball, as he was inseparable from Caesar. He’s spent a lot of the last week hiding, but he’s beginning to come out again for pets and cuddles. In fact, he’s been vigorously chasing the laser dot around in the morning. And little toy mice are starting to leave the toy boxes and work their way around the house, so the kitties are starting to play again.

The other cats too are back to flopping on top of the human and demanding cuddles. Cranky Corky has been amping up his demands for earlier and earlier crunchy bowl fillings in the afternoon. And we’ve had a lot of paw-dangling action going on as well.

We miss you terribly, Big Guy. Thanks for 9-1/2 great years.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

In Memoriam: Caesar Tiger Bear

Last evening, Caesar had a 15-minute episode where he suddenly started breathing very fast and shallow — as though he couldn’t get enough air in his lungs. Eventually, he coughed up a bit of mucous and seemed to be okay. He even curled around the human’s head and sang a song afterwards, until the 2-legged got too annoying by trying to pet his paws. He’d had an active day of eating, drinking, carrying toy mice all over the house, and demanding his daily dose of pets and brushings from the human. Just a day or two before that he’d been leaping in the air chasing the fishing pole and the laser dot and roughhousing with his brother. Hence, this sudden shift was as perplexing as it was concerning.

He had another episode at 4 this morning that was longer lasting and more severe. In fact, his breathing rate never really went back to normal. The human called around to find a vet appointment and finally snagged one for late morning. His bloodwork looked fine, but X-rays gave a diagnosis of cancer. There was only one good decision, and that was to say goodbye. We’re all devastated.

This human has known and loved a whole lot of furry people in the 6+ decades she’s been on this earth, but Caesar was one of a kind — as beautiful inside as outside, sweet, bossy, funny, and a force to be reckoned with when trimming claws or trying to get him in a carrier for vet visits. He was such a remarkable, vital presence in that 19 pound package. Always the first there to comfort an upset cat or human. Nine-and-a-half years was not nearly enough time together, but we’re grateful for every moment we had with him.

From the moment the human saw his photo on PetFinder (above), she knew he was the one. It seems only fitting to say goodbye with that image as well as one of the last the human took of him, paw dangling to the end with Mac. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, Big Guy.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Top image, K. Pichler. Bottom my own.

Another Lazy Sunday

Yes, it’s the merry Pepster enjoying a bit of sunshine on another lazy Sunday. <<<I guess if you’re a cat, every day is Sunday; if you’re the cat’s human servant, every day is a work day.>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Tiger Boys go Fishing

The spooky and not-so-often-seen red tiger boy came down to play with his big brother. They had an early afternoon romp with the fishing pole.

There was much dramatic pouncing and leaping…

And astoundingly fast air-swats.

There was good ground action with rapidly moving paws…

And cuteness abounded.

There even was some skillful team action.

Eventually, the tiger boys tired and left to take a nap while the human returned to her keyboard and deadlines.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Sassy Bird

This is the daily late-morning / early-afternoon visit by Mac and Caesar who then attempt to pry the human’s fingers off the keyboard long enough to give them a snack of fresh catnip leaves or, ideally, to refill the upstairs crunchy bowl. <<<Fat chance that’ll happen this early in the day!>>> Note Mac’s mouth? She’s in the middle of emitting a very-high-pitched meow. It’s part of her sassy bird act. <<<Ridiculous, slow-witted human. If you were better trained, I wouldn’t need to do this every day.>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Big Boys Plot & Plan

Pepe and Caesar are the big boys of the house with each approaching 20 pounds/9.1 kilos. Although they have their share of tussels — Pepe does not appreciate Caesar’s intense need to groom every cat in the house, especially not him! — for the most part they get along great. It’s quite common to see them curled up back-to-back or feet-to-feet on the bed. And they often hang out together in other areas of the house, as they were this particular morning when the human happened to walk by. <<<Doesn’t it make you wonder what they were talking about? And who do you suppose took the toys out of the toy box?>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

The Usual Suspects

It’s not that the human is paranoid. However, when she finds 3 or 4 cats all clumped up together as though she just walked in on a secret meeting she wasn’t meant to see, and where Corky drew the short straw and had to play lookout, well…you see where this is going.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Play Station

The cats have a new “toy” to play with. It’s a tall cardboard box that the human turned on its side and has filled with sheets of crackly paper. Pepe and Mac are especially prone to leaping into the box and smunching down the paper, although Corky will chase the laser dot or the fishing pole lure in there as well. When the human walks by and feels as though she’s being watched, a quick peek into the front of the box often reveals a pair of eyes looking out at her. Of course, in this house, the most successful toys are not the ones the human buys but rather the found ones or the ones the human makes of unneeded materials otherwise destined for the recycle bin.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Human-Attention Deficit Disorder

It has come to our attention that Mac and Pepe both suffer from HADD: human-attention deficit disorder. When Pepe wants the human’s attention and she’s otherwise occupied with reading news on her smartphone or planning out her day, he acts out by hopping onto the kitchen table and taking a quick spin or he starts cuffing small items off the table that he can reach from his chair. When Mac has HADD, she plops herself down on top of any cat that stands between the human and her own body so as to get all the attention. Both attention-getting approaches are effective, if not entirely fair.

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Torture from Above

<<<Where did that pesky toy disappear to now? When I catch it, I’m not going to let go!>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Update for the Mother Ship

<<<It’s been a while since I last filed a report becaues not much has changed. Sadly, there’s little intelligent life down here, other than cats. How did these humans manage to take over the planet?>>>

(c) Copyright 2021, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.