Posts Tagged ‘Pets

11
Mar
09

Cat and Mouse

Our cat discovered a mouse the other day. This in itself does not bother me. The benefit of having a house cat is to keep the mice away.

What is somewhat bothersome, however, is for Jeff to come home one day to catch her in the act of taunting a half-paralyzed rodent, batting it across the floor like a shuffleboard disc. The human intrusion distracted the cat just long enough for her prey to crawl under the refrigerator to die in peace.

So now we have a dead mouse somewhere under our fridge. This is not a terribly difficult problem to solve. But now I fear that our cat, starved for excitement in an environment not built for her, has re-awakened a carnivorous desire. She will remember those days spent outdoors in Minneapolis, before we moved her to this urban prison. And even though she may appear to be lying calmly on my lap, she will secretly always have one eye open and both ears tuned to the hunt.

There’ll be no living with her now.

28
Jan
09

Now That’s Entertainment!

Maybe the cat has the right idea, perched on the radiator, watching the snowfall this morning through slitted eyes. She twitches just the tip of her tail from time to time as I might tap my finger. Not bored, but content. And maybe a bit expectant.

One can see the snow only against the buildings and cars and the skeletons of trees. Glancing skyward, it seems to disappear against the gray. But it’s there. Traffic is quiet; schools are closed: the world in slow-motion. I already hate the rain that will come later to beat it down and flush it away.

Actually, she might just be staring at the wall across the alley.

Still, I suppose the principle is the same.

14
Jan
09

Cat Swimming

This is absolutely delightful. I don’t know why, but hurling cats into a swimming pool to watch them swim is just gut-busting funny to me! Maybe it’s because it lets one be just a little sadistic — while also being completely harmless.

Makes me wonder about our cat…

09
Apr
08

Xenaphilia

Since a friend of ours asked us to watch her cat Xena for her, I have felt like I’m cheating on my cat. Xena is really a standard, black, short-hair domestic cat. Nothing special. A dime a dozen. But like any ordinary mistress, she is completely enchanting.

Her eyes are gorgeous — smoldering dark amber coals against night-colored fur. My cat is colored like a holstein.

Xena is thin and sleek, nearly weightless. She moves like a shadow. Mukau is obese and graceless; grunting comically with every leap of her corpulence.

I fed Xena a quarter of a can of cat food and gave her a bowl half full of dry food yesterday, and this morning the canned was gone and the dry was hardly touched. This morning, when I fed Mukau half of her normal serving of dry food, she wolfed it down, turned toward the oriental rug and vomited it all back up. Each nugget was intact. She had not even bothered to chew.

And yet, Mukau is very soft and warm. She is large enough to wrap herself around you, and it’s lovely when she does. She is sweet and quiet. She sleeps with me, on top of the covers, in the valley between my knees. Sometimes if she catches me on my back, she’ll crawl onto my chest and wheeze softly into my face until I fall asleep. And though she is just using me for ambient body heat, she certainly does a lot of it and seems to enjoy it. She is good company.

I guess the grass is always Xena on the other side, right? But I’ll take Mukau. My dalliance with Xena ends tomorrow. Suppose Mukau can smell another cat on me. And suppose she forgives me. If she can forgive me, I think I owe her the generosity of my full attention. Funny that she’s the house cat, and I’m the one to stray.

29
Feb
08

One Track Mind

The pet owner is bundled up against the winter elements. His dog, because this is New York City, is teeny-tiny and dressed in an outfit that costs as much as the man’s. The dog scampers along in front, keeping pace, pretending there is no leash connecting them. And then he stops to inspect the base of a retaining wall. The owner passes him and pauses, giving the lead a gentle tug. Come on. Time to go in, boy. The man shifts on his feet and shivers.

The animal stands there with his ass in the air, clearly shivering. He’s one of those little guys that shivers on a warm day. A bitter wind whistles under his tail and across his exposed belly. His single-mindedness and determination is almost inspirational. I’m coming, I’m coming. I just really have to smell this because it’s so … interesting, and I … Oh, wait, what’s this? Oh, now that… that smells awful. Isn’t that awful?

29
Jan
08

Feed Me. Now. OK… Now. (No, really. Now!)

The fat one is ruled by that weird little beeping box. It’s perfectly ridiculous. Any sensible cat knows when she is hungry from the emptiness inside. But this one waits until that box bleeps every morning before rising to feed me. Despite the plainly stated reminders I gently whisper from across the room in my softly melodious voice.

Sometimes he’ll get my hopes up when he stirs. But as I dash toward the door, fervently calling out my thanks over my shoulder, I am often met with a pillow he has sent sailing across the room instead of the reverberating thuds of his footsteps.

The thin one doesn’t even move, unless it’s to pack his pillow more tightly around his head.

It’s enough to drive a self-respecting housecat to hunt. Right. Hunt what, exactly? Dust bunnies? In this dismal prison I have been reduced to such desperate acts as shredding whole rolls of toilet paper, or climbing atop dressers and tables and nudging artfully selected items to the floor.

To add insult to injury, they are also giving me less food these days. If they are not careful, I could lose weight, and we can’t have that. I mean, would they dare? Is it possible? In this place they have removed all exercise from my otherwise active and vigorous lifestyle. Sometimes I need to gallop from one wall to another just to produce a heart beat, just to prove I still can. Now I need to take 20 naps a day instead of my customary 18. I am all but forced to sit at the window, looking out into open air — where is the grass, by the way? the trees? — at those pesky, those dirty, those delicious pigeons.

If they don’t begin to treat me better, I think I will kill a mouse or a large insect and leave it on their bed.

I could do it, too.

24
Nov
06

Kitty Liberation Day

 
The unwilling captive

November 24 henceforth shall be known as Kitty Liberation Day. We expect Bloomberg any day now to issue his proclamation stating words to this effect.

One of nine friends we had invited for Thanksgiving is allergic to our cat, Mukau. And she’s a big girl. There’s a lot to be allergic to! So we knew we had to do something drastic. On Tuesday evening, I thoroughly swept and vacuumed the bedroom and invited Mukau in. While she lay comfortably on the bed, I moved her food and water dishes and her litter box into the bedroom. She quietly regarded my bizarre activity. I left the room, and closed the door behind me.

“Forgive me, kitty,” I said.

She was my prisoner.

I put a fan in the open living room window to blow out as many allergens as possible while I moved the furniture and swept the floors and vacuumed the rugs and vacuumed the furniture. Then I washed the floors. The place was gorgeous. It smelled disinfected. Surely, there would be no allergic reactions from anyone.

Naturally, five minutes after his arrival, our friend was popping Benadryl. So much for that.

Every time we went into the bedroom Tuesday night, all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, the cat tried to get out. The moment she heard our footsteps, she’d run to the door and spring toward our feet to attempt escape every time we opened it. She got more and more crafty, and her senses are far better than ours in every respect, but she always hesitated just enough for us to be quicker than she was.

She grew angrier each time. Once, there was a scuffle, and it got a little rough. She was getting desperate. I guess it spooked her, because she hid under the bed for a few hours afterward. We’d open the door, and she’d peek just her little head out from under the dust ruffle. A room made for our comfort and safety had become a torture chamber for her, for all she knew.

She complained loudly from behind the door. She had food and water. She had her potty. She had a west-facing view from the window. But even her little walnut brain had the capacity for enough object permanence to know that there was a world beyond that door that she was not a part of.

Every cry she uttered increased our guilty conscience. But our friend was having such fun hopped up on Benadryl and red wine.

Early this morning, not a minute after our friend left, I opened the door and stepped aside. Mukau looked up and muttered. She looked at the door. She looked at me. She started as if to hop off the bed, but she stopped. Could she trust us? Was this another nasty human trick?

15
Feb
06

To the Dogs

Walking from my gym to the E train at 8th avenue last night, I had occasion to pass Penn Station. I saw a dog shitting on the corner and its owner picking up the pieces. The wee thing was shivering violently and looking as if the cold were some kind of punishment. “Just give me the rolled-up newspaper!” I could hear him calling. “As long as it’s indoors!” Must be an out-of-town dog, I thought. New Yorkers love to dress their dogs in ridiculous outfits.

I passed by.

As I crossed 8th, there was another woman walking two dogs. I passed by.

Then there was a man holding a little bulldog. Carrying him across the street. Well, it’s slushy and cold. What a nice guy. I passed by.

Then I saw a great big cage on wheels. OK, a kennel on wheels. In it was a beautiful breed, though I’ll be damned if I know what it was.

OK, what’s going on here?

My eyes travelled along across the street ahead of me, from the kennel-on-casters all the way to Madison Square Garden. It was a surreal, orderly, linear exodus of dogs and owners. Some were caged. Some were carried carried. The majority were on foot. It all depended on their size and preciousness. The kennelled ones were witout exception skinny little things, shivering horribly, unused to such harshness. Great big ones lumbered by, sniffing all the random objects before them — the garbage can, the empty planter, the mailbox, other dogs — anything within leash range. One owner pulling a kennel was trying to surmount the snow drift between him and a taxi. The wheels were stuck and the dogs looked completely freaked out.

All these breeds, and there wasn’t a Siberian husky among them that would help pull?

It was like the Ark had just docked into a West-side pier. Not Noah’s, but rather his younger, less intelligent, rather more myopic brother. There were several varieties of terrier, a dalmatian, precious shih tzus, a robust English mastiff, a shaggy and ostentatiously tall Afghan, a couple enormous great Danes, French bulldogs in triplicate, several kinds of spaniels, border collies, bizarrely sculpted poodles (at least their haunches were warm, I thought), some creatures that looked like miniature greyhounds, or really big four-legged spiders, I couldn’t tell.

Ah… of course. This is the after-party of the Westminster Dog Show. Funny how the show’s lustre is dimished somewhat as soon as the animals are forced to deal with the real outside world and everyone’s rushing back to the Hotel Pennsylvania for a rub-down in the doggie spa and a snausage night cap after such a long and tiresome day. Even at events where it’s the humans being judged, the red-carpet affairs, when everyone shows up individually to make a carefully timed appearance, is where the glitz and glamour play out. But at the end of show, when everyone has a kid to tuck in or a martini with their name on it, we are all reduced to cattle.

The canine queue stretched all the way into the loading bay of the Garden, far back into the innards of the building. These must be champions. They were all certainly well-behaved. With the exception of the first little pup I saw, who I’m nt concinved was with this crew, I saw not a single turd among them.




the untallied hours