Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Poetic Injustice (Halloween Version)

In honor of Halloween, I have decided to do honor to one of my favorite authors. 

Edgar Allen Poe. 

Poe was a very creepy two legger who loved cats and wore really cool clothes. 

I respect that. 

And now I give you.....

 The Craven
Once upon a late night rainy, my mind was tired, my eyes were grainy,
I worked on my blog thingy, tired and weary to my core.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently slapping, slapping at my sliding door.
`'Tis some vermin,' I muttered, `slapping at my sliding door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak November,
And each separate dust bunny wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my blog surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Beebo -
For the greatest catnip mousie thingy, whom the two leggers name Beebo -
Nameless here for evermo’.

And the silken sad uncertain shredding of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic friskiness never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my mousie, I stood repeating
`'Tis some vermin entreating entrance at my sliding door -
A soon to be  late vermin entreating entrance at my sliding door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my annoyance grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Squirrel thingy’ said I, `or Raccoon, truly your existence I abhor;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came slapping,
And so bravely you came slapping, slapping at my sliding door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I peered through the sliding door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that glass I was gazing, thinking my reflection looks amazing ,
Gazing, dreaming dreams no housecat ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was ceaseless, as I dreamed of squirrels in pieces,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Beebo!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Beebo!'
Merely this and nothing mo’.

Back into the dining room turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a slapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `that squirrel has guts; And soon he will hang from his nuts.
Let me at him then, I’ll eat him, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'And then the squirrel thingy will live no more!'

Open here I flung the sash, prepared to knock him on his……butt,
In there stepped a gray tabby of the whiny days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, in a clumsy, clawless slide, she slid across my floor-
Jumped and sat upon a pillow just above my hardwood floor -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this gray tabby beguiling my annoyed fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of her large face she wore,
`Though thy face be large, and should be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no raven.
Ghastly whiny and annoying tabby wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy cursed name lest you become a bore!'
Quoth the tabby, `Nevermore.'

Much I fumed, this ungainly cat to hear whining so plainly,
Though its answer angered me more – and  little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living being
Ever yet was cursed with seeing a whiny gray tabby upon his bedroom floor.
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the whiner, sitting lonely on the bedroom floor, spoke only,
That one word, as if her soul in that one word she did outpour.
Nothing further then she uttered - her mangy gray hair then she fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other enemies have fled before -
On the morrow I will smack her once more, I will smack her as before.'
Then the whiner whined, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the silliness broken by reply so wrongly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it whines is its only stock and store,
Deciding I shall ignore the whinestress, I turned once more
To the ebon darkness beyond the sliding door.
But once again I heard a slapping slapping slapping.
But this time, from the bathroom floor.
Yea, this slapping slapping slapping, came from the bathroom floor.

What further torment be this? What irritant can it be?
With smacking paw a-twitching, I went bathward for to see.
Twas naught but an orange tabby, in the throes of a dim-witted dream.
He was thrashing upon a bath towel, and soon began to scream!
His scream doth shook my spirit, unto my very core,
As he convulsed in mortal terror and shouted ‘Ummm, nevermore?’

I pounced upon the dreamer, I batted at the screamer.
I finally woke the tabby and he wakened rather crabby.
He tried to bite, he tried to fight, he tried to claw and much much more.
And so I subdued him by smack smack smacking his head
Against the bathroom floor.
Smack smack smacking, against the bathroom floor.

Once more I heard a slapping slapping slapping.This time from the Hall.
It didn’t sound very large, it sounded rather small.
Figuring this night could not get more whack,
I entered the hallway at a run and encountered Jaq.
She was tapping out the drum solo from Inna Godda Davida,
Upon the hallway floor.
I flew into a fury and hissed at her ‘No more!’

 I unleashed my rage upon all that I surveyed.
My spirit demanded vengeance, my spirit I obeyed.
Vengeance for the sleep I lost, my slumber interrupted.
Vengeance for my stolen rest and my dreams now corrupted.
Into those who disturbed me, I slashed, I bit I tore.
Until their pain-riddled bodies lay strewn across the floor.

Suddenly I wakened, raised my head, to my dismay I saw
No crimson entrails scattered down my hall.
The other four leggers were fine, they still retained their heads.
They were peacefully sleeping and snoring in their beds.

And so my saga ends. My lesson it is learned.
Into my soul a new commandment, indelibly is burned. 
The next time a postman comes tapping tapping tapping at my door,
And offers me New Zealand catnip,
I will tell him 'Nevermore'.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Orange Oddity

Ivan has been acting a bit........odd.

Yes, I know that this is a somewhat ambiguous statement. Ivan always acts a bit.......odd.

However, he is now acting odd even for Ivan.

Normally, Ivan acts odd in a fairly predictable and easily explained manner. His strange activities can usually be attributed to his lack of brain cell thingies. When he suddenly takes an intense dislike to a spot on the floor in the hallway and attempts to smack it into submission, we just smile and shake our heads and say "Well, that's just Ivan." When he violently awakens from a midday nap, poofs, crooks his tail and runs headlong into the nearest door, we roll our eyes, check for a pulse on his unconscious form and say "There he goes again." When he inexplicably gets spooked by a stray sock on the bathroom floor and slays the offending hosiery, we simply smirk and say "Oh Ivan, you nutball." It is all fairly normal for such an abnormal individual.

This is a different species of odd.

He has been acting not only odd, but spooky odd.

In spite of his pudgy, malformed and just plain strange physique, Ivan is capable of amazing stealth. In the past he has shown an incredible ability to sneak up on any number of things. Q-Tips never see him coming until they are in the depths of his maw. Dust bunnies are slain with absolutely no warning of their impending doom. I once witnessed him stalking and slaying a milk carton ring thingy that was lying next to a sleeping two legger and he accomplished this without disturbing the slumber of the napping two legger.

Now, he seems to be utilizing his supernatural stealth for more nefarious purposes.

For the last week or so, Ivan has been suddenly appearing in the strangest of places. I leave him napping on the bed, walk into the bathroom and there's Ivan sitting in the tub thingy, staring at me. Later, I notice that he is sprawled on the heated bathroom floor, I head to the litter box and when I arrive, there he is sitting behind the box, softly snickering to himself. Why just yesterday, I swear I saw him in the bay window, in a full on sunbeam-induced coma, yet when I turned to jump up to my throne in front of the firebox thingy, I discovered that he was already there, warming his ample buns in front of MY firebox thingy.

I am unsure of his intentions. Is he attempting to give me a case of heebie-jeebies? Is he trying to showcase his prowess in a bid for a promotion? Is he being manipulated by Tiger Lily in order to get revenge for her daily smackings?

Just to be careful, I have decided to cover all my bases.

First of all, I have informed him that I have been inoculated against the heebie-jeebies, I have promoted him to the rank of Chief of Hallway Spot Menacing, and finally I have decided that I will no longer smack Tiger Lily on a daily basis.

I will now smack her on an hourly basis. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scents and Sensibilities

Time to answer some Minion Mail.

Due to privacy concerns, I usually answer Minion Mail in private messages. However, it sometimes happens that I receive a question that the answer of which benefits the entire Universe thingy. What follows is an example of just such a question.

Dear Most Wise and Wonderful Cujo, Supreme Ruler and Grand Poobah Thingy of All Universes, Both Known and Unknown, Smacker of All Things Gray and Whiny, Slayer of Squirrel Thingies, Menacer of Mice, Tormentor of Two leggers and Slayer of Stupidity.
      As an avid reader of your blog thingy, I have often been the beneficiary of your words of wisdom. Your advice and knowledge have helped me immeasurably in my relationship with my feline mistress, Winky. Your post about feline body language was especially helpful.
    Now for my question: Winky seems to spend an inordinate amount of time rubbing against stuff. She rubs her cheeks over every piece of furniture, she rubs her face on my pillows and bedding, she rubs her entire body against my legs whenever I attempt to walk anywhere in my home. I have provided her with many scratching posts and combs to groom herself with, but this seems to go beyond simple self-grooming behavior. 
Is this another form of silent communication?
     I eagerly await your sage reply,
                           Marcy McAnoodle

Dear Marcy,
    First of all, I thank you for your kind and accurate praise.
Your presumption that Winky's behavior is another form of non-verbal communication is spot on. However, this behavior is not a case of body language, it is a case of chemical communication.

Many four leggers, especially felines, use chemicals that their bodies secrete to leave messages to themselves and others.

These chemicals are known as "Furrymones".   

Furrymones are excreted from a variety of locations within the feline anatomy. The furrymone utilized depends upon the message that the cat wishes to convey. These messages can range from the very simple, to the very complex.

The vast majority of feline furrymones are basically conveying one simple message: "This belongs to me. It does not belong to you. You may think it belongs to you, but you would be wrong, because it belongs to me. It may have belonged to you at one time, but it no longer belongs to you. It now belongs to me. I may never use it again, but make no mistake, it still belongs to me.". This particular furrymone is secreted from a gland thingy located on the cheeks. It is also known as a "Furry-mine" .

Another furrymone is excreted from the top of the head. A cat will apply this by ramming its head forcefully into anyone it recognizes as being part of its immediate family. This is commonly known as "Headbonking". Unlike other furrymones, this one is used exclusively on other individuals and never on inanimate objects. Ivan however, seems to consider walls and doors to be close friends and headbonks them often.

Other furrymones can serve as more specialized messages. Here are a few examples:

A cat may appear to be shredding your furniture, however it is actually utilizing the furrymones located in glands in its paws that tells other cats in the area that this couch is worthy of shredding and all are welcome to do so.

Outdoor cats will rub against tree trunks and other landmarks releasing furrymones that serve as chemical waypoints so that they are better able to find their way home after a night of catnip-fueled carousing (Ivan uses the same method to find his way back out of closets).

Females in estrus use furrymones to alert males in the area that they are open to mating and procreation. Much the same way that female two leggers use the phrase "Omigosh! I'm so drunk!".

I have even used a very specialized furrymone to convince Ivan that the male two legger was hiding a bacon sandwich in his sock. To this day the male still walks with a slight limp.

Finally, if you should witness a cat dragging its nether regions across a carpet or rug, it too is leaving a message. However in this case it is not a chemically-based communique.

 It is simply attempting to communicate what it thinks of your choice in floor dressing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Creepy Hollow

Ah, October! One of my favorite times of the year.

The leaf thingies on the tree thingies have begun to change color and drift lazily to the ground. The temperature has steadily dropped, causing the firebox thingy to awaken from its Summer slumber. The goat thingies have suddenly grown fluffy and frisky. They spend the day beneath the lone maple, eagerly devouring each and every leaf as it falls. I imagine the squirrel thingy is staying awake at night, anxiously dreading the windstorms brewing on the horizon.

Best of all, it is the time of year that all two leggers everywhere decide it is time to scare the bejeezus out of themselves. Every channel on the talking box thingy is showing horror movies, scary documentaries, tales of the occult, ghost stories, gruesome mini-series, and Miley Cyrus videos.

My male two legger in particular loves to spend time watching old horror movies and documentaries about unexplained phenomenon. I find this behavior perplexing. For the most part, he is a very rational, scientifically-minded individual who despite my best efforts, more or less retains his sanity. But come October, he suddenly turns into an aluminum foil hat wearing, crucifix carrying, holy water sprinkling, certified nutter.

Make no mistake.

I am not complaining.

His annual fortnight of insanity offers a great opportunity for one who may be tempted to make the most of this Fall flakiness and turn it to their own nefarious advantage.

One such as myself.

Purely out of scientific curiosity, I have decided to find out just how far out of the tree we can push this particular nut.

Oh sure, I could probably severely startle him by suddenly leaping at him from some dark corner in the middle of the night, hissing and yowling, a furry wrecking ball of teeth and claws, but the terror would be short-lived and just not that satisfying. Trust me, I speak from experience when I tell you that scaring him in that manner loses its novelty after the twenty-third time.

So this year, I have decided to take the more subtle, long-term approach. Instead of sudden moments of abject terror, we would provide him with hours and possibly weeks of steadily increasing uneasiness.

Monday, while the two leggers were at work, I called a meeting of my minions and assigned them each their roles in what I have named "Operation: Dirty Drawers".

*Side note- For all my international minions, the word "drawers" is an American colloquialism meaning "pants". Also known as "britches" in the American South, "trousers" in the United Kingdom and "ankle warmers" in California.

For all his clumsiness, Ivan can be quite stealthy. Therefore, I gave him the assignment of being the Creepy Presence That One Senses From The Corner of One's Eye. The job of the  CPTOSFTCOE is to always remain on the periphery of the target's vision. Using multiple designated hidey-holes, the CPTOSFTCOE appears and disappears at random intervals, never allowing the target enough time to identify the source of the movement. This method when utilized correctly can cause nervous tics. In extreme cases, whiplash can occur.

I appointed Jaq to be the Royal Minister of Spooky Sounds. As RMSS, Jaq is required to make strange sounds in the darkest hours of the night. She has a great repertoire of noises ranging from the soft creaking of a loose floorboard to the sudden staccato rapping from an empty room. Jaq is so adept at her duty that I have been forced to issue ear plugs to Ivan in an effort to keep him from bolting in terror and confusion. Mostly confusion.

Tiger Lily is the official glarer. Her mission is to always keep herself positioned slightly above the level of the two legger's head and simply glare at him. She glares at him from the china cabinet while he eats at the dining room table. She glares at him from the dresser when he is in bed. She glares at him from the vanity while he uses his litter box. When he is at work, she glares at a picture of him on the coffee table. I must admit that she has shown amazing dedication to her duty and I am tempted to stay my paw and not smack her this week. However, I am sure that this will pass and she will feel my wrath anyway.

Of course, I will be responsible for the Coup de' Paw. Every night I will stand at a window, peering through the inky darkness, when I know that I have his full attention, I will suddenly hiss, poof and bolt from the room. Sometimes I will even pretend to cower under a bed. This usually causes him to grab a flashlight thingy and search the entire area outside the window. This is especially amusing when it is raining or stormy outside.

But my latest and favorite manner of creeping him out came to me quite by accident. I was watching the talking box thingy one night when they aired a story of a cat in a nursing home that seemed to know whenever an elderly two legger was doomed to pass away. This cat would visit the two legger's room and often sit at the foot of their bed, staring at them in a knowing manner.

Hence, every night as the two leggers sit and watch their programs, I take my place on the hall table.

I hope he makes it to Halloween.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Frightened Furry Feline Feral Fixed For Free

Those of you in my FaceBook Fan Club have been following along as my female two legger has posted about her and the male's attempts to capture my newest outside minion.

For those of you who are not members of my fan club, I will now give a brief synopsis of their mostly ineffectual efforts.

Those of you who already know the story may look away until I finish the review. Or go to the restroom, perhaps read the newspaper for a few minutes, maybe make some tea or help yourself to a cold beverage. Do as you please, just give me about five minutes to give everyone else some background.

I'll let you know when to start reading again.

Okay, now that they're gone, allow me to catch you up.  About six weeks ago, a small black stray showed up my Kingdom. She seemed fairly harmless, and completely wild, so I decided that she could live under my back deck. The female two legger named her "Sheba", but after much pondering, I have decided that her name should be "Sheba".

However, after watching her for several days, (and by "watching" what I really mean is standing at the window, hissing, poofing and then beating up anyone in my general vicinity) I realized that there was something odd about her. Her shadow seemed strange. For one thing, she cast a shadow on rainy, overcast days. Sometimes I could even see it at night. But the strangest thing about her shadow, was that it seemed to have a mind of its own. With little or no warning or provocation, it would leap straight into the air and scamper back under the deck. Once, I witnessed it jumping on her back and biting her head.

I am ashamed to say that it was Ivan that solved the mystery. As I sat watching these curious shadow shennanigans, Ivan walked up and said "Yo Boss, what's wit da kid?"

It was a kitten thingy!

I've read about them in books, but have never seen one personally.

After watching it frolic in my yard for several minutes, I reached a conclusion

Kittens annoy me.

They flip around, acting all cute and stuff, bouncing everywhere, hissing at pine cones, attacking fallen maple leaves. For my Canadian minions, relax, they are actually leaves, you know, from trees, not hockey players from Toronto (Ivan attacks those).

So I decided that "Sheba" should lay off the baby-making and spend more time irritating the squirrel. Now scientist thingies have done studies on the reproductive habits of feral cats and their findings are startling. By using the mathematical formula of  (a+g)-(14.682-b)+15% we find that a sexually mature female feral is capable of producing.......well, a whole bunch of tiny leaf menacers. More if catnip and wine are involved.

Fortunately, a local minion by the name of Pat informed my two leggers about a place called The Northwest Organization of Animal Help (NOAH). They are a no-kill animal shelter that also provides spaying/neutering services for feral animals Pro Bono (although they don't seem like U2 fans). Pat was also gracious enough to loan my two leggers a trap thingy in order to safely capture Sheba and transport her to NOAH.

Okay, all you who looked away earlier may now pay attention.

So, the two leggers brought home the trap thingy and the male spent the next two hours staring at it like a chimpanzee at the zoo staring at a new tire swing. Finally he figured it out and set the trap in the yard.

The very first night the trap worked perfectly. It caught a raccoon. The second night, it caught another raccoon. The third night, the two leggers got smart and posted a sign on the trap that read: "KATS ONLY! NO RACKOONS ALOUD!" Fortunately, the raccoons overlooked the misspellings and stayed away, allowing the cat trap to actually trap a cat......Yup, you guessed it, they caught the kitten. They immediately amended the sign to read: GROAN KATS ONLY! STILL NO RACKOONS ALOUD!"  Taking pity on the two leggers, Sheba finally walked into the trap, and while staring right at the poorly hidden two leggers, deliberately stepped upon the plate that triggered the door.

So very early this morning, the male loaded her into the car and drove her to NOAH. When he came back, he couldn't stop talking about the wonderful staff. From what I gathered, they are all about protecting and helping cats.  They provide veterinary services for low income families as well as adoption and the aforementioned feral services.

So I am sending out a special thank you to the entire staff at NOAH!

M.J. Zelinka- Clinic Manager
Martine Hazzard- LVT
Anna Dykias- LVT
Dr. Holly Birkett
Dr. Karen Mueller

 They also help dog thingies, but hey, no one's perfect.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Safe Journey Cokie

We have lost one of the good ones. Tonight, I will break something in honor of Cokie.

Here is the link thingy to his farewell post. Cokie The Cat

Rest well my friend, you will be missed.