Saturday, September 5th, 2020

My mother once described a certain person’s defining characteristic this way: “He thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”

I’ve always been especially fond of this phrase as a way of describing a person who was a little too full of himself, even though I was never quite sure what vanity had to do with a cat’s butt. And then …

Then, we adopted Scooter, who thinks his butt is the best butt in the whole world. Not only does he think his butt is the best butt, but he is absolutely positive you would think so, too, if you would only take a long, close look at it, which you will have to do if you let him jump up into your lap. He will insist that you look at it. He will walk back and forth across your lap facing away from you so as to parade his butt again and again across your field of view.

And he will hip-check you, which is his way of asking you to pat his butt. Not pet, although he would like that, too, but he really likes it when you pat him on his butt. He does not like it nearly as much when you pet his head or any other part of him. Butt-patting is his jam. You would be his best friend forever if you would pat his butt for hours and hours.

I am not especially fond of cat’s butts. When it comes to cats, the kind I appreciate most is one who will sit in my lap, purring quietly while I scritch behind his ears. Scooter is not that cat at all, but I appreciate that he gave me a clearer understanding of the phrase, “he thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”

the cat’s ass | 8:16 am CDT
Category: Mom, Scooter | Tags: ,
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Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Scooter the cat is back home after a three-day stay at the emergency veterinary hospital. We don’t get up to a lot of exciting things during our self-imposed lockdown, so this is what passes for exciting around here nowadays.

I had to take Scooter to our regular vet on Tuesday morning because he looked like he was having some trouble peeing. The vet thought he was suffering from an inflamed bladder, took samples of various fluids to be tested, and sent him home with painkillers. He seemed to be a little better that night.

He slept all day Wednesday, which wasn’t like him at all. I called the vet, but she wasn’t too worried. She figured it was a reaction to the trauma and the drugs.

I woke up early Thursday morning, round about five o’clock, made myself a cup of tea and was sitting down to drink it when Scooter barfed. I didn’t really want to leave my tea but I figured cleaning up cat yak would take only a minute or two. I am so stupidly short-sighted sometimes.

Scooter’s yak was a weak pink color, like it would be if it had some blood in it. Scooter himself was crouched in a corner of the room by himself, and when I went over to see if he was all right I noticed there was a spot of pinkish drool on the floor in front of him.

I could take him to his regular vet when the clinic opened at eight o’clock, three hours after he barfed, or I could load him into a cat carrier and whisk him away to the emergency animal hospital stat. If I waited until eight, I would spend the next three hours obsessing over what exactly was hemorrhaging inside him, which would probably give me heartburn and age me at least a couple years, so into the cat carrier he went.

The emergency vet said his bladder as big as a lemon and she wanted to stick a catheter in him right away so he could pee. He was having kidney problems, too, and she could see bladder stones on his x-rays. He had to stay overnight at least until they were sure his bladder was okay, he was peeing normally, and his kidneys recovered from the trauma.

Those bladder stones would have to come out, too, but his regular vet wouldn’t be available until sometime next week, so we gave the emergency vet the go-ahead to schedule him for surgery as soon as they could. They did that last night.

He was well enough to come home this morning at eight. He was a little frantic at first because apparently he hasn’t eaten in a while, which checks out: they would have stopped feeding him some hours before his middle-of-the-night surgery, and he was in recovery right up until I picked him up, so he might have gone as long as twelve hours without a meal. After slowly & carefully dishing out a few servings of soft food, though, he seems to be a lot more like his old self.

He has to wear a one of those big collars that makes him look like a cat stuck in the middle of an umbrella, which scares the hell out of Sparky; he won’t even come out of the basement if Scooter’s around.

what passes for excitement | 1:27 pm CDT
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Monday, April 13th, 2020

We have two cats: the youngest, Sparky, is a standard tabby cat, and the oldest is a mutt, if that word applies to cats as well as dogs. The vet says he’s got a lot of Siamese in him, judging by his rat tail and the shape of his snout, and the rest is probably generic shorthair. More than anything else, however, is that he’s the sheddingest cat ever.

Scooter has very fine, white hair that he sheds constantly. If I brushed him every day, that wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m so chronically lazy that I can’t be bothered to brush a cat more than once a month or two, or more likely three. Okay, realistically I don’t brush him until his shedding problem gets so bad that I can’t touch him without releasing a cloud of cat hair dense enough to choke everyone unlucky enough to be in the room with us. That’s the condition he was in today.

I have a special cat-brushing mitten. It looks like an oven mitt, but the palm side of the mitt is a plastic cat brush. I only had to pass it over Scooter’s coat a half-dozen times before there was enough shedded cat hair on the mitt to stuff a pillow with. After peeling that off, I made another half-dozen passes over Scooter’s coat, peeled another wad of cat hair off the mitt, repeat and repeat.

Scooter just loves this. He struts back and forth when I brush him, purring ecstatically. He’d let me do it all day if my attention span would hold up that long, but it doesn’t. It barely holds up for fifteen minutes. By that time I could brush him without freeing a bale of hair from his coat, so I lost all interest in continuing to brush him. I had to keep some motivation in reserve to break out the vacuum cleaner and clean up all the loose cat hair rolling around on the floor, as well as stuck to my pants, shirt, hair, and face.

sheddingest cat ever | 6:05 pm CDT
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Saturday, October 7th, 2017

We used to let our cats sleep with us, but after we brought Scooter home from the Dane County Humane Society two Christmases ago, we had to lock them out because Scooter wanted to sleep on our heads.

I don’t like a cat sleeping on my pillow. Anywhere else but my pillow is okay, but for whatever neurotic reason is buried deep in my hind brain, I get squicked out by cats on my pillow. It might have something to do with waking up with a cat butt parked next to my face. Ew.

My Darling B doesn’t mind having a cat on her pillow, but Scooter isn’t satisfied by just curling up on top of her head and going to sleep. He also wants to shove his nose in her ear and purr loudly while kneading the back of her neck with his razor-sharp talons. This, for obvious reasons, does not fly with B.

So we locked him out, which meant that we also had to lock Boo out. I felt bad about that, because she never bothered us. Well, she never bothered me. She usually sleeps curled up next to B’s butt, and I’m okay with that, but B says she’s like a hot-water bottle, and B doesn’t need a hot-water bottle. I’d like that, but I like sleeping under five or six layers of quilts.

The downside of locking Scooter out is that he usually scratches at the door in the middle of the night, whining to be let in. B can sleep through that. I can’t, so I have to lie there, wide awake, until he gives up and goes away, and then I have to lie there a while longer until I fall asleep again, or until the alarm clock starts to bleep, whichever comes first.

So it was either let him in and get squicked out when I woke up and found his butt parked on my pillow, or lock him out and lose an hour or more of sleep a night. Waking up with a cat butt in my face was worse, I figured, so we kept locking him out.

My job required me to hit the road almost every week starting in July. I drive to the farthest reaches of Wisconsin, so far away that I sometimes have to stay there overnight before driving back. When I’m gone overnight, B lets the cats into the bedroom at night, to keep her company. Scooter still climbs up on her pillow at night to knead her neck and give her a wet willie with his cold nose, and Boo still curls up right next to her and turns up her thermostat until she’s red-hot, but B seems to think the comfort of having the cats in bed with her is worth it. Oddly, Sparky does not feel the need to crawl into bed to join the party.

Just to see what this was like myself, I left the bedroom door open last weekend. I figured I wouldn’t lose any more sleep than I would when Scooter came scratching at the door, and if he planted his butt in my face, I’d just scoop him up and chuck him out. He’s got white fur; he’s not hard to find in the dark. To my amazement, I slept through the night. Best night of sleep I can remember having in a long time. When I mentioned this to My Darling B, she said something like, “Sure, ’cause Scooter and Boo were all over me all night.” I said we could go back to closing the door if she wanted. She said it was up to me, so I left the door open again, and again I slept through the night. *bliss!*

And they’ve been sleeping with us ever since. Sparky still doesn’t climb into bed with us. I’m still not sure why. He’s probably just used to sleeping on the sofa, but I get the feeling that if he ever does decide to join us and discovers just how warm it is, especially in winter, that’ll be the last time he sleeps alone.

sleepy time | 9:57 am CDT
Category: Boo, daily drivel, Scooter | Tags: ,
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