Things that make me happy: A cat who plays the cowbell

Meet Tuna. Tuna is part of the AcroCats — which you totally need to read up on. I’m serious — click this link. Tuna plays the cowbell for baby food (chicken flavor).

Tuna’s friend Dakota plays percussion for their band, the Rock Cats. I saw them play live. Let me assure you the music sucked, but it was one of the best afternoons of my life.

A quick moment to appreciate the quirkiness of cats

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A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of changing my sheets and digging out all of the throw pillows from underneath the bed, when I was distracted by the siren call of Law & Order SVU. A few hours later, I returned to complete the task and found this waiting for me…

Hey, as long as he’s comfortable right?

Oh Lucifer, you used to be such a street-smart alley cat. Now look at you — you’re like a feline version of the Princess and the Pea.

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Things that make me smile: fluffy cats without a care

My name is Gus Gus and I do what I want.

My cats, like all cats I’m sure, are obsessed with eating. They will eat just about anything, but I think they appreciate a change in diet just as much as the next person. So this picture is an example of a fairly routine thing that happens in our house — a torn open bag of new cat food, even though there is plenty of the old food still in the dish.

I guess I understand — since we tend to buy food in the big Costco bags, they eat the same thing for extended time periods. Occasionally we’ll have to supplement with a small bag from the grocery store and when we do, it’s like keeping cookies away from children.

What I like best about this picture is the expression Gus Gus has on his face — he knows he’s been busted but, again like most cats, he just doesn’t care.

Confession Time — My kitty is a peeping tomcat

Things that make me laugh: that my cat is nosier than I am

I’ve mentioned before that my neighbors are crazy, like absolutely bat-shit crazy. I have no idea what goes on over there, but every day I hope they get evicted. Until that happens, I remain glued to my windows, surreptitiously spying on them.

But I’m in good company. Whenever they are outside, in the midst of a mid-day screaming match, Lucifer is right next to me. And since he’s a cat, he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining a sense of decorum.

Luckily, in my household, curiosity has never killed a cat!

Stray Cat Strut: Meet Friday — the prettiest kitty of all time…

* Friday is the only one of our cats who did not actually come to me as a stray. But I saved her from the possibility, so I think it counts.

Back in the fall of my junior year of college at HSU, I was living in a house with five other people, one of them my former roommate Oliver Lucky. There was a knock on the door one evening, and we opened it to find a woman standing there with two small children holding a basket of kittens. All of us were enamored with their adorableness (the kittens not the children) but I was the only person who didn’t think taking one was a good idea.

This is surprising, I know, considering my serious cat obsession. But we were college kids with no jobs and no real responsibilities. Cats are certainly less maintenance than other pets, but none of us had even committed to living together for any longer than the year. Sure we were all friends, but senior year was completely up in the air. And none of us planned to spend the summer in Humboldt County, thus a pet would have to travel with someone during school breaks.

And yet, we took one. The little black one to be precise.

We named her Friday because she was a black cat born on Friday the 13th. She was a sweet kitten with a sense of adventure and undeterred curiosity — until she was stung by a bee. After that she preferred to stay inside where she became infamous at our small parties for her devotion to fetching everything from glitter ball cat toys to bottle caps.

One year later, as suspected, I was Friday’s sole owner (something Oliver has heard ad nauseam ever since). But I have to admit I wouldn’t have it any other way. After I graduated, she came with me to Portland, meowing the whole way, and was basically my best friend for the first few months I lived here.

Wait — that sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true. I soon made friends, both in my neighborhood and at culinary school, but it was Friday who kept me company when I was home. No longer just a college kitty, she began to settle in to our quiet life in Portland. She had never been overly affectionate, but she developed the habit of sitting on my lap while I was on my computer, purring away. At night I would give her a little “tsk-tsk” and she would come running to cuddle under the covers.

This lasted until we adopted Lucifer. Used to being an only cat, she resentfully avoided us for a few months. Now she’ll come and cuddle but it’s always on her terms. If she’s in the mood for pets, she will meow and swat you. If she’s not — stay away.

All of my cats have fairly distinct personalities and though Friday is easy to just pass off as just a slightly cranky and neurotic old-lady cat, she really has a lot more going on. She enjoys water — as a kitten she used to love to have the sink running so she could paw at the stream coming from the faucet. Now she still likes water, but mainly just drinking it out of things that are not meant as water bowls.

This has led these defiant acts of kitty thirst quenching:

She is also far from a pushover. Our other cats are boys who came straight from the streets, basically the unruly teenage punks of the feline world. Friday was declawed when she was only a couple of years old (a decision I still regret) but that doesn’t stop the other two from being terrified of her.

If they get too close, she gives them an earful — hissing and growling as if she was actually going to fight them. I think she sleeps with one eye open just in case they get any ideas. They might be rough-and-tumble former alley cats, but she clearly rules the roost. Lucifer gave up on trying to play with her years ago and Gus Gus gives her a wide berth, though occasionally his curiosity gets the better of him and he tries to initiate contact. This does not go well.

In fact here’s a picture from almost a year ago, when Gus Gus was still new to the household. He didn’t know that Friday values her personal space as much as she does her dinner time and tried to edge her out of the eating area. She showed no fear and, ears pulled back, taught him a lesson on who eats first in our house.

She’s still my sweet little girl though, and the first pet who belonged to just me. Not a family cat that my parents help take care of, but a pet that (after that first year) was actually my sole responsibility. We’ve been through a lot together in the past twelve years and I think we’ll always have a special bond because of that.

Stray Cat Strut — Meet Lucifer (formerly known as the Evil One)

A while back I wrote a post about our newest kitty, the fluffy Mr. Gus Gus, and I think that my other cats were feeling a little left out. At least that’s what I determined from the influx of hair balls on the kitchen floor. So it only seemed fair to spread the love and write each of them a post too.

Let’s start with Lucifer.

Lucifer was a hellion when we first got him, hence his name. People say oh, well of course he turned out to be trouble with a name like that. Here’s the deal though — we waited almost two weeks before picking out a name and that was after he tore up a new leather jacket, ate our houseplants and generally tortured us with his constant desire to be on top of everything.

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