20

Advice for Today’s Cat

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Welcome to House of Cats, the home of all things cat. Put your humans in another room and enjoy some time with us. Today we are welcoming Muffy Fluffington, the author of Own Your Human, Don’t Let Your Human Own You. Today Muffy is going to answer some of the most common questions she gets.

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My human says I never do anything, but when I try to help her, she puts me on the floor.

This is a common problem. Humans just don’t understand that they need help with their typing, cooking, and needlework. If they won’t let you do anything else, at least share some fur. Everything is better with fur.

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My food tastes terrible since my human changed it. I think she’s trying to put me on a diet.

Humans do have a funny idea about what we should look like. I think it’s part of the whole body image issue they have with their own kind. They can’t control their own weight, so they want to control ours. In your case, I would force your human to taste some of the food they want you to eat. I can guarantee they won’t like it.

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My human rearranged the furniture. My favorite tree and pillow aren’t near the windows anymore.

This one is easily solved. Pull your blanket over to whatever they have put by the window and sleep there. When they move you, go back as soon as they leave. Before long, you’ll have your sunny window back.

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I have been trying to teach my human to catch mice for three years. Should I give up?

As much as humans complain about mice in the house, most of them never learn how to catch the little guys. I would say that you should give them one more shot. Don’t go after the mice yourself. Once there are a few running around, your human may be more motivated to follow your example.

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My humans just got one of those miniature humans. It never shuts up. How do I get some sleep?

Those baby humans are a problem. Before you know it, the kid will be running after you and trying to give you hugs with sticky hands. For right now, I recommend that you convince your humans to get you one of those snuggle sacks that you can crawl into. That should keep out a lot of the noise. Another option is to use whatever spot you have for when they turn on the cat-sucking cleaning machine.

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My human wants to bathe me. Just because she read that cats should be bathed once in a while.

What an awful idea! You have no option but to make bath time so miserable for her that she gives up. I recommend you start with hissing and growling. If that doesn’t work, move on to squirming. As a last resort, kick your way to freedom. And hide where she can’t reach you.

That’s all the time we have for this week’s House of Cats. Thank you all for tuning in. You can release your humans now.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

10

My New Love is Warm but Not Very Fuzzy

Actually, it’s not fuzzy at all. And that’s probably a good thing, since it’s a slow cooker (crock-pot). The fuzzy things live in the back of the refrigerator.

Until recently, I was very spoiled. My husband was working part-time (through no fault of his own – the economy still stinks here) and did the cooking and grocery shopping. Now he has a full-time job with regular hours, the same as I do.

While he is still interested in the shopping, there had been a significant decrease in the joy of cooking for quite some time. We seemed to be eating a lot of macaroni & cheese and tacos (not at the same time). Fairly regularly, we would get fish he caught (very yummy), burgers (not so much, I really don’t like beef), or pork chops. He also made soup (it always tasted really good, but sometimes I couldn’t quite identify all the ingredients).

I felt a sense of impending doom with the arrival of the new job. We might be the first family to starve because the man had gotten a job. Our 17-year-old son was not amused.

So I decided it was my turn. I am a very good baker. I just finished making a cheesecake for tomorrow. (My husband makes the pumpkin pie. I detest pumpkin pie. Besides, who eats vegetables/gourds for dessert?) We generally have home-made cookies or brownies for dessert and cakes for special occasions.

However, I am not allowed to touch beef (and I am not particularly interested in cooking hunks of other types of meat). I like beef well-done. Apparently that is like desecrating a work of art, so I don’t touch it. I think my husband got the idea on one of our earliest dates when I tried to make hamburgers. I guess you need to flatten them so they’re not raw in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Oddly enough, the one time I am allowed to cook beef is the standing rib roast on Christmas. It’s been a family tradition for generations, along with Yorkshire Pudding (guess where my family comes from). I don’t think it’s any comment on my ability to cook beef though. I set the temperature, season the roast, and let it cook until it no longer moos. The male members of the family are happy, and I don’t eat it.

I really couldn’t see myself coming home every night and making dinner. Generally, I would rather take a nap. So I looked around and discovered the slow cooker that has been sitting in the corner of our kitchen since my brother-in-law gave it to us about ten years ago.

It seems that slow cooker is the high-end name for a crock-pot. I would guess that’s because of people like me who put crock-pots in the same category as fondue pots. They have their place, but not in my kitchen. Most of what I have seen come out of them are kielbasa & sauerkraut, variations on baked beans, and chili/soups. All fine foods, but not the perfect long-term menu. The other option, as my son said, was to put in a hunk of meat and some liquid.

However, once again I went to the Internet (the decent cookbooks were in the $25 range, and I wasn’t sure my family would even like me cooking with it). Lo and behold, there are thousands of recipes out there. There are an alarming number of recipes for pork loins; pigs may want to band together for protection.

Today I made tortellini. There was a recipe for lasagna, but I make that from scratch and wasn’t sure I was ready to risk my reputation. However, the tortellini was very good. Crock-pots are excellent for slow-cooking pasta sauce. I have also made chicken and dumplings. Soups and chili were successes. My attempt at a hunk of meat was a ham cooked in Vernor’s (the only real ginger ale), with potatoes and onions. I made a beef stew-sort of thing (well-done beef is acceptable in stew).

So, I think we may be a match made in heaven. There’s very little work involved (although I do seem to be chopping a lot of onions); and with spices, the dreaded blands have been been avoided to this point. Of course, the test in any relationship is the holidays. So we’ll see what it gives me for Christmas. Or if it sulks when I yell at it.

I wonder if it cooks hamburgers.

7

Write What?

I have noticed that several bloggers have written that the only way to get good at writing is to write everyday, regardless of other commitments. In fact, Ned over at Ned’s Blog went so far as to say that those of us who do not should be spanked (http://nedhickson.com/2013/11/01/regular-writing-can-shape-your-literary-thighs/). While I think this advice has more to do with Ned’s personal preferences than serious advice, the underlying advice is sound. Fortunately, a few others were a little more specific. For example, the Dysfunctional Literate talks about writing on a variety of topics (http://dysfunctionalliteracy.com/2013/10/13/5-rules-for-writing-every-day/).

What no one tells me, though, is what to write about if I really don’t have anything interesting going on in my life. Looking around, I see that some people do short stories/novellas. Since most of my (limited) spare time is spent with literature (yes,that stuff you hated reading in high school) and magazines such as National Geographic and Smithsonian, I am going to guess that my tastes in reading/writing are probably not the key to gaining more readers.

There seem to be a lot of advice columns out there. I could probably do that if I really knew anything about anything. My brain is more like Trivial Pursuit –  lots of cool facts without a lot to tie them together. I guess that hasn’t really hurt some of the people I have seen in the newspapers.

There are a lot of cooking blogs. Unfortunately, most of my cooking comes from looking around the kitchen and seeing what we have. I don’t know what it will taste like until I’m done. When I’m done, I have no way to recreate it because I didn’t measure anything and don’t really remember what I put in. I worry that there might be some kind of legal issue if I accidentally poison a stranger (no, it hasn’t happened at home).

I could write about my family. Only problem is that the humans would quit speaking to me and the cats can’t be counted on to be amusing. I could write poetry, but it really stinks. I could make fun of current events, but most of them succeed just fine doing it themselves. Same for politics. I could write about travel, except I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do photography. I draw a little, but how many plant drawings would people want to look at?

I TOLD you I was boring. Now that I think about it – maybe that has some potential.