Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Month: March, 2016

Finally, A Decent New Toy

IMG_3419The human finally scored a few points with her feline captors the other day.IMG_3415She’d been in her favorite pet-food store and found some cute feather wands comprised of lush curly iridescent feathers, brightly colored tinsel, and a tiny bell attached to a long plastic stick.  The wands were on clearance, so she bought two.  IMG_3417As you can see from the pics, the wands are a hit both upstairs and down.
IMG_3412And did you hear mention that there are bells attached to both wands? You may recall that bells are normally a no-no in this house.IMG_3411 However, for some reason, the bells on the wands don’t scare anyone, and the feathers are proving very entertaining for everyone except Fireball (who used to be completely feather obsessed) and Corky (who always has better things to do than be social with the other cats).



(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Only the Platypus Knows

IMG_3420The other day, after going through a hour of trying to coax Corky to eat his breakfast so he could go play in the basement, and after he ate most of his meal, the human freed him. Before going back to her work cave, she decided to move his food bowl up onto the bed to try and keep the worst offenders in the food-scarfing department from eating the rest his meal.  IMG_3421Later in the day, the human walked upstairs to do a kitty count (critical before shutting the cellar door for evening) and pick up dishes. She found this cute little catnip toy in Corky’s food bowl. Not sure which cat decided to put his/her toy in the bowl after eating the rest of Corky’s meal, but someone sure did. I guess only the platypus knows for sure and so far he’s not telling.




(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


IMG_3410The online dictionary defines stubborn  as “having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.” That’s Corky!

We had another visit to the vets about 2 weeks after the first one for yet another urinary tract issue. While he fortunately didn’t have an infection this time either, the vet and the kitties’ human finally figured out a probable cause of his unhappiness.  He is so anxious to get down into the cellar every morning and hunt, that he can’t be bothered to eat his breakfast. Then he spends a large part of the day down there, and only comes up for dinner, at which point the cellar door is closed again.  He’s simply not getting enough fluid in his body.  Since cats don’t have a strong sense of thirst like dogs and 2-leggeds, he doesn’t drink enough when he’s upstairs at night to keep his urinary tract happy and healthy. To keep him healthy and avoid having to spend $350 every couple of weeks, it’s imperative to keep Corky properly hydrated.

Given this, it’s become a daily struggle for almost 2 weeks to get Corky to eat his breakfast before he gets cellar privileges. As his pics will attest, it’s certainly not that Corky doesn’t like to eat.  The emergency vet categorized him as obese. (Ouch!)  So the deal is every morning the cellar door stays closed while everyone scarfs down their breakfast. In all but one instance, Corky has refused to eat, but has body-slammed the cellar door while whining and yowling up a storm to let the human know he wants downstairs NOW! The human has to pick him and his breakfast up, walk upstairs to the guest bedroom, shut him and his food in for an hour or two, and wait for him to eat. Once she comes up to visit and give him some hugs and pets, he eats his food, and then is freed. Given how habitual cats are, you’d think he would figure out that if he’d just eat his breakfast instead of sassing the human, he could go play an hour or two sooner each morning, but oh, noooo!


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Playing Footsie…

IMG_3287Speaking of playing footsie, this is the scene that greeted the 2-legged a few weeks back when she walked upstairs to check in the furry people.IMG_3285This is one of those scenes that does well if you view it from multiple angles.IMG_3277It was like a spiral of little kitty bodies kind of piled up like dominoes that had fallen over on top of each other.IMG_3278Clearly it was a comfortable situation, as everyone remained in position despite the human walking around taking photos.IMG_3279It was only when the human got to the far side of the cuddle did she realize that Caesar’s front and Fireball back feet were all entwined. Such cuddle buddies. They’re like this in hot weather too.



(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.



Big Boys Cuddle

IMG_3361Pepe and Caesar were laying on the bed.IMG_3360Per usual, Pepe was on his back with his forepaws (antennae) in the air.
IMG_3362For some, Pepe got up, walked down to Caesar’s end of the bed, and flopped down next to the Tiger Bear. The Big Guy’s a big cuddler, so he rolled onto his side and stuck his rear feet out and put them on Pepe’s tummy and hip. IMG_3365Pepe got a funny look on his face. <<Who said he can touch me there?>> Caesar was oblivious to Pepe’s expression.IMG_3363One wonders if Pepe was making the connection that he brought this on himself by moving down to Caesar’s end of the bed?


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

And More Box Babies…

IMG_3392Speaking of boxes, the human picked up her parental unit a nice pair of boots on clearance the other day. The boots were housed in half of a long box (with no lid). The box was too flimsy (even if it had a lid) to risk shipping the boots home in, so the human gave the long box to the cats to play with while packaging the boots away in a larger box headed east.IMG_3401Interestingly, this particularly box was immediately claimed by Pepe Monster. It’s just the perfect size to allow someone of his length and girth to stretch out in. Perhaps the high sides make him feel like he’s hiding from the other cats.  It’s also just the right size to chase toys around in, something the human quite quickly grasped. Off she went to retrieve a clear marble she’d found on the floor and tossed it into the box. Pepe dove and lunged and chased the clear marble all over the box having a grand old time with it. That is, until the Merkitty showed up to see what was going on. She stood outside the box and checked things out while he reclined for a bit of well-earned rest.IMG_3398It wasn’t long before she started putting those devilishly clever paws of hers to work. She soon was scooping and tossing the marble up in the air and quite quickly launched it out of the box. Fortunately the human was right there the first time it happened so retrieved the marble and returned it to Pepe and the box. IMG_3399Back went the Merkitty, and soon the marble was released from its prison and was being chased madly across the kitchen floor. It took less than 2 minutes for Mac to lose it under the corner cabinet, where it likely will be lost until the human finally decides to move.IMG_3400Looking for other toys, the human tossed in a pen cap, which Pepe thoroughly trounced. Then she tossed in one of his toys that is normally tied to his kitchen chair. That turned out to be great fun as on one end he could chase the catnip-filled worm and on the other end a nice long cord.  The human, keen to please her captors, has introduced all manner of small and large balls and other chase-able objects over the last week, but most don’t seem to enjoy the interest that the marble and pen cap got. Nonetheless, Pepe is still cavorting in his box, much to the interest of the other cats. The human hasn’t seen anyone else actually climb in, although the fishy one does like to stick her paws in and see what trouble that brings.

So after years of having no interest in boxes of any kind, the human has lucked out and found 2 in the past 2 weeks that pass muster.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

You Will Be Washed!

IMG_3354The other night, Mac was in one of the kitty beds on the human’s bed. She’d already had great fun chasing her tail and flipping on her back and tossing toys in the air like a river otter playing with a stone.  The Big Guy came up for a visit with the human. After getting the proper number of pets and kisses, he sauntered over and jumped into the kitty bed with the reclining Merkitty, who’d mellowed out and was behaving herself. IMG_3355For some reason, he got it in his head that she needed a bath. He flopped on top of her (mind you, he weighs at least twice what she does) and held her down with those big Caesar paws. Not surprisingly, the Merkitty objected and those wickedly sharp scimitars and teeth appeared and she started pressing the Big Guy back.

That didn’t stop him for long. He just wrapped his forepaws around her tighter than before and started trying to wash the gyrating body beneath him. That caused the Merkitty to fight even harder. Her victory was short lived.
IMG_3356Just like the Borg, resistance is futile when Caesar decides you need bathing.  Whether from fatigue or resignation, she finally surrendered and got a good tongue-washing.IMG_3357

(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.




Box Babies…

IMG_3358One of the odd things about this whole crew of cats is up until very recently, they didn’t like boxes.  All the human’s previous cats loved boxes. For example, it didn’t matter how small a box stationery came in, our big old tiger, Ceta would climb in (long before Maru became an internet sensation), squash the sides down, and settle herself on the flattened cardboard looking completely pleased with herself. (Would that we had had camera phones back in the dark ages when this human was young.)

The 2-legged has tried and tried to get this crew interested in the joys of boxes, putting down all sorts of shapes and sizes. She’s tried standing them up, laying them on their sides, putting blankets inside, pulling toys into and out of the sides, you name it.  Still no one showed the least bit of interest.  Boxes were way too scary. <<You can’t let the human know you’re interested in anything she’s offering or she’ll let it go to her head and expect something approaching gratitude from you.>>IMG_3359A few weeks ago a package the human had ordered arrived. It was exceptionally well protected and had a second outer box of really sturdy cardboard. The human was geeked as she figured it would be great to store heavy books in that were waiting to be traded on However, because she’s a good-hearted and well-trained human, she first offered the box to the kitties to check out.

Not too many hours after the box was put on its side on the living room floor, the human heard a tremendous racquet. She dashed out of the work cave, camera in hand, and sure enough she saw a small black posterior and tail emerging from the box. She must have chuckled out loud, as an annoyed little head soon turned around and glared at her. (The Merkitty, who of course was in the box sharpening her handy set of scimitars, hates to be laughed at, most especially by the lower lifeform on 2 legs.)
IMG_3366Well, the human figured no harm would come of this and left the box out all week. She’s often seen that same little black back and tail emerging out of the box, but didn’t really think much about what damage might be ensuing.  However, the other day the GooGoo girl was being exceptionally annoying (pestering for crunchies…always pestering for crunchies…) and the human was searching for a barrier to keep Miss Kitty out of the office.  She decide the box was just the right size and height to make an effective fence, so turn the box up on its end and pulled it to the door. It was then that she realized that not only was the formerly pristine and strong box full of shredded paper, but it also had a gaping hole in one of its sides. Wowza. Good thing the human is mostly on good terms with her majesty.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Return of an Old Pillow Pal, Much Absent of Late

IMG_3245Well, the human seems to be out of the doghouse again the recent refusal to let the furry friends down cellar for several days.  Case in point, the ferocious little Red Bee who had chastised her so loudly 2 days running has been the sweetest kitty imaginable now that his hunting privileges have been returned. First, he’s been playing up a storm with all manner of laser pointer, toy mouse, and pull toys. Second, the other night, after making several visits to the human’s chest while she was laying on her back, he returned once she’d flipped to her side and curled up around her face on the pillow again.  There’s just nothing like burying your face in that soft red fur that feels like chenille. The human was serenaded with a lovely song, while those cute feet kneaded her head of hair. This was the first return of this pillow pal since last summer. It was a happy reunion for all. He doesn’t look very scary now does he?


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Leave No Stone Unturned…

IMG_3239In retrospect, it was inevitable. After multiple attempts by the human to cover the river stones in the fountain in the hopes the Merkitty would forget about them, the silly 2-legged finally gave up and removed all the stones.  The Merkitty at first was kind of perplexed. <<Where did all those fun little stones go?>> IMG_3242She climbed into the bowl, tipping over the fountain, just to make sure the human hadn’t found a devious new way to hide the rocks by making them invisible. Finally satisfied the stones were gone for good, the Merkitty contemplated new ways to cause mischief.  Stay tuned, there is more!


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Happy 1st Anniversary Duo!

duo sleepingAnd today is the first anniversary of the arrival of the duo last year.  Hard to believe that after 20 years being neighbors, my friend / their human has been gone for roughly 12 months. Moving in with the trio has completely shifted the dynamic between Pepe and Corky. Pepe used to rule the roost and poor Corky cowered under the bed or under furniture, as only the big guy was allowed to get human attention.  But Pepe has mellowed a great deal and seems to really enjoy interacting with the other cats and getting into mischief with the Merkitty. And Corky, who used to be so timid and meek, has turned into a force to be reckoned with when he doesn’t get his way.  He’s warmed up a bit to the other cats. While he still doesn’t like sharing a kitty bed with anyone, he and Fireball hunt together in the scary basement. The human sees them almost daily sitting high up on shelves butt-to-butt watching to see if any mice dare scamper past in the 160+ year old hand-laid stone basement. So happy anniversary duo!  This is also the anniversary of the start of the penta pack.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

An Interim Attempt to Keep Stones in the Fountain

IMG_3237The Merkitty had been ever so pleased with herself that she had found a new way to annoy the human while the latter slaved away in the work cave.  The non-working fountain filled with river stones was just the perfect entertainment for a late afternoon when she really wanted the 2-legged to walk her lazy butt upstairs and dispense crunchies. However, after having the stones she’d so carefully lobbed out on the floor returned to the big copper bowl, and seeing the whole device covered with a bright blanket, the Merkitty had to find new methods of being devious. It took some work, but with the help of Pepe Monster, they both found ways to pull back the blanket and expose the stones. Soon the human was jarred out of her work trance with the sound of stones hitting the wood floor again.  The fountain is fairly large, and the old farm house they all inhabit isn’t so big and suffers from a paucity of closets and other storage spaces.  The human was therefore hoping to find a way to keep the stones in the bowl and the bowl in the bay window. Sure enough, the blanket was rolled back and the stones were flying out thanks to cute little scoupy paws.IMG_3240Covering the fountain back up (this time with only the base blanketed) proved a very short-lived victory, as the Merkitty quickly pulled back the fleece and started tossing rocks again. <<Gee, this is fun!>> Next the human re-covered the stones, but this time put some heavy mineral specimens on top of the blanket hoping they would prove too heavy to move and thus keep the smaller stones underneath hidden from view. Alas, it wasn’t very long before the Merkitty managed to uncover a corner of the bowl and started lobbing stones again. You see where this is headed, don’t you?


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

A New Level of Trust

IMG_3264Last year, just before the Duo arrived, Caesar Tiger Bear finally summoned the courage to step up onto the human and lay down on her chest. Sure, he’d walked on and hopped over her before, but that was the first time he’d laid down on top of her and fallen asleep. Given that he’s still a skittish kitty even after 4 years here, that was a major breakthrough in the trust department…at least that’s what the human told herself.IMG_3265Once Pepe and Corky arrived, the house was in an uproar for a while, so the Big Guy just didn’t get the courage to try laying down and going to sleep on the human again until last week.  He’d been flirting around laying against the top of her head on the pillow for weeks. One night he did the cutest thing: while snuggled up against her on the pillow, he laid his head on top of the human’s head and sang a lovely song. Since he neither got smunched nor munched that close to the human, he finally got brave late one night and climbed back up, putting his face close to her own and nodding off. The human awoke with a heavy weight on her chest, giant Caesar paws almost touching her neck, and that gorgeous big face very close to her own face. She started petting the big guy, who woke up and enjoyed the attention. Then both the 2-legged and the 4-legged fell back into dream land — but not before the human snapped a few shots to mark the occasion. Since then, he’s sprawled across the human’s legs a couple of times and laid across her chest a couple of times.  Does this represent a new level of trust? Time will tell.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

The Gardener

IMG_3310The little Red Bee is a small cat, but he’s a fearsome force of nature when he gets mad.

This week the cellar became verboten for 2 days while Corky recovered from his urinary tract infection. Fireball also had overstayed his welcome in the cellar Sunday evening, so it seemed like a good time to do a kitty time out in the basement on Monday and Tuesday. Fireball did not agree with that decision. (Neither did Corky when he was released from house arrest upstairs.)

When the human came downstairs Monday morning, she found this mess beside the large potted ficus tree in the stove room off the kitchen. (That white cap was supposed to be on the counter, by the way.)  Someone had clearly been in the pot and had dug up soil and tossed it out on the floor and against the wall.  Once Fireball understood that he wasn’t going to have cellar privileges that day, he literally screamed at the human. At one point, he let out such a loud and angry yowl that the amused human walked over with hands on hips, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “Is that the best you can do?” He soon departed to go pout upstairs.

On Tuesday morning, while the human was fixing the kitties’ breakfast (and a plastic clothes basket was again barricading the cellar door so the furry people didn’t body slam it open), the fiery Baby Comet returned to lambasting the stupid 2-legged who just couldn’t get it through her dim brain that he wanted access to the cellar. When she ignored the scolding, he climbed into the ficus pot (outing himself as the previous day’s culprit), and deposited a smelly mess. Guess he showed the human!  The pot is now secured, but the human did give in and let them down into the cellar on Wednesday. Clearly yowling loudly was NOT the best he could do.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Cranky Corky Goes to the Vet

IMG_3318The lower-lifeform, aka the human, was in the doghouse b-i-g   t-i-m-e   at the start of this week.

Cranky Corky came down with a urinary tract infection, and since those can be life-threatening to male cats if they get blocked, the human had no choice but capture the little guy and take him to the emergency vet service on Sunday afternoon. Good news is that while he did have a UTI, he wasn’t blocked.  (Bad news is it cost 2 hours and almost $400 to find that out.) Since returning Corky has been a whole lot less cranky…that is until he realized that he’d be incarcerated in the guest bedroom for a day or so while he recovered (Cranky Corky is lonely without friends to pal around with) and, when let out, that the cellar was off limits to all the cats (which led to some serious acting out by the whole crew).  Some days it’s just not fun being a human.

The other cats were all upset that Cranky Corky was in prison…so much so that his brother Pepe woofed his crunchies on the bookshelf in the hall. Caesar Tiger Bear made an incursion Sunday evening and barreled into the bedroom while the human was visiting Corky.  The 2-legged had a heck of a time getting him out, even after he saw that Corky wasn’t being tortured. Only plugging in the evil vacuum — which is far more evil than the evil camera — and starting to clean the rugs convinced him that it was time to get out from under the bed.

Next morning, Fireball, who stayed in the basement 4 hours longer than he was supposed to Sunday night (making the human have to get up and go try to coax him upstairs 4 times during an evening that was already stressful and unpleasant, spent 2 days in flat out rebellion when he learned that the basement was off-limits to everyone.

It’s very endearing that the cats care about each other so much. However, they clearly are far less enamored with the big clunky human.  Wonder what it will take to get herself out of doghouse this week?



(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.