Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Boxes


A friend with a business that uses big rolls of fabric asked if the human thought the kitties might like a big cardboard tube to play inside. While Pepe and Corky like paper bags (but never plastic ones) and Mac will occasionally entertain herself in a cardboard box, none of the felines had shown any love for a cute crackly fabric tube the human had bought many years back. Still, why not give it a try, since the cardboard tube could always be recycled. Pepe stuck his head inside both ends but wouldn’t venture further.  Mac also stuck her head in but that was the end of it.

The rest of the cats couldn’t be induced to explore the tube even that much — despite the presence of freeze-dried meat snacks the human tossed in for fun.

Fortunately, while the kitties had no use for the big tube, the human found it was just perfect to hold a bunch of wrapping paper and smaller mailing tubes. Cats…


(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


Toy Story: The Escape

The human was greeted by this cluster of toys the other morning when she walked downstairs.  She was unsure if the toys were making a run for it, or if one or more of the kitties decided to see if they could find better toys by dumping the top layer out of each of the toy boxes. Admittedly, it can be tricky navigating the stairs in the dark first thing in the morning with arms full and eyes not exactly open.



(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.


As you can see from the overturned cat scratcher, the blue mice have made an exodus from the center of the structure. However, they didn’t go very far and they stayed lined up fairly nicely.



(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Make Your Own Entertainment

Several days in a row the human walked into the other bedroom and found a cardboard cat scratching box (which is shaped like a cube with the center cut out) lying on its side instead of standing on an end.She thought that maybe one of the kitties had used it like a step stool to climb up or down from the bed in that room so, being a well-trained human, she turned it up on its side again. After three mornings in a row of tilting it back up, the 2-legged noticed a toy mouse in the center of the overturned cat scratcher. That made her think the kitties were inventing their own games, so she went around the upstairs and picked up the multitude of toy mice that had been dragged out of the toy boxes on the stairs and strewn around during the night.  She placed all the mice in the center of the scratching box and left it on its side. Each evening she’d return to look at the overturned scratcher and would usually find most of the mice had been removed and taken elsewhere.  She’d go around and collect them again and refill the space, then check to see what was there come morning.  As you can see, the number of toys keeps increasing, and the cats have started scratching on the front face of the box — a surface not meant to be scratched….much like the hand-knotted rug on which it sits. <<Sigh. Within 10 square feet of this rug, there are no less than 5 hanging and standing cat scratchers. I guess they prefer wool to cardboard or sisal.>>


(c) Copyright 2018, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

The Failures of Sandy Claws

img_4066This year, Sandy Claws and the human were just awful at finding gifts the kitties would enjoy.

The human proudly presented the 4-leggeds a collection of 7 (fake) fur mice. Half of them actually had feather tails.  No go!

The human bought them a new can of organic catnip, since the fresh stuff is frozen solid outside. Organic did you say? No go!

She bought a second can. Still no go!

The human passed along a bunch of corks from a friend and then spent days rolling and bouncing them across the floor to try and interest the cats. No go!

She even bought them a draft snake (cedar-shavings filled long tube that’s normally put under drafty doors to keep the cold out but in this house is placed in front of the stove, the black hole that swallows cat toys on a daily basis). They sniffed it cautiously, but so far aren’t saying anything.

What DID they like for the holidays?img_4036The crackly paper from a box.

The ribbons from another box.

The smells on a third box.

The blanket the human got as a gift. <<It’s REALLY soft.>>

Pen caps and wrapped candies and fortune cookies stolen from the table.




(c) Copyright 2017, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Basket Baby…

juniper-nov-2016And here is no longer little Juniper (Junipurr) playing hide ‘n seek in a clothes basket.  Gotta love those big eyes. Wonder if she’s considering pouncing?


(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy M. Ray.

Bag Baby

img_3981Okay, hard as it is to believe, the Trio is nearly universally afraid of paper bags and boxes, although Mac did once destroy a beautiful big box by treating it as a giant shredding post. On the other hand, she did all her shredding on the outside of the box, not by going inside it.img_3982Among the duo, Pepe has discovered the joys of a number of boxes, and more recently he’s gotten into paper bags with handles. Case in point, the human brought home some organizing tools recently and offered the paper bag the items left the store in to the kitties. Pepe the Adventurous checked it out right away and ran inside.  Soon, he could be seen making a flying run across the slick Pergo floor and sliding paws first into the bag, which of course then slide several feet further in the same direction. It wasn’t long before the bag that had been in the kitchen was all the way to the far wall in the next room. In between diving and sliding sessions, Pepe has been peeking out of the bag like Kilroy.  Those kitties are just so much fun!


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

New Entertainment Box

IMG_3514The kitties lucked out a couple of weeks back when the human happened upon a nifty entertainment box on clearance at a store she was in.  It’s just a cardboard box with 3 big holes on each side, a sisal scratching surface on top with a funny little sisal-wrapped ball plus feathers attached to a long stiff spring that in turn is pressed into the top of the box. Inside the box (accessed through the holes on the side) is a sisal-wrapped ball that the cats can bat around and pull on, but don’t seem to be able to pull outside.IMG_3519Needing to make up for having offered several bags of cat crunchies that did not pass the kitty taste test, the human brought the box home and set it down on the floor. Pepe and Corky were the first to try it out.IMG_3521They enjoyed sniffing the new catnip supplied by the manufacturer to cover the scratching surface on top of the box. They also used their faces and paws to push around the funny little ball mounted to the spring that sticks straight up from the center.
IMG_3525Pepe was the first to discover the holes on the side and set to work trying to figure out what was in there.IMG_3527Macaroni showed up shortly thereafter and took over the box — quite literally!IMG_3530She climbed on top, pushed the others out of the way, and scratched her way to contentment.  She also forcefully attacked the ball-on-spring in the center.IMG_3533Caesar and Fireball showed up before long, but they couldn’t get much action on the play box because the Merkitty wouldn’t let them.IMG_3534Not long after, they wandered off to do something else.IMG_3538Before long the human noticed that one of the cats had broken the springy thingy in the center. They’d had the toy for less than 15 minutes at this point. Fortunately, an overnight application of some tough glue solved that problem and the gadget was back better than ever the following day. (Pepe says he didn’t break it but was just letting the human know that someone else with a B&W coat did the dirty deed.)IMG_3518Since then the box has been moved to their cat tree. The human wanders by once or twice a day and stuffs new items into the holes.  She then waits to see how long it will be before Mac and Pepe and perhaps others fish around inside the box and pull out the toys.  So much fun for $8 USD.


(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.

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.