Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: Vocalization

We’re Back!

img_3855No, the kitties haven’t stopped having adventures. It’s just that the silly human has been overly busy with work all summer and fall to transcribe their words and post their pictures. She has promised her keepers to do better now.  So what have they been up to?  Well, the Little Red Bee went on a 3-day rebellious streak where he stayed in the basement hunting regardless of how many times the human called him. As a consequence, the basement is now off limits to all the 4-leggeds, and needless to say that hasn’t gone over well. Pepe has a new habit of burrowing under the covers as the human attempts to make the bed in the morning. What would ordinarily take 5 minutes takes 15, but brings lots of healthy laughter and often some pictures.  The Merkitty hasn’t been much of a water monster of late, but has become the crunchy-bowl guardian. No one gets to have access to the bowl until and unless she’s had all she wants to eat. In warmer weather she camps on the floor beside the bigger bowl lest some crunchies fall into the container that she doesn’t know about. Corky has increased his vocal commentary on all the human’s many faults, particularly when the cellar door remains obstinately shut. The human increased the number of fleecy soft blankets she has on nearly all the surfaces where the cats frequent, and in all the kitty condos and beds, so Caesar has been reluctant to get up in the morning. On the other hand, at night, he’s usually first on the bed to greet the human and he quickly burrows down under the blankets beside her where he sleeps for an hour or two.  He also has returned to carefully climbing onto her recumbent chest and laying down to get pets, so that’s progress. And now that temps are getting quite crispy, the kitties are quite wild, galloping all over the house chasing each other and making the noise of a herd of wild horses.  In other words, things are much as they were.

 

(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

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Swirling Masses

IMG_3129Confession time:  the feline overmasters are addicted to raw freeze-dried meat patties and nibblets.IMG_3130If the human could afford to feed them solely this product, she would, as it’s species-appropriate food that’s high in protein, contains no grains or legumes, is raw (so the enzymes are still in tact), is available in a wide variety of sizes and types of meat, and is easy to handle. (The company also sells frozen products that are very similar, but those require advanced planning as it takes 24 hours or so to defrost them and they are still cold when they exit the ‘fridge.)IMG_3131Since “a little raw goes a long way,” the kitties generally get some of this product at morning and evening snacks.IMG_3132They either get a couple of the nibblets each, or the human breaks up a larger patty and distributes it among the tribe.  IMG_3133As you can see from these pictures, all she has to do is put the jar down on the floor and the swirling bodies begin their dance. There’s always some sniffing action going on as well.IMG_3134What you are missing here is the sound of all their plaintive cries. It’s a virtual kitty chorus.IMG_3135They can’t WAIT to get their snack!  Hurry, human, hurry!

 

(c) Copyright 2016, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

Kitty Temper Tantrums or Splashasaurus II

IMG_2605Once upon a time, Corky was quiet as a little grey mouse.  He was regularly beaten up by his big brother Pepe, and only after lots of provocation did he tackle his brother and end the torment…at least for a short time. When he came to live here, he more or less abandoned his quiet mousy ways and has proven to be quite vocal and have quite the temper when he doesn’t get what he wants from the dim-witted human.  Take the other day for example.

We start the morning with kitty breakfast in the kitchen. The cellar door is usually shut and off limits. The house has a 165-year-old hand-laid up stone foundation that is damp and smelly and houses some bodaciously large spiders. It is not a pleasant place for the human, but seems to be a source of great interest and exploration for the 4-legged masters.  Hence there is always a battle of wills going on over whether the small cats can convince the tall human to open the door and let them have a kitty adventure. To reinforce their point, they like to push on the old cellar door, which moves beyond the point it should and then slams back in place. They’ve learned the human hates it when they rattle the door, so of course 3 or 4 of them line up regularly and head butt and sometimes body slam the door. The human tries ineffectually to put up barriers of chairs and boxes. Sometimes these slow the cats down for a bit but more often than not the weak-willed human eventually condescends to open the door. Life is just easier that way. Who can win against one cat let alone and against 5? Forget it!  Were the human wise, she’d just leave the door open, but remember the damp smell and the big spiders? So she likes to close the door. Of course, no sooner do the meows descend the stairs than at least one of them wants back up again. (The head butting, body slamming works just as well from the other side of the door. And so do plaintive cries.)

So, we start the day with the usual banging and clanging on the cellar door. The human, who knows she has a lunch meeting glances at the clock. Can we go through several rounds of up and down the stairs before she has to leave? She gives in and lets 3 of them down the stairs.  Up and down the stairs they go off and on for an hour or more. Before the human has to leave, she calls the crew up and gets 2 of them upstairs. She runs to lunch, then back to a busy afternoon at work that extends late into the evening. Finally, she knocks off and leaves the keyboard at 9:40 pm. She feeds the crew in the kitchen, then goes upstairs to give them their evening snacks. While not everyone comes down for dinner all the time, usually everyone lines up and cries plaintively for their freeze-dried raw meat snacks before bedtime. She does the kitty count and comes up short. She runs down to the first floor, opens back up the door to the screened-in porch, and turns on the light and goes looking for Corky. Not out there.  Argh, he must still be in the basement, so off she goes to try that location. Sure enough, up he comes complaining loudly.  He’s missed meals and he’s not happy. He gets his snack, he gets soft food left over from the first feeding downstairs, he gets pets and hugs and apologies. He is not placated.

He continues to yowl and complain off and on for the next few hours. His sister is up in the kitty bed at the window overlooking the driveway and he wants to be there. He doesn’t want to share, even though she would likely move over to accommodate him if he jumped in with her. She refuses to leave, despite his many visits and complaints. Finally, the human who is sick and tired of being woken up gets up and moves her to another kitty bed. He disappears and doesn’t jump up to the vacated bed. Miss Macaroni soon goes back to her spot.  Up he comes again and again to complain that she’s in the bed he wants. The human gets up again and picks her up and moves her elsewhere. This time she goes and retrieves Mr. Complaints and puts him in the kitty bed he so surely wants. He jumps down and cannot be coaxed back up.

The human tosses and turns. Suddenly, around 5 am she hears the terrible splashing sound that signifies that the Plesiosaurus is at the water bowl tossing water on the floor….except the Water Monster is curled up against the human in bed. The human sits up and looks. Sure enough, Cranky Corky is the culprit. That means that the Merkitty has an understudy. No wonder there are so many floods in this house.

 

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

 

Lap Wars

IMG_2563Both Macaroni and Pepe need a lot more emotional contact with the human than the other meows. In fact, as soon as either Mac or Pepe sees or hears another cat getting some attention, they have to insert themselves in the middle of the 4-legged and the 2-legged so they claim their share of the affection.  (That usually results in the other cat leaving, which is all the better.) Both Mac and Pepe signal their desire for the otherwise inattentive human’s focus by standing up on their hind legs and putting their paws (and in Mac’s case, claws) into the human’s legs when she’s sitting down, while they chirp or cry plaintively.  That’s the human’s signal to reach down and pick the needy meow up and give him or her cuddles.

Recently, the human has taught both of the climbers how to jump in her lap when she signals. For the last 2 mornings, that has led to an interesting situation when both cats wanted to be held at the same time. Yesterday, Mac had already had 2 sessions herself and decided she needed a third. Pepe, who was on his second cuddle session, was on the human’s lap when Mac decided she was coming up. It didn’t slow her down in the least that there was another (rather large) black & white kitty sitting on the human. She dug her spurs in, chirped, and up she came.  Well, Pepe doesn’t like to share, as we’ve noted previously, so he decided that having to split the human’s attention with Mac wasn’t going to work for him, so down he went to “sulk” nearby.  I guess I should be flattered that I’m so popular with these higher life forms.

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

It’s (NOT) Nice to Share

IMG_2489My name is Pepe and I don’t like to share. The human reminds me about old TV ads when she was young about it being nice to share.  Such lies and propaganda!

I admit that sometimes my reluctance to accommodate others gets the better of me. I push them a bit too far and then they get mad at me.

I used to do it all the time to my little brother. It was fun to see how far I could push him before he “snapped” and knocked me to the floor. That’s a bit alarming, actually, because he’s smaller and lighter than I am.  He’s quiet and mousy most of the time, but when he gets upset, he’s a force to be reckoned with, meaning I have to be careful not too push too far too fast.  Sometimes I could get away with tormenting him for days on end, but sometimes it only took a few minutes before he’d go off. He needs to learn better boundaries!

I’m still learning what I can get away with the new people (cats) who own this house and the human. They’ve been nice but they definitely let me know from time to time that they were here FIRST. I’m slowly exploring everyone’s boundaries, but in the mean time I still love messing with my little brother.

IMG_2491Take last night.  He likes to get in bed early with the human and lay near her.  I come strolling up on the bed and first thing I do is I wedge myself between him and her. Then I start stretching and wiggling around until one or both of them move over a bit. That gives me a wider opening, so I stretch out bigger. I roll over and poke at the human and she doesn’t like that, especially when I poke her in the face.  It’s not like my paws aren’t clean! Eventually, I push my brother toward one edge of the bed and the human toward the other until I control most the upper half of the bed.  Then I roll onto my back and dangle my paws and feel good about myself.  That makes him feel even more insecure and curl up tighter in a little ball. Sometimes he makes these little squeaky noises — his version of complaining. It’s pretty pathetic actually. He’s SO passive aggressive.

IMG_2493Last night, after I’d executed these moves just perfectly, I decided to mess with his head a little more, so I rolled on my side and wrapped my paw around him as though we were best buds. I even laid my head on his back.  Then he wasn’t sure if he should be mad at me or start liking me again.  And the human couldn’t really scold me for pushing Corky away or being mean.

Of course, not to be outplayed, the human did pull out that nasty camera and start snapping away. What a bright light it has in the dark!  Still, I had both of them just where I wanted them — under my control!  Haaaa hhhhhhaaaaa haaaa!

I’m Pepe the Magnificant. Fear me!

 

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

Mr. Care Bear

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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.

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.

Day 1: Monsters at the Door

IMG_2300Not an easy-peasy time at our house that first night.

All kitties were sequestered in 2 bedrooms during afternoon and early evening.  That seemed to go reasonably well, so the foolish human decided to let Caesar, Fireball, and Macaroni out of their bedroom so they didn’t feel like prisoners in their own house.  The first clue that this wasn’t such a great idea should have been when the Baby Comet, usually the most timid of kitties, puffed up his tail and howled as he passed the door. Even Caesar puffed his tail. Needless to say, there was a lot of attention being paid to the space under the door between Pepe’s and Corky’s room and the hallway.  I shooed the Terrible Trio away every time I saw them there, but apparently they went back all night long. Each time I awoke and heard howling or scratching, I shooed them away again.  Eventually I pulled out 2 plastic laundry baskets and stacked them up bottom-to-bottom at the door so no kitty paws were able to get through on either side.  At 3 a.m. I finally had had it and sent the Tiger Boys back to their bedroom. Unfortunately, that mischievous Merkitty got away and continued to harass. Needless to say, no one got very much sleep.

Poor Corky and Pepe.  Just like little kids, who imagine monsters living under their beds or just on the other side of their bedroom or closet doors, they can’t see the other cats, only hear them, so imagine huge and terrifying creatures that are ready to devour them. Only time and an eventual face-to-face meeting will convince them otherwise. In the meantime, there’s a whole lot o’ stress in this house.

 

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

Tail Chaser

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This is a Mac Attack!  Like a teen unable to control herself, Mac loves to chase tails.  She’ll flop down in one of the kitty beds or on top of me and chase her own tail round and round until I get dizzy watching her.  If Caesar is near by, his tail will be attacked, especially since that gorgeous tail of his is so big and it seems to be perpetually in motion. Mac really can’t help herself.  She watches it wiggle for a few moments, her eyes get big, and then she pounces with teeth and claws out.  Caesar, for his part, seems to have a very sensitive tail. He jumps up, one of the big paws goes up in the air as though he wants to strike the little miscreant, then his better angel gets control and the paw comes down. He huffs loudly to signal his indignation, then turns and leaves. This goes on night after night. Then we wonder why water gets shoveled out of the water bowl all over the floor? Harrumph!

(c) Copyright 2014, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.

 

Fearsome Hunter Kitty

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Who says the Big Guy doesn’t let loose? He’s a fearsome hunter kitty when something catches his eyes.  Despite his size, he’s amazingly fast and graceful.  And need I mention that those larger sized paws come with larger sized claws? Same goes for those teeth.  When no human is watching him, he really goes to town. That’s when he starts chirping and running around with toy mice dangling by the tail from his mouth. Stick a head around the corner to watch and he quickly returns to a quiet dignified pose accompanied by lots of embarrassed grooming.  He’s very unimpressed by the laser pointer that sends Fireball into crazed action for hours at a time.  However, bring out the fishing pole, or jiggle a ribbon or string along the floor or over the edge of the kitty condo, and Caesar Tiger Bear springs into action, ready to vanquish whatever forces are disrupting household calm.  He’s such a gorgeous boy.  Then again, I’m a bit biased.

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(c) Copyright 2014, PeggyMalnati. All rights reserved. Photos my own.