Living with Carnivores

A vegetarian human's adventure with cats

Category: What were they Thinking?

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.

Wet Foot Syndrome

Mac the Merkitty is spreading her odd eating and drinking behaviors to the other cats.

Early on she taught Fireball that the best way to get access to the food bowl when Caesar was hovering over it was to pull the bowl out from under his mouth with a paw and then quickly scoop up a pawful of food before Caesar moved forward to hover over the bowl again. Even with Caesar gone, Fireball still eats crunchies, raw freeze dried food (rehydrated in water), and even soft food with his paws rather than directly with his mouth. And since Mac has long drunk water from her paws, Fireball does too.

Also, because Mac mucks up the water so often by playing in the bowls with her feet, Fireball has taken to sticking his own feet in the bowl to check that the water is acceptable before drinking.

However, wet foot syndrome has spread even further. In recent months, the human has observed Pepe stick one or both of his forepaws into the big water bowl to check that the water is there before bending down to drink. He will subsequently come lay down on his favorite chair and, when the human pets him, she finds wet feet. What is it about cats and water bowls in this house?

(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.

Corky has an(other) Adventure

It was Corky’s turn for a dental cleaning. Since the procedure would be done under anesthetic, he wasn’t allowed any food after midnight. That meant he had to be quarantined from the others the night before his procedure. (The angry ankylosaur is hell on wheels when he doesn’t have something to eat that he likes.) The next morning, the evil human scooped him up and placed him in a carrier <<<Stuffed me in a fabric box is more like it!>>> Off they went in the vehicle. <<<Never trust a human!>>>

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

Disappointed!

The human picked the wrong type of crunchies for her furry masters. They were very disappointed and let the 2-legged know that. The chastened human went back to the store with a promise to do better.

(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.

Little Red Lion Kitty

Fireball adopted his best sphinx pose while patiently waiting for the human to finish her morning ablutions and head downstairs to dole out food.

<<<What takes her so long? Can’t she see we’re hungry?>>>

(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.

When Box Inspection becomes a Family Affair

Sometimes, box inspection isn’t a solitary activity — even when it starts out that way.

Often, other cats wander over and decide to insert themselves into the middle of the action. Pepe rarely approves. <<<Amateurs!>>>

Of course, not every cat is as well trained and as professional about the inspection process. Some just take up space and don’t seem to know what to do. <<<Dilettantes!>>> Others have short attention spans and wander away. <<<Good riddance!>>>

Box inspection is always best left to the professionals.

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

How Could You Let this Happen?

As you can see from Mac’s exasperated look, during the night the evil human failed to respond to multiple kitty pleas for more crunchies, since there was plenty of other kinds of food around the corner in other bowls. By refusing to wake up and refill the bowl, the 2-legged servant has let a catastrophe unfurl once again. There are only 3 pieces of kibble in the crunchy bowl. How it happened that Mac and Corky were able to eat kibble out of the bowl when the sides and bottom started becoming exposed is a mystery in itself. (Perhaps all the food was eaten by Pepe and Fireball, who don’t seem to have such qualms about eating out of a partially empty bowl.)

Still, if the human knows what’s good for her, she’d best get that bowl replenished — and fast! The kitties are not quick to forgive such malfeasance.

(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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

‘Stache

The human walked by the bed, glancing in to see if anyone was in the big pink puff. Mac and Fireball were there.

From the angle the human first glanced at the cats, it looked like the ginger tabby had grown a black mustache.

Alas, it was just Mac’s whip-thin and long tail wrapped up, around, and front of the Little Red Bee’s face.

<<<The real questions is, what is the human going to do about it and do I need to prepare to make a hasty retreat?>>>

(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.

Emergence

The human walked by and glanced in the other bedroom. Her peripheral vision picked up a bit of color where there shouldn’t be any. A kitty was curled up on his/her side in the white dome-shaped kitty bed with his/her head at the edge of the “door.”

Fortunately, the human had her camera handy and started taking pictures as she walked closer to investigate. The kitty was instantly alerted because humans are noisy herd animals.

The kitty in the kitty bed was no other than the Pepster. He looks a bit large for that kitty bed, but apparently he fits quite nicely when curled up inside, as it’s become one of his favorites of late.

At first he looked a bit sleepy, with heavily lidded eyes, but then his eyes opened wide and he was fully alert, planning his escape should the human be carrying something evil like medication. (She was not.)

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