For two hours this morning I played tag with Bonkers the cat, who thinks I have been put on this earth for just two reasons: To feed him, and to provide him with a warm lap that he may curl up on for hours and hours. Whoops! Three things: And, to scratch his ears. He probably thinks all the other things I do with him – bathe him, squirt him in the face with the spray bottle, take him to the vet to have a thermometer inserted in his anus – are the result of some perverted corruption of the physical laws of the universe that he hasn’t figured out yet.

Another speed bump in his understanding of the big picture is the concept of the weekend. I don’t expect that he’ll ever figure this out, but I do expect him to realize that, when I don’t get out of bed promptly at five in the morning, he should keep his mouth shut about it. Sometimes he does. This morning, he didn’t.

I’m not a total asshole about this. I realize that his brain, already the size of a walnut, was probably damaged when his head collapsed two years ago. Even so, he’s retained enough useful brain cells to know when it’s five o’clock, the time I usually get out of bed and, shortly after that, put food in his dish. So whenever I feel I might get a good trade-off, a little peace and quiet in exchange for tramping to the kitchen in the dark, I get out of bed at five on weekends, spoon a lump of brown cat chow into his bowl and go back to bed. Sometimes that works. This morning, it didn’t.

For reasons that The Google is unable or unwilling to reveal to me, Bonk needs to tell the world when he’s done eating by parading through the house, howling loudly. Usually takes about thirty seconds, then he’s done. I give him a pass on that. It’s his nature. Then he licks his paws until they’re soaking wet because he’s still drooling from the food. He’s had trouble swallowing since The Great Head Collapsing Of 2013. He apparenly doesn’t like having paws that are soaking wet because he continues to lick them until they’re as near to dry as he can make them, which takes fifteen to twenty minutes. In warm weather, he’ll do this in the hallway, but in the winter he’ll park his butt next to the hot air register right next to my side of the bed to noisily lick himself. On mornings when I can’t ignore that, I urge him to find another place to do that by zapping him with the spray bottle I keep by my nightstand to communicate my desires.

After paw-cleaning time, he either settles down and has a nap, or he decides he’s hungry again. If he decides he’s hungry again, he’ll ask for more not with a full-blown meow or by talking like a cat at all, but by saying, “heh” very quietly, waiting about thirty seconds, then repeating “heh” again and waiting another thirty seconds before saying “heh” yet again, and so on. He does that maybe a half-dozen times before adding a sad little whine to it that dips at the end, “Hehhh.” There are some mornings when I can ignore the “heh” and keep on dozing, but the “Hehhh” is just whiny and pathetic enough that I can’t snooze through it. And he seems to know that. He will keep on whining until I either feed him or drop a piano on his head. Or squirt him in the face. Today, I squirted him in the face. Always takes him by surprise the first time. He fully expects that, when I swing my legs over the side of the bed, I’m getting up in order to feed him again, so he comes trotting up to sit at my feet. He doesn’t even seem to notice that I have the spray bottle in my hand until he gets a face full of cold water.

After he slinks off to his hiding place, I have maybe twenty or thirty minutes to doze until he feels bold enough to come out and say “heh” again. I don’t get why he thinks he’s going to get away with that after he’s been warned, but in all the variations of this game, he has never quit after the first shot in the face. When I roll out of bed the second time, though, he’s not stupid enough to come trotting up to my feet. He usually backs off to a corner where he thinks I can’t see him. Sometimes this even works, but this morning there was just enough pre-dawn light to see him cowering there, and he got shot right between the eyes again, sending him out of the room at a trot.

When Boo and I play this game, by the way, she always retreats silently to the darkest corner of the room and tucks her chin into her chest to hide the white bib of fur on her neck. The rest of her pelt is a uniform color of gray that blends in perfectly with even the pre-dawn light, making her nearly invisible and frustrating all my attempts to target her until I started keeping my smartphone on my bedstand to use as an alarm clock. The first time I swept the room with the light from its screen and stopped with it pointing it straight at her, she was so surprised that I had enough time to get off two or three quick squirts that nailed her before she sprang out of the room. They can find me when I’m lost, they can find my cat when it’s hiding in the dark – is there nothing a smart phone can’t do? I’ll let you know when I find out.

The third time Bonkers comes back to say “heh” again, he hardly enters the room. This morning he sat about two steps inside the doorway to whine, and when I climbed out of bed he ran off to his hiding spot, under the stool in the hallway. I say it’s a hiding spot because I believe he has the mistaken impression that I can’t see him when he’s sitting there. Either that, or he thinks it will magically protect him. Whatever his belief, it’s wrong. I don’t even have to aim much, I just indiscriminately spray two or three shots under the stool and he comes bolting out.

If we continue to play this game, he will always run to his hiding place, so it’s not much fun for me any more. I don’t know why it doesn’t occur to him to find another hidey-hole, but it doesn’t. He must think there’s some powerful juju there and it’s gonna kick in at any moment, even though he gets sprayed every time he goes there to hide out. I didn’t continue the game past the third squirting this morning because by then it was seven o’clock, time for me to get up and make coffee, but not to feed Bonkers. He had to wait until the coffee was on.

hork hork hork

Bonkers was circling my feet while I tried to make coffee without tripping over him. Trouble was, we were clean out of canned cat food. Still had some dry kibble, but he’s had trouble eating that stuff ever since his brain thing. His lips don’t work right any more so he has to kind of mash his face into the pile of kibble while he works it with his tongue to get any of it into his mouth. It’s a little painful to watch. But, he was obviously very hungry and wasn’t going to stop trying to trip me, so I dumped a scoop of kibble into his dish, which he ravenously devoured. I have every confidence he’ll be horking up every speck of it within fifteen minutes of swallowing the last little bit.

home alone

bonkers gets blow-driedSeeing as how everybody else in my unit took the day off today, and I didn’t want to be all alone at work, I decided to take the day off and be all alone at home. I’ll try to explain later how that makes sense, sort of.

I’m not totally alone; at least I’ve got The Bonk to keep me company, although if he keeps on following me to every room in the house, including the bathroom, begging me for food, I’ll probably have to lock him in a kitty kennel and dangle it from a rope over the shark pool. I didn’t tell you we had a shark pool? Must’ve slipped my mind.

Bonk got an emergency cat bath yesterday morning when he climbed up into my lap and began trying to clean off a paw covered in some kind of oatmealy-looking but otherwise unidentified substance that he slopped on a corner of my laptop keyboard. Before he made an even bigger mess of my computer, I scooped him right up, carried him to the bathroom, plopped him in the tub and hosed him down under the shower. No, he was not at all happy about that.

Washing The Bonk is surprisingly easy. It’s getting him dry afterwards that’s impressively difficult. After I extract him dripping from the tub, his cue that the ordeal is just about over, all he wants to do is go hide in a corner somewhere to attempt to lick himself dry, which might work on a summer day but would definitely not work in the middle of winter. To get him at least damp-dry, I have to pin him down between my legs and swaddle him in two or three towels, hoping that they’ll soak up most of the drippy stuff before he slithers away.

My Darling B somehow got hold of him yesterday as he was wandering around in the living room looking for a private place and, with the blower dryer on its gentlest setting, managed to get him almost completely dry. It would’ve never occurred to me that he would sit still for that.


image of Bonkers the catTime for a Bonkers Update.

Bonkers is doing pretty darned well for a cat with an indeterminate amount of brain damage caused by an unknown agent. He eats nothing but canned food and he gets almost all the lap time he wants (sometimes he wants it when I’m still doing chores, so no joy then).

He still annoys the hell out of me when he wakes up at all hours of the night to groom himself for thirty or forty minutes. His brain explosion seems to have damaged the neurons that moderate grooming. He does it obsessively now, practically whenever he’s awake, and sometimes he wakes up just to do it. And he’s really noisy about it.

And because he has trouble swallowing, he makes on hell of a mess in the kitchen when he eats, scattering crumbs all over the floor around his dish, then slobbering water in a trail from the water dish to wherever he parks himself to groom for a half-hour or so. But we remind ourselves he can’t help it, break out the mop and trail along behind him.

junk food

The cats got junk food last night. They were sooo happy.

I usually buy cat food at Mad Cat or at the co-op where I can get cat food made from meat and not that crappy cereal that gets dressed up and sold as gourmet cat food. Cats are made to eat meat, not cereal. I have seen our cats swallow mice whole. They’re carnivores. Feeding cereal to cats cannot be good for them.

But yesterday it was raining during my lunch break so I couldn’t get to the store to buy cat food and by quitting time I clean forgot that we were completely out of canned food so I drove straight home without a stop at the co-op. Dammit.

Bonkers has a real hard time eating solid food these days. He can do it, but I don’t like to put him through that. For one thing, he makes a gawdawful mess. He doesn’t seem to have any feeling on one side of his mouth and I don’t think he can work his lips on that side very well, so to get food into his mouth he has to scoop it up with his tongue and throw his head back, scattering about half the kibble that was on his tongue all over the place. To make up for this loss, he scoops up as much as he can by mashing his face into the bowl. Kind of banging it into the bowl, actually. Looks like it hurts.

Soft food is easy for him to lap up, though, so I try to have plenty of cans on hand all the time, and that’s where I fell down on the job last night. I couldn’t stand the thought of watching him bang his face into his bowl, so I ran down to Copp’s, the chain grocery store down by the highway, to get some emergency back-up soft food. Copp’s is a big-box store, almost as big as Wal-Mart. The aisles are each a quarter-mile long, and you can find forty-two dozen different kinds of Cap’n Crunch in the breakfast cereal aisle, but how many brands of cat food do they offer? Two. Little Friskies and 9 Lives. Crap and more crap. Thanks for that, Copp’s.

Oops, three. They also had Fancy Feast. I’m pretty sure that’s a brand of either 9 Lives or Little Friskies, though. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all the same crap owned by the same company.

So anyway, I bought two cans of the crap food and spooned some out for the Bonk when I got home and he gobbled it up like it was the best thing ever. Of course. My Darling B pointed out that it’s probably the cat equivalent of buying him a bag of Bugles. Mmmm! Bugles! Thank you! Thank you for Bugles! I know it’s crap and it’s not even good for me but I LOVE BUGLES! Nom nom nom nom!


Not sure what this proves: Our cats figured out somehow that I’m the one who feeds them. They jump on my head to wake me up in the morning. They follow me around the kitchen when they’re hungry. Yet, even though they’re smart enough to figure that out, they haven’t twigged to the fact that I hold a grudge and I’m not above a little vengeance now and then. I’m no Einstein, but even I know better than to piss off the person who feeds me. I think I learned that before I could speak.

cat plan

The cats came so close to realizing their nefarious plan.

For weeks, they’ve been waking me up a little earlier each day by standing at the foot of our bed mewling, or jumping on my head, and I’ve been obliging them by getting up and feeding them, thinking that with a little food in their bellies they’d leave me alone and I could go get a little more sleep.

Only I don’t get more sleep. If I wake up after four or five o’clock in the morning, I’m up for the rest of the day. Well, until, say, eight o’clock that night, anyway. So this has been a game of diminishing returns, and this morning it diminished even further: Damn cats woke me up at four o’clock.

I didn’t get up because I knew it was pointless. I could have fed them, but I wouldn’t have been able to get back to sleep, so I laid there for maybe twenty minutes before I got out of bed to make some coffee and gobble down a bowl of oatmeal. And ignore the cats. They tried everything they could think of to get my attention, even that thing where they wind around my legs and sit down right in front of me while I’m walking across the dining room, but I managed not only to ignore them but also to avoid concussion after tripping over one of them and falling on my face.

They’re more than a little puzzled by this, wandering around in a bit of a daze. He didn’t feed us. That never happened before. And occasionally they get tangled up with each other, resulting in a swatting match that’s oddly satisfying to watch. But they still haven’t been fed, and won’t be until I’m ready to leave for work. And that’s the way it’s going to be from now on.