Saturday, February 29th, 2020

So long, Boo. I miss your crooked little tail already.

So long Boo | 2:45 pm CDT
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Sunday, February 9th, 2020

He purred me to sleep.

Cat Nap

cat nap | 2:42 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

“I don’t care how flat the box is, I’m getting in it!”

a cat in a box

boxed | 5:58 am CDT
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Thursday, January 9th, 2020

We have three cats. The oldest one, Boo, is about 16 years old and couldn’t give much of a shit about what’s going on around her if it doesn’t involved a warm, comfortable place to sleep or, occasionally, food. The one in the middle, Scooter, is six or seven and, just like his age, he’s middle of the road when it comes to attitude. He’s very friendly to most people and attentive to what’s going on around him, by which I mean he sticks his nose into everything, even things he shouldn’t be. Especially things he shouldn’t be.

Then there’s Sparky, the kid of the crew. Sparky’s probably the nicest of the bunch, personality-wise, but he’s kinda jumpy. Might have something to do with him being a feral before we adopted him as a kitten. He’s been in our house for going on three years now, but he still jumps at every creak and clunk and sometimes hunkers down under the sofa until he gets the idea it’s safe to come out again.

When we came home from work on Monday night, after taking care of the broken water pipe and things began to settle down a bit, My Darling B fed the cats while I cleaned up some of the mess, and as I was mopping up the mud around the table in the dining room I noticed Sparky wasn’t in his usual spot, gobbling down the kibble B put out for him.

I looked around the room. No Sparky. Didn’t see him in the living room, either. “Have you seen Sparky since we’ve been home?” I asked B, and that’s when she got the puzzled look on her face, too. “No, I haven’t,” she answered, so we went looking for Sparky. I checked all the rooms, the basement, and then started on round two upstairs again. B wandered around calling his name and shaking a bag of treats, but he didn’t emerge. When she wandered into the hallway, though, she froze. “I heard him,” she said, shaking the bag of treats again and calling his name. “Mew,” he called, distantly. He was hiding in the hall closet behind the vacuum cleaner.

Same thing when we came home on Tuesday night: no Sparky. We went through the same routine of calling to him and shaking the bag of treats, and after five or ten minutes of that he came slinking out from behind the refrigerator, trembling. The contractors must have made a lot of noise tearing off the old siding that day. Wednesday night he was behind the fridge again but came out almost right away when we called his name, and he wasn’t quite so scared. I’m not sure, but I don’t believe the contractors were here all day Wednesday because I didn’t see much work done and frankly didn’t expect it: the high temperature that day was twelve degrees.

in a state | 8:24 am CDT
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Friday, December 13th, 2019

Boo-BooBoo had a follow-up visit with the vet on Wednesday to see how she was recovering from last week’s surgery and to give her an injection of antibiotics. We stopped by after work to pick her up and as soon as the vet tech said the doctor wanted to talk with us I had the feeling it wouldn’t be entirely good news.

When the vet sewed up her mouth after pulling her teeth she noticed the bone was spongy, so she sent a sample of it to the lab. Tests showed that Boo has a kind of bone cancer that’s especially aggressive; without treatment, the prognosis is that she has weeks, maybe months to live, but options for treatment don’t give her much more time and won’t do much to improve her quality of life, so we’ve decided to do what we can to keep her as comfortable as we can until it’s no longer possible.

Right now, she appears to be fine. She has recovered well after surgery and she has a ravenous appetite, a very good sign. Her main interest is getting as much lap time as possible and when a lap isn’t available, she curls up under a blanket and naps, not at all unusual for a 16-year-old cat. We started feeding shredded tuna to her after they yanked most of her teeth out and now she gets it every day, making her one very happy cat.

to the bone | 7:29 am CDT
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Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Boo’s face puffed out on her left so much that her eye was shut most of the time, so we took her to the vet who said she had an abscess caused by some rotten teeth. Poor Boo! The vet ended up keeping her overnight so they could yank five of her teeth the next morning.

We took her home in the evening after her surgery and put her in a room by herself because she was still a little loopy from the anesthetic. I went in to see her after dinner and she wouldn’t come to me, which I expected because she holds a grudge for a while after we take her to the vet. She usually finds a spot close enough to us that we can’t ignore her but she sits facing away from us. This time, though, she kept pacing back and forth, crying and rubbing against my knee each time she went past. I couldn’t get her to stop.

B came in a little later and Boo wouldn’t sit sit still for her, either. By then it was about half-past seven, late enough that we could give her something to eat, so I went to the kitchen and fixed up a bowl of food for her. Turned out, that’s what she was crying about. She gobbled it up in the blink of an eye and cried for more. I waited about fifteen minutes before fixing up another bowl of food for her, just to make sure she wasn’t going to barf up the first bowlful, but I didn’t have to worry about that. She wolfed her second helping and was crying for more about a half-hour later. I haven’t seen her eat like that in years.

Boo bump | 6:42 pm CDT
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Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Boo let me know it was time to get up and feed her by jumping on my bladder, walking across my stomach and clawing at the box spring after jumping to the floor as noisily as a five-pound cat can. It was quarter to four in the morning. So I got up and fed her, as you do. Six hours of sleep it enough, right?

She was sleeping with us because she’s in recovery after we had to take her to the vet who drained an abscess in her face. Boo’s face, not the vet’s. The vet had to yank five of Boo’s teeth out, too, probably making the whole deal a fairly traumatic experience, so we let her into the bedroom to cuddle up with us while she’s recovering.

We stopped letting the cats sleep with us when they learned that I really hate it when they walk on my face. After they acquired that knowledge, they did it all the time. If you’ve never wanted to strangle a cat with your bare hands, you’ve never had one walk on your face while you’re sound asleep.

They walk on my face because I’m the one who feeds them (somehow that ended up as part of my job description; I need a better union rep) and they know that I’ll get up and feed them if only to stop them from walking on my face. Locking them out of the bedroom restored regular feeding hours. I also got more sleep, which didn’t suck.

After losing most of her molars and one of her fangs, Boo has officially crossed the line into the soft-food phase of her life, and she’s enjoying it. Tiki Cat three times a day! Scooter and Sparky are insane with jealousy.

solid six | 5:46 am CDT
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Thursday, October 10th, 2019

I was cleaning out the litter boxes yesterday morning and dug up five or six little turd nuggets strung together on a long hair like they were pearls. I wanted to applaud.

nuggets | 5:44 am CDT
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Monday, February 4th, 2019

Somebody wants to cuddle.

Scooter cuddles | 7:15 pm CDT
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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

I am Scooter’s butt-patter.

He is the kind of cat who demands that I show affection toward him by patting his butt.  Spanking it, really.  Some cats like this, I guess.  I’m not into it, but I seem to be the one in our little family he prefers to get a spanking from.  He cuddles up to B and lets her pet him the way most people pet cats: stroking his head and his back, scratching his shoulders, that kind of thing.  But from me, he wants a spanking.

He starts out by rubbing against some part of me, usually my leg, to get my attention.  Not at all unusual for a cat, right?  Most cats do something like this.  Then he’ll duck his head under my hand or my arm to get me to pet him; again, entirely within the behavioral profile of most cats.  When I start to pet him, though, he’ll almost immediately wheel around, stick his butt high in the air, and back into my hand.

It’s not that I’m unwilling because it seems like a weird kink, even though it does.  Full disclosure:  It feels weird to spank a cat as a way of saying, “I like you.”  But honestly, that’s not the problem I have with him.  It’s more than I don’t want to have to look at his butt.  Way more.  In my opinion, it’s not his most endearing feature.  No cat’s butt is.  Again, just my opinion.  Other people may think their cats have lovely butts, and that’s okay.  Others like every part of their cat.  I am not into cat butts.  And I don’t want to see them or touch them all that much, and I really don’t want to spank even just one cat butt every day.

I’ll pet him when he comes around, and even pat his butt a few times, or more than a few times if he points that thing away from me, but if he insists on shoving his butt straight at my face, I have to get up and walk away, and that’s when he starts to act out, knocking stuff on the floor, like my glasses or my phone, or jumping up where he knows he’s not supposed to go, like the dining room table or into the kitchen sink.  This has strained on our relationship to the point where I’m ready to sell him to a cosmetics lab for experimentation.  My Darling B scoffs when I suggest this, because she thinks I’m just kidding around, and I am, mostly, but there’s a teeny-tiny part of me, the part that stores the memories of looking at Scooter’s butt, I think, that would really like to trade him in for a cat that’s a little less anally fixated.

butt pat | 7:58 am CDT
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Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

A white cat jumped out from behind one of the trash cans when we pulled into the driveway of Our Humble O’Bode this evening.  My Darling B said something like, “Hey, that cat looks a lot like Scooter!”  The cat ran to the front of the house and jumped through an open window into the living room, then looked back at us from the window.  It was Scooter!

Why was there an open window to the living room?  Because we changed the storm windows for screens last weekend and apparently didn’t swing the arms into the upright locked position.  I’m guessing one of the cats was sitting in the window watching chipmunks run back and forth as they always do, and when one got too close, the cat jumped at it and ran face-first into the screen, as they always do, except this time the screen swung open and the cat, after freaking out at least a tiny little bit, suddenly realized he was finally going to be able to get his claws on that goddamn chipmunk this time, and off he went!

What really surprised me was that Scooter jumped out, but Sparky didn’t.  Here I thought Sparky was our little ball of trouble, but Scooter’s the one who bolted for the outdoors while Sparky sat in the window and watched.  I suppose it’s possible Sparky went out, then came back in when he heard the cat feeder crank out some food.  That’s absolutely something Sparky would do.  “I could stay out here, having fun chasing chipmunks, or I could go back in and have all the kibble to myself.  Hmmm.  Seems like a no-brainer.”

Boo went outside, too, but she’s done that before, so I kind of expected that of her.  She doesn’t give a shit what we think she should do, and if she wants to go outside, she’s going to go outside.  She’s not going to do anything when she gets there, though.  I found her sitting in the middle of the back porch, glaring at me through the window as if to say, “Are you going to open the door for me, or what?”  Because that’s exactly how she is.

escaped | 9:01 pm CDT
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Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

I can’t walk into the kitchen without two cats following me. Three when Boo is hungry (not so much these days). The other two are always hungry, or at least they’re always interested. If I stop in front of the kitchen cupboard where we keep the kitty kibble (now that’s a lot of alliteration!), they swarm around my feet and I have to be careful not to trip over them or, if it’s early and I’m still having trouble focusing, just stepping on them. Which I’ve done. It pisses them off, but it hasn’t stopped them from swarming my feet.

That’s really all there is to our relationship: I’m the guy who feeds them. Or in Scooter’s case, I’m also the guy who pats his butt. He’s one of those cats.  Their only other interest in me is incidental, like if I happen to be around when they want to get into a room behind a closed door; then they think I’m there to open it for them.  They’re usually disappointed when they believe that.

feeder of cats | 6:30 am 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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Saturday, February 11th, 2017

I have a deep laceration down the inside of my left index finger and it’s still pretty fresh, so typing this is a dicey proposition. I’m going to give it my best shot, but if one of the upcoming sentences trails off with an “aarrrrgghhhhh…” you’ll know why.

I’ve actually got three lacerations on my left index finger, now that I’m looking at it. Just the one is deep and painful enough that can feel it every time my finger lands on a key, though. The other two are days old and barely broke the surface.

Taking stock even further, there’s another cut on the knuckle of my left middle finger, a stab wound on my right index finger, and two lacerations on the outside of my right pinky. These were all a gift from the otherwise enjoyable company of the kitten we invited into our home a month and a half ago. He’s a lot of fun to play with, because when we’re playing I can avoid his claws. It’s when he comes out of nowhere that I end up bleeding and howling in pain.

Tying my shoes in the morning was his favorite time to ambush me. I would usually sit on the sofa to put my shoes on and he would be waiting under the coffee table. The first time he did that, I thought it was funny, but only because he didn’t draw blood. The second time was pretty painful. Those claws are sharp as ginsu knives. There hasn’t been a third time because I don’t put my shoes on while sitting anywhere near the coffee table or any other hiding places now.

He launches his second most effective ambush from under the kitchen drawer where I stack up the Pyrex bowls, bolting out from under cover of the table or from behind the fridge just as I’m opening it up. Our last encounter was so devastating that I leave him locked up in another room while I’m unloading the dishwasher.

He’s going to grow out of this behavior some day. I’m not going to miss it for a second.

lacerated | 6:22 am CDT
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Sunday, January 1st, 2017

I left a bag of poop on somebody’s desk. That’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.

My Darling B even helped me. I asked her to get a ziplock bag for me and hold it open while I dumped poop into it. She did. So if I get thrown under the bus for this, I’m taking her down with me.

It was my cat’s poop. And we bagged it because the vet asked for it. So in the end it wasn’t like I was doing something weird, although the part about leaving it on the desk was my idea. There wasn’t anybody at the reception desk when I opened the door to the vet’s office and stepped into the lobby. The lobby was empty, too, and the desk remained unattended even after I shuffled around and cleared my throat several times.

The door to the offices in the rear of the shop was open. I stepped into the short hallway beyond it, stopped and listened. It was completely still.

“Hello?” I called out. No answer. “Hello?” Still no answer. I stepped back out into the lobby.

A postman came in, said hello to me, dropped a handful of envelopes in a basket on the desk, and left. He was a big guy. He made a lot of noise. Surely, I thought, somebody in the back heard him come and go. But if they did, they made no response at all.

I returned to the open door to the back offices and knocked. “Hello?” Nothing.

So I went back to the desk, grabbed a post-it note and a pen, wrote my name and phone number on the note and stuck it to the bag of poop. I left the poop on the desk, and I went home. About halfway home I wondered if it was somehow a violation of municipal code to leave a bag of poop on somebody’s desk, but I decided that if it was, I was going to fall back on the “they asked for it” defense.

Not five minutes after I got home, I got a call from a technician at the vet’s office who let me know, laughing a little bit as she did, that she found the poop on her desk and put in in a fridge for testing later. So no jail time in the future for me, at least not for this.

i gave them poop | 12:01 am CDT
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Monday, December 26th, 2016

Oh my god this new cat sinks. Walking into his room is like being hit in the face with a fresh cow pat. The alchemy in his guts that turns water and kibble into mustard gas is something the military should probably check out.

For many years, we have relied on our cats to tell us what their names are, rather than just giving them whatever cool-sounding name popped into our heads. Bonkers got his name because he liked to butt his head against us when saying hello, and also because he was a little howling-at-the-moon crazy. (Literally.) Boo poked her face out from beyond the stuff she was hiding behind. She didn’t say “boo,” but she implied it. Scooter is a bit of a doofus, the kind of personality you’re talking to when you begin your retort, “Listen, Scooter …”

This new guy seems to be telling us he will be called Stinky. From day one, he has been sending up smoke signals, so to speak. My Darling B is not in agreement with me on this. Neither does she agree that his name might be Fart, Poop, Stench, Miasma, Musty, Toxic, or Peppy le Pew. And she herself suggested Peppy le Pew, but then immediately vetoed it.

She is also against Fragrant, Flower, or any sarcastic variation thereof.

So I don’t know what his “official” name eventually will end up being, but I’m very confident that, whatever name he eventually gets, his nickname will probably always be Stinky. At least, that’s what I’m going to call him.

stinky | 7:00 am CDT
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Monday, August 29th, 2016

I crept slowly through the living room this morning with my phone held low in one hand, scanning the floor with the light from its screen, looking for the carcass of the mouse that I heard Scooter murdering in the early hours before my alarm went off. Didn’t see it, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t somewhere outside the little glowy patch of light from my phone, and on top of that my eyes are pretty bleary at five in the morning. I made a mental note to look again when all the lights were on, and get My Darling B to help.

As I got ready for my shower, I noticed mouse poop all over the bottom of the tub. Made sense. For whatever reason, Scooter likes to crawl into the tub to play with his toys, so if he caught a mouse it wouldn’t be unexpected at all for him to take it to his playground to bat it around a while. I rinsed the poop out of the tub, then climbed in and turned to close the shower curtain. I was more than a little surprised to discover I was being watched.

Two beady little black eyes were peering out at me from the upper folds of the curtain. I only had to shift a little to the left or right to catch sight of the little brown blob of fur behind the eyes. Little bugger must’ve run up the curtain to escape from Scooter. If Scooter didn’t run up after it, that only meant Scooter didn’t twig to the idea that the mouse went up. If he had, that shower curtain would’ve been hanging there in shreds, or he would’ve pulled it down to the floor.

The mouse made no move to get away, thank goodness. I wasn’t moving very fast yet, and neither was my brain. I thought at first that I might catch it in a plastic bag, but five seconds later I thought that was as stupid an idea as any I’ve ever come up with and forgot about it. Then I thought maybe I could hit it with a blunt object, figuring I had a reasonably good chance of hitting it, and if I didn’t kill it outright, I would probably stun it and get at least one more shot at it. Trouble with this idea was, I couldn’t find a blunt object in the bathroom suitable for clubbing a mouse to death.

While I was searching the hall closet, my eyes feel on the vacuum cleaner. I’ve sucked up some pretty big objects with that vacuum cleaner. In point of fact, I’ve accidently sucked up lots of the stuffed toy mice that B buys from the pet store. There must be a half-dozen of those under the cedar chest. If the vacuum can suck one of those up, surely it can suck up a real mouse, which is probably a lot more flexible than a stuffed mouse made of felt.

Only one way to find out.

The mouse still made no move to get away as I plugged the vacuum cleaner in, rolled it over to the end of the bathroom where the shower curtain was, and posed with the hose in my hand, like a sprinter in the blocks getting ready to jump. Totally wasted effort. When I switched on the vacuum and jabbed at the mouse with the end of the hose I aimed a little low and ended up sucking a whole bunch of shower curtain into the hose instead of the mouse, which just sat there, patiently waiting for me to go away, as I pulled the curtain out of the hose. When I switched the vacuum back on, I brought the hose down from above this time and found the bullseye on the first pass. *schlup!* went the mouse, disappearing from view so suddenly it was like watching a visual effect from a 1970 TV show.

I hesitated a moment before plucking the bag out of the vacuum, because the last thing I wanted was to be chasing a dusty mouse all over the house at five o’clock in the morning. The experience of being suddenly ingested by a household appliance must’ve stunned it into a coma, though, because it didn’t move at all as I yanked out the bag and sealed up the hole with packing tape. Then all I had to do was make a quick trip out to the garbage can in my underwear, and I was done cleaning up that mess.

from on high | 6:01 pm CDT
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Saturday, June 4th, 2016

And now it’s time for a quick roundup of how the cat’s training is coming along: It’s not. He let me sleep in on Wednesday morning, and by “sleep in” I mean that he didn’t wake me up several times in the wee hours of the morning, but instead let me sleep until my alarm started to bleep. Every other day this week, he pawed and scratched at the door, whining to be fed, or to be let in, or whatever the hell he’s whining about. Ignoring him has not made a bit of difference one way or another, in spite of the advice I’ve read on web sites devoted to training your cat, because cats cannot be trained. I was a fool to think they could be.

“Are you gonna kill him?” B asked me this morning.

“Can I?” I responded, testing the seriousness of that question.

“Of course not,” she answered, popping that bubble with finality.

“Then why did you offer it up as an option?”

“Because I thought you’d see how ridiculous it is.”

“Although I acknowledge that it’s wrong, I wouldn’t say it’s ridiculous.”

“Okay, wrong, then.”

I was never going to kill him, although I frankly admit I have fantasized about the kind of Rube Goldberg devices I could rig up outside our bedroom door to stop him from scratching it, and one of them has a grand piano suspended from a string.

a grand piano | 8:37 am CDT
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Sunday, January 24th, 2016

I see I haven’t told the story of the exploding cat yet. I think I’ll tell it now. Don’t worry, he didn’t literally explode. He only made a noise like an explosion, and then only with the help of a big plastic bottle. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We have a problem with mice. I set out traps for them wherever I find their dirty little calling cards, and I try different kinds of traps to see if any of them work better than the others. A month or two ago, I was trying out a kind of trap that’s just a shallow plastic tray filled with peanut-scented sticky goo. It’s like a fly strip, but for mice. And it works pretty well. I laid out a bunch of them in the basement and caught three or four mice that way, but to use them I had to keep the cats locked out of the basement, because obviously I didn’t want to be faced with the difficult situation of trying to peel one of those sticky things off a cat.

That’s a pretty significant down side, so I stopped using that particular kind of trap, except for in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. We were having a lot of trouble with mice there last month, so I set up a whole bunch of traps down there, and one of the traps I used was a sticky gooey trap because it was handy and I knew it worked. We kept the cabinet shut all the time, so I didn’t think it would be a problem, and for a couple weeks, it wasn’t.

But there’s always that one time that you forget to shut the door, isn’t there? And the weekend before last was one of those times. My Darling B and I were at the kitchen table, where we just happened to be making vacation plans, so we were in a very good mood, very relaxed, when all of a sudden B jumped out of her seat, shouting, “DAVE! DAVE! DAVE!” as she took a few steps toward the kitchen.

At the same time that she jumped, I heard a godawful racket explode from the kitchen that sounded like a kid beating a big, thick stick against a plastic garbage can. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I didn’t twig right away to what was making the noise, but I could see a black and white blur spinning around on the floor in the kitchen, and I had to watch that for only a second or two before my brain figured out that part of that blur was a cat, and the other half was … a bottle of bleach? How did the cat get tangled up with a bottle of bleach?

It might seem like an odd question to ask yourself at the moment when your cat is throwing himself around the room so violently that it seems entirely possible that he’ll break bones and furniture, but here’s why it actually makes sense: If the cat’s freaking out because he’s tangled up with a big plastic bottle of bleach, then before I risk almost certain laceration by grabbing him, I should have at least an idea how to disentangle him. See? Perfectly logical.

Being logical didn’t help, though. Even after I realized that one of his feet was stuck to the sticky gooey mouse trap, which was stuck to the bleach bottle, I came up with exactly zero options for dealing with the situation. I had realized from the start that using those things around the cats was risky, but I never came up with a plan for peeling one off a cat.

And the thought never crossed my mind that the cat would freak out like a great big freakout thing if they got stuck to one of those gooey traps. I think he was mostly scared that he was being followed around by a big plastic bottle that he couldn’t get away from no matter how fast he ran. And he ran very fast, making a couple quick circles in the kitchen before he dashed out into the dining room, weaving between the chairs where we finally stopped him, pinned him down and hauled him out by the scruff of the neck.

Then what? As I said, I had no ideas for getting the sticky thing off him. B tried to pull it off, but the sticky stuff wouldn’t let go. She pulled hard enough to stretch a long, snotty-looking string from the cat’s foot to the tray, but that only freaked the cat out even more. We almost lost our grip on him as he kicked his foot and fought us both to get away. B shouted for me to get a scissors. I think she wanted to cut the gooey stuff off, but I was afraid the cat would be gone in a flash when I let go.

While I waffled, B tried one more time to pull the cat off the sticky trap with brute force. She must have weakened it the first couple of times she pulled, or her superhuman strength finally kicked in. Whichever it was, she freed the cat. He wasn’t entirely happy about it, but the plastic bottle wasn’t part of his foot any more, so he at least calmed down a bit. What he really wanted to do at that point was retreat to a corner and lick his foot, and we would have been happy to let him if there hadn’t been a gob of sticky stuff gunking up the pads of his feet.

From somewhere in the kitchen, B fetched a bottle of Goo Gone, because she’s the one with the brain that doesn’t seize up when things go all pear-shaped. She unscrewed the cap and dumped about half the bottle on the cat’s foot, which dissolved the sticky stuff like magic. We spent the next ten minutes or so swabbing Goo Gone out of the cat’s fur with a damp cloth, and with nothing stuck to his foot, he stayed calm enough to let us do it.

Weirdly, he went right back into the cabinet under the sink the next time he found the door open, so he either has some sort of traumatic brain injury that wiped the event from his memory, or he doesn’t care that he might get a bleach bottle stuck to his foot because he figures we’ll take care of it.

exploding cat | 7:37 am CDT
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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

We’ve had a mouse problem for a long time. When Bonkers The Cat was around and was still full of piss and vinegar, he did his part to keep the mouse population under control. Boo would play with the mice that Bonkers chased out of the corners, but I don’t think she ever went looking for mice and hasn’t lifted a finger (or toe, whatever) to catch any since the Bonkers left the scene more than a year ago.

So the mice have had free run of the place for months, and have staked their claim to every part of the house that they can colonize. Most recently, their efforts to take over the house have reached as far as the kitchen, where they are now into the many drawers under the kitchen counter, for reasons that are a little hard to explain. They were in the space under the sink before, because that’s where the kitchen trash can is and they could filch all sorts of goodies from it, but now they’re not satisfied with just grabbing the food and going.

It seems that now they’re wandering around in the drawers where My Darling B keeps the various implements of kitchen magic, and it causes her no small amount of distress when she reaches for a knife or a skewer and finds those disgusting little calling cards that mice leave behind wherever they go. She’s had to clean out two of the drawers at least twice in the past six months, and last night we took everything out of all the drawers so I could set out traps and start the chore of running every single one of the magical kitchen implements through the dishwasher to give them a two-hour-long power wash followed by twenty minutes of intense sterilizing heat.

Now I have to figure out how to mouse-proof as much of the kitchen as possible, as well as how to delete the mice. I’ve already got traps under the sink and I set out traps in the drawers overnight, but no luck so far. I think I can block off easy access to the space under the sink, but mice can be determined little buggers so I’ll have to keep setting traps for the foreseeable future.

As for long-term measures to rid our little red house of the infestation, I’ve proposed getting a more dedicated mouser to patrol the darkest corners. I swear I heard B say no to that proposal before, but when I brought it up last night she said that she thought I was opposed to getting another cat. I suppose I might have and don’t remember it, but if so, I don’t know why. If we’re going to have furry animals padding around the house, a kitten or two sounds better than allowing the mice to take over.

How Boo will react to the introduction of a kitten or two is more or less a foregone conclusion. She’s not whatever the cat equivalent of a people-person is. I think she tolerated Bonkers only because he was already established as the house cat when we adopted her as a kitten. When he eventuallyl grew so old and feeble that he couldn’t hold her back if she wanted to swat him off the top of the hill, she didn’t even bother pretending to tolerate him after that. Any other cat who wanders near our door gets hissed at, and she prowls back and forth growling with her puffed-up tail in the air for a half-hour afterwards. She’s not going to take it lightly if we introduce some young whipper-snapper to the house.

Luckily, I don’t care all that much about hurting Boo’s feelings because the way I see it, she’s falling down on the job. There are mice to be caught and the only cat on the premesis is totally unmotivated about catching them. More than a dereliction of duty, that seems like a betrayal of her species. And if Boo’s feelings get hurt, well, I’m not even her person. She comes to me when she wants to show somebody how she can claw the rug by the front door into a big jumbled ball, but when she wants to sit in a lap for hours, she goes to My Darling B, the woman who picked her out at the shelter and brought her to our home.

overrun | 7:00 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, Boo, Our Humble O'Bode | Tags: ,
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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Found it! I snapped this photo of Bonkers in 2003. It’s always been one of my favorites and I thought I had it saved somewhere online but couldn’t find it, so I had to go digging through the collection of CD-ROMs that My Darling B won’t let me throw away. And finding Easter eggs like this one is probably why.

His Royal Highness Bonkers

I just love this photo. From the regal way he’s posed, he looks like something the ancient people of the desert would have worshipped. Yes, he has purple toenails. We used to cap their claws with a product called, if memory serves, Soft Paws.

But he wasn’t always so regal and well-composed. Here’s one of his more relaxed moments:

Tim rubbing Bonkers tummy

Bonkers | 9:05 pm CDT
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Good night, Bonky-boy

dsc09487

Alas, Bonkers | 4:00 pm CDT
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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Bonkers is eating again. From Wednesday morning until Sunday night he wasn’t, not a good situation for him to be in when whatever medical condition he’s been afflicted with has already caused him to waste away to skin and bones. On Monday morning he was finally hungry enough to eat a few bites, but I called the vet anyway and he prescribed an appetite stimulant. The stuff comes in tiny little pills that we had to split into eight pieces. Eight. By the time I’d carefully cut one pill in half, then in half again, and then in half again, what I had was essentially crumbs, but when we popped one of these crumbs into Bonk and rubbed it down his throat, wow. One o’clock in the morning he was in my face, crying for food. I stumbled to the kitchen with him racing back and forth between my feet. What’s taking you so long, man? Are you still trying to find your way through the living room? Why can’t you see in the dark, anyway? C’mon! I’m hungry! C’mon!

He gobbled up a couple mouthfuls of wet food, then drank and drank and drank and drank and drank and drank and drank. I guess the pills made him thirsty, too. I stayed up about twenty minutes with him, just to make sure his stomach wasn’t going to react badly after going empty for five days, but he seemed just fine, so I turned out the lights and headed back to bed.

Four o’clock in the morning he was in my face again. Holy shit! What did you shove down my throat, anyway? You wouldn’t believe how hungry I am! Get up and feed me! Get up! Let’s go! C’mon! Feed me! And so on. I couldn’t say no. I mean, we did stick that stuff in him, so I was sort of obligated to feed him. And it was a relief to see him eating again, but this time I didn’t stay up with him, figuring that my alarm was going to start bleeping in an hour anyway, so if he barfed, I’d find out about it soon enough. Nice surprise, though: He didn’t barf.

Bonkers update | 9:30 pm CDT
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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

So on my way to bed last night I stopped by the bathroom to have a bedtime piddle, and on the way out I noticed the puddle under the door to the closet where we hide the litter pan. If I hadn’t noticed it, I would have gone to bed blissfully unaware of yet another of Bonkers’ increasingly frequent transgressions. But I noticed it, so I went to bed with the lingering memory of cat pee dripping from my fingers. Yuck.

Then, at three o’clock this morning, I woke up to the hork-hork-hork of Boo yakking up a hairball somewhere on B’s side of the bed. Grabbing my phone off the bedside bookcase, I levered myself out of bed with a sigh and gingerly crept around from my side of the bed, carefully scanning the floor with the light from my phone’s screen, hoping against hope that I found it with my eyes first and not my toes. Which I did, thank goodness. After cleaning up that mess, I went back to bed with yet another lingering memory I could have done without.

But it wasn’t over. Apparently awakened by all the activity, Bonkers dropped off the bed, positioned himself by the door and began to whine for his breakfast. For real.

lingering | 6:26 am CDT
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Bonkers updateBonkers has an icky eye. Well, more icky than usual. He got that big black pupil about two years ago. Then the eyeball slowly sank back into his skull and finally, for about the past year, some kind of horribly sticky black goo that we have to remove with a damp rag has been globbing up in the corner of it. But until last week, that was about as icky as it got.

The ick got ickier at about the same his drinking problem got worse. He’s had a drinking problem for as long as he’s had the icky eye. Poor guy’s falling apart all over. His problem is that he can’t swallow very easily, so to drink, he has to submerge most of his face in his water bowl until he’s got some water in his mouth, then lift his chin up in the air and let the water slide down his throat. Just lately he’s started drinking a lot more than usual, which means most of his face is dripping wet most of the time. And that means he drips all over the place. You can tell where he’s been by following the trail. Or by just stepping in the puddles. That’s how I do it.

That and the fact that the icky eye seemed to be getting goopier made us think that maybe it was time to take him back to the vet again to see if there wasn’t something they could do to help make him feel at least a little better. Last time they weren’t interested much in doing anything other than sending us to the university for an MRI or whatever lab experiments were on special that month, but surely they could see the poor guy could use some antibiotics to make him more comfortable. And I was worried that all that drinking and peeing could mean he might have diabetes. Surely they would be able to test for that.

As it turned out, we met a vet who was considerably more interested in Bonkers’ condition, although not quite enough to read the poor fellah’s chart before he came in to see us. He came up to speed quickly enough after I gave him a quick recap of events, though, and did a quick test to confirm that the cause of Bonk’s icky eye was the result of an ulcerated cornea. Which is just medical-speak for “icky eye.” He gave us a very small tube of something outrageously expensive and told us to give his eye a shot of that four times a day.

They had to spirit him away to the back room to figure out why he was drinking and peeing all the time. Turns out the old guy’s not just falling apart on the outside, his insides are falling apart, too. Specifically, his kidneys. So now we’ve got to get him some medicine for that and put him on a low-protein diet, which is a shame because we finally found a brand of canned cat food he likes but it’s all tuna and salmon, pretty much solid protein. I sure hope that’s not what screwed up his kidneys in the first place.

And that’s all the Bonkers News there is for now. He’s already feeling better now that his eye’s not gooping all over his face. I’m not surprised. That would’ve made me feel a little low, too. More updates as they’re available, of course.

Bonkers update | 8:57 pm CDT
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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Recipe for cats: When folding clothes fresh from the dryer, stack them on the table. Within the hour, cats will begin to appear.

spontaneously generated boo | 9:30 pm CDT
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Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Bonkers is helping me write blog posts this morning. In a way.

Bonkers the cat

blogging with bonkers | 10:03 am CDT
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Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

*doint!*

AUTOPILOT ON

if {system-time = x:00 and bladder = full}
wake; do {void-bladder}
while cats=[tripping-hazard]
get [the-food]; feed [the-cats]
return [the-food]
return {sleep}
else {sleep}

ERROR AT LINE 5

Wait, what? No, that can’t happen. I was on autopilot. I must’ve put the cat food back.

Yeah. It’s got to be in the fridge, I just don’t remember it. Yeah. I don’t remember putting it back at all. Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit! Well, I’m not getting up again. I’m staying right here in my nice, warm bed. The cats got what they wanted and, if they’re as smart as they act sometimes, they’ll figure out there’s an open can of cat food on the counter top and take care of the problem for me. I’m not getting out of bed. [Monologue edited for brevity; it goes on for almost an hour. -ed.]

LATER, WHILE I’M MAKING COFFEE: What’s that can of cat food doing there?

error | 9:48 am CDT
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Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Let’s see, how does this work? Oh, yeah: Wake up too early, make coffee, cat on my lap, type up some drivel.

Mmmm, coffee. Gone back to making it drip. Still like my coffee gadgets, but drip is the way to go. That’s my official word on that. Take it to the bank. Tell ’em I said so.

Man, this granola is the best thing ever. I buy it in the bulk food section of the co-op. Supposed to be good for you. They sell lots of locally-produced, organically-grown food, but this looks like the kind of stuff that comes from a 55-gallon barrel shipped from China by container ship. Don’t care. Has a nutty, vanilla flavor that is now permanently associated in my brain with granola. All other granola tastes like gravel.

Cat is purring like a diesel engine. He can keep it going for hours, but if he starts to fade all I have to do is stroke his chin and he cranks the volume up to eleven again. He won’t purr for nothing. Got to give him a chin-rub, or at the very least let him climb in my lap. Did you know cats are the reason laps were invented? It’s true. If you have a lap, you need a cat.

wakey-wakey part mcmlxiv | 5:02 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, coffee, daily drivel, food & drink, sleeplessness | Tags: ,
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Thursday, March 21st, 2013

And now, because I like it, and because Bonkers just now struck a similarly evocative pose:

chat noir | 8:42 pm CDT
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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

In spite of daylight savings time I was in bed by nine last night and couldn’t keep my eyes open past nine-thirty, so why am I awake at four o’clock this morning? Well, part of it is because we have cats, of course, but it’s also because I woke up gasping for air after my sinuses blocked up. I can’t blame the cats for that.

Wait, why can’t I? I can blame the cats for virtually anything. They’re defenseless! They can’t speak for themselves and there’s no one to speak for them! I can lay blame with impunity! They are guilty! Guilty, guilty, GUILTY! Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Okay, the cat-blaming’s out of the way.

I made a pot of coffee, fired up the internet and started surfing. Ironically, caffeine turned out to be an unclogger of sinuses. After just a few sips I was able to take deep breaths again without being forced to gasp … and then I had to grab most of the kleenex out of a nearby box to wipe up the torrent of snot that was clogging me up until the caffeine, or something, set it loose. Rarely have I ever been so relieved and so disgusted at the same time.

Although I could finally breathe easy, going back to bed after I’ve had a cup of coffee would be pointless. It was an immutable fact of the universe that I was up for the day. There was no more shuteye in my future, only a shower and some breakfast instead. In the words of Peter Green, Oh Well.

ramblin | 5:03 am CDT
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Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Among the things I will not be doing this morning is shoveling the driveway, even though I set my alarm clock to go bleepity-bleep-bleep a half-hour earlier than usual because the all-knowing National Weather Service said there was supposed to be somewhere between five and twelve inches of snow on the ground this morning. The driveway’s on the ground. So is our car. And when our car is separated from the driveway by twelve inches of snow, it doesn’t take us to work in the morning.

That’s why I gave myself an extra half-hour to shovel it all off this morning. It was a brilliant plan, except that, when I peered blearily out the window at the driveway this morning, there was no more snow on it or the rest of the ground than there was when I went to bed last night. Relieved, I went back to bed, reset my clock and burrowed into the bedcovers, where I laid for five blissful minutes until the cats began to dance on my head.

forecast | 5:30 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel, O'Folks, sleeplessness, work | Tags: , , ,
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Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Bonk found the sunny spot in the kitchen.
BonkNap

nap | 9:51 am CDT
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Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Okay, seriously, I’m begging you for suggestions here: How do I stop a cat from waking me up in the morning? I’ll try just about any non-lethal method you suggest that doesn’t involve broken bones or blood.

I thought I’d come up with a pretty good method myself: Feed them both just before bed and leave a bowl of kibble out for them. It’s worked so far, but they must’ve gotten awfully peckish last night because the bowl was empty when Boo-Boo got me out of bed this morning at four-thirty.

And before you ask: A twelve-pound cat can absolutely make a grown man get out of bed. If you don’t believe this, you’ve never tried to sleep in the same room with a cat who is determined to get you out of bed.

There’s no way to herd them out of the room when they wake me up; they just hide in a dark corner and wait for me to go put food in their bowls, so this morning I resorted to the old trick of getting out of bed and walking toward the kitchen. They go running past me when I’m about halfway across the living room, at which point I turn around and go back to bed, shutting the door behind me. That buys me about ten more minutes of sleep, maybe fifteen, until they start scratching on the door.

B wants me to throw them in the basement when they do that. It’d probably work, but it sounds about as easy as, well, herding cats. I want a method that doesn’t require much conscious thought or effort, because, remember, it’ll be about four o’clock in the morning and I’ll be hitting on three cylinders. Ideally, I’d like somebody or something to chase the cats out of the room for me, but I don’t see that happening unless I get a puppy.

scratch | 6:28 am CDT
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Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Poor B had a stuffy nose that woke her up this morning. I had a cat that woke me up. If I had to pick one, I guess I’d take the cat. If the cat wakes me up, at least I don’t feel like I’ve been smothered with a pillow, unless the cat wakes me up by parking on my face. None of our cats do that, thank goodness. None of our surviving cats. Kidding. I have never snuffed a cat. Wanted to, many times, dreamed of it, particularly when they won’t let me sleep at night, but never done it.

Last night, just after lights out, one of them, probably the fat one, came creeping into the room, probably stalking the skinny one, because they launched into a flurry of chasing each other across the house, but just before they did, the stalker stepped on the loose floor board in front of the bedroom closet and the creaking noise it made sounded exactly like the tippy-toe approach of the axe murder. I jerked my head up off the pillow to look but of course nobody was there. Seeing that nobody is there is almost worse than seeing the axe murderer. If it’s not the axe murderer, it could be the monster under the bed! Or a ghost! Or a swarm of killer cockroaches!

Then the cats went on their crazy tear and I started counting the minutes until they settled down.

Story time: My dad lived on a farm when he was a boy. This was during the depression of the 1930s. His dad was out of a job and his mom’s family had a big farm where they went to live for a while. Like any farm, they had lots of feral cats roaming the place. There were so many cats that they became a nuisance and had to be culled from time to time. One day, my dad was handed a burlap sack stuffed full of kittens and a big rock and told to take it down to the bridge and drop it in the river. I guess he walked all the way down to the bridge with the sack but couldn’t bring himself to do the deed, having to listen to those kittens mew and cry the whole time from being stuck in that bag. As Grandma told the story, she found him standing on the porch in tears, sobbing sorry, sorry, sorry, as he handed the sack back to her.

cat story | 8:42 am CDT
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Sunday, December 30th, 2012

A Bonkers Update:

B gave Bonkers a bath today, his first in seven or eight years. The boys gave him a bath shortly after we brought him home from the pet shelter in Misawa. I can’t remember why he needed a bath then. B gave him a bath today because he’s gone a little off. The old boy has some trouble swallowing these days so he gets to eat soft canned food all the time now, which not incidentally makes it easier for me to give him his medicine. All I have to do is crush the tablets with a spoon and mix them up with the brown goo he loves to eat so much.

He may have trouble eating and seeing, but he hasn’t given up grooming himself. Trouble is, he likes to groom himself immediately after eating, and because he has trouble swallowing he usually has quite a bit of food in his mouth still, so he ends up smelling a lot like cat food and, after a couple days, like cat food gone bad. Hence, the bath.

B was prepared for him to put up a struggle but he gave up without a fight, let her put him in a big plastic bucket and soap him up, then rinse him off. He seemed resigned to getting it over with, but he seemed to know when it was done and didn’t want put up with a lot of fussing as we tried to towel him all over. He just wanted to go hide in a corner and lick himself some. B still made him sit in her lap anyway while she brushed him and patted him dry.

He’s all nice and fluffy and clean now and smells not at all like a dish of tuna that’s been sitting out for too long.

Bonkers update | 3:38 pm CDT
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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Bonkers the pirate catThe end of my thumb is bloody gash after Bonkers slashed it open the other night, so I have to type very gingerly right now. Just FYI, in case I suddenly run out of the room to apply a bandage or something.

The old boy is crazy about a cat treat called Pounce. He’s already learned where we keep it, so whenever we go anywhere near that cabinet he trots over right quick and sits looking up at us with great big eyes. Well, one eye is always big, but we can still tell when he gets great big eyes by the way he uses the other one.

So I was making him dance for his treats by dangling them over his head. When his targeting computer came on, which I could tell from the way the pupil dilated all the way open in his good eye, I’d drop the treat and he’d bat it out of the air as it fell, then chase it across the room. Fun!

The last one I gave him, though, I waited a little too long before deciding to drop it. He didn’t want to wait, so he jumped up and tried to bat it out of my hand. He usually pulls his punches, but he also gets a little crazy where food’s involved so he didn’t bother to retract his claws. One of them was sharp as a flensing knife, and he was about as careful with it as any other teenager would have been.

I spent the next ten minutes trying to get the bleeding to stop, and the ten minutes after that trying to find a Band-Aid but, as usual, the only ones we had were big enough to cover a cannonball wound. Cutting one of those in half worked.

gashed | 5:32 am CDT
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Monday, November 19th, 2012

Bonkers is still plugging along in spite of whatever’s wrong inside his head, but the going’s starting to get a little rough. The poor guy has been having trouble swallowing for a while, occasionally leaving little puddles of drool around the water bowl and food dishes, but the problem, whatever it is, has been getting worse in the past week or so. He seems to be losing muscle control and can choke down solid food only with a lot of effort.

I’ve stopped leaving kibble for him because he makes such a mess of it. He has to scoop up the kibble with his jaw, then lift his head and snap at it, getting most of the kibble down his throat but throwing quite a lot of it around the room. Most of it stays in the corner of the dining room where the cat dishes are, but I’ve found bits of spittle-soaked kibble as far away as the bedroom floor beside Bonk’s cat bed.

He has a much easier time with soft canned food, so we’ve made the switch. That’s all he gets now, unless he decides to raid Boo’s dish after he’s done with his own food and still feels a bit peckish, which is just about all the time.

This morning, for instance, Boo followed me to the kitchen and tangled herself up in my feet while I was trying to wash out the coffee carafe and grind the beans, so I measured out a little kibble for her to get her out of my hair. After ten minutes or so, Bonkers came out to be fed, too. He doesn’t do the feet-tangly-up thing, he just sits in his corner and glowers at me. Food. Now.

I spooned out some soft food for him after putting the kettle on to boil, set it down in his spot, then switched on the radio and stood by the sink to listen to the morning news. Gradually, I became aware that Boo was staring at me. It’s a little unnerving to have a cat stare at me, so I stared back at her to make her look away. It turned out she wasn’t staring, really. She was giving me the most quizzical look. Then, when the question had clearly been posed, she glanced down at her dry kibble, then back at me. What the hell? So I gave her a little dab of wet food, too, just so she wouldn’t feel cheated. She was happy with that.

After she was done, Bonkers came over to see if she left any in her dish but, finding none, he gamely tried to snatch up what little kibble was left. Most of it ended up on the floor.

spittle | 6:39 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel | Tags: , ,
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Monday, November 5th, 2012

The other night, B opened a kitchen drawer and discovered that the mousies in Our Humble O’Bode have been going to the trouble of climbing all the way up to the top drawers to run around on the utensils and chew on the corks. She didn’t find an actual mouse, but she did find a whole bunch of their little calling cards in the corners of the drawer.

Up to this point she’s been absolutely humane when it came to the treatment we gave the mice we trapped under the sink. They all had to be caught live in traps that wouldn’t hurt them, and we had to let them go in the park, but since she found out the dirty little buggers have been dancing on her kitchen utensils, she’s done a complete one-eighty.

“I’ll kill the next mouse I see!” she promised as she emptied the drawer of every knife and tong to clean it out.

I looked up from the paper I was reading and asked, “Does that mean I can just kill them from now on? Do I still have to bother with live traps, or walking down to the park to let them go?”

She didn’t want to agree to that, but she wouldn’t say I couldn’t do the little buggers in. “Don’t tell me what you do with them,” was all she would say.

So I guess I’ll feed them to the cats from now on. I know a certain tabby who loves an occasional fat, tasty mouse.

rodentia | 9:33 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, housekeeping, Our Humble O'Bode | Tags: ,
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Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Bonkers sucked all the heat out of his cat bed heater. I’m not sure how he did that. From what little I know about electricity and stuff, the juice is supposed to keep coming out of the wall socket for as long as I have the thing plugged in, but Bonkers seems to have violated the laws of physics, or overdrawn his electron account. The thing was nice and warm for a month or two, then it went stone cold.

Twice. He sucked the life out of the first one we got him and I wasn’t happy that he went back to sleeping on my head, so we got him another one and in just a couple months he killed that, too. Two heating pads were enough to get him almost all the way through the winter, though, with just a few weeks of chilly evenings when he would sneak into the bedroom early and curl up on Boo’s bed, which went on being warm. Sometimes she’d let him sleep on it all night but sometimes she wouldn’t. She probably knew he’d steal all heat from hers, too, if she didn’t chase him out of it.

When winter weather returned and Our Humble O’Bode began to get a little frosty around the edges at night, Bonk climbed right back into bed with us, having no warm bed of his own, and could not be persuaded to sleep anywhere else, not with a polite nudging, not by not-so-politely shoving him, not by picking him up and dropping him at the foot of the bed. He’d wait until we were settled and starting to drift off to sleep again, then tiptoe his way back up to his favorite spot between our shoulders and wedge himself there, stealing all the goddamn covers.

Until Tuesday when the new cat bed heater that I ordered after spending too many sleepless nights was waiting under the mailbox when we pulled into the driveway after work. I got a tingly feeling all over from opening that box. It was just like early Christmas. Couldn’t even wait until after dinner to unpack it and stuff it into Bonk’s cat bed. I wanted that thing toasty warm before the house started to cool off.

Worked like a charm. He was a little upset at first when I picked him up and plopped him in his cat bed. I suppose he assumed that, because it was not Boo’s bed, it was not going to be as warm as he expected it to be, but he caught on almost right away that things were different and was curled up like a big rollie-pollie soon enough. I made sure I got the king-sized bed warmer this time, big enough for a dog, really, so it should take him at least six months of round-the-clock cat naps to suck the life out of this one.

OMFG more drivel about cats? | 1:04 pm CDT
Category: Bonkers, daily drivel | Tags: , , , ,
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Friday, October 26th, 2012

I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be able to keep living with cats. Sure, they’re cute enough when they’re kittens. After they grow up they can still be cute, but — and here’s the important thing — only when they want to be. And when they don’t want to be, they can make life a hell on earth.

How can a teensy-tiny widdow-bitty moggie do something like that, you ask? First of all, stop talking like that. I’m not going to discuss this if you’re going to talk like that.

Let me give you an example: One of our cats dances on my face when she gets hungry in the wee small hours. Okay, not on my face, to be technically accurate about it. She’s not even really dancing, if you want to go on splitting hairs. What she does in the very early hours is jump up on one side of the bed, bounce across it to the other side of the bed, then jump off. And she’s not at all careful about not landing on me when she bounces. Once she’s off the bed, she hides out in a dark corner of the room, waiting for me to get up and feed her. Which I do. I know you think you would stubbornly refuse to get up, on principle, but I’m sorry, I just don’t believe you would be able to go back to sleep any more than I would when you know there’s a cat waiting to jump on your nuts.

She was doing this all last week at about four o’clock in the morning. Her robotic feed dish was programmed to give her a fresh serving at four-thirty, but a little while back she apparently decided that wasn’t early enough for her. Took me a whole week to get sick of waking up with a cat jumping on me, but I finally reprogrammed the robot to dump some food for her at four o’clock instead of four-thirty.

Well, guess what happened this morning at five till four?

Cats. Why do we have them?

why do we have them? | 6:15 am CDT
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Saturday, October 20th, 2012

image of kitty crock smashed all to bitsThe Kitty Kibble Crock has dished up its last serving of cat chow. It has given us many years of long, illustrious service, but its time to retire has finally come.

I stumbled into the dining room early this morning to scoop out a couple helpings of kibble so the cats would let me go back to bed in peace, but I fumbled the lid as I was putting it back and dropped it into the crock, smashing it to little bits.

I’ve dropped it before, cracking it in half, or breaking off an ear, but up until now I’ve been able to glue it back together so it could return, scarred but whole, to its rightful place and continue to keep the cats from eating themselves sick right out of the crock. There’s no gluing it back together this time, though. That sucker’s a goner.

cracked | 9:02 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
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Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Okay, I’m up too early on a Saturday, but how else am I going to experience the maximum wonderfulness that is the weekend? A guy’s got to start early or he’s going to miss something.

And I owe my early rising once again to the cats, of course. The oldest one parked his fat blob of a butt right between my shoulder blades. Took him about ten minutes to do it, not because he’s a fat blob but because he’s always taken that long to find just the right position that will satisfy his feline needs, one of which must be to make sure I’m awake by the time he finally settles in and goes to sleep. Maybe there’s some kind of somnambulistic transfer going on there. I should contact the AMA and ask them to do a study.

He starts by slowly making his way to the upper end of the cleft in the bed covers between My Darling B’s shoulders and mine. I emphasize slowly. He moves like he’s stalking something. It’s very unnerving. Sometimes he’ll wait until I’m fast asleep and don’t even realize he’s there, but sometimes he can’t wait and begins his creepy crawl as I’m just beginning to doze. When I’m in between the land of the living and the near-death of sleep, nothing’s more unnerving than the realization that something is softly creeping toward my head. No matter how many times he’s done it already, I’ll still jerk awake the next time. He seems to take no small amount of pride in that. The little bastard’s probably keeping track on a scoreboard in his secret lair. “Scared the Human Awake for 1,736 days straight!”

When he finally arrives at the end of his slow-motion journey he picks his spot with great care, turning round and round, trying it with his nose in B’s face, then in mine. Or maybe he wants to park himself butt-first in my face tonight. It’s all relative, and every angle has to be evaluated. Sometimes he gets distracted by the need to noisily wash his face for way too long. That goes especially well for him when he can slop some drool on my forehead. I’ll bet the squishy old fur ball’s got a scoreboard for that, too. This stage of the process is done when he dumps all fourteen pounds of himself very suddenly on me. Ever been on a plane when the overhead compartment popped open and a carry-on bag fell into your lap? Me neither, but I imagine it’s kind of like that.

His collapse against my shoulders accomplishes two things: Wakes me up one more time with a firm punch, and steals even more of the bed covers than he already has up to then, exposing me to the chill of the night. This part’s actually not so bad, because it gives me a chance to give back a little of what I’ve been getting by grabbing the edge of the quilt and, with a quick jerk, launching him in B’s general direction. If he’s good with that, I can get back to sleep right away. If he’s not, he starts circling again, kneading his spot back into compliance, slobbering on his paws some more and, with a final flourish, punching me between the shoulders.

Sometimes this goes on all night, and then sometimes, like this morning, I just chuck it, get out of bed and spend way too much time wondering why we even have cats.

cat bed | 7:45 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, daily drivel | Tags: , ,
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Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Slept in until seven this morning, in spite of the best efforts of a woodpecker, two cats and a passing thunderstorm to keep us awake all night long.

The woodpecker keeps pecking on the bird house I put up for him even though he seems to be able to get in and out just fine. I suppose the hole might be a tight fit and he’s just fine-tuning it, or maybe he just needs to peck. Or he likes waking me up.

Beginning in the wee small hours of the morning the cats started jumping in and out of bed, never satisfied with where they were or happy with knowing what the other one was doing. I know they got down several times to eat because Bonkers came back with water dripping from his muzzle and shook, sending me scurrying to the bathroom to wash his splatter off my face.

The storm squall was a riot in the sky, with lightning flashing almost as much as the flash bulbs on the cameras of a squadron of paparazzi when they catch sight of Kate Middleton. The thunder never quit, and the raindrops were so big they sounded like bricks hitting the roof of the house.

But I stuck it out. I promised myself I wouldn’t get out of bed until seven on Saturday and I meant it.

promise | 7:25 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags: , , , ,
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Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Apparently I missed all the fun last night. I hit the hay at about half past nine, but B stayed up late and not only got to see everything, she was right in the middle of it! That’ll teach me to go to bed just because I’m exhausted.

While B was sitting up late, working on a project, she slowly became aware that Bonkers the Cat was making mouse-hunting noises. When she finally went to investigate, sure enough, she found him playing cat-and-mouse with a real live mouse. She went away for a couple minutes to find a jar or plastic take-out box to catch the mouse in so she could release it later, but when she came back she found only Bonkers sitting in the middle of the living room floor with the tail of a mouse hanging from his muzzle.

“Did you eat it?” she squeaked at him. “Aghhh! Spit it out! Spit it out! Yuck!” And so on.

Bonkers was not only completely oblivious to her squeamish reaction, he also appeared to be trying to swallow the mouse, and eventually succeeded, prompting a lot more yelling and squealing from the aforementioned squeamish B, who not only continued to make a lot of noise about it, she said she even jumped around in circles a little bit. I, somehow, managed to sleep through the whole thing.

la-la-lah | 9:28 pm CDT
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Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Woke up at about four o’clock this morning to a massive downpour, lots of thunder and lighting and cats walking across my face, not technically part of what one would normally consider a downpour but it was happening, so I note it. Okay, just one cat. The other cat was taking up all the space at the foot of the bed where my legs would normally go, so that I had to dangle my legs over the edge of the bed. I still don’t know why I unconsciously make room for the cat like that. It’s my damned bed.

Anyway, water was falling out of the sky by the truckload this morning. Why doesn’t anybody say that ever? Why buckets? Truckloads are way more impressive. They’re bigger, for a start, and they’re mechanized. Buckets are smaller and they’re a lot of work to carry around. Who likes buckets more than trucks? And I see trucks carrying water all the time. It’s not like they’re rare. From now on, I’m not saying rain came down in buckets. It comes down by the truckload. Who’s with me?

truckloads | 5:58 am CDT
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Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Boo decided to hork up a hairball at four-thirty this morning, so guess when I got out of bed today? When you have kids, you get up when they get up. When you have cats, same thing.

After each of us slurped up a cup of life-restoring coffee, we threw on some clothes and headed for the farmer’s market. Drinking coffee is mandatory for a trip to the market. Everyone you see there is drinking it. There are little huts all around the square where you can buy coffee if you don’t know where the dozen or so coffee shops in the cap square neighborhood are. Throwing on real clothes seems to be optional, however. You wouldn’t believe how many people are walking around in jammie pants and whatever you want to call those skin-tight leotard-looking workout pants.

The farmer’s market at six-thirty in the morning is a completely different place compared to the farmer’s market at eight-thirty in the morning. Later in the day I have to creep along the fence line with the cart so I’m not in the way or running over other people’s toes while My Darling B ferries her pies and veggies from the vendors out to me before plowing back through the crowd trying to get to the vendors again. Getting there earlier means we can walk around freely, going as fast or as slow as we want. I can follow B up to the vendor’s counter with the cart and not worry about blocking people or running over their toes, although there was still one guy who blindly walked into it as if he couldn’t see it.

We had all our veggies and were out of there by quarter to eight, too early to hit Saint Vinnie’s on the way home. I’ll have to take a ride on my bike later to scope out the books.

wakey-wakey | 9:10 am CDT
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Monday, May 7th, 2012

image of Bonkers the catBonkers got his purr back this morning. Actually, he did more than just purr, he went full-goose bozo on me, rubbing his ears against the edge of the table and sticking his hinder up in the air, begging me to pat it, so I did. Even so, I had to pick him up and put him in my lap after he tried to jump up but lost his nerve and just sat there beside me, crying pathetically. Still, it was good to see him more like his old self again.

Bonk’s got something wrong in his head, but we don’t know what. The veterinarians we took him to didn’t know, either. “This is probably something neurological,“ more than one of them said, looking at his blown eye and the way he walked in circles and wobbled when he stood still. Thank you, Captain Obvious. We kept taking him back until finally they did what we in layman’s terms would describe as “tests” where, instead of merely frowning at him and throwing out several opinions, they took his blood and examined it for signs of infection, such as the very scarily-named feline leukemia, or dysfunction, such as diabetes.

Finding none of that, the last vet we took him to said we could shlep him down to the UW vet clinic, where a couple dozen student vets would take turns scanning his brain with the million-dollar equipment they have, then poking and prodding him for a while before showing us the pretty color print-outs that might or might not give some clue as to what’s going on in there. The pretty color print-outs would tell us that a) we would have to fork over several thousand dollars to a cat surgeon, who might or might not be able to cut his head open and fix what had gone wrong, or that b) the problem in Bonker’s head was not fixable. There was also the not at all slim possibility that c) they would find nothing wrong in his head and suggest another round of tests to look for something else.

We were not at all receptive to the idea of turning Bonk into a lab experiment for the benefit of student vets, and paying them for the privilege to boot. He’s sixteen or seventeen years old, which has got to be something like ninety-nine in cat years, a time in his life when our prime concern ought to be maintaining a modicum of dignity for the venerable old guy. I know it’s what I’d want, and I figure he’s earned it. So we said no thank you to a), the brain scan and the cutting his head open.

When we told the vet that there would be no brain scanning, she prescribed some steroids we could shove down his throat to reduce the swelling that was presumably taking place in his head, making him act like he feels loggy all the time. He slept all the time, even more than usual for a cat, and when he got up he could hardly cross the room without stopping to rest for a while. He didn’t meet us at the door when we came home, and he stopped purring. He still wanted to sit in a lap, he just didn’t have the will or the strength to do it.

We were really afraid the steroid they’d prescribed, Prednisolone, had triggered the symptoms in the first place. A little googling turns up all kinds of scary side effects, and a cat we had before had died when the vet prescribed a related steroid, Prednisone, at a stupidly high concentration for way too long. But at this point, Bonk needs relief and the steroid seems to be helping. He’s curled up in my lap as I type these words, happily chasing mice in his dreams, something he was too zonked out to do a week ago.

wonky-bonky | 8:30 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, daily drivel, O'Folks | Tags: ,
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Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Boo woke me this morning by sticking her muzzle in my ear and uttering a single, piercing “Miaow!” It was like sitting right next to a stereo speaker while Louis Armstrong opened a song by blasting a high-C quarter note.

More accurately, it was like having a five-year-old standing next to my bed on Saturday morning all over again. “Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad?”

“Uh. What?”

“Are you awake?”

trumpet | 7:13 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
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Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Boo has apparently come to the conclusion that we should not sleep in on Saturdays.

Every weekday morning, I get out of bed at five o’clock, start the coffee pot, take a shower, eat breakfast. She doesn’t pay any attention at all to me then, but on Saturday mornings, starting as early as six o’clock, she gets out of her cozy little cat’s nest and paces around our bed, mewing plaintively.

When that doesn’t get us out of bed, she claws at the sides of the box spring a couple times, a noise that sounds like the snare drum section of a marching band.

That doesn’t work, either. It’s annoying as hell, but at six o’clock on Saturday morning it would take a lot more noise than a dozen snare drums could generate to get us out of bed. When Boo realizes this, she jumps up on the bed and begins pacing back and forth, resuming her plaintive mew.

For her troubles, we usually roll over and go back to sleep, which she interprets as fifty percent success, so she redoubles her efforts by leaping from one side of the mattress to the other, landing on top of us if she can manage it. When she escalates to tactics like this, we become moving targets and I sleep with one hand shielding the family jewels, so she has to pick her targets carefully, typically aiming for the head.

This morning, she discarded with the leaping back and forth and went straight to planting her butt right beside my face and crying. Wailing, really. I tried to calm her with a little ear-rubbing, but she wasn’t having any of that. She just kept wailing. Strangling her might have made her stop, but nothing’s 100%, and besides I was wide awake by then, so I gave up and rolled out of bed.

Boo followed me across the living room, rubbing up against my legs, deliriously happy with herself and, after she’d escorted me to the kitchen and everybody was where they were supposed to be at that hour of the morning, she went back to bed. What a little shit.

wakey-wakey | 7:53 am CDT
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel | Tags:
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