Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Fears & Phobias

Sit Down

<<The rule is that if you approach the human for a pet and a nuzzle — a necessary thing, to be sure — then you must keep the back end of your body angled away from her hands. Otherwise, being undisciplined, she’ll bend down and scoop you up and hug you. The hug’s no problem, but having feet off floor is definitely an issue. >><<If she slides forward in anticipation of picking you up, you must sit down and do so quickly. That way she can’t get her hand under you. If she tries, you must back away until you are out of reach. When she sits down and acts polite again, you can re-approach her, but be on guard and be prepared to sit down fast if she misbehaves again…and she almost surely will.>>


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


Attack of the Fluffernutter!

<<I tolerated that new human last night, but this is too much. >>
<<My own human has abandoned me for work and left this stranger in my house.>><<Ah, she’s playing with me. >><<Well, if she dangles the strap from her phone I’m certainly going to chase it.>><<Maybe she’s not so bad, but I’m still mad at my human for bringing her here without asking me.>><<I hate being left alone and I hate not being consulted. What does she think I am — a dog?>>
<<Don’t answer!>>



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

Auntie Human Meets the Fluffernutter

<<Who is this? I haven’t met that human before.>><<Is she seriously putting her stuff on MY floor?>>
<<Who exactly invited this human anyway?>>

<<Should have known. My own human did. I suppose that means I can’t jump on her while she does yoga tonight.>>


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

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.

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.

There is Still Food in this Kitchen and I want it NOW!

Pepe wants foodPepe just happens to have a splash of black down the center of his face that’s about 4x the width of his actual nose. It makes his proboscis look huge, and that’s symbolically fitting as he walks around sniffing the air during meals trying to discern if there is any extra food out that he hasn’t eaten.  If he finds any, he’ll do almost anything to get to it and snarf it down.

He has an endearing habit of climbing up the side of the human’s leg when she’s sitting down to eat a meal. She’s supposed to put down whatever she’s doing and grab a pinch of her food for him to sniff. Fortunately, nothing she eats is appealing to a discerning kitty palate. Would that the same could be said about cat food.

In the last month, Fireball has taken to eating meals by himself upstairs. The two biggest foodaholics, Corky and Pepe, literally bulldoze out of the way any cat that is between them and a food bowl, and that seems to have intimidated the little Red Comet.  Because he’s shy to begin with and skinnier than he should be, it’s important that he gets food — and plenty of it.  The human makes up plates for the rest of the crew, then tries to sneak a bowl upstairs for the little guy.  If she isn’t smart enough to do that while everyone is in the midst of the initial grab & gobble, then Pepe and his nose walk around sniffing at food left on the counter, table, or even the stove. (The human has learned not to leave FB’s food in any of those spots and step out of the room for even 2 minutes, as when she returns the food is gone.) And if she delays at all, both Pepe and Corky follow her upstairs and try to eat Fireball’s food even before he can eat it himself.  Meanwhile, there is still food downstairs that no one is eating.  Argh, cats!


(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Mr. Care Bear

Caesar Tiger Bear is a rare kind of kitty.  Even female felines who are moms are not usually terribly maternal once they’ve started weaning their kittens.  Most male cats I’ve known don’t have a “maternal” bone in their body.  But the Big Guy is a big cuddler and is always trying to comfort any mammal that is distressed (even the silly human). With the Duo now here yowling up a storm pretty much every morning and evening starting at the 4s (4 am and 4 pm), the Emperor has been trying to go up to Pepe (the biggest yowler) and comfort him by licking and nuzzling him, and generally helping him settle in. However, Pepe wants nothing to do with any other cat. He wants his house and his previous human back and he’s not easily convinced that he should accept his new situation. Each time Caesar has walked up slowly and tried to comfort him, Pepe has hissed and walked away, which seems to be frustrating the Care Bear.  Ah well, hopefully both C&P will come around and settle in with their new siblings.  It’s only been 9 days so I guess the key is to just be patient a while longer.


(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Skunked: House of the Damned

Just when I thought things might be slowly easing into a semblance of normalcy, I was awakened at 4 am this morning with the overpowering smell of skunk.  As the smell got stronger, C&P started yowling and didn’t stop for 4 hours. I’m not sure whether they thought they were being attacked, but they surely had a bad reaction to the smell of this animal.  In less than 2 minutes C upchucked beside my bed 3x and then P came in and peed in the corner by my bed.  That sure got the sleepy human out from under the covers.  I ran for my enzymatic cleaner and hammered the area that got sprayed. I then went and opened up windows and shut off the furnace, plus cleaned their litter box thoroughly. Fortunately, the temps were reasonably warm for March or it would have been even more miserable. Still there was the unending yowling even as the smell dissipated with the fresh air. Up popped the human:  catnip didn’t work, more crunchies didn’t work — particularly when FB decided to start noshing down on them — even soft food didn’t work. I ran around putting lavender essential oil in small tins and in my ultrasonic diffuser hoping that it would mask the skunk smell and calm the animals down. Finally about 7:30 this morning the yowling stopped and everybody headed for a place to rest. I guess they were as wrung out as I was. Oy, not a nice way to start the work week.


(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Days 6 & 7: Everyone Still has their Limbs

IMG_2320Well, C&P got their full freedom late Saturday afternoon. Since things seemed to be going okay, I left everyone out on their own recognizance Saturday night and I’m happy to say when I awoke on Sunday morning, everyone still had all the limbs they were born with so that’s a good sign.  The Trio mostly watch from a distance.  The Duo mostly wandered around crying and getting into things.  A great many items got knocked from shelves or tipped over on the floor this weekend.  Were they looking for their human?  At least they are eating and drinking. Catnip seems to have lost its allure, but then it was a very stimulating day on Saturday.  Sunday seemed a bit easier and I managed to get out for a couple of hours to exercise and run errands.  Both groups of cats actually enjoyed snacks together Sunday evening without so much as a single hiss.  Perhaps there’s hope!



(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Days 4 & 5: Bittersweet

IMG_2306Tough few days.  My neighbor stayed here Thursday and Friday nights as the moving van packed all her belongings and took off on Thursday evening, and Friday was a house cleaning day before the new neighbors took over.  The Duo were really happy see and hear her after 3 days’ absence and got to sleep with her for 2 nights.  I appreciated the opportunity to get a few more hours to visit before she moved far away.  I was forever eating breakfast at her house all these years, so at last I got to be the one making and serving her breakfast before she left.

Last night I found an old screen door in the garage and brought it upstairs and installed it in the doorway to their bedroom so C&P could look around and see and sniff their new siblings and the trio could do the same. It wasn’t long before they knocked it over despite the barricades I built on both sides of the screen, which is flimsy. There’s nothing really sturdy to lock it in place.  This morning I tried the same thing and 30 minutes into seeing but not tasting freedom, they’d knocked the screen out so it was dangling over the barricades again.  After my neighbor left for the airport, I let them out of the room for their first taste of freedom since Monday afternoon. They had an hour to explore the house and meet the other cats. There were a few little hisses, nothing more serious than that. Mostly C&P wandered up and down the stairs and cried. Do they know their human has left for good? I’m incredibly sad, so how must they feel? Twenty-one years is a long time to live next door to people, be included in their lives (and they in yours), and then have to say goodbye. And if our animals age at 6-7 years for every one of our own, then it’s been 35 years’ worth of living with her for C&P.

After a few-hours break, I let C&P out again.  There was a physical passing in the hallways between Caesar and Corky and not even a hiss, though each headed in a different direction.  Corky was looking down the stairs at Macaroni as I went downstairs and that too seemed okay. The 4-leggeds all seem to be curious about each other having heard and smelled each other for the past 5 days. Hopefully they will all settle down and — if not become pals — at least learn to tolerate each other.  I guess I feel the same way as I watch the new neighbors moving in.


(c) Copyright 2015, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.