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Recall that the intrepid KittyKitty likes to sit atop the dryer while it is running (warm, rocking, tall). Yeah, that's right, she likes to ride the dryer.

So, the contractor finished installing my apartment-sized dishwasher. Its top is covered by countertop, exactly as you'd expect in a kitchen. KittyKitty walks in, notes that the dishwasher is humming quietly, and jumps up-- sitting expectantly on the counter like she's waiting for the ride to start.

Two minutes go by. No rumbling, no riding. KittyKitty decides that I have installed a thoroughly unsatisfactory household appliance and jumps down. As she gives it one final sniff--- it abruptly starts a louder cycle and she goes VTOL, jumping up and backward simultaneously.

Smart Cat

Mar. 16th, 2010 07:19 am
ninevirtues: (Default)
So, I went away for a weekend continuing education class in Folsom.

Before leaving, I hit the PetSmart looking for an automated feeder. ($90-- ouch!!!)

No feeder.

So, Saturday morning before making the trek, I sat down with the cat.

Pour breakfast into her bowl. "Now, I'm leaving and I'll be back tomorrow night. THIS is your breakfast." Make dis-is-serious eye contact.
Pour another scoop into the bowl. "THIS is your dinner for today." More eye contact.
Pour another scoop into the bowl. "THIS is tomorrow's breakfast." Eye contact with the eyebrow UP do-ya-get-it look.
Pour a last scoop into the bowl. "THIS is because nobody budgets right the first time. Do not eat this all at once, okay?"

Leave the house. Attend course. Drive 3.5 hours back.

Walk in the house Sunday night and... the cat still has food in her bowl. Yay! Smart cat. Whew!
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Today, I sallied forth armed with a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card and a yen for closet organization.

I came home with an adjustable closet bar and a canvas shoe stacking shelf (say that three times fast). The cat, greeting me enthusiastically, followed me up to the bedroom. Where she:

- Pounced on the plastic wrappers from the closet bar as I unwrapped it.
- Sniffed and then tried to eat the small irreplaceable black plastic parts for it.
- Pounced upon and then shredded the assembly instructions when I wasn't looking.
- Hid in the lower tier of clothes after I finished hanging them and turned away.
- Pounced on my hand when I snuck up on her through the hanging clothes.

Seriously, hours of interactive entertainment in one small furry bundle. (Now excuse me while I go investigate that rattling noise I hear-- it might mean something!)
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I'm going to confess this, and you all will think I spoil my cat relentlessly.

When I come home at night, I feed her dinner, and I sit there and pet her while she is eating, and I don't stop until she is done. (That's the only time I can pet her for that long; otherwise, she will only sit still for petting for about sixty seconds.)

The result: Well, she clearly likes it (she purrs loudly, and if I slack off to go get the mail or turn on the heater, she leaves her dinner and follows me, giving me an indignant glare until I go back to the petting).

And the good result (from my point of view): She's saner, happier, and she doesn't try to get my attention later in the evening by attacking my forearms.

Hmm. I wonder if cats ever have ADHD? Seriously, she is both hyper and highly distractible. I mean, seriously? She clearly LOVES the petting but that's the only time she can sit still for it.
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"Hmm," I say to myself. "KittyKitty has suddenly acquired a belly. When did that happen?"

Next discovery:

"I just bought cat food; it seems like we've run out of it awfully quickly."

And then:

See the cat, hungry again, try to jimmy the cat-food-cabinet door by sticking her paw in the crack... in a determined way that suggests it's not her first time doing that. Failing to get traction with the jimmy paw trick, she squarely faces the cabinet door, goes up on two feet, hooks a front paw around the knob, and walks backward on two legs with paw firmly grasping the knob... thus opening the door. Again, in a way that suggested very frequent practice.

Door opened, she vanished headfirst into the cabinet, from whence emanated the crackling sounds of a catfood bag being raided.

(Really, this whole performance seriously needs video to fully appreciate. You will have to take my word for it, because I've already moved the food behind a sturdier door, but seriously? Take it from me-- good problem solving skills are not an asset in a cat.)
ninevirtues: (Default)
Some pets should come with warning labels, so you know what you're in for when you pick them out.


For the non-military among us.... VTOL means Vertical Takeoff and Landing.... like helicopters. ;-)
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(To spare you all suspense: The cat is fine, except that she is clearly berserk, but maybe that was self-evident.)

I let the cat out the front door while I prune the roses, set up a hose to deep water them, deal with the geranium, etc. Two doors down, I hear the older African-American lady who lives there make noises that clearly mean "Come on, Spot, let's take a walk."  There's a hyperactive little dog in that house that already charged me once.

I pick up the cat, who squirms. Why can't she be down, feet on the ground, exploring the wide world? She wonders.
"Haha, kitty kitty, I hear a dog walk happening. Stay here."

The door opens and an elderly cocker spaniel comes out, attached via leash to the African-American lady. Hmm. This is not the rambunctious and ill-behaved dog I met before; this one is slightly better behaved. He scents the cat I'm still holding, walks to the end of his leash, and growls loudly.  AA Lady greets me, tells me her dog will catch my cat but won't bite her, and why am I backing up? Am I afraid of dogs? 

(Uhuh. More than once, I have been bitten by dogs that "don't bite" and kicked by horses that "don't kick". I have absolutely no confidence that her little dog will not try to sink teeth into la gata.) I smile politely and say, "I'm just worried that my cat might get scared. He's a beautiful dog, though."

Meanwhile, the cat develops a sudden interest in staying put, securely held by me, and not moving. Good job, cat, very good thinking.

We watch the dog and the African-American lady out of sight, and I put the cat down. Ten minutes later, they're back. This time the cat looks up from the geranium she's sniffing, near my feet, and eyeballs the dog.

The dog comes out to the end of his leash, tail wagging.
KittyKitty, instead of running for the front door of the house as I expect, walks toward the dog. She stops for a moment, then walks toward the dog again.  (There are no words.)

The dog starts to strain at his leash and growl, loud, but tail still wagging. The cat bolts for the door, which I obligingly open for her, but she stops short of the door, preferring instead to stay hidden behind a bush peering at her canine compatriot. She stayed that way until they went in their house.

So what do you think-- after that little stunt, maybe I should call her Faustus. Not a traditional name for a female cat but-- do you think she's earned it?
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It's Saturday morning. I am ensconced on the couch, happily checking

The cat has found a toy (the cap from last night's human treat, a bottle of diet coke) and is happily batting it around the house like a cat-sized hockey puck.... over the carpet, in and out of a giant stiff plastic bag that holds 2.5 cats, rattles and holds its shape nicely,  and serves as her "den". (Do I need to point out that I cut the handles off this bag? :-)

And we play fetch, cat style: Periodically, she trots over with the cap and drops it on the couch beside me. I pick it up, wave it enticingly in the air, and throw it across the room for her to chase.

ahhhh, domestic bliss.
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KittyKitty caught a very young bird. I have mixed feelings about that.

On the one hand, she's a mighty bug hunter; she speedily dispatches any mice or bugs in the house that she finds, and i see her scanning the ceilings looking for more of them. I love that. I don't worry about critters in the house, when she's around. And, too, she's catching birds without any front claws. That takes skill. Go, KittyKitty!

On the other hand... I specifically put a bell on her so she could NOT catch birds; migrating songbirds are in enough trouble as it is. I would much rather she confined her predatory efforts to rats, mice and bugs.

Okay, now we get to have the discussion about No, You May Not Play With Dead Animals In The House. Please Eat Your Freshly Dead Animal OUTside, Cat.

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Sonic Kitty, AKA Felis Multicolor, AKA La Gata Energetica, has been enjoying herself on the back patio.

"Get away from that poor shamrock plant. I specifically put it out there so you wouldn't eat it. Leave it alone, please. There are about a zillion weeds here for you to chew on. Just not that one, okay?"

(The cat looks up from her current location, sprawled on the metal patio table next to the beleaguered shamrock. She doesn't look apologetic in the least, and she doesn't move a muscle. I think the shamrock is in for a rough time until she finds something else she likes to eat.)


"DId you bring a bug in here? Please tell me you are not hunting a bug that you specifically brought in here."
She was. Apparently it was a tasty bug, too, judging by the way she was licking her lips after chasing it around the living room and killing it.
"Go hunt that stuff OUTside, you little predator!"
ninevirtues: (Use your powers for good)
The cat needs and wants to go outside.

That's fine with me, as long as she has a collar and tag (so no-one adopts her thinking she's homeless) and as long as we establish a kitty bat signal, so I can entice her inside.

Which brings us to the Collar Moment. I bought a collar and engraved tag for her at the PetMegaStore, brought them home and assembled them, then gave her a kitty treat.

Ah, the Judas treat. As she munched away, intent on the treat, on went the collar.

Result: An offended glare and thirty solid minutes of attempts to shake the collar off. No dice, kid; it's staying on. But look (the human says, opening the screen door): You can go outside now.

And out went the cat, still shaking her head trying to rid herself of the collar.

Two minutes later, when she was happily occupied in catlike fashion outside, I shook the kitty treat bag (rustle RUSTLE RUSTLE) and called her ("KIttyKitty! Here, KittyKitty!)

Zoom! In the house for a treat.
Bat signal thus established, out she went again.
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Sonic Kitty has a new toy: A giant furry rat stuffed with catnip.

From the way she pounced on it last night.... the giant stuffed rat is a Good Thing.

gotta go, somebody needs to wrestle with a giant rodent....
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So, I went to buy cat food today, and I brought home.... treat balls.

The idea: Plastic ball that fills with catnip or treats or food. When the cat plays with it, it occasionally lets out some of its contents.

Verdict: Winner. Sonic Kitty has nosed the ball around the living room until it divulged its contents for her (not easy), and is now playing with the empty ball.
ninevirtues: (Default)
(rattle of cat food in bowl)


"Hah. I already fed you. Nice try."

"Squeak squeak squeak!"
"Hey, is this a laser pointer I see here?"
(sound of jingling ensues-- the laser pointer is attached to a metal carabiner, so it jingles)
(Rustle rustle rustle-- the sound of the cat doing donuts on the bed, frantically chasing the laser pointer dot)
"See, it went down the stairs. I think you better go get it."
(sound of little kitty feet running down stairs)
"Hey, it came back up! Help, the laser pointer dot is headed for me! It's eating my feet! Help!!!!!!"
(No sound, as she stalks up the stairs and pokes her head around the corner to see where the dot went)


(rustle rustle)
"Leave my lunch alone, you little bandit!"
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(Someone referred to Delightful Kitty as Sonic KItty. Oooh, while she is definitely delightful, Sonic Kitty is the right way to refer to my uber-energetic cat.)

That chance reference came attached to an article in sfgate about kitty fencing, which would allow S.K. to go outside and play (and, in the article's words, indulge her lifelong interest in ornithology) without getting lost, harrassed, eaten, etc. YES. Not now though, it's pretty expensive.

In the meantime, my house now contains a stunning variety of cheap cat toys. As I write this, S.K. is prowling through the house dragging a hiker's bootlace behind her (cost, two for 99 cents at the grocery store-- the other one is tied to a doorknob for her to bat at leisure).

Over on the floor, we find a pop-up mesh laundry basket (shakes delightfully when you dive into it, and when it collapses with a toy inside, one can bat at the toy trying to get it out).

Also on the floor, we find a paper grocery bag with handles removed. I think it's interesting because it rustles when you dive into it. It's next to a specifically purchased toy (a carpet base with a 9" spring attached to the center, at the end of which is a fuzzy ball and a bell).

Later today, I'll go buy a gallon of water. I don't give a hoot about the water; I want the little plastic ring that secures the cap to the bottle. Rumor has it that cats like those. 

Last but not least, I plan to rotate these (hide toys periodically) so they are "new and interesting" again when I bring them out.

Any suggestions? (I already have a laser pointer... in fact, I have two... and a kitty fishing pole.)
ninevirtues: (Default)

"Listen, cat. Let me explain the kitty facts of life to you. You.. are a carnivore. Carnivores eat meat. This.... is a carrot. Carrots are not meat. They are vegetables. So, you are officially not interested in that baby carrot. Leave it alone, please."

Throughout all of this carefully-thought-out explanation, the cat has one paw and her entire head wedged firmly in the personal-sized tupperware container with a single baby carrot in it, trying to extract the carrot.

ninevirtues: (Default)
Background: I take cut-up vegetables to work in personal-sized tupperware containers.

Last night, I had some leftover baby carrots in one of these. Okay, one baby carrot left. Along comes D.K., investigating the tupperware.

Cat (sticking nose all the way in the tupperware): "Carrot!"
Gail (trying to divert the cat) : "Cats don't like carrots. Cats are carnivores. Cut that out."
Cat (not divertable): "Carrot!"

I'll cut to the chase:

1) D.K. will gnaw thoughtfully on a baby carrot the same way a big dog gnaws on a bone.

2) D.K. thinks it's funny to stick her head in a square tupperware container as far as it will go. She will not, however, parade around the house wearing it like a helmet-- I tried.
ninevirtues: (Use your powers for good)
Step 1: Locate cat, verifying that cat is not in dryer.
Step 2: Start dryer.
ninevirtues: (Default)
Delightful Kitty is all about the laser pointer.
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When the heater is on, D.K. is sprawled in front of it, on her back, all four legs in the air, with her belly about six inches from the grill.

I've adopted a certified hedonist, apparently.


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April 2016



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