Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Cat on a Sexually Confused Tin Roof

We have three cats. I know, that sounds like a lot of cats, but I figure I don't qualify for crazy cat lady status until we have 15 or more. And, it really was an accident. "How does one accidentally end up with three cats?" you may ask. Its a fair question.

I have one male orange tabby who is about 6 years old. He is a big old marshmallow of a cat; meaning, he is a lover and not a fighter. However, fight he does if necessary. He has tangled with raccoons, possums, dogs, other cats, and something that bit right through him but miraculously did not snap his spine in two. The vet actually keeps a wound file on him. Recently, he was bitten and since it wasn't a particularly bad bite, I thought I could treat it myself. It healed just fine, or so I thought. Several weeks later, his leg swelled up and it was found that he had an abscess that had been festering below the surface of his seemingly well healed wound. It was bad. He had to have surgery to the tune of $1200. That's TWELVE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS.

People have said, "If that was my cat, I'd have had to let him die." and "There's no way I would spend that kind of money on a cat." and "You've got to be kidding me." with a look that would have been more appropriate had I said that I recently purchased some Oceanfront property in Oklahoma.

But my kids love him and he loves them. When my youngest had surgery in February, Chester was extremely concerned. He crawled up beside him on the circa 1995 teal green sofa and watched over Diminutive One until he came out of the anaesthetic stupor. Even then, he rarely left his side except to eat or drink. Here is how they spent much of the next two weeks:

Just prior to all of this, our other cat, who is a young male orange tabby, slipped out when my kids opened the garage door to get out their bikes. Our garage is attached, and the door leading to the garage from the house was left ajar. I'm not pointing fingers, but I'm pretty sure someone under five feet tall was the culprit, which rules out three of the four of us. Bo has escaped before, but never stayed gone longer than a few days. He has a micro chip, a discerning palate, and an extremly indolent nature, (saying he is "lazy" is like saying Liberace is "effeminate") so we never worried about it too much. But this time, he stayed gone and after exhausting every avenue to find him, we had to face that he had probably met with a bad end somehow.

The kids were inconsolable. Pre-pubescent one was heartbroken at the loss of his bed buddy and Diminutive one was wracked with guilt.

During their bereavement, we had to return to the vet to have Chester's stitches removed. And there in the lobby, in a cage that was ridiculously gargantuan for its tiny occupant, was a scraggly, scrawny 10 week old carbon copy of Chester. He had just arrived from the Fulton County Animal Shelter, which was bursting at the seams with cats and kittens, and was desperately farming them out to Metro area veterinary clinics hoping to find them a home. From the beginning, it was clear that he had sass. Though he looked bedraggled and forlorn, his playful spirit asserted itself as we watched him play.

Of course my children immediately commenced begging. They played upon my guilt and exploited their grief by proposing that a new kitten would help them get over their loss. He came home with us later that day. We christened him "Leo" because he has the heart of a lion. When confronted by an unamused Chester, who is roughly 32 times his size, he did not run or cower. He puffed up every hair on his scrawny little hide and stood his ground.

Of course, shortly thereafter, Bo reappeared looking none the worse for wear after being gone nearly a month. Voila. Three cats. All male. All orange tabby. Each with their own unique personality.

Bo, being only a year old, had always tried to engage Chester in the kind of juvenile horseplay that young males of every species seem to love. But Chester, the venerated elder, usually declined, except on rare occasions when the thought nobody was watching. If ever he was caught actually playing, he would stop immediately and nonchalantly saunter off, as if to give the impression that the very idea was laughable. He would all but snort in derision. Needless to say, Bo was delighted to find that Leo was more than happy to run and jump and fight and play. They became fast friends.

Soon I noticed that sometimes, Bo would feign oblivion as Leo stalked him, and then open himself up to attack. Once "caught" he would simply lie still while Leo gnawed on his jugular. He would roll over and expose his belly, encouraging Leo to eviscerate him. Then he would turn the tables and pin Leo beneath him. With a lick, he would release him, and then obligingly become the prey once more. I realized he was teaching Leo to "hunt".

When we first brought Leo home, he would overeat to the point of being ill. He bolted his food and then wailed piteously until it all came back up in much the same condition as it went down. Bo began monitoring Leo's intake. When he felt that Leo had reached maximum capacity, he would gently nudge him from the bowl. Leo has not vomited for several weeks now. Obviously, the lesson has sunk in. Thank goodness, because we were all growing weary of being constantly on the lookout for piles of steaming, orange, gelatinous cat vomit.

Recently, I found the two of them basking in a patch of sunshine near the kitchen door. Bo was bathing Leo. I have never seen a male cat bathe another cat. He started at the ears, and worked his way down methodically, pausing occasionally to worry dilligently at a particularly grimy spot. Tranquilized by the rythmic lapping, desperately fighting to stay awake, Leo's eyes drifted shut and his head drooped, only to jerk upright a moment later. That happened time and time again. It was so much like a human child that I had to laugh. I can't count the number of times I stroked my own children just so, and watched with weary satisfaction as they lost the battle against sleep.

Just the other day, Bo got out again. I wondered if we would ever see him again. To my surprise, he was at the back door the next morning, anxiously peering in. The first thing he did was go in search of Leo. He would not eat or drink until he found Leo asleep in a laundry basket upstairs. He sniffed, he licked, and apparently satisfied, he headed downstairs for a hearty breakfast.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Bo believes he is Leo's mother. What else would cause a male of a species known for it's solitary and independant nature, to lavish such care and attention upon a companion? Is it possible that the absence of male reproductive organs is causing some kind of gender identity crisis? I really don't know. But if he starts sitting down to pee or flirting with the brawny mouser next door, I'm calling someone.

((picture coming soon))


  • At 12:20 AM, Blogger kevin black said…

    I do find it amazing the way pets will quickly adopt each other as family. We have an Irish Terrier that my wife, formerly a strict dog person, brought into the marriage. I wanted a cat and looked up all kinds of information on how this might work. Most of what I found suggested against it because a terrier is a hunting breed and might see a kitten as prey. Regardless I got suckered into a kitten by our vet and brought him home.

    For a week we kept them seperated by a baby gate. On about the fifth day I heard the gate go crashing to the ground and the dog tearing through the house. I just knew I was going to find the new kitten in pieces. I didn't. The dog chased him top speed through the house until they reached a wall. Then, like two kids on a playground, they each turned around and the cat chased the dog to the other end of the house. This game went on for several laps, and they still do it to this day. They also wrestle and the cat usually wins. What can I say? In our family, the alpha dog is a cat.

  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Cute kitty and cute kiddy! Looking forward to a pic of the trio.

  • At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is it with male orange tabby cats? We just adopted two brothers, 10 weeks old now. ONe has "thumbs" so he looks like he's wearing mittens, hence his name, Mittens. They both have the white socks, but one has the socks to his "knees", and his name is Stockings.

    My *free* cats have cost me over $400 at the vet for the first visits.. so I feel your pain, sista!

    We should start an orange male tabby cat fan club, eh?

  • At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have felt that same pain in the wallet, but like you, it wasn't even up for discussion.

    I love the descriptions of how Leo and Bo play together. You reminded me of how my step-cats would groom one another.

  • At 10:45 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    My "Rupert" is a fat orange male tabby, and he did a complete personality change when our new white female kitten "Sugar" arrived. He's gone from disgruntled basement recluse to kind-hearted grandfatherly nurturer. Who knew?

  • At 11:40 AM, Blogger Karyn said…

    Just want to tell you that I am sorry you are going through the minefield of cat ralph. We hae a similar problem with one of my motehr's cats who simply vomits because a) she is too stupid to realise you cannot eat your own body weight in 9 Lives in 30 seconds without repercussions, b)she is bulimic, c)she is looking for new and revolting ways to piss me off or d) has a vomit fetish.

    My toddler loves to alert me by yelling, MUMMY! MINNIE MAKE DIRT ON THE FLOOR!

    Urgh. It's no fun. Hopefully yours has left it behind him for good...

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    I am loving hearing about everyone's pets. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is a fool for a furry face.

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    Well, you may know my feeling about cats. Hate. Them. (Though we have two). I could give you one of mine "by accident" if you'd like. They're female and not orange, so it may balance things out, no? But okay, this post is making me hate them a little less.

  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Deb Heller said…

    Been there, done that - the incredible missing cat act. Our "Blossom" stayed gone for THREE Freaking MONTHS. Then, one day, she showed up in the backyard drinking water out of a little plastic bowl that happened to be left out there by the kids after playing water games.

    She hasn't left since that day 4 years ago.

    But, at least we, in our self-righteousness, never gave in to a new kitten. Okay, we still had a house full of Blossom's litter mates, mother and grandmother. ::shrug::


    Just dropped by - I like yer blog. It's fun!

  • At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Awww...I enjoyed this. I'm a huge cat lover.

  • At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh you sucker you ;-) (said by a mom who got suckered into a kitten in that EXACT SAME way!) - ours was, our 19 yo cat Basie died one fall, and the next June we were at WalMart where some folks were giving away 7 kittens out of a giant box in front of the store. We were all set to walk away after a few pettings of cute squirmy fluff balls, when a woman standing behind me handed back a kitten I hadn't noticed before - little gray guy exactly like Basie - DS took one look and turned to me with the most stricken look on his face and said "oh mama - BASIE!" - how could I say no after that??!

    I am sorry to say, however, that that sweet guy, our Beckham, now 3 years old, disappeared about a month ago, not returned yet. I'm very afraid he got eaten - there are foxes (seen by DH) and rumors of coyotes and fisher cats in the neighborhood. DS wrote a poem I posted on my blog. :-(


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