Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Curiosity


It’s the human’s fault.  She was trying to add variety and hunting opportunities to the kitties’ daily repertoire.  The meows were pestering for snacks, so the 2-legged flipped the much-beloved scratching disc upside down. On the reverse side, there is a maze-like structure with a ball inside — yes, a ball with a bell! — and a series of interesting holes on top that are just the perfect size for kitty paws to explore.To entice the kitties to investigate the holes, the human put a small pile of dried organic catnip on top and then carefully — while the felines were watching — nudged raw freeze-dried meat snacks from the surface of the maze into the holes.  The kitties watched with fascination and even went over and looked inside the structure. The Merkitty hopped up, took a sniff of the ‘nip, and immediately was overcome with paroxysms of delight.  The other cats had to move back or risk getting hit by her flailing limbs and rolling body.  As she thrashed about, she would bat the ball that rolls along the track on the outside of the toy sending it spinning around the track.  Pretty quickly, she cleared the deck of other cats. Over a period of several days, the human added more snacks and more ‘nip to the surface, but she never saw a single kitty paw raised to explore.  Eventually, she fished out the snacks and turned the disc back over so the scratching surface was face up. Some hunters they are!


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


Corky vs. the Orange Mouse

The human was cranking away at work the other day when she heard that distinctive moaning sound in the next room that always indicates one of the cats has “killed” a toy mouse and brought it to the human for praise and admiration.  Interestingly, the human found Corky and the orange felt mouse.  To show the human his hunting skills, the Corkster cuffed the mouse around a bit while the human poured on the compliments.  Hearing the human talking, Macaroni came over to see if anyone was getting fed. No one was, but she then inserted herself into the middle of Corky and his mouse. He gave her a sniff, but otherwise disgusted, he walked away.



(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.

Self-Serve Cookies

Since the morning snack is one of the highlights of both the 4-legged and 2-legged people’s day, the human tried an experiment.First she took the lid off the kitties’ snack container (aka cookie jar), then stood back to see what would happen. Many noses (followed by kitty bodies) moved over to sniff at the interesting object.Next, the human tipped the container on its side to see what they would do.  She figured the three biggest snack monsters — Caesar, Mac, and Corky — would soon help themselves. At first everyone sat around looking at this unprecedented situation.  <<Is this for real? Can we really go fishing for our own cookies?>>Corky, always up for a game involving food, stuck his paw into the container and soon hooked a snack, flipped it out, and started eating it off the rug.  
Mac was fascinated and Pepe was right there watching his brother.  Initially Caesar appeared disinterested, but he soon got involved in the goings on. Fireball moved back to sit by a chair. Perhaps he thought it was a trap.  <<No way the 2-legged will let us eat all the snacks we want. She’s being a tricky human again.>>At first Corky was unstoppable, but then Pepe muscled in and started digging for yummies too.Interestingly, no member of the Trio reached in and helped themselves, although Miss Mac got mighty close. <<First time for everything!>> The same cannot be said for the Duo, who got busy pulling snacks out and eating them. Well, the human watched and took pictures for many minutes. The two brave kitties got a fistful of snacks. The others were given a few snacks handpicked by the human. All in all, an interesting experiment for one and all.


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

You Did WHAT?

Pepe was incredulous.  The human was…well, she was the human. What more can we say?



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

Crazy Kitties

Let’s be honest. Cats hate change even more than humans do. And when they have a lot of change in their environment over a short period of time, it can sometimes lead to interesting forms of acting out.  So the human brought this on herself.  She decided to flip the furniture in her bedroom on Thanksgiving Day. What had been on the west wall is now on the east, and vice versa.  Of course, while this was all going on, the evil vacuum cleaner was busy sucking up all kinds of things, so the cats stayed far away. Later, after the noise quieted down, things were put to right, and the far-infrared mattress pad was turned back on on the freshly made bed, the cats appeared and began to check things out.  Talk about curious!  One after another they jumped up on the bed, sniffed and looked around, then jumped down only to jump up on a different piece of furniture to explore. Clearly they were quite at a loss as to why the human would do such a radical thing without asking their permission. To further intensify things, the human had washed a bunch of their fleece blankets and hung them out to dry, then brought them inside (smelling of the great outdoors) and put them back in their kitty beds. They love it when they have clean, fresh-smelling blankets!  That evening, there were some mighty interesting and noisy goings on in the house. Fireball ran around chirping loudly and even tried shredding the mattress foundation under the human’s head.  Caesar alternated whacking the ball around on the scratching disc and chasing other cats around playing tag.  Mac tried out 3 different kitty beds in their new locations much like Goldilocks visiting the three bears.  And Pepe and Corky chased each other quite loudly. It was a regular circus that went on until about 2 am. Fortunately, the cats have settled down now and seem to enjoy the slightly modified sleeping arrangements. Still, what was the human doing making a change like that without asking?


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

Mystery Muddy Footprints

It’s been brutally cold of late. We had snow flurries on Halloween and last week  it dipped below freezing for the first time in half a year.  The human had to haul the houseplants in from the great outdoors a couple of weeks back, including the big ficus tree. For a while she had the large pot (and its plentiful supply of soft fresh soil) barricaded with some containers to keep little kitty feet out.  However, one of the barricades had to be moved and the repositioned items clearly did not dissuade kitty visitors.The human came downstairs the next morning only to see a whole path of dirty, muddy footprints coming out of the pot and moving across a runner on the (unused) woodstove. (They’re subtle, but clearly visible in both photos above).  While she cannot prove it, the human suspects the Merkitty made a nocturnal visit. The human has redoubled her efforts to build an effective barricade, and so far that seems to be working. Give her time and the Merkitty will find a way back into the pot just because she’s not supposed to be there.



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

Corky & Pepe Let Down their Guard

The human took the stack of rolling balls upstairs and put it beside the other scratching disc in the hopes of getting the kitties to play with it.
A couple of times different cats went and played with the old toy, but the new one got completely ignored. To encourage interaction with the toy, the human kept bending down and spinning the balls on the new toy either fast or slow for the kitties to see.  They looked at her blankly.  A couple of times she even spun balls on both the new and old toys at the same time. They were not impressed…nor were they going to show any interest in the new toy. Mostly they looked bored.A few days later, first Corky and then Pepe decided to play with the new toy.  They clearly slipped up because not only did the human witness them playing with the toy (and each other), but she recorded the experience on her camera.Could that possibly mean they were having so much fun, they didn’t notice the human or even care if she saw them?


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

New Toy Gets an Inspection

The human found the cutest toy on sale at a store. It’s a stack of 3 plastic rings that each holds 1 plastic ball that rolls around in a track on its level. It’s similar to the scratching disc with the one track on the side that holds a single ball. Given how much fun the cats eventually had with the scratching disc/track ball, the human figured the felines would absolutely love this toy. Boy was she in for a disappointment!The human proudly presented the toy to the meows.  First Pepe approached it and gave it a few sniffs.  He almost seemed a tad puzzled with it at first. Soon enough that little cuffy paw came up and started investigating. <<I wonder if there are secret eyes on the bottom of kitty paws?>> Pepe walked away.Corky showed up next and gave it a sniff. He didn’t seem very impressed. Of course, as soon as Corky showed up and started checking out the toy, his brother had to come back and claim it. Corky walked away.Next up, Caesar arrived. A quick sniff identified the item as not food. Since it wasn’t doing anything, he deemed it less than entertaining and just sat down to watch. In came Fireball and he too gave it a sniff. It goes without saying that no one seemed very excited. <<Showing the human she’d done something good breaks some unwritten kitty rule about how to properly train a human. Keep the 2-legged humble by rejecting nearly everything she gives you and that will guarantee the human will keep on trying.>>Cue the Merkitty, who also gave it a sniff while Caesar started grooming Fireball as he washed his side.  <<Ho hum, human.>>A quick circle around the toy and the Merkitty flopped on her side and lay there. <<You paid $6 for that? What a waste of money!>> The other cats started to disperse.Corky gave it one last sniff while the Merkitty did head rolls. <<Bah humbug!>>There’s a bar on the new toy that goes across the top to make it easier to carry, and you can look down to the floor below. Given the dismal reception the toy received, and to encourage further kitty interest, the human tucked some treats down inside.  When she came downstairs the next day, the stack had been moved way across the floor and there was only a single treat left inside, so someone had fun with it.  Of course, since the human couldn’t see the cats having fun, it was okay for them to go ahead and enjoy the toy…just don’t let the human see that happening!


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

Chilly Sillies

No, the kitties have not gone on holiday and the human hasn’t either. The lazy 2-legged has just been very busy and has not made time to chronicle the adventures of the 4 leggeds. However, it’s been unseasonably cool for August and there have been some notable antics of late.  The human calls these the “chilly sillies” since we’re not quite in snow-silly season, and it’s definitely the cool weather that seems to be driving the humorous exploits.  (When it’s hot and humid, they just lay around in little piles on the floor and look miserable — much like the human who flops on furniture a few feet higher off the ground.)  Here are some of their recent adventures.

  • Macaroni is back to making her Merkitty messes, leaving big water puddles around the water bowls.  She also uncharacteristically has started chasing the red dot from the laser pointer around on the floor. Usually she’s w-a-y too sophisticated to stoop to such silliness. Additionally, she’s back to curling herself around the human’s head early in the morning and washing the 2-legged’s face while using her cute paws to pat the human on the face. (If only she’d fully retract those darned claws, the process would be quite relaxing. As it is, the human has to keep eyes open and face pulled back a bit to avoid getting hooked.)
  • Fireball is a master of “hit and run.”  He bounces up on the bed, squeaks, and lands on the human. Then he comes over and settles down sphinx style very close to the human’s face and looks at her. Or, he turns and faces the other direction leaving a bum in close proximity to the human’s face, which meanwhile is getting swished with a striped orange tail.  He stays about 90 seconds and then squeaks and runs off to something more interesting than a human…unless he thinks he can get her to give him some kitty toothpaste, which he just loves the taste of and will eat 10x a day if the human would let him.
  • Corky has been getting lots of exercise upstairs both morning and evening chasing the laser dot.  He also spontaneously chases balls around the tracks of two toys upstairs at all hours of the night. He’s very vocal at any hour and lets the human know what he thinks about the empty crunchy bowls at 2 am, at 4 am, and at 6 am. Then he keeps up a steady chatter trying to encourage the dawdling and half-asleep human to hurry up and put breakfast on downstairs. Unfortunately, Corky’s also been chasing poor Fireball, and Pepe is chasing both Corky and Fireball.  Anything that moves is fair game.
  • Pepe has been such a brat to Fireball that the human put him in a collar with a jingly bell. He thinks he’s hot stuff because he’s the only 4-legged with a collar and a bell, and the collar is quite sparkly.  He was so jazzed up this morning that he even chased the human, who then had to try not to step on the rapidly approaching creature.  In between, Pepe kept entertained by running from one bedroom to the other, jumping on the bed, spinning in circles, and then jumping off and running to the other room.
  • Even Caesar Beaser has been silly of late.  He bounces up onto the bed and runs over to get pets from the human. When he’s done being cooed over, he stomps across the top of the human’s pillow and flops down beside her and begins dangling paws and tail until Fireball or Mac decide to join him in the kitty bed. At that point he jumps down and seeks solitude elsewhere.

Looking in their eyes, you almost can see the wheels turning:  What can we do to mess with the human today?


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