Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Miscellany

Today, I have no story to relate but a number of pictures that are hanging about waiting for captions. They are all interesting pictures - only because they are of my cats, and not because they are intrinsically fascinating. So I thought I would throw all of them on one post and start afresh next time.

Josie likes lying on the books I may have on the table or bed. I’ve taken a number of photographs of her doing this. I like to think that she’s a learned cat, and simply enjoys reading. It seems to tire her out, though.

This is my Chubs looking a little wary of the camera. I don’t believe she’s gaining weight but she does resemble a bean-bag chair a bit.

Tucker will strike this pose wherever he lies, but usually on the floor. If you tilt the picture ninety degrees, it looks likes he’s hanging on to a ledge…

Tungsten isn’t afraid to get close to cats when the hard-food bowl is made available. Sometimes Tucker will stand his ground; mostly, he gives it up and waits until everyone has had his or her fill. The next picture is the eager trio awaiting their soft-food dinner. Renn, that lazy animal, is probably expecting to be fed dinner in cat-bed.

Here my big boy is looking out the window on one of the few snowy days we’ve had this year. You may be able to see on the lamp-post across the street a small poster; it’s for a missing cat. I always feel grateful none of mine has gotten out, especially on days like the one pictured. I especially like seeing Josie snug and comfy against a background of cold and wet. But I always think of the lost cats and dogs when I think of the safe ones.

And speaking of snug and comfy, here is Josie showing everyone that a globular cat can fit into rather small spaces, and not suffer any ill effects. Tucker is not to be outdone, though he may be wondering in the last picture why the cat-bed, unplugged at that moment, is not warming up as it usually does.

My roly poly one also likes the greater freedom of a dining table chair, the wide open spaces of the armchair, and the even wider spaces of the bed, here being shared with Renn.

And finally, some pictures of the orange one. Tungsten who fits perfectly in the new cat-beds, is pondering in the first picture why her rest is being disturbed. I told her she didn’t exactly need her beauty sleep, but she was not mollified. In the next photo, she is thinking about something. What, I don’t know. Though she is a deep ruminator, she usually doesn’t bother with practical matters, such as water and linoleum, which occupy Renn’s more scientific mind. Tungsten’s mental wanderings take her to esoteric levels, I have no doubt.

And here she is on one of the rare occasions when the outside world interests her. I had to take the photo quickly, because such interest does not last. The common, everyday life is beneath her. It’s boring and ordinary, and besides it’s probably time for a nap...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the Mat

As usual on Saturdays, it was bath-night this past weekend, Renn’s favourite time of the week. Plus, it was movie-night, when he likes to lie beside me on the couch in the back parlour and snooze while I eat popcorn and watch a film. But come bath-time, he’s a very happy cat.

This night, Tungsten came in to wait for the tub to fill. She does that about half the time, joining Renn on the bath-mat. She doesn’t mind Renn lying right against her, which I’m glad to see. This time, after Renn’s big form was making the little orange one lie at a bit of an angle, Tungsten curled up for some sleep. She rested her head on my big boy’s foreleg, which she’s never done before; perhaps she felt there was no other space. But there Renn lie, seemingly pinned while Tungsten lie on his leg. I chuckled and asked him how he liked it, having a cat so comfortable on him that he didn’t feel he should move. The cat was on the other foot this time. In fact, Renn did not stir until Tungsten did, changing her position.

By then, Tucker had come in and made the count three on the mat. He didn’t lie very close to the other two, but about six inches away, which is not bad. Tungsten was already relaxed and snoozing, otherwise she may have had something to say about the roly poly’s presence. All three stayed like that until I’d finished my bath. Josie, my loner, remained elsewhere.

When it came time to get out of the tub, I was reminded that I must get a second bath-mat. This one can be for me...

Rocky on Location

I don't normally use this venue to describe cats available for adoption through the group with which I volunteer, the Lethbridge PAW Society. But I wanted to advertise Rocky's appearance at a pet supply shop this past Saturday, and so I thought I'd follow that with the sequel, writing about how he did there.

Rocky did very well at Homes Alive on Saturday. He was a hit with the customers, young and old. We were given a position not far from the door, so people could see the PAW Society table and Rocky as soon as they entered.

Our young star was nervous at first; there were a great many stimuli, with dozens of people walking by at any given time, conversations, noises; Homes Alive encourages people to bring in their cats and dogs to shop, so there were a number of pets about, mainly canines on leashes. I’m not sure that Rocky had ever seen a dog before. None of them bothered much about Rocky which, I suspect, was fine with him.

The store has two resident cats, very easy-going creatures, Persians, one dark grey and the other an ivory white. They both crept up to investigate the visitor. Rocky hissed at them both and they backed away. Rocky is actually quite good with other cats, but being in a cage, and an alien environment, he likely figured that he had best keep other felines at a distance.

He started meowing at one point, a very distinctive sound that served only to charm people more. Many wanted to pet him. He was at the store for about three hours. After about two and a half, he started looking a little fatigued and lie down, probably wishing he had a quiet corner for a snooze, but this is understandable. It had been a day of nervous excitement for him, and he was no doubt exhausted. I suspect he slept a deep sleep that evening.

But did anyone want to adopt him? Several people took home his printed biography, which is a good sign. Even if a family wanted to take him away then and there, they would not have been allowed. The PAW Society, like many rescue groups and private individuals, interviews prospective pet owners first. It’s hoped, though, that at least one of those who expressed an interest will call with a definite desire to adopt the little fellow. But he helped in other ways, too: a pair of other cats’ biographies were taken from a binder kept of available cats; a family asked about fostering; another took forms for volunteer-application; a number of tickets were sold for a raffle in August, and, just as important, people asked questions about PAW, its purpose and its cats. Rocky did a good day’s work.

The Society hopes to repeat the performance in the future, depending upon the availability of volunteers and cats. As you may imagine, not every cat is the right sort for this adventure. Rocky calmed down after an hour or so, but he was always a little wary. A nervous cat, such as my Renn or Tucker, would have gone to pieces as they entered the store.

Not to worry, though. Rocky is fine and likely dreaming of that strange place he went to with the uncountable numbers of people, strange cats and those bizarre yapping, barking animals. He deserves his restful slumbers.

Oh, we have to get some new pictures of Rocky. He is now quite a bit larger than his biography’s pictures show; you may be able to compare these pictures, taken Saturday, with the one at the head of my previous post. He is eight months old and longer than my Tungsten. But even at that size, he is a gentle, soft kitten - an armful now, but a very cuddly armful.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet Rocky

This is Rocky. He’s not one of mine, but is a cat being cared for by The Lethbridge PAW Society, of Lethbridge, Alberta. He’s one of about two dozen felines available for adoption through the Society.

The reason I’m showing Rocky’s picture is that he is going to be on location at the south-side Homes Alive store, on Saturday, March 17th, from one to four p.m. You can meet him, talk to him, pet him and get to know him. There will be PAW volunteers present, too, but you can’t pet them. They certainly don’t mind talking to you, though, especially about cats. I haven’t met Rocky myself, but he has been chosen for this unique role because he loves people and will be just fine with the crowds and the bustle.

If you would like to meet Rocky, come down to Homes Alive (910, 3rd Avenue South), Saturday afternoon. It’s also a great chance to inquire about other PAW cats you may have been considering for adoption, and to ask the volunteers anything at all about the Society and its cats. Also, raffle tickets will be on sale for the draw in August. Check out the PAW website ( for a list of the prizes.

Rocky would love to see you this weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cats at Play Again

It’s funny how some routines remain and others change. All my cats like to play, as I described in an article just under a year ago. But in that time, they’ve all changed some of their preferences. Why is that? Is it in response to the altered dynamics of the group? Is it because they have found new activities that they like? Perhaps it’s due to several reasons.

Whatever the cause, the cats have varied their routines somewhat. I continue to use the string-toy when I play with them all together, because it enables me to go from one to the other. if I don’t, they become insulted or bored. Tungsten remains ambivalent toward play. She still does nothing but watch the others most of the time. She will hurry to hide behind a cat-tree or a corner, yet will not pounce or grab at the string-toy as it goes by. I feel bad about this because, with other cats waiting, I can’t spend ten minutes trying to entice her, as I could if she were an only-cat. However, she will periodically explode with energy and attack not just the string-toy but others that may be lying about. Becoming rambunctious, she will paw Josie if my Chubs is too near. Unlike her feelings toward Tucker, Tungsten’s assaults on Josie are in fun.

She has re-discovered a liking for the nylon tunnel. In the apartment, she used to zoom through it frequently. Perhaps it’s the fact that in the house, it rests on hardwood; she may not like that. But recently, she has sneaked in there to ambush something.

She has also found the space behind a door useful for launching an assault on the string toy. How enjoyable this is for her, however, depends on my aim.

Tucker has found exhilaration in running again. Sure, he runs when Renn chases him, especially when Renn is wrapped in a plastic bag and racing for his life. But Tucker will also run after the string-toy, as it is dragged along the floor. He will leap over the nylon tunnel - or stop short, if there is another cat in it - then, spying the toy heading in the opposite direction, turn and rush back, skidding on the linoleum.

Periodically, he will jam himself between the post of a cat-tree and its support. There, he will await the swing of the string-toy. If it lands on his top half, he will bite and wrestle with it. If the bottom half, he kick with his rear legs like a ticklish rabbit. He can be an odd animal.

He has also begun to learn the science of ambush. When he first came to live with me, he was frightened of certain toys, and his playing skills were not developed. He’s come a long way since then and now has begun attacking the string toy from behind a box. The first step was to wait behind the box for the toy to pass; then he mastered the idea of jumping on to the top of the box. It took him some time to realise that he should grab the toy as it went by, instead of just watching its progress. He is doing better and better all the time. The picture of this is, perhaps understandably, blurry.

Then there are the moments when he simply likes to take on a toy opponent by himself. He will step on it repeatedly with his hind legs, crushing it, or tear at it with his teeth. Then again, he may flip a kernel of hard food out of the bowl and chase it. But I’ve mentioned that before.

Renn continues to enjoy the nylon tunnel. He will hide in there when Josie is not inside (see below) and grab at the string-toy as it goes in an entrance or a hole in the top.

But lately Renn has become quite lazy. He will sit and wait for the toys to come to him. He will lie on the couch in the back parlour and move his head and forelegs to seize any toy near but otherwise, he will stay put. He especially dislikes moving from the heated cat-beds, of which he and Tungsten have become the principal occupants. There too he will lie curled up, cosy and warm, and wait for things to come to him. When it’s dinner-time, I tell him enough is enough, and heave him out. He’s certainly not out of shape; he’s just getting lazy.

Lastly, there’s Josie. My Chubs continues to enjoy simply rolling on the floor to tackle a toy as it swings past or over her. Sometimes, she will climb onto the cat-tree and play her games there. When I don’t spend enough time with her (or, as the other cats would call it, when I spend time with them), my round white one climbs down from the cat-tree with cries of annoyance.

But she also has learned the pleasures of playing in the nylon tunnel. This is new for her. Previously, the confines of the tunnel were just for snoozing, in her case. Her settling in the tunnel for some fun leads to conflict with Renn. One cannot pass the nylon tunnel and see the other inside without an exchange of blows occurring. Otherwise, they leave each other alone. Why the tunnel raises such intensity of feeling, I don’t know. Needless to say, when Josie is lying in the nylon tunnel waiting to play, Renn’s good time is ruined.

However, each of the cats will play by himself, too. Tungsten likes to zoom about the house like a small cyclone, usually just before and just after dinner; sometimes just after using the litter-box. Tucker will knock a ball, a fuzzy mouse or, as mentioned, a piece of food, over the floor. He and Renn will chase each other, though when my big boy pursues the roly poly one, it isn’t always in the spirit of fun. That’s when I step in. Josie doesn’t often play with toys by herself. But just yesterday, when I came home, she and Tucker engaged in their usual game of chase; they rarely do it any other time, and even then, it doesn’t last long. But I saw my Chubs crouching behind a wall lying in wait for her roommate.

And then there’s cat-thunder. Carl Sandburg wrote of fog coming in on little cat feet. My beasts can indeed be silent, but the late Mr Sandburg probably wasn’t downstairs while a heavy-set feline rushed back and forth on the floor above his head. I suspect this is often Tucker, perhaps with Renn, as well, and, once in a while, Josie. This most frequently happens while I am in the basement cleaning out the litter-boxes. Why it occurs then, I don’t know. Perhaps while the man’s away, the cats will play. In which case, I wonder what they are up to while I’m at work...