Just realized I'm in danger of deliquency and possible violations of numerous statutes. As everyone knows, if you have a cat and you post to the net, you're required share stories.
Quinn the Black Foot has an extremely sensitive nose, or he's a very good actor, with the skill to make you believe a smell has seriously offended him. While there are several items with smells that offend him, most offensive are bananas. When he smells a banana, he wrinkles his nose, narrows his eyes to a Clint Eastwood squint, lowers his tail, flattens his ears and backs away. He does not like the smell of bananas.
I tossed a banana peel into the compost barrell from the three point line. It clanged off the side and fell onto the path between the raised garden bed and the compost. I'll get it later, I told myself, because I was barefoot and didn't want to walk down the cinder path barefoot. I am a self-proclaimed girly man.
But later, I open the side gate from the other side to walk to the back. Tail flying high, Quinn runs down the path toward me with a quick meow. Reaching the banana peel, he draws back, tail sinking. Plaintive meows begin as he tired to find a way around the evil banana peel. I have to rescue him by picking it up and completing its journey to the compost.
We had a house party for a city council candidate last night. Quinn was the only one that made an appearance, appearing four times. The fourth time he wandered chair to chair, rubbing up against several people, displaying his big, charming eyes while allowing people to admire his long, silky fur.
Lady the Gray Shadow has a strange vocal range. Sometimes she sounds like Marge Simpson venting irritation on Homer. Other times, she does a memorable imitation of Karl Childers, protrayed by Billy Bob Thornton in "Slingblade." She especially does this imitation when she's hungry. Me: "Lady, do you want some kibble?" Lady: "Mm hmm."
Where do cats get their ideas and training? Lady was a street survivor, rescued when she was three months old. An elderly man rescued her. She 'stayed' with him as he fed her but she was wary of other cats and usually slept outside. The world outside was a toilet as well.
But we offer her the more (less?) civilized option of a litter box. Within the last three months, she's taken up a new habit, of going into her litter box, scratching around while imitating Marge Simpson's grumbling. She does so to get our attention, and it works. As soon as we hear her, we call her and the outurst ends.
The others don't do it. Where did she learn this? Was there a late night do it yourself televisoin show demonstrating tricks and tips on how to get your people's attention? Did she attend an online course? Maybe she went to a party where cats all share their tips and insights. ("When you puke, it's best to do so in the middle of the night in a walking path for the best effect. Bonus points if you puke the night before a big event is being held and your servants have been cleaning all week.")
The Roomba has been impressively effective. It's mentioned with the cats because I thought it would affect the cats more. But no, except Quinn. He shows dragster like acceleration whenever the Roomba goes live. Quinn acts tough but he really is a coward. Sure, he'll attack leaves, flies, butterflies and spiders (as long as they don't run toward him), but he's not up to vacuum cleaners and other loud noises, like a plastic bag falling off the bed.
Lady pretends to be bothered by the Roomba until something distracts her. The Roomba goes on. Lady's eyes grow wide. She begins to leave.
Oh, no! She must stop, scratch, and wash herself. And now another place needs washed - and I better wash this paw, as well, she thinks. Meanwhile, the Roomba has wandered past her just a few inches away.
The Gingerbear King doesn't trust the Roomba but he doesn't fear it. He treats it the same way he treats most other animals: I won't bother you if you don't bother me.
The Gingerbear King remains a mellow big orange and cream fellow, except when provoked, as in the other night. Quinn was asleep in the bed beside me. The Gingerbear King jumped up onto the bed. There was space for him, and he was being polite, trying not to bother Quinn while purring and bunting me. After watching a couple minutes, Quinn decided he was displeased. He caught Scheckter unaware on the nose with a blow.
Crack. The Gingerbear King's retaliation was swift and accurate. The blow was clearly heard. Quinn leaped off the bed and raced out of the room. The Gingerbear King resumed purring and bunted me once again. Then he curled up against me and kneaded my shoulder.
I checked on Quinn later. He was sullen but fine. And later that day, he and the Gingerbear King walked up to each other and touched noses, chatting in the secret way of cats.
All was well.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com