Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Curiosity

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Inspector

Few appreciate the skills required and the responsibilities involved in being a box inspector.

First the outside must be completely sniffed. Then the inside must be completely sniffed. It’s important to know where the box originated and what it contained. How else can the house be kept safe?

Lastly, the box must be considered for its potential for sitting and snoozing. Is the bottom a bit springy? Do the sides have enough give to expand upon contact without collapsing? How hard will it be to turn around in and will all our body parts fit? This particular box, although a bit on the small side, does have potential.

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

Happy 7th Anniversary Corky & Pepe

The dynamic duo arrived at this house 7 years ago today. They definitely have stirred things up and kept things very interesting. Here they are chasing the laser dot amidst the pile of crackly papers, which are among their favorite playthings.

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

A Change in Technique

The human has been noticing that Mac the Merkitty has been walking around lately with not just a damp paw but two sopping wet paws. <<<What in the world is she doing?>>> the human wondered. Well, now the human knows.

During breakfast this week, the Mer came to get a drink in her splash pool. Instead of doing her usual routine of climbing up on the rim of the big bowl, then reaching a paw in and swishing it around to make sure there’s water inside, then stepping down and putting her face in the bowl to drink while running one then the other of her forelegs around the outside curve of the bowl, the Girly Girl has developed a new technique.

She still climbs up on the rim of the bowl, but now she puts both forepaws in the water and stands in the bowl while drinking. Maybe it makes her feel one with the water. This may also explain the puddles in front of the boot tray the human has been finding. Perhaps it’s those dripping paws leaving the water behind as the Mer swims away from her splash pad.

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

It was Bound to Happen Eventually

Mac loves solving puzzles, so the human knew that eventually she’d find a workaround for splashing water out of the tall, straight-sided water bowl. And right on time, she’s done just that.

It took a couple of months of frantic splashing, but she was finally able to toss water outside the water bowl the other day. It’s unclear if that’s because the human overfilled the water level, making the liquid easier to dislodge, or if the Merkitty has changed technique and found a way to lift the water out of the bowl and deposit it on the floor.

For now, the human has pushed the bowl further back on the rubber mat and dish drying pad. However, the 2-legged will need to ponder the latest development and see if she can think of another way to outsmart the Plesiosaurus.

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

What is Corky Doing?

The human had dried the bedding outside on the lines, which leaves them with a delightful “outdoor” smell. The 2-legged had subsequently stripped and remade the bed with the yummy-smelling sheets and duvet. The human thinks that Corky was running his nose along the edge of the fabric, much as he does to items that need a bit more drying inside and are draped over blankets on the upstairs bannister. Still, even for Corky, it was an odd sight.

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

Not a UFO

Although it’s round and flew through the air, this is not a UFO. The human immediately recognized what it was, so the object was not unidentified. The Merkitty is suspected. The human has seen her get the zoomies, race into the bedroom, leap onto the big bed, then leap into the big pink puff only to have it slide precariously close to the edge of the bed. This time, apparently it went off the side of the bed, presumably with her in it. She’s such a goofy girl.

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

…Except Perhaps Piles of Crackly Paper!

The only “found” object that might be more fun to play with than a cardboard box is a pile of crackly packing paper….or a box stuffed with crackly paper.

Pepe, Corky, and even Mac have been having so much fun jumping into the growing pile of crackly paper and exploring.

Other than having a sniff to see where it’s been, the human has no idea why Pepe likes to stick his face into the paper.

Pepe’s technique for playing with the paper differs a bit from his brother or sister. He spins around and jumps on the pile, throwing paper this way and that. Corky likes to jump onto a piece and slide across the floor. And Mac likes it when the human sprinkles catnip on a sheet. She’ll flop down and roll back and forth until her fur is coated with the wildwood weed.

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

Boxes are the BEST Toys…

In this house, toys that are purchased seem to be far less interesting than toys that the cats imagine (or actually) steal from the human.

Case in point: an empty box that recently brought something into the house is far more interesting than a light-up ball or a toy fish that flops around on the floor.

In most cases, it’s a waste of money buying fancy enrichment toys, as the kitties prefer to find their own enrichment from things the human has lying around.

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

The Mer Flippers have been Busy

The human and the Merkitty have reached a state of d├ętente with the kitchen water bowl. While the heavy and tall-sided bowl has so far prevented the Watery One from being able to toss water out and onto the floor, still she is “swimming” in the bowl multiple times each day. How does the 2-legged know this? Mischievous Mac comes up to visit the human multiple times each night, alternately flopping across the human’s chest and climbing onto her pillow and dangling those adorable and overly hot Mer Paws, which the human cannot resist petting. Quite frequently, at least one paw, foreleg, and shoulder proves to be damp. And upon inspection, the water level is much lower and the little paws have tracked debris into the water bowl.

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

A New Box to Explore

Given that it’s the holidays, a lot of boxes have been coming into and leaving the house. That’s great news on two accounts. First, there are all kinds of new boxes to explore and mark with kitty scent. Second, there often are sheets of crackly paper the human removes from the boxes and lays on the floor for Corky and Pepe to slide around on and have fun. And soon Sandy Claws will come and leave the kitties more presents. Truly, this is a great time of year for the furry people.

(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.

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.

It Doesn’t Get Much Better than This

Trail of crackly paper: check.

Really big box: check.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, so much fun!

Where do you suppose the crackly paper trail ends?

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

Twinkies

Fireball and Mac were enjoying watching the goings on in the yard. The mean squirrels were chattering at them from the trees. Good things there was glass separating squirrels from cats.

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