Voice recognition software.
I could google this, but for the sake of this post, I’ll allow my curiosity to fester.
“This” is the phenomenon of my cats seemingly recognizing my (and maybe the boyfriend’s) voice. I know that I’ve read that cats respond better to women’s voices, something about the tone. Moosh and Taco seem like they respond to our voices, particularly by their names. Taco is less of a sure thing, he just talks all the time, and to whatever variation of his name we use. But he at least looks like he knows that he’s being talked to. Moosh, on the other hand, knows his name like the back of his paw. Maybe it’s just the tone that we say it in, or the way that “Moosh Moosh” sounds. Saying it sometimes gets him all worked up, like I’m petting him without actually petting him. He’ll close his eyes, purr, and look like he’s in ecstacy.
It’s funny what you discover from years of co-existing with your animals. How you can figure out what their triggers are. Why do they have the triggers they do?
The best response I can get from Moosh is by shaking my head back and forth while saying his name in a deep, cooing voice. He’ll come running almost every time. Unless he gets distracted.
Taco’s ultimate call-over involves more energy. He responds best to an excited voice. Less coo-ey, more OMG, but still in a deeper voice. He gets all jacked up and runs over. If I’m laying down, combining that with patting my chest plate loudly will get him up and on my stomach purring.
So…am I crazy? Does anyone else know quirks this intimate about their furry children or do I just look waaaaaay too far into things?
They’re acting weird again.
As a mother of any species can tell you, you know when something’s a little off with your children. And despite the fact that my brats are never really what I’d call “all there,” they’re acting weirder than usual. I don’t know if it’s the fact that they had their parents home for a whole 5 days or the weather or if they’re just feeling their age as a result of their recent birthdays, but even the boyfriend’s noticed. It’s not anything I can put my finger on. Just some weird crap here and there.
Moosh will stop in a part of the room he usually won’t (yeah, I notice this crap) and stare at me. Usually he just waits by his food bowl and stares. He’s also being really needy. Following us around and looking at us pitifully for attention.
Taco can’t sit still. He’s in my face 24/7, and when he’s not, he’s in weird places, like my closet (this is Moosh’s usual haunt) and in Moosh’s basket (also, as you might have gathered by the title of the resting place, Moosh’s). Taco’s also started kneading me when he lays on me in bed. Yes, I know this is a NORMAL cat activity, but he’s never really been much of a kneader (Jackson Galaxy calls this “smurgling” but never explained if that’s some sort of scientific term — it seems like an odd choice for a serious scientist to choose, but whatever) and he does it ON me. I’m fairly certain that my skin isn’t as rewarding to smurgle on as, say, a cushy blanket. I don’t mind it so much. It’s more like a change-up pitch in baseball. Throwin’ a fast ball at me forever and now you’re going to throw a slider? You know what? That’s a horrible analogy. I’m assuming you get the point.
I don’t know what this all means, but it throws me off. And I hate change.
Happy Mother’s Day to ME.
Yep. It’s that day again. The day we all celebrate our moms. And deservedly so. The mothers of the world do so much for us (and put up with a lot of brats like me). I appreciate my mommy every day of the year, except, of course, when I’m trying to get off the phone with her. This is a common mom thing, I hear. I think there’s a secret school for it somewhere. You have to start at least 15 minutes before you absolutely HAVE to get off the phone.
But enough about that. I know I posted something like this last year on Mother’s Day, but it’s worth saying again.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE KITTY MOMMIES!
You’re underappreciated. Especially those of you with special needs kitties. It’s not often understood why someone would take on caring for a pet who needs so much help. I really want to punch people who think that animals with problems should just be “put down” because after all, “they’re just animals.” One of these days, I probably WILL punch someone for saying that. And I’ll be ok with it.
One of my fellow bloggers has a paraplegic cat. I admire the hell out of her for it. It warms my heart that there ARE people out there who don’t need to be punched. On the newest episode of My Cat From Hell, the trouble cat had a neurological disorder that made it positively heartbreaking to watch him attempt to walk. And only one eye. But he had someone that took him in and gave him the life he couldn’t have gotten on his own, or maybe even with another caretaker who wouldn’t have had the patience to love and care for him. And despite the fact that he was hell-bent on tormenting the other cat, she never in a million years would give up her baby.
Taco is vaguely special needs. He also has a neurological disorder (that makes him pee where he’s not supposed to when he has a flare-up), but it’s not life-threatening and while it wears my patience extremely thin sometimes, I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s my baby. So is Moosh Moosh, despite being what I’m pretty sure can only be described as “a little slow.” I love them just as hard as I would love my own flesh and blood.
So. To the responsible, loving, amazing cat moms — *I* appreciate you. And I’m giving myself a little pat on the back today, too. Because we deserve it.
The road to the vet is not a quiet one.
Yesterday was Taco vet day. Just a yearly checkup thing. He’s been fairly healthy. Annoying, but that’s not a health issue. Only in regards to my mental state.
Getting Taco to the vet is a two-person job. I knew he wasn’t going to go quietly, so I asked the boyfriend to do the prep work and have him ready to go. However, the little MFer immediately ran under the bed when the carrier came out, at which point it required both of us to tag team the effort. Upon getting him in the carrier, he immediately began thrashing about. Not even out of the house yet. Then the meowing started. Then the meowing didn’t stop.
It’s a 15-minute drive. Of loud.
Of course, I then began embarking on the futile effort of soothing him with calming words. And I continued to despite the fact that it did absolutely nothing. Although I did discover that he answered me in different tones here and there, which amused me. It seemed that saying his name resulted in a slightly lower volume, but only the 1st two meows. The 3rd went back to gutteral. We continued like this all the way into the vet, where he announced himself loudly upon being carried in.
Thus begins part 3 of the vet experience. The shakes. For all of Taco’s bravado, he’s a big freaking baby. He scrunches into one corner of his carrier and shivers. With an occasional loud meow, attracting all onlookers to comment on what an adorable cat he is, which at this point, doesn’t even fill me with mommy pride because now everyone can see what a wussy cat I’ve raised.
Part 4. The exam room.
Still uncooperative. Still meowing. The vet and the vet assistant have trouble holding him. He is really quite a talented squirmer. I will give him credit for not lashing out with claws. Except that would kinda be less wussy. Despite his best efforts (and a loud, random meow on the scale), I learned that he was healthy, that he gained an ounce (this I don’t understand, he eats everything) and that he runs hot at the vet from all the shaking and flustering. Oh, then the vet noticed one pupil was larger than the other and suggested I take him to an animal ophthalmist (however the hell you spell that. I’m not looking it up.). I’m not overly concerned about this. My eyes do that too. My eye doc said it’s unlikely I have a brain tumor because I’d know it by now. But nonetheless, we threw on FeLV and FIV testing into the bloodwork just in case, because he’s only been tested for those once.
Then I paid the bill. Now I’m broke. That’s a whole other story for another post (although I will add that I wasn’t OVERcharged, he’s just expensive). And Taco still hasn’t gotten a job to pay his way. I’m not taking him to a cat eye doc until he earns his damn keep.
A Caturday Tribute to the Mooshbear.
I think I probably post more pictures of Taco. This is not because he’s my favorite, it’s because he’s overly photogenic. Plus, he’s always in my face so he gets more picture opportunities, and he’s better than Moosh at not moving at the exact moment the picture is being taken. Also, Moosh, being all black, tends to end up looking like a black blob depending on what he’s laying on and the lighting.
So, because I had a hellish week that fried both my brain and my body (and because I’m extraordinarily lazy today), I’m not writing more than these introductory paragraphs and some captions. Instead, I bring you a tribute to my Boo Bear, the snuggly, perching elder son.
Bohemian Rhapsody = Music to Annoy Your Cats By
Fun lil fact about Freddy Mercury: he was a crazy cat lady. He wrote a song for one of his many, and even had a “waistcoat” (it looks like a vest to me, but what do I know?) painted with all of his cats.
What a lovely man. And thoroughly missed. They just don’t make music like that anymore.
I’m sure Mr. Mercury would not be all that pleased (or maybe he would, who knows) to learn that I like to use one of his songs as accompaniment to cat torture.
How did this start?
Try holding your cat.
If yours are anything like mine, they will struggle, as if they are saying “Let me gooooo!”
That’s where it starts. I’ll start singing this to them as I attempt to force their wriggling bodies to sit on my lap.
“Mamma mia, mamma mia, mamma mia let me go”
“NO! I will not let you go! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!”
This goes on until I’m sick of this particular exchange. As my cats are named Taco and Moosh, it’s only right that I use their names here:
Taco Moosh, Taco Moosh, can you do the fandango? THUNDERBOLTS OF LIGHTNING VERY VERY FRIGHTENING EEE!
Lick it. Lick it good.
Taco is a lot of things. King Brat. Adorable snuggler. Unwanted alarm clock. Needy pain in the ass. Loud.
What he is not: graceful.
This is unheard of for a cat, right?
This occurred to me tonight as I watched my cats eat. If you think this is weird, you’ve never done it. It’s really quite fascinating. Why did I ever do this? Well, Taco is also Jabba the Effin’ Hut, and if I don’t stand over them watching, he’ll take over Moosh’s food. Somehow (I’m not entirely sure how this works) my hovering presence keeps Moosh comfortably eating and Taco in his own dish.
Anyway, I water down their food, because Moosh barely eats any wet food and because Taco needs to get more water to ensure he stays crystal blockage-free. So the first couple of minutes of them eating is really drinking meat water.
Have you ever watched ANY cat drink water? It’s practically an art. This comes from an article in the Washington Post:
“While a dog curls its tongue like a ladle to collect the water and then pull up what it can, a cat curves its tongue under and slightly back, leaving the top surface of the tip of the tongue to lightly touch the liquid. The cat then raises its tongue rapidly, creating an upward mini-stream of water. The cat snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down.
An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these mini-streams per second.
‘What we found is that the cat uses fluid dynamics and physics in a way to absolutely optimize tongue lapping and water collection,’ said Jeffrey Aristoff, now at Princeton University but who was one of the four researchers who began the study out of curiosity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”
This is actually a fairly recent study, from 2010. Kinda crazy it took that long to get around to cats drinking water, considering Darwin studied MOTHS and shit. Forever ago. God, I love science. The mechanics of EVERYTHING is so interesting. And of course, cats are interesting anyway. And of course, I do find it amusing that cats beat dogs in the lapping game. One more reason for them to be arrogant assholes, I suppose.
Back to Taco. He is, quite literally, retarded at drinking. Watching Moosh smoothly lap up his meat juice with a rhythm you could practically set a watch to…and then compare with Taco, who laps more like an irregular heart beat. It’s almost painful to watch. In my dreams, I can NEVER run at full speed or throw a punch with all my power. It’s always like I’m running through quicksand. I don’t know what this means, nor do I particularly care, but this is what Taco’s lapping reminds me of.
This was just the catalyst that opened my eyes to how ungraceful Taco really is overall.
1. Moosh perches on my shoulders with ease.
So long as I give him the foothold, he’ll stand up there with very little wobbling and no claws. Taco, on the other hand, is like a Weeble Wobble, but he’ll sure as hell fall down, and he’ll take my skin down with him.
2. Taco still plays like a kitten.
You know how cute kittens are when they grab at stuff? Just kinda uncoordinated and grabby, no real skill at hunting. Taco’s 3. He’s not even remotely a kitten. But his paws are.
3. He falls off shit all the time. No spatial reasoning. He’ll roll over…and right off the bed.
4. When he’s jumping for a toy, he sprawls in the air and can’t hand for shit. It’s like watching Cirque De Soleil if the performers were hammer drunk. Nor does he have any consideration for what he lands on, like my foot. Or the side table.
I will give him this: There is one arena in which Taco has no equal in fluidity. And that is grabbing treats out of your hand with both paws while standing on his hind legs, checking to make sure the treat is within his greedy little paws before calmly lowering his upper half to the floor and his paws to his fat face to eat. I don’t even understand how he’s the same cat, sometimes.
Then again…like mother, like son, I suppose. I am quite possibly the most ungraceful human to walk this planet (except when I dance, and that is probably debatable, although not with me, because I think I’m bout it bout it). I’m injured every other minute. I currently have inflamed rib cartilage (not something you ever want to do, by the way, but I hear better than actually breaking one, so you REALLY never want to do that), a giant, painful bruise on my wrist I have no recollection of achieving, and I’m vaguely sure I re-sprained my thumb the other night pulling my pants down to pee. I know. Sad. But I’ve learned to laugh about it, except not right now because laughing is no bueno with the ol’ ribs.
I may be a crazy cat lady, but not crazy enough to eat cat hair.
I don’t usually watch those “Strange Addiction” shows because they’re essentially just freak shows on TV. I suppose my logic is flawed since I watch Jersey Shore, but watching people who most likely have mental issues is not my cup of tea. The other night, though, I did watch one episode. One, because there was a couple from Tampa on there and I was curious, and two, because the other featured addiction was this lady who ate cat hair. The couple from Tampa was odd, they’re addicted to coffee enemas. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not missing out. Apparently they’re supposed to have some major health benefits but I’d rather not find out. Anyway, you’re not supposed to spend 5 hours a day doing coffee enemas even if you DO believe in their health benefits. But they did. I don’t know where they find the time.
But this other lady, she was a normal (well, normal for me, she had a bunch of tattoos and looked like she was into punk or some other alternative genre) lady with cats. I didn’t have my entire attention on the show the whole time so forgive me if I don’t get the story just right, but it was something like one of her cats became ill, and while the cat was being nursed back to health, she started licking the cat as a mother cat would do to a kitten. I’m not sure if she read this was supposed to help the cat recover or feel more comfortable, but I assume so. I tried googling but I lost interest after two different search term attempts. Anyway, she decided she really liked the feel of the cat hair in her mouth, so she started eating it. She says now she finds clumps of fur, checks to see if they’re clean (how the HELL do you know if a clump of fur is clean? I’d really like to know the criteria on that) and then chews and eats it. Says she enjoys the texture, it’s like eating cotton. Um, who likes eating cotton?
Personally, I’m very annoyed when I get cat hair in my mouth. Particularly after I’ve just put on a coat of sticky lip gloss. Ugh. I’ll do a lot of weird things for my cats. I love them to death. They’re my children. And I know a lot of people don’t understand what *I* do. But eating cat hair is NOT going to make me feel closer to my cats. Petting them will suffice just fine. I didn’t watch the end so I don’t know if she got professional help for this addiction, but I sincerely hope so, because I imagine it has less to do with loving her cats (which I have no doubt that she does) than it does with some sort of unhealthy compulsion.
So please, if you saw that show and think that all self-proclaimed crazy cat ladies are indeed that crazy, we are not.
It’s Caturday, and I’m lazy.
Yeah. So I’m lazy. Again. I DID manage to take my lazy ass to the mall today (I hate the mall) to spend christmas gift cards. I even bought a sensible dress for work. It’s leopard print, so I suppose it’s not TOO sensible, but nevertheless, sensible for me. The rest of my day has consisted of taking pictures of cats. I thought I’d share.
What will YOU do with your tax refund?
For many, tax time means paying money. For me, it means a fat refund. See, I know that it’s just giving the tax man interest-free monies, but I suck at saving, so really, that money is in far better hands, interest or not. A few years ago I got screwed (they changed the tax laws, as usual, and those of us with two jobs who were unprepared for it got surprised) so now I take out extra every week to avoid such unpleasantries in the future. So I’m getting a refund. Most of this refund will go in the bank, but this year, I think I’m going to splurge on the kitties.
I’m finally buying a cat tree.
It’s a little expensive, but I never did get around to building the one I threatened to (see my post about it here) and I found one I like that’s not in the thousands of dollars.
This is the Sebastian something-or-other. It’s not that much more expensive than the traditional trees of this size (I use the term “tree” loosely here) and it fits with my modern Ikea look. I’m excited. I already filed my taxes even though the IRS doesn’t start processing them until the 30th.
I showed the boyfriend last night. His response was the “dismissive head nod/half eyeroll/smirk.” This pissed me off. For someone who is always complaining that the cats take over the house, I thought that he would LOVE that I’m taking his feelings into consideration and buying something that looks more like furniture than a tacky carpet tower. I had already had a few adult beverages at this point (it was Friday. I had a long week.) and so of course, I felt compelled to respond with something like “way to be passive aggressive,” he said “don’t the cats already have enough shit” and then I stomped outside. By the time I finished my smoke, I’d already decided to leave it be and continue on with my plans. My best friend once told me the best way to get things done around the house is to just do them and then act as if whatever you did has always been like that. It works. To my surprise, the boyfriend APOLOGIZED for not being more excited about it, and told me that he just didn’t want to see me waste more money on crap the cats will ignore. I was very touched by this. A significant other recognizing FEELINGS! Even after almost ten years. I almost cried (seriously, but I’m also PMSing, so I think hormones had a little to do with the threat of tears).
Even if the cats ignore it (which I doubt, Moosh’s new spot is on top of the bookcase attached to my desk, on top of a scanner he probably shouldn’t be sitting on – Moosh is a serious tree dweller), it’s still useful as furniture, and for about the same price as a bookcase from Ikea. So really, what do I have to lose? My Mooshie gets to climb something he’s actually allowed to, and Taco, well, Taco’s favorite sleeping spot is anywhere that I wanted to sit. His other favorite spot is in my face, and I don’t think there’s a cat toy in the world that can replace that. He’s just annoying.
Am I crazy?