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>Insignia

2 Jun

>Huck the cat: Srsly, lookit all the stripes on me. I’m Nature’s senior noncom! How could I not be in charge?

>Conversations With A Cat

31 May

>Rannie is allowed on my desk; after nearly twenty years of various cats napping on or behind the monitor, how could I not. However, I often eat breakfast in front of the screen and Ms. Rannie struggles mightily with her impulses, staring at the plate like a fashion model eying a box of chocolates. Often one stealthy paw will start to reach out, closer, closer, while she darts glances at me to see if I’m paying attention.

Me (putting a hand out to block, which of course she smooths on): “Anh! Rannie, no.”

Rannie: “Wuhrmiiiooow!” [Aw, c’mon, you haven’t even touched that stuff for the last fifteen seconds!]

Me: “No, Rannie, that’s my breakfast. You already had yours.”

Rannie (pushing harder against my hand): “Wrmiiieeeeeee!” [It was kibble. Eww. Want yours!]

Me (now pushing hard enough she’s about to have to leap off the desk): “No! Curried eggs are not for cats!”

Rannie (as she jumps down and does a 180): “Riaaaow!” [Bird’s eggs! It’s exactly what cats should eat!]

Me: “Cat, prove me your kind invented even the frying pan, let alone cooking, and you’re on.”

Rannie (jumping gracefully back onto the desk, attention on my plate): “Mmmmroooo!” [That’s your job, monkey-girl. Eggses! WANT!]

Rinse, lather, repeat. I’ve tried growling at her but she just looks at me like I’ve gone loopy.

Meanwhile, Huck spent the morning alternating between:

A) Rolling on his back, grabbing at his own tail, which (of course) flips the other way. He follows, looking like a giant woolyworm trying to flip right side up, faster and faster until he springs up, looking surprised.

B) Hunting Rannie as if she was some kind of oversize, pointy-eared tortoiseshell piney squirrel. (The pineys have non-bushy tails; poor things look like one of their parents went and married a rat!) She runs from this, of course, and Huck has to give chase. (If I could train him to go after stag or fox, I’d get rich!)

C) Plopping down in the middle of the floor and gazing regally around at his domain. He is serenely confident that, as the only male in the house, he is In Charge. I’ve tried explaining to him that it doesn’t work that way even for an all-cat population, but he won’t believe me.*

If they both hunted my breakfast, I would probably lose out every morning. As it is, I can count on him to help distract her.
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*I’m not even sure I do. Based on the behavior of strays in my old neighborhood, while small, matrilocal communities do form, with the Best Mommy in charge — oldest with the most offspring — the toms had their own range and hierarchy. A wandering knight would show up, adopt the little cat-community in the back yard and fight off all comers, but they tended to patrol the far marches most of the time. The tom’s range might include multiple little households, some of which hunted and played outside the area the tom claimed. This arrangement doesn’t have a “boss” of either gender in total control of the whole thing. Complicated, though it does make character motivations in C. J. Cherryh’s “Chanur” books easier to follow.

>Good Morning To You, Good Morning To You

21 May

>Woke up to Tam’s cat, Random Numbers (“Rannie Wu”) , being all lovey-dovey. This is not her usual attitude to me….unless I am sleeping in a nice warm bed on a coolish morning, in which case The Cat Loves Me.

I like the smoothing and purring but, Rannie being Rannie, she also chews on my hair and grooms the pine headboard, the latter a big, sounding-board slab of wood: “rrrrasssp, rrassp…” Unnerving!

>Surreal? Hyper-Real!

8 May

>Life has its moments — I dreamed a tiny tiger was gnawing on my bed and when I woke up, I realized it was true! He was chewing on a lower corner of the headboard, which, being a very large flat piece of wood, was acting as a soundboard.

That Huck is the bitingest cat I’ve ever seen.

>Huck The Cat: Attempted Escape

15 Apr

>He went tearing out the front door tonight, when I opened it without paying enough attention, and I was once again reminded that I intended to not get another cat after Tom and Slinky.

The heartbreak when they die is too darned difficult to get through. And, really, chasing them down when they are run out the door or into the basement is more work and emotional stress than it’s worth.

Tam and I managed to corral Huck in the neighbor’s front yard and he was back inside in minutes, but my heart was in my throat. Every cat I had as a child was eventually run over; Mother was (understandably) adamant about not having a litter box in the house and all cats were indoor/outdoor pets.

I’ll change my mind by the morning and think I was being utterly beastly but tonight, I really wonder if it wouldn’t be smarter (or at least easier on me) to just take him to the Humane Society.

Sometimes it’s just too much. I’m grateful I don’t have any children.

>Grooming Cats

31 Mar

>Tonight was cat manicure night, at least for their front paws. Miss Rannie (Random Numbers) Wu loathes the idea; she never had it done before she met me. She usually barely tolerates the procedure and tonight, she grumbled, complained and when we got the the very last one — her right thumbnail, sharp, long and almost grown back to the pad — she’d had enough. She struggled and wailed!

Huck sat on the floor and watched in fascination. She was way more riled than he ever manages! He scampered away when I let Rannie go and told him his turn was next, but I caught up with him in my bedroom, when his attention was captured by contemplation of the ascent of the North face of my clothes hamper.

Poor little guy, he squeaked in outrage and had a go at biting me. He only had a few sharp ones, though, so it was over soon.

…Which brought us to treat time! He loves being hand-fed, and will stand up and grab your hand very gently, with nary a hint of claw. I located Rannie under the dining room table, and fed her treats at arm’s length; she growled the first couple until she figured out it was a pretty good deal. She’s on my desk as I type, handy to my right hand for petting but she’s got the mouse well trapped and complains when I have to move it.

Despite all the commotion, they seem to have weathered their terrible claw-trimming ordeal yet again. Especially the treats part at the end.

>It Is The Way Of Cats

30 Mar

>Huck snuck into the basement behind me this morning when I headed laundryward in search of a warmer top. I learned this when I heard him say, quite distinctly, “Ew!” and turned around to find him peering intently down the floor drain, which still has its cover off pending a serious wirebrush-and-repaint effort. He had his lip curled and looked disgusted; then he turned and trotted towards the stairs.

I was poignantly reminded of Miss Slinky, who once walked into the washroom while I was taking a bath, took a nice long look down the heat vent, announced, “Oh, no!” and departed in haste. I never did figure out what that was about.