Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Play

Little Toy Mice Practice their Yoga Skills

Over the last week, the kitties have brought down more and more toy mice and distributed them around and on the yoga mat during the night. The positions change, the color of the mice change, but the general trend is for there to be more rather than less toy mice arrayed around the yoga mat each morning. The record, to date, is 5 mice. Why do they do this you might ask? Because, in this house, everyone and everything needs a toy mouse or two for good measure. <<<Such thoughtful kitties!>>>

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

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.

Corky Enjoys Plant Time for Kitties

Corky, who is usually shy and retiring — especially when his bossy larger but not older brother Pepe is around — occasionally cuts loose when there’s no one to see him. This time, fortunately, the human was nearby and equipped with her camera.

Since the Corkster had already been tossing a toy mouse around on the kitchen floor, the human figured he might enjoy some fresh greenery and ventured outside for a few leaves of Nepeta cataria (aka catnip or catmint).

Sure enough, the Banu Bear ate a few leaves, then began cuffing the remains of the plant top around on the floor.

The fact that no other cat was around to see him enjoy himself, and the human was quiet while snapping her shots, meant that Corky didn’t feel inhibited and had a grand time.

Eventually, he ate the last of the leaves and then just lay on the floor on his side with a slightly dazed look on his face. <<<Oh happy day!>>>

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

Cats as Energy Harvesting Devices

Humans struggle to engineer photovoltaic cells that are more efficient at harvesting sunlight and converting it to energy. They really should talk with cats — especially cats who are largely black — as they’ve got the situation nailed. Here is Pepe demonstrating how efficiently he converts sunlight into energy that then causes him to run around like a banshee is biting his tail. Mac, in the background, takes a more passive (and dignified) approach to energy generation and storage.

(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.

Red Dot Fun

Fireball was visiting the human downstairs so, after a snack, she led him out to the pile of papers and the laser pointer. (Note the green mouse the kitties had dragged out and played with the night before.)

After pointing the red dot on the floor near the Copper Kitty’s feet, he saw it and started attacking the floor, pouncing and spinning around and generally having a good time.

Soon, the human heard a pair of kitty feet coming down the stairs and Corky appeared.

Once she ran the laser dot over by his feet, he too started chasing the moving object.

Pretty soon, both cats were dashing this way and that.

Fortunately, they were paying attention to each other, so there were no collisions.

(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.

Soggy Fur

See that adorable paw? It’s soaking wet. So is the foreleg to which it is attached. In fact, the leg is damp all the way to the shoulder. Same deal with the other foot…leg…shoulder.

Why is this significant? It means the Merkitty has been swimming in the downstairs water bowl again…or, if not swimming, then definitely wading in her splash pool.

See that smirk? It’s the look of supreme satisfaction when the human realizes you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing.

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

Miner

The Merkitty has been feeling very fine indeed of late. As a consequence, she’s had an unusually large number of zoomie sessions. One of the many crazy things she does is leap into the big pink puff and spin around chasing her own tail. (She’s 11 or 12 years old, so not exactly a kitten.) And lately, the Girly Girl has started digging underneath the big puff. She then slides under the puff, presumably imagining she’s hidden from sight. <<<Until the evil human lifts the edge and stares at me!>>>

During a recent session of digging and hiding, the human, who happened to have her camera in hand, lifted the bed, which spoiled all her fun. Mac then attempted to dive under the bed again, pushing it close to the edge of the big bed. Her side ended up sticking up in the air while the other side dipped down and rested on the kitty condo, which prevented it from sliding further. Since her side of the puff was higher than she initially anticipated, the Mer rose up on her hind legs and crested the side of the bed, then nose dived into the puff before the human intervened and pulled the puff (with crazy kitty in tow) back onto the safety of the big bed.

Owing to the human’s interference, a disgusted Mac left and the human resettled the kitty bed in its normal spot. The human made a mental note to look for some rug grip to prevent the puff from sliding across the fleece. <<<Spoil sport!>>>

(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.

Brat Cat Takes all the Nippy for Herself

Mac has been outdoing herself lately. Apparently, she’s not into the generosity of the holiday season and is taking everything she can for herself.

Case in point: the human sprinkled catnip and silvervine on top of a sheet of crackly paper with which the cats had been playing. Mac immediately threw herself down on the sheet and started rolling all over the dried herbs.

Corky and Pepe wanted a sniff for themselves, but with Mac thrashing about with all of her sharp claws out, first Corky departed and then Pepe left. Brat Cat had it all to herself once again. And, no, she showed absolutely no remorse.

(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 Human Strikes Back

Finally, the human had had enough of the water bowls being flooded multiple times a day. She picked up the water-bowl rack and emptied what residual moisture was still in the 2 bowls. She hurried the water-saturated dish drying pad over to the sink and wrung it out as best she could, then set it aside to dry before sending it to the wash again. She dumped half-a-liter of water out of the rubber boot tray and set it aside to dry off a bit.

Next, the human pulled out a big and heavy ceramic water bowl that had recently been retrieved from the basement and washed. She filled it with a few centimeters of water, then placed it on the boot tray and a dry dish-drying pad. The bowl has steep sides that are close to 18 cm tall, and is nearly the same wide. The bowl is so heavy that no kitty feet are going to be able to move it. And, the human reasoned, the sides are tall enough that should the Splashy One start scooping water and tossing it, that the water will likely hit the sides and roll back into the bowl. In fact, if you look carefully at both images, you can see little water droplets on the walls of the bowl from repeated attempts to do just that.

We shall see if the human’s evil plan works. The Merkitty loves puzzles, so we can be sure she’ll take some kind of offensive action as soon as she’s figured out what to do. In the meantime, she does muck up the water once or twice a day, but at least the whole area is staying drier than it had been with the rack. Score 1 for the human!

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