Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Play

Fishy

The silly human came home from the pet-supply store the other evening practically cackling with delight. She’d found a new “educational” cat toy — or, rather, one that promised mental enrichment for the cats. It was a sizeable “fish” stuffed with fluff, catnip, and a USB-chargeable unit that causes the tail to flip back and forth. This creates the effect of a thrashing fish, as if it had suddenly found itself out of water. The fish effectively flips itself across the floor while also making a clicking sound. The 2-legged had to charge the unit before first use, so she removed the innards and plugged them in, then brought the rest of the fish upstairs for the cats to check out. Both Caesar and Pepe gave it a sniff, and several times that evening Pepe gave it a good thrashing.

It’s probably appropriate then that as soon as the human and cats came down for breakfast, and the human reassembled the toy and put it on the ground, Pepe came over to check it out.

He was soon joined by Caesar, who rushed over to see what was up with this strange creature that had found its way into their house. It turns out that the fish is touch-sensitive, so after thrashing around and clicking for about 90 seconds, it lays still (and goes silent) until someone touches it with a paw or nose or hand in the middle section — not at the tail or head where the Big Boys were sniffing. By now, Corky had joined the team investigating the interloper.

The human has been moving the fish around the house for the last few days. In the long run, it may fail to hold their attention, but at least for now whenever Caesar hears that particular clicking, he rushes into the room and starts sniffing the creature. This morning, the human found the Emperor laying beside the fish toy, as though on guard. And when he got up, the human found 5 toy mice sitting beside the fish. Did he think the fish was hungry? Or did he think the mice would teach the fish some manners? It’s times like this that the human really would love to know what her masters were thinking.

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

A Little Morning Exercise

The human was eating her breakfast and the Pepster was right beside her. For a while, he was content to just lay sprawled out on the chair, but then he got bored.

He started looking for something he could steal to entertain himself. The human pulled out a small piece of metallized film from a treat she’d finished and began waving the piece back and forth along the back of the chair.

The Pepster had a grand time attacking the shiny object the human was moving here and there.

Eventually he tired and left for the upstairs. At least he got a little exercise.

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

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The Tiger Boys spend a lot of time hanging out together. They snuggle, they chase each other up and down the stairs, and sometimes they have a little dust up with fistacuffs.

Although not actually related, they’ve spent over a decade together, so are tightly bonded.

Just like a younger human brother, Fireball tries to immitate Caesar’s actions and behaviors — even down to moving his head in the same direction as Caesar’s when they’re lying beside each other.

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

Corky Strikes Gold

Corky was in luck. He got to play with catnip-laced crackly paper and the spinning toy all by himself. There wasn’t another cat in sight, so he could relax and play as much as he wanted. That doesn’t happen too often, so he made the most of it.

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

MY Catnip!

Corky was taking a trip without leaving the farm, enjoying a bit of the wildwood weed.

Mac, who’d already indulged, sat close by glaring at Corky, who was pretty much oblivious. It was almost like Mac resented seeing him have his fun. So intently were the cats focused on each other or the catnip that the human managed to get quite close without either of them paying her any mind. There were no scuffles, but Mac made no secret of the fact that she thought Corky should have waited until she was completely finished and had left the room before enjoying some nip. The funny thing is, that’s what he usually does. He’s not food aggressive like she is.

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

I Have a Bone to Pick with You, Human

Four of the five cats were milling around in their early-afternoon foray asking for snacks. The human put down some dried catnip and silver vine.

Several of the meows checked out the catnip, then wandered over to sit and ponder the situation.

Undeterred, Mac walked over to tell the human just what she thought about the food offering.

<<<What part of ‘We want crunchies’ don’t you understand, human?>>>

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

Intoxication by Osmosis

Mac has an interesting dance with catnip. You never actually see her eat any of it. Any inhalation must occur while she’s rolling around on top of it in a wild frenzy. Although her coat ends up coated with catnip, she shakes it off as soon as she rises.

It’s as though she gets intoxicated by osmosis.

And woe to any human foolish enough to put a hand near the inebriated kitty.

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

Big Red Crackly Bag

The human placed a big plastic bag from a takeout meal on the floor. Pepe, Mac, and Caesar all came over for a look and a sniff.

<<<Nah, we’ll pass. This isn’t so very interesting after all.>>>

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

The Things they REALLY Like to Play with

Notice that despite the fancy twirling toys, the things the cats most seem to enjoy playing with are crackly sheets of paper sprinkled with catnip and paper bags? It just goes to show that if the human buys a toy, they won’t play with it, but if they think they’re stealing something from the 2-legged, then it’s the best toy ever.

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

Cloth Bag

<<<A cloth shopping bag whose handle is sticking straight up in the air. I’m sure I can fit inside.>>>

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

Afternoon Migration

The human took a break from working in her office one afternoon and found not one, but two toys had been left outside the door for her entertainment. Such thoughtful cats!

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

What do You Mean that’s Not Dignified?

<<<Complaints from the peanut gallery will not even be considered today.>>>

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

A Thoughtful Afternoon Gift

Caesar, being the polite and thoughtful cat he is, likes to bring his human little toy mice as gifts several times per day. In the early morning hours, he hopes his gift will encourage the lazy human to exit the kitty nest and get going with her day (and the feeding of the meows). During the afternoon, when the human is often on conference calls, he likes to bring toys to the edge of her office in the hopes of getting her to wind up her day and feed the meows their dinner. The fact that his gifts are usually preceded by loud moaning sounds just adds to the interesting things that humans on the other end of the call get to hear.

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

Why Does She Behave Like that?

Caesar was stumped. Macaroni was flipping back and forth on top of the sheet of crackly paper with limbs akimbo. Her coat was coated with catnip. She was insensible to reason.

<<<Such a lack of dignity…and with the human watching….>>>

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

Second Kittenhood

Caesar Tiger Bear is very big and dignified kitty. (He’s not overweight, he’s just huge.) He’s the household peacemaker, when other cats have a dust up, but he’s equally judicious at administering paw bops when he thinks either four-legged or two-legged people aren’t behaving properly. In short, he’s the epitome of decorum and he rules the household with a velvet paw (but one equipped with sharp claws). The Big Guy must be feeling really good of late because he’s regularly been stepping out of character and acting positively silly. It’s like he’s enjoying his second kittenhood.

For instance, the human often gets out the laser pointer and runs the red dot around on the floor and up the walls in colder, darker weather when the dot shows up better. Caesar has sometimes stopped to sniff the dot, but in 8 years he’s never given it any more than a passing glance. However, a few months back, he actually chased it around on the floor and up the wall…several times. As big and powerful as he is, he’s kind of a scary dude when he gets moving fast like that.

And while Corky and Pepe love sliding around on crackly sheets of paper (repurposed packaging materials that get more play time than actual purchased cat toys), Caesar has never shown much interest.

Mac and Corky are real catnip enthusiasts and Fireball and Pepe can be talked into imbibing from time to time. While Caesar will happily eat a leaf of fresh catnip, and has been known to take a trip if the human sprinkles dried nippy on a rug, not so long ago he rolled around on a catnip-dusted sheet of crackly paper. He made a ton of noise and put a big rip down the length of the paper while flipping back and forth chasing an imaginary object. Even the other cats are careful not to get too close when the Big Guy is all wound up.

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

Scott’s Blanket Needed Inspection

<<<The human’s idea of quality control is definitely not up to par.>>>

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

Girl in Box

When new boxes arrive at the house, the human usually empties them out and puts them down for the kitties to explore.

Quite often, the cat who hops in and claims the box is quite predictable: Pepe or Corky (who is walking past on the right (above) and hoping that the box will empty out so he can get into it).

However, sometimes the cat you’d least expect is the one who hops in. That was the case when Macaroni claimed this big box.

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

The Craziness of Comets

Fireball is a mellow little dude…until he’s not.

The other night, the human walked in to find the Little Red Bee all curled up on the bed, enjoying a snooze on the flannel and fleece. The two-legged picked up a couple of toy mice from another kitty bed and gave them to the ginger tabby, but he soon got up and headed for the now-refilled crunchy bowl.

After chores, the human was reclining in bed reading. The baby comet hopped up for some pets and some attention a couple of times, but soon left.

Not long after, big brother Caesar came in and all of a sudden the copper kitty got all jazzed up. He tore up the side of the kitty condo, hopped over onto the bed, then did a series of short runs, followed by abrupt stops, and sudden pivots in another direction, followed by short runs all across the bed.

All the time, his tail was flipping one way and then the other.

He picked up one after another of the toy mice the human had brought him and started tossing them in the air and cuffing them around on the bed. It was so funny to watch that the human grabbed the camera and started shooting pics.

Not long after, the Big Guy got wound up himself and went racing under the bed. His feet make the funniest sound when he’s silly — almost like he’s running on tip toes.

As Caesar came racing out from under the bed, Fireball, alerted to his brother’s imminent departure from the bedroom, barreled down off the tall bed and went running after his big brother, whom he shadows all over the house. The human marveled at how charged up the kitties were.

Next morning, when she opened drapes and shades from the night before, she saw a new batch of snow on the ground and understood that they’d all had snow sillies the night before.

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

Jule’s Blanket Gets Pepe’s Help

Another blanket that benefited from Pepe’s beneficence was a lovely lavender and purple one for Jule’.

<<<I’d like to meet the person who invented pin cushions. They are way more entertaining than the toys our human buys us. Why can’t she be creative like that?>>>

Fortunately, the human’s friends are tolerant of receiving gifts with bits of cat fur on them.

<<<We need to talk about the quality of your work. You consider that a straight cut? That’s the best you can do with a template? What would this blanket look like if I weren’t keeping watch?>>>

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

Pepe Helps Make Grammy’s Blanket

Here’s Pepe helping the human make her own mother an extra heavy blanket for her 90th birthday..

<<Happy birthday, Grammy! I made sure my human made things correctly!>>

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