Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teen Kitties

Franklin and Winston have reached the tender age of 20 weeks. If they are kittens no longer, I guess you could call them “teener cats.” At this stage they’re lean and lanky and active as all get out. If the kitten months were about mischief, the teen months are already showing signs of being about serious antics, as they learn how to climb inside the stereo, surmount the 8-foot curio in a single bound, balance on the top of the bookshelf, and pick my “tucked away for safe keeping” plushies from any of a dozen hiding places.

The kits show no signs of “slowing down as they mature.” Rather, they only show a higher level of creativity in what they get into, and how they get into it. ;)

Several weeks ago, the whole family started considering the “to neuter or not to neuter” question. It shouldn’t be a hard question, really. There are far too many homeless cats and kittens, and adding to the pet population is unnecessary. On the other hand, there is no shortage of demand for an attractive Siamese, and both of the boys would probably sire beautiful kittens. Plus, I would dearly love to have kittens in the house, even for just a few weeks before they go to their new homes. (Well, their new homes assuming I could part with them!)

In consulting with our veterinarian, though, he said that un-neutered adult male cats do not really make very good pets. They’re much too interested in “the ladies,” which means it can be a constant struggle to keep them inside. Too, they’re known to damage carpets and furniture beyond a bit of claw sharpening, if you know what I mean. And finally, having two adult males might lead to territorial disputes. I know that situation pretty well, for years ago we had a father and son who began fighting so badly my mother ended up taking the son into her home. It turned out to be a blessing, because Mom had firmly stated she didn’t want a cat but she and Ambrose ended up being completed devoted to one another. (Yes, Ambrose, as in Ambrose P. Hill, the U.S. Civil War general. Yet another unusual kitty name. ;) )

Anyway, last week we made the trip over to our friendly animal hospital and Franklin and Win underwent “the operation.” They returned a little groggy but none the worse for the experience and by the next morning were back to bouncing off the walls again. As for me, I guess I’ll restrict my love of kittens to my photo albums or visits to the local pet shop, knowing we made the best choice for the Win and Frankie, overall.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cat-astrophes -- Part Trois

Foot Fetish: Every shoe in the house has shredded shoelaces. Even the shoes that don’t have laces have a wary look about them, knowing if they did have laces, they would be chewed, clawed, and otherwise defiled. Half of the trainers have missing aiglets (the plastic tip at the end of the laces—bonus points in Trivial Pursuit!). And my new lavender slippers with the furry tops have a suspicious moistness about them in the mornings, as if to suggest someoneI dare not say who!may have been licking the fur in the wee hours of the night.

Succulent Shoelaces

Packaging as a Decorative Accent: The Boyz got a really fancy cat tree a couple of months ago. It has seven levels that offer a choice of two houses, a ramp, a set of stairs, a tube, a pair of high shelves, and a hammock (which is their favorite part). However, they may just prefer the carton the whole thing came in. I don’t claim that to be a unique observation; the same has been said about gifts given to small children and dawgs. However, the lengths to which the kitties venerate the carton is extraordinary, including digging holes to allow multi-level access, bending the top three inches to form a ridge so that they can tight-rope walk along the edge, and licking off the various labels to make the entire structure oh that much more attractive. Aye, right. :)

The Everest Experience: As smallscale (and somewhat hairier) Sir Edmund Hillarys, Winston and Franklin have embraced the instinctive desire to climb and have taken it toforgive menew heights. They’ve tested draperies, curtains, hanging bath towels, even an eight-foot curio cabinet, whose conquest resulted in substantial disturbance amongst my game shrine. Their latest récréation du jour is surmounting shower curtains. Crack-of-dawn crashes over the last few days confirm that sometimes “I climbed it because it is there” can be appended with, “Well, not any more.” ;)

You are going to be in soooo much trouble!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cat-astrophes -- Part Deux

The snow is gone now, washed away in rainstorms that make one think of arcs and animal duos. The frosty goodness was lovely while it lasted, and I will hope for a beautiful White Christmas every year now. And after reflection, I think it's time for a few more observations in the continuing saga of (soap opera announcer voice here) Life with Kitties:

Christmas Tree De-Decoration: I figured this year I’d be smart. There’s no point in putting up tempting breakable ornaments, especially since I’ve been collecting for years and have—by actual count—13 large storage boxes of decorations. I decided to go with all non-breakables like brass or wood, or soft ornaments like felt, yarn, or fabric. The problem is, the kitties love plushies, and consider anything within reach their toy. So I heard "Jingle Bells" (or jingling bells, anyway) at all hours of the day and night, as Winston captured a plush santa and carried it down the hall, or as Franklin dragged a stuffed reindeer twice his size to the top of the stairway and then pushed it over the edge. My lovely Noble Fit—7 feet tall, hand cut at the tree farm—was a sight to see: Graceful, delicate... and decorated only from 3 feet and up. ;)

Super Shoppers: Let's put it this way, from 3 AM QFC bag exploration to afternoon purchase inspection, there's never been a shopping bag The Boyz didn't love.

Something is wrong.
I found no roast chicken in this bag!

Fish Food = Haute Cuisine: Apparently, fish are carnivores. Who knew? I figured they ate veggies, yet their flake food is nothing but the processed carcasses of their predecessors. Frankie and Win noticed that I had a small fish food sample on my desk. “Please, Mom, could we have that packet?” they politely inquired. Forty-two times I replied, “Get off the desk, let go of that packet, and leave the fishie food alone.” Sometime in the night, they crept onto my desk anyway and made off with the TetraMin. The package is now covered with tiny teeth marks and there’s a dime-sized hole in the center from which, I believe, someone has been licking taste samples!

I see you in there.

Both Win and Frankie have taken to looking longingly into the aquarium when I feed the fish. As you can imagine, a well-clawed and well-toothed mammal plastered to the side of the tank causes some concern amongst the inhabitants. In fact, a couple of the gourmis are now swimming exclusively in the rear area of the tank and I think the tetras have begun roving security patrols.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winston: I Invent a New Card Game

Over this human holiday called New Year’s, I came up with what I think is a brilliant new concept: It’s a card game where you wager coins, paper money, bits of plastic, or even kitty kibbles (!) and win rewards based on the cards in your paw. I call it “poker.”

This new game takes skill, cunning, and a very cool demeanor. You must be able to look someone in the eye and not reveal glee at a good paw, or despair at a lousy draw of cards. In fact, you benefit greatly if you are able to make a paw full of cat litter look like a bowl of turkey breast, based on your facial expression.

Never avoid meeting you opponent's eyes.

My humans invited friends and family over to our house to play the new game; they all seemed to enjoy it immensely. In fact, gaming ensued into the wee hours. One of the newly-trained players snapped a few photographs. I suspect he thought by doing that he would capture my exceptional ability to remain impassive as I wagered; perhaps he thought he'd divine the code to my game-winning demeanor.

No matter.

I call your stack of worthless plastic
and raise you two fishy treats.

I drew to an inside straight flush and cleared the table.

And in the spirit of the holiday, Franklin and I hope your celebration was joyful and wish you much happiness in the New Year.