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 CST
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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 CST
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel | 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 CST
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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 CST
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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 CST
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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

I found Boo sitting on the end of the dining room table when I turned on the lights this morning. She’s usually waiting for me there, couldn’t be more obvious about what she wanted if she had a bib and was propping up a knife and fork with each paw. And, usually, I snap my finger and she jumps down off the table without delay, but this morning she just grumbled at me.

“What?” I asked, incredulously, and snapped my finger again. She still wouldn’t budge.

I reached for the squirt gun. That’s usually enough to change her mind, but not this morning. I grabbed the squirt gun. She still didn’t make a move to get down, so I swung around and pointed the squirt gun at her, giving her one last chance. She only blinked her eyes at me, with lots of attitude, as if to say, Yeah? Bring it. So I shot her in the face.

She shook it off, did a one-eighty to turn her butt to me, and sat back down again, very slowly. This is what I think of your squirt gun, bitch.

Hoo boy, did she get drenched for that.

Little Squirt | 6:30 am CST
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Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

image of sleeping sick guy

I’m still trying to sleep off the effects of this head cold I caught, so this will necessarily be brief before I have to go medicate myself with my hourly fistful of over-the-counter drugs, drink a pint of water and stretch out on the recliner for my early-mid-late-afternoon nap.

My symptoms today are a lot worse than they were the day before, and they were plenty bad yesterday. “You look like shit,” My Darling B observed, gazing across the dinner table at me. “I hope you don’t take that the wrong way.” I was too burned out to take it any way at all.

This morning I had a clear head for about an hour, long enough to make the ceremonial pot of coffee and eat a bowl of granola before I wrapped myself up in quilts and retreated to the recliner with a hot cuppa joe and the Sunday paper. I barely touched either of them before I was drifting in and out of consciousness.

I’d forgotten how much I hate being this sick. For an hour or more I struggled to keep my eyes open as waves of congestion swelled my face up and filled my eyes with tears. I could read three or four paragraphs before I had to put the newspaper down, reel off a yard and a half of toilet paper from the roll I kept at my side, and explosively blow a quart or two of snot from my sinuses. Finally I just gave up, popped a couple decongestants, stretched out with my eyes closed and prayed for death.

When I finally came to again, round about two in the afternoon, I was feeling well enough to make myself a cup of tea, and passed a few hours by reading a few chapters of the book I’m chipping away at, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. It even made some sense, unlike the news stories I was trying to figure out this morning. But I can tell a relapse is coming on quickly and I’ll have to go pop a couple more decongestant capsules before becoming an inert lump on the recliner once again.

The photo’s from yesterday; B snapped it while I was out like a light. She’s been babying me as much as she dares, but mostly she’s trying to keep her distance, and I don’t blame her one bit. The cats, on the other hand, aren’t squeamish at all about my condition. The great thing about cats is they’ll curl up with you whether you’re healthy or sick. All they’re looking for is a warm lap, and once they’ve claimed it they’ll stubbornly stay there no matter how wetly you sneeze on them. They can’t catch your bug, so they don’t care.

Out Go The Lights! | 3:25 pm CST
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Friday, August 27th, 2010

image of mouse

Boo brought me breakfast in bed! What a good Boo!

It’s not at all unusual for Boo to jump up into our bed when the alarm goes bleep in the morning so she can lay claim to the warm spot I leave behind when I get up to make coffee for My Darling B. Sometimes she even cuddles up next to me as if maybe she likes me, but I think she might actually be trying to push me aside so she can curl up before the warmth fades away, even though she weighs less than a tenth of what I weigh.

So I didn’t think anything of it when she jumped up next to me as I sat on the edge of the bed this morning, rubbing my eyes to get the sleepers out. I even put a hand on her head to rub her ears a bit, and that’s about when she ducked and Puh! spat out a mouse, her special gift for me.

Oh, Boo! I never knew you loved me that much!

Prezzie from Boo | 9:21 pm CST
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Monday, June 21st, 2010

In Mouse-Catching News: Boo was acting all funny Saturday night, jumping around and chasing shadows across the floor. That’s usually the kind of thing Bonkers does, else My Darling B wouldn’t have taken much notice of her. “Whatcha doin’, Boo?” she asked, and when Boo turned to look at her, B noticed a mouse’s tail hanging from Boo’s mouth, just like in the cartoons.

I was in the bedroom so I didn’t see any of this, but I did hear B holler, “Oh, gross!” Then she called for help when Boo spat the mouse on the floor. I arrived on the scene just in time to chase the mouse across the living room floor and stick it in a jar. It was playing dead until I reached for it, then took off like a shot, heading for the hallway with me in hot pursuit while B struggled to hold the cats in check.

B doesn’t like mice in the house but would rather not kill them if she can help it, so when we catch one, or the cats do, we take it to a nearby park and release it. B took this one to a park just up the block in an empty applesauce jar to let it go, then came back and, just as she was beginning to relax again, Bonkers brought a mouse up from the basement and started chasing it around the living room!

Unfortunately for Miss Mouse, B couldn’t get to that one in time for a live release. Bonkers beats them up pretty bad chasing them around, although they’re such small, bouncy things you’d think they’d be able to handle that a little better than being inside a cat’s freaking mouth! When B finally got Bonkers to let his prize go it was limp as a noodle, not playing dead at all. The applesauce jar was only a temporary holding spot on the way to the trash can for that little furball.

bleh | 9:15 am CST
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