Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Animal behavior

Little Toy Mice Practice their Yoga Skills

Over the last week, the kitties have brought down more and more toy mice and distributed them around and on the yoga mat during the night. The positions change, the color of the mice change, but the general trend is for there to be more rather than less toy mice arrayed around the yoga mat each morning. The record, to date, is 5 mice. Why do they do this you might ask? Because, in this house, everyone and everything needs a toy mouse or two for good measure. <<<Such thoughtful kitties!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Yoga Mat as Cat-Enrichment Device

A few weeks back, the human finally got the last of her tropical plants dragged out onto the deck, which freed up lots of space in the “stove room” for her to layout her yoga mat, blocks, straps, and roller.

Of course, as these things go, the human hasn’t done much yoga, but the cats have been having a grand time with the mat, blocks, etc. In fact, Pepe so likes the feel of the sticky mat that he often can be found lounging on it.

It turns out that, after knocking over the formerly neat pile of blocks, the cats have been having a ridiculous amount of fun while the human flicks the small piece of fabric tied to the “fishing pole” in and out of the obstacles. They crouch down and pounce on their prey. They jump up on top of yoga blocks, and they even have figured out how to fish out the fabric on those rare occasions when the human manages to whisk it inside the roller. Mac, who usually is far too sophisticated to play with the rest of the cats has been inserting herself in the middle of the action and often has to be invited to share the toy with the others.

Sadly, the human has spent no small amount money on “expert-designed” cat enrichment toys over the years. However, most of those purchases have been consigned to the “what were you thinking?” pile that get recycled to other people with less fussy pets.

Still, the human is deeply pleased that her yoga blocks and mat are getting used by the kitties, who not only benefit by honing their hunting skills and keeping mentally sharp but also get some physical exercise as well. You just never know what will entertain a cat. <<<Certainly nothing you pay good money for will ever of interest for more than 10 minutes!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Wet Foot Syndrome

Mac the Merkitty is spreading her odd eating and drinking behaviors to the other cats.

Early on she taught Fireball that the best way to get access to the food bowl when Caesar was hovering over it was to pull the bowl out from under his mouth with a paw and then quickly scoop up a pawful of food before Caesar moved forward to hover over the bowl again. Even with Caesar gone, Fireball still eats crunchies, raw freeze dried food (rehydrated in water), and even soft food with his paws rather than directly with his mouth. And since Mac has long drunk water from her paws, Fireball does too.

Also, because Mac mucks up the water so often by playing in the bowls with her feet, Fireball has taken to sticking his own feet in the bowl to check that the water is acceptable before drinking.

However, wet foot syndrome has spread even further. In recent months, the human has observed Pepe stick one or both of his forepaws into the big water bowl to check that the water is there before bending down to drink. He will subsequently come lay down on his favorite chair and, when the human pets him, she finds wet feet. What is it about cats and water bowls in this house?

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Recovery Time

Corky the Banu bear came through his dental procedure just fine. The human collected him and brought him home for a rest. He’d had some teeth extracted, so no hard food for a week (and no roughhousing with his brother). That meant more alone time. Fortunately, he had medication that made him sleepy. Plus, he got lots of attention from the human.

Still, there was only so much incarceration time Corky was going to tolerate. The other cats would have to deal with eating crunchies in water for a few days. After his third dose of medication, Corky was free.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Prisoner Cat Receives a Consolation Prize

While Corky was recovering from his dental procedure and still in lockdown, the other kitties kept vigil outside the door to his room. The morning after he returned from the vet, the human found one of the kitties had thoughtfully brought a toy mouse upstairs and left it outside his door. <<<Awww!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Corky has an(other) Adventure

It was Corky’s turn for a dental cleaning. Since the procedure would be done under anesthetic, he wasn’t allowed any food after midnight. That meant he had to be quarantined from the others the night before his procedure. (The angry ankylosaur is hell on wheels when he doesn’t have something to eat that he likes.) The next morning, the evil human scooped him up and placed him in a carrier <<<Stuffed me in a fabric box is more like it!>>> Off they went in the vehicle. <<<Never trust a human!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Disappointed!

The human picked the wrong type of crunchies for her furry masters. They were very disappointed and let the 2-legged know that. The chastened human went back to the store with a promise to do better.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Now Why Do You Think They Did That?

The kitties have been very busy carrying little toy mice all over the house. There even have been some visitors to the kitchen of late. However, their favorite location is the stove room, where the crackly paper resides. The other morning, the human came down stairs only to find on small black toy mouse partially covered over by a leaf from the Ficus tree.

Odds are good that the leaf didn’t just fall off the tree and land in such a way that it partially covered the toy mouse, since the mouse was halfway across the room from the tree. So what, the human wonders, could possibly have motivated a cat to move the leaf onto the toy him-/herself?? This is yet another of the grand mysteries of the feline masters.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Return of the Bag Babies

The kitties had eaten their own breakfast and the human was eating hers. She noticed a takeout bag within reach and tossed it on the floor. Sure enough, Corky and Pepe came over to investigate. Pepe made it to the bag first and stuck his nose inside. <<<Potentially roomy enough to investigate.>>>

Initially Corky was also headed straight toward the bag, but got side tracked by Pepe’s bowl of breakfast. Of course, as soon as Corky paid attention to his food bowl, Pepe suddenly lost interest in the bag and prepared to move over and claim his property. <<<What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. You have a problem with that?>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Little Red Lion Kitty

Fireball adopted his best sphinx pose while patiently waiting for the human to finish her morning ablutions and head downstairs to dole out food.

<<<What takes her so long? Can’t she see we’re hungry?>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Camouflage Kitty

When the human walked in unexpectedly and startled him, Pepe had opted for the rare camouflage look on a black & white blanket in one of the kitty beds instead of digging an opening in the bedding and sliding under the blankets and sheet for a snooze. Fortunately, all the human did was snap a pic and then move on her way (no paws were petted or heads kissed), so the Pepster was able to return to his sleep. <<<Whew!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Fireball Chills Out with the Human

It was early morning and not quite the time when the human had to drag herself out of bed. She was laying on her side when Fireball came up for his early morning siesta. The 2-legged’s duty is to hold the blanket up (letting out all the nice warmth) and wait for the Little Red Lion to slide under, turn around a couple of times, and then stretch out on the human’s arm while the 2-legged tucks the blankets around him. Usually, that leads to lots of furious scrubbing of the human’s hand and fingers while she tries to avoid his rough tongue by petting him. A little foot dangling ensued while the now wide awake human tried to take pics from above.

Fireball usually only stays 15 minutes. He heard another cat hop up on the bed and that was his cue to be on his way.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Corky Enjoys Plant Time for Kitties

Corky, who is usually shy and retiring — especially when his bossy larger but not older brother Pepe is around — occasionally cuts loose when there’s no one to see him. This time, fortunately, the human was nearby and equipped with her camera.

Since the Corkster had already been tossing a toy mouse around on the kitchen floor, the human figured he might enjoy some fresh greenery and ventured outside for a few leaves of Nepeta cataria (aka catnip or catmint).

Sure enough, the Banu Bear ate a few leaves, then began cuffing the remains of the plant top around on the floor.

The fact that no other cat was around to see him enjoy himself, and the human was quiet while snapping her shots, meant that Corky didn’t feel inhibited and had a grand time.

Eventually, he ate the last of the leaves and then just lay on the floor on his side with a slightly dazed look on his face. <<<Oh happy day!>>>

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Afternoon Delight

Here are Mac, Corky, and Pepe enjoying an afternoon sun-soaked snooze. There was lots of paw dangling going on, but the human restrained herself and didn’t go near. Mac hasn’t figured out yet how to occupy both puffs at the same time, although she does hop between the two of them. Fortunately, at that moment, Corky was able to enjoy use of one of the fluffy beds as well.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

When Box Inspection becomes a Family Affair

Sometimes, box inspection isn’t a solitary activity — even when it starts out that way.

Often, other cats wander over and decide to insert themselves into the middle of the action. Pepe rarely approves. <<<Amateurs!>>>

Of course, not every cat is as well trained and as professional about the inspection process. Some just take up space and don’t seem to know what to do. <<<Dilettantes!>>> Others have short attention spans and wander away. <<<Good riddance!>>>

Box inspection is always best left to the professionals.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Twinkie Twins

Mac and Fireball were chillin’ in the big pink puff when the human walked in. (Apparently, the Merkitty was feeling generous and decided to share the puff with the Little Red Bee.) The 2-legged started snapping photos in her usual annoying way.

Fortunately, no one was dangling their paws out of the puff, so the human and her camera posed little threat. (Note Fireball’s prehensile curled tail?)

A while later the human came back upstairs and found that the twinkie twins had changed places. However, this time someone had brought a little green mouse up on the bed and left it right beside the pink puff. Neither kitty looked like they were welcoming of attention, so the human left again.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

How Could You Let this Happen?

As you can see from Mac’s exasperated look, during the night the evil human failed to respond to multiple kitty pleas for more crunchies, since there was plenty of other kinds of food around the corner in other bowls. By refusing to wake up and refill the bowl, the 2-legged servant has let a catastrophe unfurl once again. There are only 3 pieces of kibble in the crunchy bowl. How it happened that Mac and Corky were able to eat kibble out of the bowl when the sides and bottom started becoming exposed is a mystery in itself. (Perhaps all the food was eaten by Pepe and Fireball, who don’t seem to have such qualms about eating out of a partially empty bowl.)

Still, if the human knows what’s good for her, she’d best get that bowl replenished — and fast! The kitties are not quick to forgive such malfeasance.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Blanket Sculpting for Beginners

Nearly every day, the human finds that Pepe has dug down through the layers of blankets on the bed, slipped underneath, and can be found in a dozy dreamy state enjoying a wee nap. When it gets a bit too warm, he extends limbs out to cool down.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

Cats as Energy Harvesting Devices

Humans struggle to engineer photovoltaic cells that are more efficient at harvesting sunlight and converting it to energy. They really should talk with cats — especially cats who are largely black — as they’ve got the situation nailed. Here is Pepe demonstrating how efficiently he converts sunlight into energy that then causes him to run around like a banshee is biting his tail. Mac, in the background, takes a more passive (and dignified) approach to energy generation and storage.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.

How to Sit Like a Lady (Kitty)

Sit up straight, use good posture, arrange your forelegs just so. Don’t forget the sardonic glare lest the human think it’s okay to try and touch your paws.

(c) Copyright 2022, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Images my own.