You Rock My World!

It’s laundry day #2, and I’m tackling the bedding in my bedroom.  As usual, my two faithful helpers have been ever-present, inspecting every detail and nuance of the process.  In stripping the pillowcases and sheets, and separating the down comforter from its cover to wash it, I had several typical cat reactions from Toby and Timba. The natives were restless indeed! Toby hopped from spot to spot on the bed to evade the “dangers” of me pulling and wadding sheets. Like a faithful “tree” kitty as opposed to a “bush” kitty, he hopped on the top bookshelf for a “safe” view of the ordeal.  Timba, on the other hand, was fully participative, white whiskers prominently displayed and pink nose at every turn. When I returned to my room from putting the bedding in the washer, Timba was sitting on the bare bed with the most bewildered expression on his face.

At this point I laughed, a good hearty one too, because Timba’s face said it all: You rocked my world!  And how true is it? The most minute changes cannot escape the attention of a cat.  And let’s face it, change is not something any cat is keen on. Environmental change can be intriguing at best and devastating at worst.  From the small things like changing the sheets, opening mail, bringing in groceries or new items in boxes, to the big changes like a trip to the vet and that ominous car ride, or moving apartments or homes altogether. Cats … do … not … like … change. It rocks their world!

But you know what? As much as we can rock the world of a cat in big and small ways alike, they also can rock our world.  Having once lived with a roommate where we peaked at 8 cats together, I have had plenty of time and opportunity to observe “cat nature” at its finest. It’s the little things that amuse me, the little things that delight me: the “eye blink” (or cat “I love you”) for example.  Now that I know that this is how cats communicate affection or acceptance, Timba and I regularly exchange affection in this endearing way. Or Timba’s paw bump to say “hey”, or tapping a paw from my side or behind me to say “gimme some love mom”, or Toby’s odd meow that is more like a prolonged “meh”, or Timba’s “Mike Tyson” high-pitched meow elicited from that big brutish body. From Toby’s sophisticated paw drinking method to Timba’s subtle eye and ear signals that say “you’re pissing me off human” (which I do intentionally quite often because it’s so darn cute and amusing), they rock my world.

The big things do as well, like the fact that I seriously considered getting rid of Toby to spare him from Timba’s early harassment phase.  Or the time that Timba chased a paper wad over the side of the bed facing the wall and suddenly went quiet.  He had gotten stuck upside down. I knew something was wrong, called his name, heard him struggle, and just as I lunged to rescue him he came struggling back up the bed and literally gasped for air for the longest minute or two ever. I can never forget that day, and about tear up just writing this. It was such a scare, rocking my world so bad that even a few months later when he flies over that side of the bed to chase Toby or toys I tense up and listen for signs that he’s moving on elsewhere, despite now keeping the bed a safe distance from the wall.

I love my two cats. I really do – they rock my world and have changed me. Life is better, my perspective is better, my heart is better. I’m so glad I can rock their world too, because the ways in which they react to it rock my world in turn, giving me moments of laughter I will forever cherish.

 

5 Careers My Cats Would Thrive In

Let’s face it – people who love their animals tend to anthropomorphize them.  We ascribe human characteristics and personality traits to our pets.  Maybe it’s a reflection of our inherent nature to connect and identify with the world around us, to see a part of ourselves in something other than ourselves. I’ve discussed this in a few of my posts, but most recently in my post Cats Mimic Their Owners. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t have some kind of anthropomorphic thought going through my head. I will see Toby or Timba do something or portray a facial expression and in my head or out loud I will say what I think they are thinking or saying. This tendency of ours is taking off in social media in the form of putting captions to photos and sending them off into cyberland to go viral.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my cats do and what they’re good at.  Pouncing on me and picking at the door when I’m not in the bedroom are at the top of the list, but number one is just being cute. Hey, I have to exercise a little bias every now and then! It didn’t take long to realize that, in true anthropomorphic form, there are several professions and occupations in which Toby and Timba would absolutely thrive if they were human.

1.  Masseuse: I used to have a cat named Grace who was hands down – or paws down – the best kneading cat ever. Minus the drool, massages from Grace were heavenly.  She was declawed so there were no unpleasant acupuncture surprises.  She would knead me several times a day, as much as I’d let her. The plus side? She knew how to spend time on her clients.  Sadly though, I had to find Grace another home.  Toby has never kneaded me or anything in his life, but some time after Grace was gone, it was as though he felt a need to fulfill that role. Now he employs himself regularly as my personal masseuse, and I have to say, he’s not too bad.  He’s no Grace, due in large part to his kitty ADHD. Just as I am beginning to enjoy the bliss side of Toby paws, he stops and lays down on me or springs from my body (aka his personal trampoline) and bemuses himself with something else. Sigh. Toby, if you want to succeed in life, you’ve got to not only focus on quality but quantity.

2.  Surgeon:  Toby would also be the surgeon in my little fur family. Well over 10 years ago a doctor diagnosed me as having a lipoma in my left side. It is a benign tumor of fatty tissue and feels like a big knot.  Oddly it seems to feel larger than at other times, and I think this has to do with intestinal pressure perhaps making it more protuberant. At any rate, Toby seems to have an affinity for locating this mass, and he faithfully encounters it when he’s occupied being my little masseuse. He takes his tiny paws, otherwise knows as drill bits, and digs them into the spot directly or sometimes around the edges of it. I could swear he’s trying to get that thing out of me. It is by far one of the most painful nerve pains I’ve ever encountered whenever he hones in on it. I’d love if my cat were a well-paid surgeon bringing home the big bucks for mama, but I just have one tiny suggestion for improvement: Can a cat mom get a little anesthesia before you dive in, Toby? Thanks! 

3.  Sumo Wrestler: This is where my big boy thrives. When Timba was younger he was a hellion to be around, that is, if you are a cat. To get the full picture of just what a piss-n-vinegar rascal he was, take some time after this to read My Cat, The Bully. He has mellowed out with a little age and probably with a lot of help from what we sensitively refer to as “the surgery” (aka neutering).  Timba now playfully interacts with Toby instead of harassing him into an all out Fur Fest. Timba has also gained weight, but he has a large frame so he doesn’t necessarily look fat, just large. So the times he tactically seeks out Toby, or the times that Toby foolishly seeks some fun with his now-only playmate, it’s more of a wrestling competition instead of a badgering boxing match replete with four sets of switchblades (when I don’t clip the nails, that is).  So if you were to visit me, it would not be an uncommon thing to see my sumo wrestler pinning my Tiny Toby, rolling around the bed or floor and squashing the “oomph” out of him.  Timba may have Thai roots as a Siamese cat, but he’s all Japanese warrior at heart!

4.  Detective:  While Toby exhibits the usual amount of kitty curiosity, Timba would be the official detective of my fur family.  Absolutely nothing escapes his attention. When something new enters the home, or when a noise makes itself known, Timba is on it like white on mice.  He’s also subtle, and this is a strategy necessary to thrive as a detective.  Timba moves slowly, not because of his size, but because of intent. It’s his best offensive trait and it wins him the prize he seeks, or a bunch of laughter from me.  I have a feeling that if I lived in the country where I’d feel safe letting him be an indoor and outdoor cat, I’d have more than the typical share of “presents” at my doorstep due to his sleuthful expertise. The downside to his investigative skill would be that he will inevitably find what he isn’t suppose to find and put it in his mouth.  I have managed to eliminate the rubber band and twist tie household risks, but God forbid I drop a pill or a piece of garlic when he’s watching.  It is a race to see who will get there first!

5:  Interior Decorator:  Both of my cats would definitely thrive at interior design.  They are creative in how they approach their environment and very astute observers.  Like I said, when something new comes into the home, enter kitty paws and noses for a full tactile inspection.  They move things around on me, and often for the worst.  At least in my opinion. I’m sure when the shelf they jump on (to window watch from) topples over they merely shrug and wonder when I’m going to put it back up for them. When the cat post tips over as they play ring around the rosy around my bed they just use my body as a post or springboard.  They also like to re-arrange the placement of their toys, which secures the accrual of new toys.  Five minutes after purchasing a pack of mice and balls they are all under the bed, where mama cannot and will not go.  I do delight in one particular arrangement, however.  Whenever I’m gone for a while, I come home to a pile of toys on my bed.  It always makes me smile to think my fur babies missed me and were wanting me to play with them.  And let us last but not least forget the one accentuation that all cat owners must endure: hairballs and spews.  Why, Toby, do you have to spew from the cat perch where it splatters so inconveniently?  Perhaps he’s a burgeoning artist?

So there you have it! What careers or occupations do you think your cat (or dog) would thrive in? Comments are open and welcome 🙂

 

Cats Mimic Their Owners

Type in the phrase “do cats (or pets) reflect their owners’ personalities” and you’ll get a number of articles that discuss that yes, they do.  I think about this every now and then when I catch my cats doing something that reminds me of myself.  For example, I like music and particularly rhythm.  One day I tuned in to Toby’s water drinking rhythm and found that it wasn’t the typical metronome of a lap. Nope. Toby was licking the water in triplets, which if you aren’t familiar, are in a rhythmic timing that sounds just like the word.  Tap your leg steadily, and for each tap say the word “trip-l-et”.  That’s the rhythm Toby always drinks to, humorously more pronounced on the pulse, or beat 1.

Crazy!

Another quirky similarity I see is in Timba, who is younger than Toby by a year and a half. I got Timba as a kitten and he was all piss and vinegar, truly a feisty Flame Point who prowled the apartment like a lion searching out who or what he could ‘burn’ with his flaming personality. In essence, he was, and still is an instigator.  Sibling rivalry exists because of Timba.  That is strikingly resemblant to my own childhood. I used to instigate my older brother and then run to my mother when he retaliated, thereby getting him in trouble. I was a little snot in that regard, just as I’m sure that this is the way Toby heavily regarded Timba, and may sometimes still do.

Another odd thing I notice with Toby is that he has strict preference on his snuggling posture.  When he climbs up me to rest in my arms, he always does so facing the left. He never sits in my arms facing to the right.  If I put him that way he squirms and protests until I switch him around facing the left, eliciting his cute little sigh that say “yes, all is right with the world now.”  In a similar fashion, I only lay on my right side when I rest.  I can hardly be on my left side for more than a few minutes until all is not right with my world, so I flip to the right and do my own little sigh.

While all cats seem to have an appreciation for subtlety, Timba has a much more pronounced interest in it.  I also appreciate subtlety and notice minute details and changes in the people or environment around me.  Timba is highly attuned to the slightest of changes.  One of my favorite things to do with him is to take his fishing pole rod toy and move it painstakingly slowly across the bed.  I watch him stare at it, eyes dilated and ears back, ready to pounce. If I scoot it across the bed quickly he hardly gives it a second glance. But throw subtle movement in and he’s intrigued to the nth degree, just like me.

So what habits or personality traits of yours do you see your cats or dogs reflecting? Please feel free to comment and share! Research shows there is a correlation, and personal experience for me does as well.  I’d love to hear your own humorous stories of how your fur-babies “take after you”!

 

 

The Difference Between Cats and Humans is … Sleep

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I am awake, and after various attempts to cope with insomnia and tire myself (internet browsing, Facebook, etc) I have come to the conclusion that I envy my cats.  Toby and Timba are the only things still and asleep on my bed.  Meanwhile my eyes have tiny invisible toothpicks propping them open and I can’t decide whether my mind is racing faster or my restless legs.  I am out of my medication and dealing with all the fickle roadblocks of Obama(doesn’t)care in addition to the side effects of missing even one night’s dose.  Now I have to find a new doctor, but I’m taking that relatively in stride.  Such are the things we humans must deal with.

But not cats.  What blissful lives they live, that is, if they are in a loving home.  Free from worry and stress, regular meals, toys and perches and permanent retirement looking out sunny windows all day, plus love and affection.  And sleep.  Oh the sleep! They typically sleep 15 hours a day and some can sleep up to 20 hours in a 24 hour period.  Therefore, the fact that my cats will be waking up at kitty peak time around dawn bears no significance for them in terms of insomnia.  Whereas I will be dreadfully miserable when dawn hits in a few hours, knowing that the alarm is set for 8:00 a.m.

Perhaps around 7:00 a.m., when my body succumbs to a mere hour of teasing rest, I will wake suddenly to a game of chase, or Toby launching from my body, or Toby nudging my hands for a petting, or Timba walking on my body with the weight of three Tobys, his paws drilling into my pliable “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” flesh.  Timba is my drill sergeant who faithfully yet indiscriminately employs his duties on a daily basis.  In the daytime, if I am lying on my bed, I can anticipate and thwart a painful crossing over my body (because of course cats are geometrically in tune – “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line”).

But when I am asleep, when I am asleep, I usually do not know I’m being abused.  Instead I wake up the next day wondering why I’m sore in certain places, or where those small circular bruises came from.  And when I fail to clip their claws in a timely fashion, I have the added bonus of prick wounds here and there and in the oddest of places.  Unfortunately my new bed has somehow caused me to start lying on my back some nights, and these are the worst for kitty paw injuries.  My sides could handle it, from head to toe.  Tougher skin there?

At any rate, there’s nothing like an abdominal thrust in the morning to jump-start my day.  Maybe Toby’s launch or both of them walking on me is really an attempt to ensure proper diaphragm functioning.  Honestly though, the “oomph” of a whoosh of air that comes out of me as I wake to unmindful kitties isn’t what I’d call a befitting breathing boost. (Sigh) But I love them.  Despite my jealous streak regarding their luxurious lives and in spite of their interference with my beauty sleep, I pardon them and cuddle them and continue to write affectionately about them.  Dream on little kitties, the sweetest of sleeps I bid you.  But do you mind, maybe just once, to not flaunt your well-rested, energetic, rearing-to-go bodies and forego the pouncing on the padding of mommy’s tummy? Thanks 🙂

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Your Cat Can Do What You Can’t

So I’m laying on my bed, hand to mouth in contemplative mode.  Toby and Timba alternate laying on a blanket a few feet from me, on my hip, or curling in my arm.  In the process of turning around to find the proper “curl” position, I am met with what I call the “heinous catanus” (pronounced kuh-TAY-nus).  Yes, the heinous cat butt pose, which is never found in any other place than in a human face.  I’ve seen so much cat rear in my 3 years of having them that I care not to count.  I’d be interested in the stats though.  I’ve heard it said that God knows the number of hairs on our heads.  I’d like to ask him someday just how many times I’ve been exposed to a furry behind.  Hmm …

So in the midst of moving Timba’s rump out of the way, I began thinking on less philosophical and weighty issues and began to wonder about all the things that cats do to us but we can’t do to them.  I daresay putting our butt in their faces would have any effect.  I’ve actually done this when trying to sit down where a cat has taken my spot.  Toby has the good sense to move, but with Timba I have to half sit on him, wiggle my rear a bit and tell him to move.  It’s mostly a failed attempt and I have to pick his cozy large body up and laugh at his pip squeak of a meow.  He’s kind of like Mike Tyson – a big brutish body with a tiny high-pitched voice.  And sometimes he bites, though I haven’t lost an ear.  Whew!

So here are a few things I notice that your cat can do to you but you can’t do to them:

1) Your cat can inspect your food and sneak a bite or two.  It can sniff your drinks, paw them, topple them, and get hair in them.  You can’t do this because it would mean bending down, getting on your knees, and stooping your head towards the cat bowls, which a) is uncomfortable, b) would make you look nuts, and if caught, go to the “special” hospital, c) there’s already hair in the water, along with pieces of litter from tiny dipping paws, and d) it would in no way have the same effect as your cat’s inspection of your food – in other words, it wouldn’t bother your cat in the least, whereas it ticks you off to no end when dear kitty head bumps your bowl of chips and spills them all over the floor (personal experience, grrr!)

2) Your cat can dig its nails into you and flex its toes for pleasure while kneading and drooling, but you can’t dig your nails into it or flex your fingers into its fur because a) it’s pointless, b) it doesn’t feel good or make you zone out and drool (ice cream, music, or a back massage will suffice thank you), and c) your hand would become the target of a brutal attack resulting in severe infection whereby you would die and God forbid become cat food if no one were to visit you for a few days.  Whew! And eww

3) Your cat can make all manner of noises day or night.  It can play chase, bang into things, roll toy balls across a wooden or tiled floor, scratch a variety of surfaces, or paw the chirpy toys right as you’re drifting to sleep.  You can’t do this because a) who plays chase in the house when you can just watch the cats do it, b) it hurts to bang into things, c) making noises have no effect upon your cat except to pique its interest so it comes snooping to see what that delicious, new curious totally not annoying sound is and whether or not it can be pawed or mauled, and d) it doesn’t matter if you make chirpy noises to wake your cat, the little bugger sleeps 18 hours a day!

4) Your cat can sit on you, lay on you, walk on you, and spring from you.  You can’t do this to it because a) you’d squish your cat, b) he’d be severely injured or die, and c) that would so not be cool because it would be traumatically sad and cost you fines or imprisonment for animal cruelty.  No one would understand that you merely wanted to reciprocate your feline’s affections in a way that it would understand.  Stick to the “I love you” wink, which seems to be the only way to communicate on their level so far as I know. (Thanks for the tip, Jackson Galaxy!)

5)  And finally, your cat can lick the Netherlands and sniff his pal’s rear (and I mean a good, hearty, up close inhalation) and still receive facial kisses from you at some point during the day.  You can’t do this to your cat because a) it doesn’t care where you lick or who you sniff, and b) it’s not going to kiss you at any point during the day.  You might get a lick just to see if there’s any residual flavor of food, but the only puckered flesh aimed at your face you’re ever going to get from your cat is that “heinous catanus” mentioned above.

So pucker up folks, and accept that there are some things in this life that your cat can do to you but you can’t and probably don’t want to do to them!

My Top Ten Favorite Cat Photos

While I haven’t been blogging regularly due to unemployment and sparse access to a computer, I did get an IPhone and downloaded some photo editing apps.  It kept me laughing and sane to tweak photos of Toby and Timba, so I thought I’d share with you the fun I’ve had over the past few months.  I hope these bring a smile to your day!

1.  Timba didn’t appreciate me dolling him up for this photo.  Oh well! You got a cat mom, not a cat dad!

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2.  Timba looking much more masculine and appreciative of my sense of fashion.

3.  Toby looking handsome – pretty fly for a grey guy!

4. The mother ship has landed and this is what they brought us.

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5. Toby loves to go to the Tub for a drink every chance he gets.

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6. Dragnet Kitties!

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7. My little stud muffin Timba.

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8. My little stud muffin Toby.

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9. My coffee thief Timba. He actually just loves to smell it.

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10. Timba vowing revenge on me!

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The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Cats Getting Married

Hey ya’ll, this is a great blog and one of my favorites in my WordPress Reader … encourage you to follow The World’s Top 10 of Anything.  Here’s one of my favorite posts from it:

The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Cats Getting Married.

via The World’s Top 10 Best Images of Cats Getting Married.