17

Cat Forum: Interview with the Cats from Down Under

(Orion)

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We have a pawsome interview for you today with the cats from Autistsix, It’s a great blog, except the cats don’t get nearly enough space. It’s about a family who live in Australia,which is apparently Down Under something. (The editors said to include it.) The lady who writes it says the whole family is a little unique because of something called Autism Spectrum Disorder. We don’t really know what she’s talking about; as far as we can tell, they aren’t any stranger than a lot of the other humans we know.

(Pixie)

Would you please introduce yourselves?

Orion – I am Orion Prince of Burmese Tigers, I am also a star.

Smokie – I’m Smokie, pleased to meet you.  I am a puppy cat.

Pixie – I am Pixie, I am confused, oh wait that’s not what I mean, I am a Princess.

Echo – Hello, a pleasure to meet you both.  My name is Echo and I am a cat.

(Smokie)

 It seems a little hectic around there sometimes. How do you keep your cat Zen?

Orion – I run round and round the house until I am sleepy then I find someone to cuddle me.

Smokie – I just live and let live until something becomes intolerable, then I bop it on the head and nap.

Pixie – On a leather band around my neck, whoops, that’s my tag.  I don’t know where I put my Zen.  Do you think Echo stole it?

Echo – I avoid the others.

(Echo)

Do you hang together or are you hissy sometimes?

Orion – I love everybody.  Echo seems grumpy sometimes when I helps her diet or wake up and Cherry Bopple gets grumpy sometimes but I don’t know why.  Rabbits knock you over if you play rough and rats can bite if you poke them, so don’t do that.

Smokie – Unfortunately in my role as ruler of the cats I occasionally have to discipline the others.  Pixie keeps being a girl cat, Echo is evil and the kitten can get a bit too big for his boots sometimes.  But really it is only Echo that I get really mad at.

Pixie – My stupid brother Smoke thinks he’s my boss.  But he is better than that evil Echo.  When I was younger she was mean to me so now I just smack her in case.

Echo – I live with the stupidest cats that ever lived and yet they expect me not to hit them.  I simply don’t understand.

(Cherise)

How many creatures do you live with (furry and not)? Do you get along with everyone?

Orion – We have humans, and dogs, and rabbits, and rats, and fishies and birds.  My bestest mate is Cushion the dog.

Echo – Charles you little ignoramus.

Orion – Where’s the amus?

       (Echo rolled her eyes.)

Echo – There are only 5 people in this house that I do not loathe; Mum, Dad, Cat and Tabby (both humans) and the dog Charles.  All the others are uncouth ruffians who don’t know how to treat a lady and don’t have a sense of humour.

Smokie – My best friend is Cherise AKA Cherry Bopple Berry we have hanged together since I first arrived.  Charlie is a great cushion.  Grandma’s dogs worship the ground I walk on which is great but they also love Orion which kinda takes the sheen off their adoration but they are great guys.  The rabbits are cool, the rats are great fun, I play with them and they feed and groom me,  I let them keep my shed fur to sleep in, I love those guys.  I like watching the birds and they sing to me, but they get a bit flappy if I try to touch them so I don’t.  I like to watch the fish but my best wet friend is the axylotyl, he and I touch through the glass.

Orion – Yeah I’m the same; I love all the other guys here although I play with the rabbits and watch the rats, the reverse of Smokie and the different best friend dog. Oh and the birds love me, I climb up on their cage and play with’em and then a hooman comes and takes me away but my birdie buds cry and squwark until I am allowed to go back, ‘cept at night, sleepin’ birds have no sense of humour, like sleepin’ Echo.

Pixie – Rabbits smell funny.  Rats feed me and groom me I love them.  Birds flap, fish are wet, and dogs are rough.  I do like the spaniel Snuggie though, he is soft and gently affectionate, I like him more than the other cats.

Orion – ‘Cept me!

Pixie – Except you, Sweetie.

Echo – Moron, the spaniel, WHOSE NAME IS CHARLES, is a dog.

Pixie – I don’t think so!

Smokie – No Sis, he’s a dog.  He’s just not a terrierist!

Pixie – Oh, I don’t hate dogs, I hate terrierists.

Do you have a favorite human?

Orion – Mumsy and then all of ‘em.

Smokie – Tabby slightly pips Dad.

Echo – Dad and Mum then human Cat.

Pixie – Mum, then Tabby and Cat.

Do you think you get enough cuddle time?

Orion – Hoomans are difficult; they want cuddle when I want run and they are doin’ stupid stuff when I want cuddle, but Mummy usually stops when I ask.

Smokie – No, I want cuddles much more.

Pixie – I want cuddles when I want them, and I almost always get them.  The secret is, scratch people until they cuddle you.

Echo – I never get enough cuddles.

Australia sounds kind of scary with big spiders and other things. Do you go outside?

Orion – Spiders are fun and yummy but they make Mummy scream and snatch me up.

Smokie – Spiders are dangerous so a nice man comes around and sprays around the house so we hardly ever see them.  He cuddled me and called me handsome last time.

Echo – The new house has no spiders, I miss them they were fun and tasty.

Pixie – Which ones are the spiders again.

Orion – I am not allowed out because Burmese are too clever to avoid danger or cars, plus I am so beautiful and friendly that I will get stolen.

Pixie – I have enough trouble finding my way around inside.

Smokie – We aren’t allowed outside there are cars and stuffs that eat cats.

Echo – We aren’t allowed outside because apparently the sun can kill us.  Another cat fell asleep in the sunshine outside and when Mum and Dad found her she needed them to put water down her throat and she almost dies.  And there are these things that look like rope ties but they bite and poison you call snakes.  They are so irresistibly wiggly that they have killed lots of outside cats.

Smokie – How do you know all this stuff?

Echo – One, I’m not stupid!

(Smokie bopped Echo.)

 Smokie – Really, yet you didn’t see that coming.

Echo –   Two, I’m older.

Pixie – Echo is really, really old.  I mean ancient, older than… you know old stuff.

Echo – Yes, thank you Princess Pointless!

Pixie – Smokie!

(Smokie bopped Echo again!)

 Echo – Finally, I actually listen!

Smokie – So you know because you are old!

Where’s your favorite place to nap/hang out?

Smokie – It is duty to sleep everywhere so that all recognize my dominion.

Pixie – I like bookcases in high traffic areas so I can get cuddles.  I sometimes get confused, but apparently I am not a book.

Orion – I mainly sleeps in doggie beds near Mummy or if she’s out Grandma, but I also love beds and my cat tree (top spot) next to Smokie, on Cushion the spaniel, and places that annoy Echo.

Echo – Couches in one of the two front rooms.

Do you have favorite snacks? Do the humans share their food?

Orion – Steak or prawn pieces from Mummy’s plate, Mummy is a great sharer, the others make me steal.

Pixie – Mummy plate fish.  There are quite a few Mummy plate foods I like.

Smokie – Chicken flavoured noodles.  Mum shares but if I want a lot of noodles I have to steal and run.

Echo – Fancy Feast Party Treats.  People food is for dogs, or morons.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Echo – I am not volatile, I just have high standards.  Oh and I like scratching things at random as a joke, because I have a sense of humour.

Smokie – Peace out, guys.

Pixie – Add to what?

Orion – Make sure you spell me name right; O… ask Mummy!

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2

The Easter Bunny Explains All

Hello, I am the Easter Bunny; the animal you see every spring. I would like to thank Cat for the opportunity to clear up a few things before Easter this year. I would also like to thank Kommando Kitty for giving up her spot as this week’s guest writer.

I am a rabbit; a real rabbit.

I look like this:

rabbits are everywhere don t worry i don t mean that literally they ... (not a photo of me)

Not like this:

The Easter Bunny Shoplifter Due In Court The Day After Easter [Video]

I understand that children like to see who brings them candy. However, I think it is important for adults to understand that I do not walk on two feet or have plastic eyes.

I use magic to deliver eggs.

If your children wonder how one rabbit can get eggs to everyone within 24 hours, tell them they don’t have to worry that I will get tired before I get to your house. I do pretty much the whole thing from home.

I used to be a regular rabbit. One day I was running from a small child and jumped down a hole. But it wasn’t a rabbit hole. The place was full of faeries. One of them flew over to me and said, “Thank goodness you made it! We were almost finished.”

I tried to tell her that I wasn’t her rabbit. But before I knew what was happening, she turned me into the Easter Bunny. My job was to find a band of bunnies from everywhere they celebrate Easter.

Those bunnies tell me how many children there are in their neighborhood who will be receiving treats. (Here’s where the magic comes in.)

I conjure enough treats for each bunny to deliver and make sure they get there in plenty of time to be sorted and tagged. (It’s a trade secret how the baskets actually get to the children.)

I don’t know Santa Claus.

I’m hibernating when Santa visits down here. I would never visit a place with that much ice and snow. Rumor has it he has a private island for his down time in the spring and summer.

I don’t have the same job as Santa Claus.

I understand where this idea came from. The Germans were the ones who dreamed up both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They decided that we would each decide who was naughty or nice. Then we would bring all kinds of goodies to the nice children.

They got Santa’s job right, but were way off on mine (rather surprising considering how precise they usually are). I originally was responsible for coloring (hen’s) eggs and distributing them. More recently, they added chocolate eggs and jelly beans.

Modern baskets are a combined effort.

Sometimes the parents help me by adding other types of candy to the basket. The home-made cookies and candies are particularly nice.

Any brand-name candy is not from us. I would never buy commercial candy to hand out. My bunnies are busy enough as it is. However, it is very kind of people to buy this candy for children (particularly someone else’s).

And a word about chocolate rabbits. We work hard to get the eggs and candy out. I really don’t appreciate people putting chocolate rabbits in the baskets to be gobbled up. Perhaps you could replace them with dogs or hawks, or something else that harasses rabbits.

Those pre-filled baskets that have been appearing in stores the last few years? An abomination! Not the pretty chocolate ones filled with chocolates. The big ones filled with ugly toys. No child should ever believe that the Easter Bunny is responsible for something that commercial.

If you want your child to have a toy for Easter, buy your child a toy for Easter. Let them appreciate that we both care for them.

Thank you for your time. If you know a rabbit who might be interested in joining my network, please pass their name along to Cat. We’re always looking for good help.

And of course:

Happy Easter Bunny Images Background HD Wallpaper Happy Easter Bunny ...

8

Christmas in the Forest – Part 1

Somewhere in the forests of Montana:

It was time for the Grizzlies’ annual holiday party. The party was highly anticipated – the food was always great, and it usually happened right before hibernation.

Mr. G: So are you ready for the big night, dear?

Mrs. G: I don’t know. I’m not sure I have enough food. Maybe I should go hunting one last time.

Mr. G: (laughs): You always have more than enough. We snack for days. What are we having?

Mrs. G: Well, I wanted to try something different. I saw a couple of joggers. I thought they might be tasty but I didn’t get a chance. Probably just as well. I talked to some of the other bears later. Apparently that kind are gristly. They said that the others are too fatty. So it’s back to the usual cows and sheep.

Mr. G: (disappointed) I suppose that means you’ve invited all those herbivores again. Some of them are delicious. (The guests gets uncomfortable when they see a relative on the menu.)

Mrs. G: Of course I did. That’s part of the tradition. The herbivores have a day when they don’t have to worry about us eating them. The humans call it a “truce”. They don’t seem to last very long. It won’t hurt us to do it for one day.

Mr. G: I suppose. I’d hate to think that we can’t even be as civilized as the humans. So where did you find the food for them?

Mrs. G: The Rabbits sent their regrets. Because of the early bad weather, the decided to den up early. She felt badly, so she sent a huge bunch of greens. Once I knew what to look for, it wasn’t hard to get more.

Mr. G: Nasty things! I don’t know how anyone can get them down, much less live on them.

Mrs. G: I don’t understand it either. But they are guests, so we need to serve them something they can eat. And none of your jokes about inviting them to be dinner. It frightens them.

Mr. G: Hmmph! (as he wanders off)

On the night of the party it was clear and cold. Mrs. G. had just finished the preparations when they heard a rustling.

Mrs. G: Just in time! Our first guest.

Mr. G: It’s probably your freeloading brother coming to eat all the salmon chunks before anyone else gets here.

Mrs. G: Be nice to him. You know he’s been depressed since that girl left him.

Mr. G: What did he expect? Her family’s from Alaska. You know how snobby those bears are.

Sure enough, the brother headed straight for the salmon. Mr. G went over but was interrupted by the arrival of the Black Bears. Hugging his cousin, he asked how things were going.

Mr. B: Haven’t you heard? The humans got my friend from China.

Mr. G: You mean the one that was here for last year’s party? I felt a little badly that he had to bring his own food. Mrs. G couldn’t find bamboo anywhere. She took a real liking to him. He was rather nice to look at with that black and white fur. What happened?

Mr. B: It turns out that he was getting his food from a place they call a “nursery”. One day he got careless and went during the day. A human saw him.

Mr. G: How awful!

Mr. B: He got away, but they knew he was there and they hunted him down. I guess they don’t see very many Chinese bears around here. They took him to a “nature preserve.” I don’t know what that is.

Mr. G: I hope it isn’t one of those awful places where the human cubs scream all the time and throw things at you. I saw one once. I still get nightmares. Bear cubs would never behave that way.

Mr. B nodded. His wife joined them. She gave Mr. G a hug.

Mrs. B: How are you darling? You look wonderful! Where is your lovely wife? I must say hello to her and tell her how fabulous everything looks. I’ll leave you boys to whatever it was you were up to.

Mr. G groaned inwardly. He could not understand why his cousin, as good a bear as he had ever known, had decided to mate with her. He’d met her down in Yellowstone. She’d been in some “Don’t Feed the Bears” video and thought she was a star. Mr. B had brought her home to meet his family and convinced her to stay. It wasn’t even her looks – her fur had no gloss and her eyes were too big for her face.

He overheard her ask Mrs. G if she had any berries, “Because all I ever eat is a small bowl of berries, as you know.” What kind of bear was she anyway? Mr. G had never met a bear who didn’t like fish. Besides, she always looked like she was ready for hibernation regardless of the time of year.

He was getting really irritated when he was interrupted by the arrival of the herbivores. They always came in a group, just in case the bears had changed their minds about the “truce.”

Mrs. G: How wonderful that you could all come. We’re looking forward to a special dinner. Mrs. Rabbit sent over some beautiful herbs and grasses. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

Mr. Squirrel: That was very thoughtful of her. I have brought some nuts to share as well. You are so kind to share your home with us Mrs. G, I hope you don’t mind.

Mrs. G: Not at all, Mr. Squirrel. Anything you’d like is fine. (To herself: How can anyone consider nuts a meal? He’s as bad as Mrs. B with her berries.)

To be continued…

 

 

 

11

I Don’t Remember it Like That

We dropped our daughter off at college last Sunday. I’d always heard that it would be like a flashback to my own college days. I guess you could call it that.

She is going to a much smaller place than I did. There was no mistaking where you were going at the University of Michigan. Or when you got there. Or the thousands of people around wherever you wanted to be.

This place is in a residential area not far from where I grew up. There is no real signage except on the freeway right below. The freeway that has been closed for construction for the summer and will be until November.

No problem, right? You grew up there. True enough. We found the school with no trouble. And a parking lot. Was it the right parking lot? It had to be – it was the only one near the dorm. Yep – one parking lot, one dorm. No rushing memories yet.

We went inside. While she registered, we sat on a sofa. There were a few other kids filling out paperwork. No pandemonium. No feeling of being lost in a crowd. Hmmmmm. I was channeling high school more than college.

But wait. Something did feel familiar. Ahhh – a large building in the late summer with no air conditioning. The strange mustiness of a building that has been unoccupied for several months and is now full of sweating people.

Paperwork done, we went to the third floor. Where she had to talk to another person. She got a checklist for the current room condition. Once she filled out the form, she could have her key. I just had to identify myself and get a key. One point for large bureaucracy.

We went down the hallway and found her room. The girl at the end of the hall said it was open. It was not. Luckily her roommate was on the other side of the closed door. As we waited at the door, I noticed the girls in the room across the hall watching us. Open doors, people watching. That’s familiar. A little creepy, but familiar.

The room looks a lot like the one I had. But smaller. Dorm rooms are not known for their spaciousness, but this was the smallest double I had seen at any school. I swear that the girls could lay on their beds, hold out their arms and touch each other. I thought private schools were supposed to be more luxurious than the public ones. I guess this is part of the reason hers isn’t particularly expensive.

The roommate did remind me of some of the girls I knew in the dorm. Very sweet. And very aware of the strategic advantages of being the first to the room. Her side of the room was totally decorated. She had two rugs which covered two-thirds of the room. (In her defense, I don’t think they make rugs for half a room that size.)

The closets are on her side of the room, next to each other. Next to her desk. She took the one that is closest to my daughter’s side. It’s more easily accessible. The sink is on my daughter’s side. She took all the jewelry hooks she needed.

Actually I understand all of that. Don’t appreciate it. But I understand. The girl has never shared space with a stranger before. She doesn’t realize that parents can turn feral in defense of their offspring.

But that wasn’t the strangest part. Trying to make conversation, I asked about pictures she had pinned up of a dog and a bunny. I knew the dog was her pet. What about the bunny? She said they owned a rabbit farm. Some rabbits were pets and some were for sale.

This one? He was for sale. You have a picture of a rabbit you ate? Yes. That’s strange. OK, he can be a pet. So you are a little sick putting up a picture of a meal-to-be or you think you can freak me out by telling me your family raises rabbits for sale. Either way, I’m glad I’m not your mother.

We finally brought the stuff up. In the hot, humid weather. They had handcarts, but most of the people didn’t bother to take them back down when they were done. So it was an obstacle course. Did I mention the hallways were also strangely narrow for a dorm?

Downstairs I held a door open for a couple of guys with a sofa. It was the second one they brought in. Some of the people in my dorm built lofts for their beds and used the room as social space. With the size of the rooms and the size of the sofas, I’m guessing these guys have a very intimate social circle.

Sweaty guys. Tired, frustrated parents. Embarrassed, nervous students. They were right. It was beginning to remind me of college.

6

Is WordPress Specie-ist?

As I was wandering through some blogs a few days ago, I made a discovery. There are a lot of blogs about/by cats. Which makes sense, since everyone knows cats are the original Internet stars. There are probably an equal number about dogs, although I really didn’t do a full recon on that. In fairness, for me size matters when it comes to dogs. Generally speaking, I prefer those of 40 pounds or more.

Of course, I found some posts about hedgehogs. Lord Nelson (my hedgehog) seemed to be the predominant recurring character. I guess grumpy and spiny is not for everyone. In fairness to Horatio, though, he has stopped huffing at me.

The only thing I found for bears were some very nice photos, but nothing with any personality. Likewise for most creatures who live in the wild. Raccoons and bats made the cut for the cuteness or nuisance factor. Not exactly material for an ongoing storyline. I disqualified blogs like Cute Overload who have a variety of animals, but only pictures/videos intended to make you say “awwwww”.

Then I tried to figure out how one would put backyard critters in a blog. When I looked out the window this morning, I would have sworn it was November: cool, gray and rainy. Eureka! A story about how the little guys decide where to winter. Hint: most of them can’t afford the fare to Florida or Padre Island. If we’re quiet, we can listen in:

The fall meeting of the semi-rural/suburban animals was about to get started. Squirrel, the most energetic of the group, was getting ready to moderate. He looked around to make sure everyone was represented.

Then he frowned and pointed. “You predators, you know you’re not allowed at these meetings.” The coyote slunk off, but the rest stayed.

Fox: You never let us stay. What are going to say that’s so top-secret?

Squirrel: You know very well that the main topics of these meetings are food and safety. The last time we let you guys stay, you and raccoon spent the meeting whispering about which of us looked tastiest and which was the easiest to catch. We’re talking about winter survival today. Now scram!

Raccoon: We have to survive too, you know.

Squirrel: Maybe, but not by eating us.

Fox and Raccoon walked away. The deer made a circle around the little group to keep them out.

Squirrel: OK, does everyone have a den ready?

Woodchuck: We found a great place under an old tree trunk. My cousin Woody already claimed the primo spot under the deck.

Rabbit: Just remember, Woodchuck, we live in that complex too. Keep the noise down.

Woodchuck: What are you talking about? We hibernate all winter. You guys are the ones practicing to repopulate the world in the spring.

Mouse: We’re taking our usual spot in the walls of those two old houses over there (points to a couple of Victorian holdovers).

Mole: Well, be careful. There’s a couple of domestics over there that roam around a lot outside.

Mouse: Not to worry. The pointy-eared one spends the winter in front of the fire and the floppy-eared one only comes out to mess up the landscape. The human won’t stay out and play with him.

Squirrel: Are all of you going to fit in those two houses?

Mouse: Not a chance! But the older kids want to try toughing it out in the woodpile. I tried to tell them that the humans use those woodpiles in the winter. They think they won’t get caught. You know what it’s like trying to talk to kids.

The animals all laugh and nod.

Frog: It’s almost time for us to burrow into the mud for the season, so we’re set.

Snake: Same here. What about you, squirrel?

Squirrel: We’re splitting up this year. Some of us are going the usual route and sleeping in trees. But my brother Earl heard that attics are nice and toasty in the winter.

Mole: There’s bats up there!

Squirrel: Earl says they were all driven out over the summer.

Mole: But the humans will hear you.

Squirrel: That’s part of the plan. The mice will be in the walls and the squirrels will be in the attic. It’ll drive the humans nuts, but it will be too cold for them to do anything about it. We just have to get out quick in the spring.

Mole: I think the rest of us will just hang out at the club underground. It’s pretty cozy if we cuddle up. We mostly sleep anyway.

Squirrel: Well, it looks like everyone’s set. The community center has extra nesting material if you still need any. Otherwise, on to the potluck! Remember, you can take as much as you want, but eat everything you take. It’s the season for bulking up, we don’t want any food to get wasted. Anything you brought that’s not eaten, you can either take home or donate to the emergency pantry.

The animals disperse to eat and talk.

The humans have been inside commenting on how cute they all are. They don’t realize they are about to be invaded.