Thursday, September 29, 2011


'Cause I've been procrastinating on my latest blog entry, here's an adorable shot from Malcolm's kittenhood.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Life Is Cats

I have an amazing new idea for a website.

It's too bad that I don't know any coding, and just like the last five amazing ideas I've had, it will probably never come to fruition for that very reason. Or else I'd totally be slapping the internet in the face with them, and making tons of money that would fund my super mansion on a beach (which would eventually fall into the ocean, at which point I would write a book about it and buy another mansion).

It's called My Life Is Cats. Much like MLIA/HP/B/AA, MLIC would be about things that make your life revolve around cats.

Today, I started a blog about my cats. MLIC

Today, I saw a dog. In attempting to communicate with it, I instinctively meowed. MLIC

Today, I tried to pet a dog. I was wondering if it hated me, when I realized that dogs don't purr like cats do. MLIC

Anyone have any MLICs of their own?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sickness Support Troupe

When my boyfriend started sniffling, I knew it wouldn't be long before I was reaching for the tissue box myself. How could I avoid his sexy, kissable lips, anyways? Besides, he was powering through 8 hour shifts and still had the strength at the end of the day to climb up the stairs unaided (once with a bouquet of flowers in hand). If I did get sick, it couldn't be that bad.

As it turns out, he is five times more awesome than I and my immune system are, because whatever he had took me down swiftly and savagely. Before long, I found myself laying in bed with the laptop safely stowed away in its prone and locked position, waiting for death to take me while Morgan Freeman was talking to me through the TV about how there was another me out there, in a parallel universe, smart enough to avoid getting sick and was currently prancing through fields of flowers and sunshine and kittens-- lots of kittens.

Maybe the last part was a dream. I don't remember much after flicking on the science channel and succumbing to my fever. But I wasn't alone.
Apparently I still had enough presence of mind to take a picture for my blog.

I had my cats there to work their Magic Purr Powers on me while napping and receiving scratches when I could muster the strength for them. Okay, I did have to convince them to come lay with me (they are cats after all). It was not unlike when my cat convinces me at the buttcrack of dawn that he must get out of the room rightthenandthere, because his doom is imminent and the only way to escape it is by forcing me to wake up and let him out via a series of brief but ear-piercing yelps.

But just like I get out of bed to let him out, the Sickness Support Troupe came to snuggle and assure me that I would not die. And I didn't. Probably thanks to them. Or not, but they are magical, so who knows.

While I'm on the mend, keep a lookout for my excursion into the world of youtubing my cats. Probably tomorrow, or whenever I can gather the patience to wrestle with one of these video editors, which are being entirely uncooperative with my laptop at the moment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Win Cats and Earn Cuddles

When a year passed and I was still getting growled at for minor infractions on a regular basis, I gave up hope of ever achieving the same level of trust that Felix had with my boyfriend.

Maybe it was something that had to be cultivated in kittenhood, which means I missed the boat by about four years. I would just have to accept that Felix would tolerate me and nothing more. At least he wasn't as touchy with me as he was with everyone else.

Felix had (who am I kidding, he still has) the reputation of being the Big Bad Mean Cat. Our home has access to the downstairs through a hydraulically-operated floor hatch. When we were discussing how to open it without catapulting an unsuspecting cat, someone joked, "Well, I don't know about Felix. I wouldn't mind catapulting him." It hurt a little- even being a joke- but I know how easy it is to become discouraged by an angry cat. But that's the thing: Felix doesn't necessarily react so much out of anger, as much as he does out of fear.

Realizing that a year ago is what made me decide to actually sit down and work with Felix instead of giving up and writing him off as a pissed-off feline with a chip forever on his shoulder. So I looked up ways to encourage trust between cat and owner, and over time I started to put those methods into action. A year later, Felix can still be touchy, but he is significantly more trusting and easier to please. These are some of my tips:
  •  Start off with the basics. The very first thing you need to learn, before anything else, is how to speak their language. Though their vocalizations are pretty much variations on "meoooww" and "HISSSSSSIMGOINGTOCLAWTHEHELLOUTOFYOU", their body language says volumes. Fellow cat blogger, CatsnCo, wrote an entry on this very thing. You'll need to know what your cat is saying, so that you know when it's safe to proceed and when it's time to back off.
  • Figure out where to start. If your cat comes up to you and accept pets, start out there. If he's a bit further behind, start there and then build up. The big thing with cats is "slowly". It's almost like you have to trick them into thinking that nothing's changing at all. But the point here is to show the cat that you're not going to go past his boundaries, which, in turn, instills trust. The more trust he has at whatever level you're at, the more you can push it a little.
  • Stop before your cat gets angry. The big thing with teaching Felix was that I had to stop before he got angry. That's why you need a good sense of how your cat is feeling based off his body language, so you'll know when he's starting to get antsy. When you stop before he gets angry, it shows him that he doesn't have to get angry in order to get this behavior to stop. Again, it's about building up trust. If he can trust you to stop on your own, then he doesn't have to pull out the claws and sink them into your face.
  • Build up to more and more exposure. So you know where the line is. You stop at the right time, and now he's okay with what you're doing. Up the ante a little-- start petting him for longer periods of time. Get closer while you're petting him. If he's fine with that, try encouraging him into your lap. Work up to having your arms around him. Work even further up to a hug. Eventually, he might be okay with cuddles. He might even be okay with being picked up.
  • Sometimes, they're just not in the mood, and that's okay. People aren't "on" all the time, and cats certainly aren't either. If your cat is just having an off moment, let him be and respect his boundaries. If you work on his terms, it'll help maintain a trustful relationship between you and your cat.
  • Enjoy your cat cuddles. Your mileage may vary, but you should end up with a cat that trusts you enough to accept pets and cuddles. Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cats vs Dogs (Or: 5 Things I Like About Cats)

Up until the ripe age of 19, the most experience I had with cats was watching them skirt around our yard, traversing the fence with grace only a feline could possess. I gave them names, but I never fed them; mother was allergic, and to draw them to our home would have been a mortal sin. Sprinkled among those memories are a couple of sleepovers with the few friends who had cats. Still, I mostly watched from afar, being hopelessly ignorant at the time about, well, almost everything concerning cats-- including body language, and the difference between playful pawing or aggressive clawing.

I grew up around dogs. I understood dogs as much as I didn't understand cats. I knew how their minds work, what their body language was, and how to tell if they were considering giving you a warning to back off care of their sharp teeth. By and large, I considered myself very much a "dog person". And then, when I finally moved cross-country to live with my cat lover of a boyfriend, I got a cat of my own.

I wouldn't say I'm exclusively a cat person. There are things I love and miss about having dogs that are just different from having a cat. However, there are many things I love about cats, and these are the reasons why I will proudly exclaim that (maybe in addition to being a dog person) I am very much a cat person.

  1. Tactile Feedback. If you know the body language, it's pretty obvious to see when a dog is happy. They'll wag their tail or flop on their backs and stick their legs in the air. There's one thing, however, they don't do: purr. There is nothing more satisfying than feeling your cuddly cat vibrate against your chest, or hearing your cat's deep jungle hum as he's approaching your open lap. 

  2. Fluidity. Someone once asked: what makes cats so much funnier than dogs? Personally, I believe that one of the answers is their fluidity. Cats are incredibly flexible, and that means they have a wide variety of positions. Also included: a wide variety of hilarious positions. Cats can contort into (and be caught in) many more poses than a dog can.

  3. Selfishness. I'm going to generalize here. One thing I miss about having a dog is that I don't have to try too hard to convince them to do something. Pure desire to please humans makes most dogs agreeable in the first place-- throw treats into the mix, and you can get dogs to do almost anything.

    Even the most people-pleasing cat will have moments of selfishnes. Why? Because sometimes, just fuck you, that's why. Now, why would I want that? Once, when I was about 7, and my brother was somewhere around 4, he never said no to me. I told him to eat a spider that was giving me dirty looks from across the room, and he actually picked it up and ate it. Well, for some insane reason, I got tired of having a personal slave. I taught him to say no. To this day, I have no idea why I did that. But I bet it has to do with why I put this on my list.

  4. Short faces. I read somewhere on the internet (and by that I mean here when I was trying to find who originally asked why cats were funnier than dogs) that a cat's features are closer to a human's, and that's why they seem to be funnier than dogs. Maybe that's why I find their short, dainty little noses so cute. And, I thought my dog was the most adorable thing in the whole wide world, but I'll come right out and say it: my cat takes the cake for cuteness. Is it his short face? Probably. Cute little kitty noses!

  5. Less noise. The thing that I like about having a cat is that they have to try really, really hard to be loud. Generally, the only situation that warrants it is when you're dangling Fluffy over a bathtub going, "I'm so sorry, Fluffy! This hurts me more than it hurts you!" Or, when you move to a 2 story home that has a hatch over the stairs, and your cat believes that this is the vortex to Hell and your death is imminent while he's watching you disappear under the ground. Dogs, on the other hand, are loud with no effort, extra loud with a little effort, and quiet with quite a bit of effort and training.

I love cats, and I love dogs. Maybe I love cats a little bit more, but that could just be due to the fact that I presently only have cats, and I couldn't imagine loving anything more than I love them. I could make a list of 5 things I like about dogs, but this isn't a dog blog, it's a cat blat. Wow, that sounds terrible. I am horrible with word play.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meet My Cats

I have three and a half two cats, and now I'm blogging about them. Does that make me a crazy cat lady? No? Yes? In any case, I promise not to use them as projectile missiles, but I can't promise not to use them as weapons of mass cuteness and laughter. And in case simply reading about my cats seems woefully boring, don't worry; I fully plan on capturing the full magic of being owned by cats on video and picture.

Without further ado, my cats!

Aka: Mau-mau, King Felix

If I were to describe Felix in one word, it would be: bearviperteddy. He has the mahoosive paws of a bear, the speed of a viper, and the cuddly-wuddles of a teddy.

One might not guess right away that Felix is our most affectionate cat. That's because he has to get to know you, first, and by "get to know you", I mean at least a year of steady trust training. I've only just attained (nearly) the same level of worthiness as my boyfriend, who got him about four years before I moved in-- two years ago. Oh my god, this cat is about six. FELIX, Y U SO OLD?

About 40% of his time is spent sleeping, 50% of his time is spent cleaning himself, and the other stuff is divided up in the other 10%. You see, he is King Felix, and he needs to keep his fur as pristine as possible. Although he has the longest hair of all the cats, he probably contributes the least to the voluminous amounts of hair around the house. Instead of shedding it all over the house, he collects it in his stomach to deliver as a (not so neat) little package in the middle of the rug.

But through the touchiness and the pride, he is our most affectionate cat. He'll come to you when you call about 80% of the time, and when he comes he loves pets and scratches. When the mood strikes him, he'll not only tolerate hugs, but goes crazy for them.

Aka: Cat, Meow-Cat, Whiny-Cat, (Verb here)-Cat, Big Boy

Malcolm's head is too small for his body. His body is a bit too small to begin with, but that's okay. He was the runt of his litter, and orphaned very young when his mother was hit by a car. That's how we happened to acquire him around 8 weeks old, two years ago, and he's been the best cat a cat owner could imagine since then. I might be biased.

Malcolm is the headlining act in this house. If you keep a camera trained at this cat, eventually he will do something that could probably win you $100,000 on America's Funniest Videos. That's right, I'd be a thousand-aire if only I could manage to catch some of the things he does.

I dare anyone who is afraid of cats to come meet this one. I, too, was afraid of cats when I moved in. Even of Felix, given his history of touchiness and readiness to strike if, perchance, you did something unknowingly to his displeasure. Then I got this cat. Although he's not always as cuddly as Felix, and he has to get used to your presence, time from meeting to cuddles is less like a year and more like an hour-- at most. The only way you'll piss him off is if you're trying to. And you really have to be trying.

This cat is quirky and affectionate. Brave at times, skittish at others. Hunts bugs, but can't muster the courage to kill them. Loves affection, but has his own personal space. Try to plant a kiss on his head and he'll dash away, but give him a hug and he'll collapse purring in your arms. Loves people-- unless you're The Man with the Dog. He sure remembers you, buddy.

Aka: Baaaby!, Oldman Tunabreath Stinkyfarts, Old Man

As of two weeks ago (which happens to be when I started writing this blog), this cat isn't ours anymore. But he was once, and I was going to include him two weeks ago, so I thought it would be fitting to add him along with the others. His prominence on the blog will probably be minimal... Considering he isn't ours anymore.

This cat is about 12 years old, and in much a typical senior fashion, dislikes disliked the younger cats. If Baby had a lawn, he would be screaming, "Get off it!" with his haggard, hoarse croaking.

That's primarily why he isn't ours anymore: he was much more suited to a single-cat household (or at least one where the other cat(s) left him alone). The other reason-- and this is pure speculation-- is that our roommate became too attached to let him go; she offered to take him. After all, Baby was always in her room. Presumably hiding from the younguns.

The thing I remember most about him, and will miss the least, is the fact that he has a nuclear stench plant situated firmly in his bowels. You could always tell when Baby got out of the cat box because he would drop an atomic crap bomb so powerful that a single trip-- no matter how clean or fresh the box was-- would warrant an immediate scooping, just to preserve the ideal of your house not smelling intensely like crap.

But perhaps it's a bit unfair to identify him by his nefarious poops. What I will most definitely miss is the fact that he was the only cat who actually headbumped me. On my face. Also, he's the only one of our cats who actually acted like a cat.

Aka: Pumpkin, Kitten, Kit, Squiddles, Professor Stinkbutt

This one also isn't ours. Yet. She came home as a "foster kitten" that was "found in the bushes", by my significant other's sister. I believe it, too. If you replace "foster kitten" with "kitten I'm pretending to foster so we can keep her", and "found in the bushes" with "probably got from a friend".

But, I digress. Maggie was originally named Squiddles, which I find suits her quite nicely. See, this cat has a peculiar defense mechanism. Whenever you're holding her and she wants down, she will unleash a stench from her southern regions so foul that you pretty much have no other option besides letting her go in order to escape the cloud of death. I liken this to squids spurting out ink to get away, and it wasn't unusual to hear, "Ewww, she squiddled again!"

Besides her squiddling tendencies, she was a very spunky cat. If you would take a second to imagine kick-ass Yvonne Strahovski as a cat, you would get Maggie. She's beautiful and loves to climb, play fight (like wonderful Sarah Walker from NBC's Chuck), pose for pretty pictures, and run around with the Big Boys. In fact, thinking about it, Malcolm, Felix, and Maggie are kind of like Chuck, Casey, and Sarah. Hah! NICE.

Well, since that realization just made my life, I think I'll leave it at that. Those are my cats, and I hope they'll bring a lot of fun to this blog.