Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Month: March, 2015

3 Peas in a Peapod

IMG_2293With a bit of foot-dangling action going on…

 

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Slipper Offering

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Corky found a pink mouse we haven’t seen in a year or more the other day. He was having a great time chasing it around and chirping with pride at his hunting skills.  When the human awoke the next morning, the pink mouse was right next to her slippers like an offering.  Not sure if Corky left it or someone else grabbed his prize and brought it to the shoes, but nice to know the kitties are thinking about the 2-legged one.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Orange Mousy Visits the Herbs

IMG_2340The human was walking by the plants the other day en route back to the salt mine (aka work) and something caught her eye.  She stopped and looked down and sure enough, there was an orange mousy in one of the big pots that holds herbs that were brought inside for winter.  No clue whose toss is responsible for it being there, but once noted and photographed, the mousy was returned to one of the kitty toy boxes.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Cuddles in the Sunshine

IMG_2330Here are Mac and Fireball curled up together in a window that was recently being blasted with bright but cold early spring sunshine.  Can we have a big awwwww?

IMG_2331<<And there’s that annoying human with her even more annoying camera. Can’t she see we’re sleeping?>>

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Almost Adjusted

IMG_2342The Duo are doing a good job of getting settled in, while the Trio are showing remarkable patience and fortitude.  Interestingly, Corky the Timid is adjusting to the concept of community food bowls and community eating time better than his alpha brother, Pepe.  Here he is enjoying the morning meal with his new siblings.  He also seems to have adjusted faster to the grain-free menu we serve at this house.  I wonder how long it will be before the Merkitty converts him to eating from his paw instead of crouching over the bowl like a “normal” cat?

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(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Bed Buddies

IMG_2344As part of their integration efforts, the Duo are getting quite bold and coming up and sleeping on the bed with the Trio and the human.  Here’s Pepe rolling over to show his tummy.

IMG_2345Here’s the Big Guy in one of the kitty beds nearby making sure everyone plays nice in the sandbox.

IMG_2346And here’s the Baby Comet curled up inches from Pepe.

 

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Snackasaurus Attack

IMG_2348That’s what the human gets for cleaning off her kitchen counters and making them neat and clean.  One of the kitties got up there last night, knocked down a plastic container that holds freeze-dried raw kibble, dragged or nudged it across the room, rolled the rug up on itself, flipped the container and got the cover off, and proceeded to nosh on the delicious little chunks leaving crumbs all over the floor.  No wonder there weren’t the plaintive cries for food this morning. Perhaps this was a team effort? There’s Corky checking out the action.

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The one thing that really puzzles me is the rolled up rug. What was that all about?  Needless to say, this morning all the raw-meat kibble went into a big heavy glass jar with a locking lid that will henceforth be stored elsewhere.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

New Kitty Condo

IMG_2326In anticipation of the arrival of the Duo, I purchased a new multi-level kitty condo on clearance hoping it would provide a way for various cats to get out of each other’s way.  Plus, with spring nearly here and weather finally warm enough to open a few windows, I figured they’d love getting up off the ground to check out the sight, sound, and smell of returning wildlife.

IMG_2327It didn’t turn out to be quite as tall as I’d hoped — silly me for not dragging out a tape measure and checking — so I moved it from the window downstairs where I’d originally planned to use it to the top of the stairs. (Once the plants go out for summer, it will go down in front of that window, which is always a kitty favorite, since it provides a good view of the lower deck and environs.) It took a day or so before anyone would get on it (perhaps owing to that new carpet smell), but once they did they settled in nicely. No one seems to like the top-most level, which is equipped with a soft fuzzy blanket but is more exposed.  Instead they seem to favor the middle level where, thanks to overhanging fabric from the blanket above, they are semi-hidden.

IMG_2328Not surprisingly, the Merkitty was the first to check out the new digs.  Here she is trying to hide from view of the hated camera.  However, the Baby Comet also has taken up residence in that middle layer.  To make more space, yesterday I moved the upstairs kitty condo from the middle of my bedroom to the doors that lead to the upper deck.  Mac and Fireball got so charged up and had so much fun jumping in and out of the condo last night that they almost knocked it over twice — and it’s mighty heavy and stable to be rocked by a 10 lb animal.  So much for letting the human get any shut eye.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Mr. Care Bear

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Caesar Tiger Bear is a rare kind of kitty.  Even female felines who are moms are not usually terribly maternal once they’ve started weaning their kittens.  Most male cats I’ve known don’t have a “maternal” bone in their body.  But the Big Guy is a big cuddler and is always trying to comfort any mammal that is distressed (even the silly human). With the Duo now here yowling up a storm pretty much every morning and evening starting at the 4s (4 am and 4 pm), the Emperor has been trying to go up to Pepe (the biggest yowler) and comfort him by licking and nuzzling him, and generally helping him settle in. However, Pepe wants nothing to do with any other cat. He wants his house and his previous human back and he’s not easily convinced that he should accept his new situation. Each time Caesar has walked up slowly and tried to comfort him, Pepe has hissed and walked away, which seems to be frustrating the Care Bear.  Ah well, hopefully both C&P will come around and settle in with their new siblings.  It’s only been 9 days so I guess the key is to just be patient a while longer.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Waterbowl Baby

IMG_2329One thing I must report.  C&P arrived with a beautiful green bowl that looks like a cabbage.  It’s long been their water bowl. It’s much deeper and wider than the Merkitty’s current upstairs water bowl, and I had been filling the bowl up each day when I changed litter and put down new food.  I came in the other morning only to find the hand-knotted wool rug and placemat around the water bowl soaked and the water level quite low.  Now I didn’t see her do it and I didn’t catch her with a soaking wet paw and leg, but I’m betting C&P’s water bowl was visited by the watery one who decided to have a bit of splashy fun.  From now on, I only fill the bowl half full of water. I’ll have to keep an eye on this as I may be forced to go procure another rubber boot mat or another elevated water and crunchy bowl holder.  Such a Merkitty!

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Skunked: House of the Damned

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Just when I thought things might be slowly easing into a semblance of normalcy, I was awakened at 4 am this morning with the overpowering smell of skunk.  As the smell got stronger, C&P started yowling and didn’t stop for 4 hours. I’m not sure whether they thought they were being attacked, but they surely had a bad reaction to the smell of this animal.  In less than 2 minutes C upchucked beside my bed 3x and then P came in and peed in the corner by my bed.  That sure got the sleepy human out from under the covers.  I ran for my enzymatic cleaner and hammered the area that got sprayed. I then went and opened up windows and shut off the furnace, plus cleaned their litter box thoroughly. Fortunately, the temps were reasonably warm for March or it would have been even more miserable. Still there was the unending yowling even as the smell dissipated with the fresh air. Up popped the human:  catnip didn’t work, more crunchies didn’t work — particularly when FB decided to start noshing down on them — even soft food didn’t work. I ran around putting lavender essential oil in small tins and in my ultrasonic diffuser hoping that it would mask the skunk smell and calm the animals down. Finally about 7:30 this morning the yowling stopped and everybody headed for a place to rest. I guess they were as wrung out as I was. Oy, not a nice way to start the work week.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Days 6 & 7: Everyone Still has their Limbs

IMG_2320Well, C&P got their full freedom late Saturday afternoon. Since things seemed to be going okay, I left everyone out on their own recognizance Saturday night and I’m happy to say when I awoke on Sunday morning, everyone still had all the limbs they were born with so that’s a good sign.  The Trio mostly watch from a distance.  The Duo mostly wandered around crying and getting into things.  A great many items got knocked from shelves or tipped over on the floor this weekend.  Were they looking for their human?  At least they are eating and drinking. Catnip seems to have lost its allure, but then it was a very stimulating day on Saturday.  Sunday seemed a bit easier and I managed to get out for a couple of hours to exercise and run errands.  Both groups of cats actually enjoyed snacks together Sunday evening without so much as a single hiss.  Perhaps there’s hope!

 

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Days 4 & 5: Bittersweet

IMG_2306Tough few days.  My neighbor stayed here Thursday and Friday nights as the moving van packed all her belongings and took off on Thursday evening, and Friday was a house cleaning day before the new neighbors took over.  The Duo were really happy see and hear her after 3 days’ absence and got to sleep with her for 2 nights.  I appreciated the opportunity to get a few more hours to visit before she moved far away.  I was forever eating breakfast at her house all these years, so at last I got to be the one making and serving her breakfast before she left.

Last night I found an old screen door in the garage and brought it upstairs and installed it in the doorway to their bedroom so C&P could look around and see and sniff their new siblings and the trio could do the same. It wasn’t long before they knocked it over despite the barricades I built on both sides of the screen, which is flimsy. There’s nothing really sturdy to lock it in place.  This morning I tried the same thing and 30 minutes into seeing but not tasting freedom, they’d knocked the screen out so it was dangling over the barricades again.  After my neighbor left for the airport, I let them out of the room for their first taste of freedom since Monday afternoon. They had an hour to explore the house and meet the other cats. There were a few little hisses, nothing more serious than that. Mostly C&P wandered up and down the stairs and cried. Do they know their human has left for good? I’m incredibly sad, so how must they feel? Twenty-one years is a long time to live next door to people, be included in their lives (and they in yours), and then have to say goodbye. And if our animals age at 6-7 years for every one of our own, then it’s been 35 years’ worth of living with her for C&P.

After a few-hours break, I let C&P out again.  There was a physical passing in the hallways between Caesar and Corky and not even a hiss, though each headed in a different direction.  Corky was looking down the stairs at Macaroni as I went downstairs and that too seemed okay. The 4-leggeds all seem to be curious about each other having heard and smelled each other for the past 5 days. Hopefully they will all settle down and — if not become pals — at least learn to tolerate each other.  I guess I feel the same way as I watch the new neighbors moving in.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Day 3: Another Tough Night

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Day 3 started okay and it seemed to go fairly well into evening. C&P played for the first time and ate and drank well.  During the day they got to view both Caesar and Mac for a bit.  This time Pepe hissed, but otherwise detente seemed to be in place.

That night, I fell asleep quickly and slept deeply until about 2:30 a.m.  I woke thinking I’d heard a kitty cry, so got up to investigate. I didn’t see any of the Trio nearby, so went into Corky’s and Pepe’s room to see what was up.  They seemed okay, although Corky was clearly agitated.  I went back to my bedroom and grabbed a blanket and pillow and headed back to their room figuring I’d spend the rest of the night with them. They got brushed and petted and cuddled, then I stretched out across the bed and tried to doze off to sleep.  Corky kept crying softly and pacing around. He even attacked his brother.  I got up multiple times and tried to comfort him. I tried snacks, games, pets, brushes, you name it.  Maybe he was going stir-crazy from being confined to a small bedroom for days on end without his human.

IMG_2312I’m not sure what gave me the idea, but about 4:00 a.m. I suddenly thought about catnip.  I don’t think they got a lot of kitty drugs at home, but I’ve long been the neighborhood catnip purveyor, so pulled out a package of potent organic nippy and spread it on their little “sherpa” rug.  Wowza, did that go over well. They both enjoyed the catnip so much that I gave them another dose.  Then everyone settled down and the human wandered back to her bed for a few more hours of sleep, waking late from a terrible nightmare (involving kitty disasters and crazy crimes).  Not the best way to start a work day, but everyone still has all their limbs and eyes, so that’s got to count for something…right?

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After breakfast I gave them some more of the wildwood weed. They love it.  Guess I’d better go invest in a big container.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Day 2: A Little Bit Easier

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Day 2 went a bit easier in this house.  I think everyone was so exhausted from the antics of the night before that they slept soundly. I know I did.  It helped that my neighbor and her daughter came to visit Corky and Pepe during the day. I think the new kitties felt a bit better. They still don’t understand why they’ve been moved, but they got to see their human so that made them feel much better.

During one of my own visits during the day, as I was going in and out of the new kitties’ bedroom, Caesar came to investigate.  C&P were well inside their bedroom looking out, and the Big Guy wasn’t close enough to come in, so I held the door open for a bit and all 3 cats got to stare at each other.  No one growled or hissed, which I considered a good sign.  Onward…

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Day 1: Monsters at the Door

IMG_2300Not an easy-peasy time at our house that first night.

All kitties were sequestered in 2 bedrooms during afternoon and early evening.  That seemed to go reasonably well, so the foolish human decided to let Caesar, Fireball, and Macaroni out of their bedroom so they didn’t feel like prisoners in their own house.  The first clue that this wasn’t such a great idea should have been when the Baby Comet, usually the most timid of kitties, puffed up his tail and howled as he passed the door. Even Caesar puffed his tail. Needless to say, there was a lot of attention being paid to the space under the door between Pepe’s and Corky’s room and the hallway.  I shooed the Terrible Trio away every time I saw them there, but apparently they went back all night long. Each time I awoke and heard howling or scratching, I shooed them away again.  Eventually I pulled out 2 plastic laundry baskets and stacked them up bottom-to-bottom at the door so no kitty paws were able to get through on either side.  At 3 a.m. I finally had had it and sent the Tiger Boys back to their bedroom. Unfortunately, that mischievous Merkitty got away and continued to harass. Needless to say, no one got very much sleep.

Poor Corky and Pepe.  Just like little kids, who imagine monsters living under their beds or just on the other side of their bedroom or closet doors, they can’t see the other cats, only hear them, so imagine huge and terrifying creatures that are ready to devour them. Only time and an eventual face-to-face meeting will convince them otherwise. In the meantime, there’s a whole lot o’ stress in this house.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

And then there were Five

IMG_2263Well, my dear neighbor and friend closes on her house tomorrow and shortly thereafter moves cross-country to live with her daughter.  She and her husband moved in the same weekend I did almost 21 years ago. We’ve lived side-by-side and shared laughs, tears, gardening, meals, house repairs, and lots of conversation for more than 2 decades. She was widowed a couple of years ago and her house and yard are really too much for her to care for now that she’s alone and in her 80s. Moving in with her daughter is absolutely the best thing for her to do, but unfortunately her daughter is terribly allergic to cats so she can’t take Corky and Pepe’ with her.  Today they are moving in with us. Hopefully WWIII won’t last too long and everyone will learn to get along and tolerate each other, if not become friends.  Here’s hoping and praying they do!

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(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Cuddles with Comets

IMG_2287It’s been a brutally cold winter, so of course the Baby Comet has been my pillow pal multiple times each night. Of late he comes in for a visit at around 3 am and wakes me up by running up on top of me and chirping — sometimes with a toy and sometimes without. If I fail to rouse, he starts digging at my blankets, which is my cue to open them up so he (and a cold draft) can climb under and cuddle up against me.

If he’d just lay down and be done with it, I probably could go right back to sleep, but oh no, that’s not the way it goes. First he washes my fingers so hard I think the skin is going to be sloughed off. (Mind you they get terribly dirty lying between flannel sheets all night long.)  Then he stretches out along my arm and puts both front paws in my outstretched hand and starts to mix. That’d be very sweet and cute if he didn’t use his claws. I try to gently pet his paws in the hopes he’ll stop poking holes in my skin.  Sometimes I’m successful and he nods off for a snooze.  Other times he’s too charged up and has got to get up and turn around two or three times (inviting more cold air beneath the covers).  On one of his readjustments, he inevitably finds the kitty brush and starts loudly scraping his face across the wires.  (Ouch, doesn’t that hurt?)  If he’s especially bored, he might start attacking things lying nearby, or rubbing his face all over the library book I’ve been reading before falling asleep and am trying to keep in pristine condition.  If his brother or sister is in the nearest kitty bed, he’s got to stick his face and paws in there and see if he can get a rumble going.  Eventually, he gets bored again and leaves for more exciting things than a recumbent human can offer. Unfortunately, by then 30 minutes have elapsed and the human is wide awake tossing and turning for the next 2 hours.

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Big Brave Bears

IMG_2284Despite his size and alpha status, Caesar Tiger Bear is a bit of a scaredy cat.  He was the first of the kitties to come out and greet me on our first meeting, but he was the last who would allow me to pick him up (he still tries to avoid that whenever possible) and was the last to take up residence on my bed.  While he loves to come up next to me for pets and brushes, unlike the little kitties who climb on my recumbent form with abandon, he has long been reluctant to even put a foot on me.  I’m not sure whether he thought he’d be too heavy for me or what else he was thinking.  Eventually, he got brave enough to sleep on top of the covers between my legs (if I was on my back) or to cuddle up against my curled legs (if I was on my side), but that was the extent of his walking on my form.

Given his extreme trepidation to step, let alone walk on me, you can imagine my shock one morning a few weeks back when I woke up to find me laying on my side and him on top of my upper shoulder singing away. No idea when he climbed up but he was quiet and gentle enough that that wasn’t what woke me up.  Eventually he climbed down and I rolled over on my back only to have him come up and lie along side me so I could pet him. That was a remarkable breakthrough — and it only took 3 years to happen.

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Having broken the ice by climbing onto me and living to tell the tale, his confidence has grown and almost every morning now I wake to find him lying on me somewhere. I find he often crawls up onto my chest until his face is quite close to my own. His magnificent ‘tashes (mustaches/whiskers) are what wake me up as they move as he breathes and tickle my face.  This morning I woke up to find both he and Fireball lying on top of me facing each other.  I reached my hands up to pet both of them. Of course, Caesar started washing my fingers with that rough tongue of his — that is until I did the unthinkable and started petting those gorgeous big paws (see that offended and slightly panicked look? <<She’s touching my paws again. How can I escape?>>).  And that was when the Baby Comet decided it was time for a tiger-boys wrestling match on top of me.  Who needs alarm clocks with such kitties!

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Mr. Wiggly Butt

IMG_2273Most of the time, Caesar is the epitome of civility and decorum.  He is regal and generous and kind.  He also is a tad serious.  However, there are a few activities that bring out his inner kitten, and that is a joy to behold.

A couple of times a week during the early morning hours, he can be heard running up and down the stairs with a toy mouse in his mouth making strange little moaning sounds.  (That’s the human’s cue to get up and go praise him for his hunting prowess.)

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And when the dastardly fishing pole comes out and that annoying little piece of denim fabric dances across his back where he can’t reach it, he becomes a fearsome hunter, leaping and twisting in the air in balletic perfection.

However, dangle that piece of fabric on the floor and wait a few moments and all of a sudden the leaping and swiping ceases and Caesar crouches down in intense concentration.  If you don’t move or make a sound, all of a sudden the butt starts wiggling back and forth, the tail straight out, as the carnivore prepares to pounce.  And pounce he does with remarkable speed.  So much for Mr. Sophistication then!

 

(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.