Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a fairly laid-back day. We drove south to Lynchburg to spend the day with my family: My parents, my sister SuperTeacher, my brother-in-law LawnRanger, and my adorable niece SmilingEyes (who will be one on Pearl Harbor Day next week). My cousin LostHippy stopped by with my aunt for awhile, too-- it was nice seeing them.

It was a day of hanging out, watching football and eating ourselves into a coma. What better way to spend Thanksgiving? Unfortunately, Dallas won the second game and since the much-hyped third game between the Cardinals and the Eagles-- the only one worth watching, since the other two were destined to be, and were, in fact, blowouts-- was only being shown on the NFL Network, we didn't get to see it. NFL Network is evil. May their black little souls rot in Hell.

Lots to be thankful for this year. Tweak came back after a week on the lam, so that was wonderful. Everyone is healthy and well. SmilingEyes is doing well and keeping her occupational and physical therapists amazed with her progress. We missed my stepdaughter MonkeyChild this year, but she had made plans with her mom, so that was fine.

This morning the cats are enjoying having me around and are putting on quite a show. Razor and Kaos have been conspiring to break into the food locker, so I put a small screwdriver through the latch to slow them down. That took about 24 hours for them to figure out. Now they knock the screwdriver out, flip the locker over, paw at the door until it falls open, then feed at the trough. This is the same food that is in their bowls, not three feet away from the locker, but apparently it tastes better if you hunt it down yourself. Dry kitty crunchies are like that.

Patches, our grumpy old lady cat, has joined us downstairs and has spent the morning issuing warning growls to any cat who comes too close, but especially to the boys, who are staging a tri-level tag-team wrestling match. Cinnamon and Tweak have found good sleeping spots out of the line of fire and seem to be enjoying the show.

Lots to do today, now that I finally have time to clean. Not very exciting, but a nice change of pace. Off to vaccuum...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Missing Cat Questionnaire

Recently one of our delinquents (Tweak, of course) decided to spend a week on the lam (she's back safely now, the little twit). In the process of looking for her, posting ads, etc., I came across an excellent group that assists with missing cats. They sent along a questionnaire that, while well-intentioned, seems a tad aggressive. I will not try to reproduce the whole thing here since it is several pages long, but it seems to me that it may be a bit over-inclusive. Some sample questions:

13. Do you live in an area where there are coyotes, fox, bobcats, owls or hawks? (if you do not know have you called your local state Fish & Game department and Animal Control to ask?)
14. Have you seen or heard the above wildlife in your area? If so, when and where?
15. In your search for your cat, did you come across any tufts of cat fur?
16. Did your cat disappear at dusk, dawn, or in the middle of the night?
This suggests a rather alarming sequence of events. For people with a hysterical disposition, these questions might cause them have to lie down.
19. Is this a solid black cat?
20. Are you aware of any occult activity in your immediate area?
Ok. Yikes.

22. Are there any known cultures in your area known to consume cats (Korean, Chinese)?
This seems... culturally insensitive, at the very least. But if you are not sufficiently alarmed, let's consider your neighbors:
26. Are there any suspected "cat haters" in your neighborhood? Has anyone complained about your cat? Are there any neighbors who are obsessed with their lawns, cars, or gardens that do not like cats going in their yard?
27. Any known "dog fighting dogs" i.e. skuzzy looking/acting gang-like neighbors with pit bulls?
28. Is there or was there at any time an abundance of loose cats in the area?
29. Have cats been seen but suddenly they have all vanished from the area?

Wow. Whoever came up with these questions certainly has a vivid imagination. On the one hand, they are certainly covering all bases. On the other, sensitive souls filling out this questionnaire are now sobbing into a Kleenex and/or taking slugs directly from the Wild Turkey bottle.

Finally, there's this:

31. Do you have any neighborhood children who fit the following profile -- Caucasian male, age 10 to 17, introvert (loner) with a suspected history of cruelty to other kids, animals, bed wetting behavior, and/or fire setting?
I don't know any of my neighbors well enough to answer at least part of that question, and for the life of my I can't figure out figure out how to raise it in casual conversation ("How's Joey doing in high school this year? Isn't he a sophomore? Speaking of bedwetting..."). Secondly, if you DO have a neighbor who meets these criteria, you have a much bigger problem on your hands than a missing cat. Seriously. Lock your doors.

Cats cruising for a fatal beating

I think my cats are conspiring against me.

Saturday morning my husband BikerDude had to go to work (as usual) and I had a choir practice at the church at 8:30. After choir I went to the grocery store. When I got home, it was around 1:00. It was pouring down rain and I was tired and hungry and ready to make myself some lunch and put my feet up for awhile. Hah!

The first thing I discovered upon opening the door was my floor lamp (note the past tense) laying in pieces on the floor. With the bulb still burning. Ok, we have five cats, three of whom are Bengals. Accidents happen. I spent a few minutes turning off the lamp and determining whether or not it could be salvaged (maybe), then went to finish unloading the car. When I was carrying in my last load, including two large bags of kitty litter, our year old former-feral tuxedo kitty darted out the door and danced down the sidewalk. I uttered a few choice words that would probably have gotten me kicked out of choir practice, grabbed a jar of treats and headed out in pursuit. Normally I’d just let her have her fun and find her way home, but Tweak’s update shots are overdue, so I didn’t want to risk her running loose with the neighborhood fauna.

She proceeded to lead me on a merry chase for about 10-15 minutes, even going so far as to climb a tree at one point, which was impressive when you consider that she has approximately the dimensions of fur-covered bowling ball. Once she got about 7 or 8 feet off the ground, she seemed to realize that this wasn’t a great idea, and that it had been a lot easier when she was, oh, half her current weight, so she gingerly eased down the tree. She kept galloping ahead of me, tail straight up in the air, ignoring the treats and clearly enjoying herself (did I mention that it was raining??) until I finally got her cornered in a neighbors back yard four houses down and scooped her up. She proceeded to growl and snarl and generally use all matter of foul language at me as I carried her back home (although she wisely didn’t try to bite or scratch me).

Once we got back inside and I had dumped her in the living room, she immediately began circling me and begging for the treats that she was so totally ignoring while we were outside, even when I was pinging them off of her head. I don’t think so, you little doink.

I went to the kitchen to begin to put the groceries away and discovered that I had been had. Apparently, Tweak was in cahoots with Kaos, one of my Bengal boys/circus monkeys, and she had been the diversionary tactic. Kaos had fished into one of the grocery bags and dragged out the package of petite boneless sirloin steaks. He had ripped open the Styrofoam and plastic wrap and was happily chewing away on one end of one of the steaks that he had pulled out through a hole in the plastic.

I relieved him of his raw meat treat, cut the chewed end off and put the rest in the freezer.

Some time later, I went downstairs to do laundry and clean the cat boxes. I was introducing a new type of litter-- silica based. I forgot, in the heat of the moment, I suppose, Kaos’s attraction to bags and anything in a sealed container. When I came back downstairs after taking the dirty litter out to the trash can, I found that he had ripped open one of the bags of silica litter and was proceeding to make Navajo sand paintings on the laundry room floor.

Showing total disregard for his religious ceremony, I swept up the mess and sealed the rest of the litter in a Rubbermaid container. When I got upstairs, Tweak and Kaos were both curled up on the couch, looking totally innocent (the other three had wisely kept their distance during all of this). I informed both of them that while they were, indeed, beautiful cats, they would be just as beautiful stuffed and mounted on the mantle piece.