Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Unexpected Gifts

A Gift for the Distracted Human

Fireball hopped up on the bed for one of his many short visits and lay down on top of the human, who was reading. She petted him in a distracted manner and then went back her book as the Little Red Bee proceeded to roll his head, lick her hand and fingers, and mix on the lumpy human furniture. Then he was gone in a flash. It was only after Fireball had departed and the human moved and heard a strange rattle that she looked and found that he’d left one of his toy mice behind when he departed. Such a thoughtful little boy.

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

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.

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.

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.

Twinkie Twins

Mac and Fireball were chillin’ in the big pink puff when the human walked in. (Apparently, the Merkitty was feeling generous and decided to share the puff with the Little Red Bee.) The 2-legged started snapping photos in her usual annoying way.

Fortunately, no one was dangling their paws out of the puff, so the human and her camera posed little threat. (Note Fireball’s prehensile curled tail?)

A while later the human came back upstairs and found that the twinkie twins had changed places. However, this time someone had brought a little green mouse up on the bed and left it right beside the pink puff. Neither kitty looked like they were welcoming of attention, so the human left again.

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

Why Human Fingers Require Extra Washing

Everyone knows that humans are stinky creatures.

That’s probably because they have so much naked skin and also because they wash with soap and water. It’s clearly inferior to a spit bath.

Although it’s a thankless job, Fireball long ago took on the task of rewashing the human’s fingers and hands. In fact, he used to scoop up a finger in one of his soft little orange paws, clamp down with his claws, and scrub for all he was worth while the human howled in fits of laughter, since it tickled so much.

Fortunately, the human always tries to express appreciation after her bath.

Fireball feels satisfied about having contributed to the greater good of the human and household.

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

Mac Discovers the New Giant Puff

Mac “owns” the two puffy, fluffy cat beds that were given to all the kitties last year…or at least she thinks she does. She regularly plays Brat Cat and chases another cat out of either the pink or beige puff so she can take it over. Despite being the smallest cat in the house, she’s a force of nature when she wants to be.

Well, the human found giant puff kitty beds at a local store that are at least 3x the size of the originals. She thought about where she could place such a big bed if Sandy Claws were to bring it to the kitties this year. Finally, the elves broke over and brought home a giant pink puff. Here is Mac discovering the kitty bed.

Time will tell if Mac takes over this puff as well. It’s so large that hopefully she will learn to share.

(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.

Just What You Need After a Hard Day at Work

Compliments of one of the thoughtful kitties.

(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.

Why there’s No Room on the Pillow for the Human’s Head

Need we say more?

This is a once or twice nightly kitty activity. Believe it or not, before the human got up, Mac was balanced precariously on top of the 2-legged’s head and Caesar’s back. Sheesh!

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

Enrichment Toy Failures

Knowing that her furry monsters have no opportunity to go outside, except on the “catio” (screened in porch), the human tries to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active. One way she does that is by purchasing so-called enrichment toys, which are supposed to make them think and move. Now, on balance, most of these toys have been a complete flop with a few exceptions. It’s not that the (completely unbiased) human thinks the kitties are not very smart, it’s that she thinks they are equal parts devious and lazy. Why go to the trouble of pushing the dome around on the puzzle feeder in order to get a few crunchies, when throwing a tantrum at 3 am almost always guarantees that the drowsy human will overfill the crunchy bowl? <<<So much more food for so much less effort!>>> And why run around chasing something when it’s clearly far more entertaining to make the human run around and retrieve things instead?

Here is a sad list of failed enrichment toy purchases that did not live up to their billing.

The flopping fish (too scary for big kitties)

The puzzle feeder (mostly the 4 that could operate it just sat around looking at the human and imploring her to turn the dome instead of doing it themselves)

And the newest flop? The (soundless) clear ball that flashes a sequence of colored lights when bumped (they just look at the toy, then at the human, as if to ask <<<Why? What were you thinking?>>>

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

Toys for the Toys

In the “Gee, what were they thinking?” category, the human noticed that the new flapping fish toy had been brought 4 little toy mice of its own. In this house, everyone gets to have some toys. <<<Don’t you just wish you how your cats’ minds worked?>>>

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

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.

A New Puff: And Mac Claims it!

Mac had been ruling the new pink puff, not allowing any of the other kitties to sleep in it and enjoy its luxurious softness. Then, just like that, she had other places to be. That provided first Caesar, then Fireball, with the opportunity to check out the new kitty bed, which they embraced enthusiastically.

During the time when Mac wasn’t sharing with the other cats, the 2-legged’s friend treated those kitties to yet another puff. This one is a lovely shade of light, warm brown. The human put it in the second bedroom.

No surprise, Mac immediately claimed the new brown puff and settled in for a nap. It had the advantage of having no other kitty smells on it.

She’s been spending morning and night in the new bed and hasn’t been letting any of her adopted brothers have access to it. So much for sharing.

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

Pink Puff Paw Dangles

In this house, Mac is a very famous paw dangler.

Here she is demonstrating the double-forward paw dangle (AKA superkitty) technique from the new pink puff. Note the spread toes, which apparently required additional aeration.

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