By: The Gentleman Cat
May your days be filled with polite kitties that don’t scratch up your furniture or barf on your carpets,
Gent, The Gentleman Cat
By: The Gentleman Cat
May your days be filled with polite kitties that don’t scratch up your furniture or barf on your carpets,
Gent, The Gentleman Cat
Punxy Phil found himself in lockup this weekend when a sting operation caught him in the very act of raiding a garden. Local authorities suspect that Phil is responsible for a crime spree that included digging a hole under a woodworker’s shop, ravaging local gardens and flower beds, and the destruction of a dozen cabbage plants while they were still in the greenhouse packaging.
Though Phil adamantly pleaded his innocence (and threatened to bite anyone who got near his cell), he was found guilty of predicting bad weather and garden raiding in the first degree. He was sentenced to a life of exile without the possibility of parole.
Locals hope that Phil’s arrest will serve as a warning to other groundhogs who might consider a life of crime.
This very, very angry groundhog (not actually Punxy Phil) was released unharmed at a nearby animal sanctuary where he will safely live out the rest of his life far away from the temptation to return to his thieving ways.
Our local bear is definitely back. His huge paws have repeatedly dug up the soil by the opening in our back fence. He’s raided garbage cans the entire way down our street, and even knocked over the dumpster of the local nursing home. He’s grown since last year. One of the nursing home residents, who had the pleasure of watching him rummage through that dumpster, insists that our bear weighs in at a hefty, six hundred pounds. A famous naturalist once said, “A bear a long distance from a scale always weighs more.” However, considering that male, black bears in the Northeast often exceed eight hundred pounds, the estimate of six hundred doesn’t seem unreasonable.
A few people have seen him. Most of us have picked up after him, but other than our still jittery neighbor that almost walked into him last summer, the rest of us just accept his presence with a casual shrug and use him as a conversation starter. In our neighborhood, nothing will inspire a friendly conversation quicker than detailing your latest attempts to keep your trash bags on the curb and in tact until the garbage truck arrives at 7:15. We are perfecting our systems: some successful, some not so. It appears that Blackie loves the smell of Lysol, and despises the stench of dirty, kitty litter. Who knew?
Other than being a temporary inconvenience however, our black bear and his crime fighting abilities seem to be a welcome addition to our community. Hoodlums and troublemakers don’t creep around our houses when darkness falls, because the night belongs to Blackie.
Unfortunately, and we should have known this was coming, we don’t always return home before darkness falls. Tonight was one of those nights, and as I sit in my living room listening to the occasional rumbling utterances of our seasonal security guard, I thought I would share the experience of the now jittery people that live in my household.
My husband and I and two of our grown children had been to visit my parents this afternoon. It had been a quiet time of friendly discussion, reminiscing of the past, thinking about the future, and sharing strawberry shortcake, made from berries grown in my own patch. Unwilling to leave my parent’s company, the four of us lingered far later than we had planned. When the clock’s hands traveled past eleven, we realized it was time to start the long journey home.
Only a few stars lit the sky as we stumbled out of the Jeep into our driveway. Visibility in the hollow is often difficult. Streetlights are a commodity we country people have decided to live without.
We were a few feet from the house when the loud bellow of a very large, irritated beast stopped us in our tracks. What followed was total pandemonium.
“What in the world was that?” someone muttered, as everyone’s eyes peered into the darkness to see vague, undefined shapes. Was there actually a bush that close to the bridge? Were the shadows really moving?
“Was that the bear?” someone gasped, “It was the bear wasn’t it?”
A deep threatening bellow echoed from the darkness directly in front of us.
“Oh no, that was the bear!”
“That was close, where is he?”
“I can’t see anything, but he’s not far away, and he’s yelling at us!”
“He’s really close. I can hear him. We gotta get inside!”
“Someone’s got the keys, right?”
“Who’s got the keys?”
I fondled the zipper on my purse, but gave it no further thought. We would all be dead before I found my keys at the bottom of that mess. Surely, someone else had the frame of mind to take out his or her keys as we pulled into the driveway!
“Someone hurry up and open the stinking door! Where is that bear?”
“I think he’s on the other side of the creek!” my son decided.
This wouldn’t have seemed like such a problem had the creek been more than forty feet away, but a black bear can run 35 miles or a total of 184,800 feet per hour, or 3,080 feet per minute. That translates out to 51.33 feet per second. It takes three people, fumbling with multiple sets of keys at least five seconds to figure out which key on their rings doesn’t belong to a house we lived in twenty years ago, and another fifteen seconds of stumbling over each other to determine which panicked, misguided soul was responsible enough to insert their key into the lock.
“Come on, guys, make lots of noise! You’re supposed to make lots of noise!” my daughter yelled.
We were already making enough noise to wake up our neighborhood — and the next — and perhaps the dead in the cemetery on top of the hill.
During the later half of this chaos, hubby, whose vision isn’t the best in the daylight, was fumbling with one key after another.
“Not that key,” he muttered.
“Hurry up!” I gasped. “We’ve got to get in the house.”
“You’ve always said that you want to get a look at him,” my man grumbled as he finally inserted the proper key into the lock.
“Not while standing in the dark holding a half gallon of ice cream!” I howled back. “He’s gonna take me first!”
This saga ended, with my family rushing into the safety of our sturdy, old home and me slamming the door behind us.
Did we see the bear? Of course not. With flashlights in hand, we hung out the upstairs windows and scanned the forest for five minutes after our adventure, and never caught a glimpse of the animal that was scolding us from the darkness. We felt like a bunch of (jittery) kids running from a shadow, but a six-hundred-pound bear casts a very ominous shadow!
Next week the neighborhood conversation starter will be: “Hey, did you hear about family that lives on the end of the street? They got chased into their house by the bear on Monday night.” and the most common reply will be: “So that’s what all that noise was about.”
Sue ,black bear encounter, black bear, black bears , black bear encounter, black bear, black bears, black bear encounter, black bear, black bears
More information about our bear and black bears in general
There was a monster in my bathroom this morning. It was growling, snarling, wearing blood, and dripping with drool, but that is the end of this story, let me start at the beginning—
Activity begins in our home well before dawn . My husband jumps out of bed, eager to meet the day and slaps the alarm clock without giving it a chance to ring. He greets me with a cheerful “Good Morning!”
Having at the most five hours of sleep at this unhealthy hour, I grunt a barely audible “Sure”, then roll over and cover my head before this enthusiastic early riser decides to give me a cheerful, good morning kiss.
“Remember to close that lousy door,” I groan as I review in my mind that morning consists of sunlight and songbird serenades, not barely penetrable darkness and the haunting cries of a screech owl.
If it is truly a good morning, my husband remembers to close the bedroom door and our cats Grendel and Kitsten stand outside in the hall squalling and screaming, in an effort to attract the attention of the nearest animal control officer so they can plead their case of cruelty and neglect. I cover my head with the pillow, and slip into a disturbed sleep, filled with dark, savage dreams of being torn to bits by the monsters just outside my bedroom door. But at least I managed to get back to sleep.
A bad morning starts with an open bedroom door.
Just as conscious thought began to falter and the world about me began to fade, Kitsten stealthy crept into the room. She carefully placed her mousie on the floor by the bed, hopped onto the television stand and from there lunged onto my hip, where with the purr of a Harley Davison she began her morning constitution. Five or ten minutes later, Grendel, the queen of the house, realized that someone was awake and came tearing up the stairs to demand her morning devotion and to remind her human subject that the food dish was empty. Jumping on my shoulder, she began clawing at the blanket expecting me to grant her admittance to my dark and once peaceful world. I strove in vain to ignore her, but when those urgent, borrowing claws began to draw blood, I reluctantly lifted the covers to permit this excessive drooler to share the warmth of my blankets.
Unfortunately, breathing recirculated cat breath in the wee hours before dawn became so unappealing that I threw back the blankets choking for air. It was then that Pudge, “The Big Guy” bounced onto my side, forcing the breath from my lungs and waking the queen. Pudge will share a box, a laundry basket, or a spot in the sun with Grendel, but he refuses to share his people! He hissed. She growled quietly to remind him of his place. He growled. She rose to her feet to confront him. He hissed again. She threatened to rearrange his face. Kitsten came forward just to see what the commotion was about. Pudge swatted Kitsten’s nose to remind the kid that he found her curiosity annoying. Inches from my face, a slapping match ensued. Grendel now bored with this petty squabbling shook her head violently, whipping drool in every direction. With her subjects occupied, the queen settled back down to sleep. I, on the other hand, was wide awake. I carefully nudged the fighting cats to the floor, and headed to the bathroom.
Yes, there was a monster in my bathroom this morning. It was growling, snarling, wearing blood, and dripping with drool. That monster was me, and if you will forgive this monster, she is going to feed the cats, close that door, and go back to bed. (Now where did I put those earplugs?)
cats, monster, Godzilla, humor, cats fighting, c ats, monster, Godzilla, humor, cats fighting, cats, monster, Godzilla, humor, cats fighting, cats, monster, Godzilla, humor, cats fighting
A wise dog once said that the safest way to give a cat a bath begins with thoroughly cleaning the toilet…
I was in a panic. Pudge had fleas. I know, all cats get fleas, but before you begin to chuckle about my paranoia, I must tell you that Pudge is allergic to flea collars, flea powder, flea spray, and all of the one spot flea treatments. Use any of these treatments, and within days, Pudge’s hair will fall out, and he will be covered by a rash consisting of tiny, itchy lumps and large oozing sores. Unfortunately, Pudge is also allergic to fleas.
In our old house in town, we never had much of a problem with fleas, but here on the edge of the forest, with a three-legged opossum living somewhere in our dungeon of a basement, and mice attempting to convert the attic into a country club, things are quite different. We kill the fleas. They come back. We kill them again. They come back, and Pudge is always the one to suffer. In spite of daily flea combings, he was beginning to rash up and his beautiful black coat was starting to thin. Pudge needed a flea bath.
I was not new to the idea of bathing cats. Years ago, I had a Persian mix that was a notorious bed wetter. (The cat would actually wet him self while napping.) We made him sleep on a plastic mat that saved our furniture, but often I had to place the sopping wet cat into the sink where he would sit patiently as I gave him a good scrubbing. Later I had a huge, old Tabby that refused to wash himself. I would gently lower him into a tub of warm water, and he would purr as I washed him clean. Even Pudge’s sister seems to enjoy an occasional bath.
So innocently assuming all was well, I took Pudge into the bathroom, ran about eight inches of warm water into the tub, and lowered him in.
It took me less than two seconds to realize that a lean, muscular, seventeen-pound cat can triple in size, strength, and agility when dropped into a tub of warm water. As I struggled to keep him in the tub with one hand, and use a cup to get him wet with the other, I felt blessed by the fact that he had bad teeth. Unfortunately, he felt blessed by the fact that he had very healthy claws. Less than fifteen seconds after being lowered into the tub, he managed to fight his way free and went up over the side of the tub, over the toilet and into the corner. From there he gave me his black panther, “Touch me and you die!” scowl. Planning my moves cautiously to prevent loss of my fingers or eyes, I lunged forward, clamped my hands firmly behind his front legs, and rushed him back to the tub. Working at breakneck speed, I soaked him thoroughly, then grabbed the flea shampoo, and lathered him up. It was then that I learned my second important lesson. A seventeen-pound cat with a bad attitude becomes very slippery when covered with shampoo. (A special note here: a T-shirt is not appropriate attire when bathing a cat. Consider investing in kevlar or chain mail.)
Seven minutes later, looking as though someone had pushed me into the river, I allowed Pudge to escape from the tub for the tenth time. Water was dripping from the vanity and from the toilet. It ran in tiny paths from far up the bathroom walls. The six towels I had laid out to dry the cat with were unsuccessfully sopping up the water that covered the entire floor. Again, Pudge sat in the corner, his yellow eyes dancing with insane anger. Knowing that I would never get him to submit to a towel dry, much less a few moments with the blow dryer, I opened the door and set him free.
They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a spitting mad tomcat certainly gave this old woman an education.
Deciding that I must have done something wrong, last night I combed the Internet in search of videos entitled “How to Bathe Your Cat.” Repeatedly I watched as placid animals, seated in the tub or sink, patiently accepted their owner’s attention, but none of the videos told me where to contact a lion tamer or when to call the paramedics. This was the only video clip that came close to Pudge’s bath experience. (Note: I don’t believe that they used a real cat for all of these shots.)
I did find, however, that the Chinese have developed an automatic, cat washing machine. I kid you not. Pour in the shampoo, drop in the cat, slam the lid shut, and press start. In about twenty minutes, you have a clean cat. No scratches, no biting, no flooded bathroom. Hmmm…
Auto cat wash machine
The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye
Pets, Bathing a Cat, Washing a Cat, Cat, Cats, Humor
Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution, my family was positive that name was appropriate. Webster refers to a nemesis as a formidable and usually victorious rival or a curse, and I must admit that our Nemesis was unquestionably victorious and unmistakably a curse. How could four mature people and three full-grown cats be defeated by a creature that could take a nap in a Dixie cup? Measuring little more than five inches from the tip of her
twitching, pink nose to the end of her brown, hairless tail, she was the most unlikely of foes, but mouse traps were her entertainment and chocolate was her addiction.
She introduced herself by leaving her calling cards in every drawer of the bathroom vanity. Then graduated to my son’s room where she raided his candy supply. When confronted in the act of thievery, she merely blinked her eyes, then made off with an entire candy bar. Unfortunately, Nemesis was as cute as she was intelligent. She possessed a soft, shiny brown coat, a face full of long, delicate whiskers, and huge, dark eyes that made you fall in love with her the instant you saw her. This mouse was adorable. She knew it, and she used it. Her brazen and successful attempts at daylight robbery left us in awe, and the disregard she felt for traps was incredible. She would raid them and leave behind nothing but a calling card or a puddle of pee to show her contempt.
Desperate to stop her from leaving her little messes all through the house, we decided to switch to more drastic means of catching her. The cats were a complete failure. The two oldest ignored her, and the youngest, that has the IQ of a biscuit, was recruited as the mouse’s faster mode of transportation. (Note: The cat actually carried Nemesis around like a kitten. We caught them at this more than once.) Next came the canning jar. The strategy was simple. Place a candy bar in ½ gallon jar and wait. When Nemesis fell in, slap on the lid. Presto! One mouse, under glass, ready for transport to the barn. We were amazed to find that our little Nemesis could jump 18 inches straight up with a candy bar in her mouth.
No longer feeling welcome in my son’s room, Nemesis had Kitsten carry her downstairs so that she could explore new worlds and seek out new food sources to exploit. To the mouse’s dismay, the entire downstairs world was devoid of chocolate! In mere days, our little mouse was going into withdraw. Despairing over the loss of her beloved chocolate, Nemesis recruited her cat mode of transportation and retired to my daughter’s room. There she constructed a comfy, winter cottage in the underwear drawer and began the monumental job of chewing a passageway through 100-year-old, newly refinished woodwork in an effort to reach the stash of chocolate in the room beyond.
This miniature monster had to be stopped! The next trap we devised would put an end to this mouse’s chocolate stealing ways. Steps built of books worked their way to the top of a 30-gallon, trash can. Scattered about the bottom of that can were fruit, nuts, birdseed… and a solitary Hershey’s kiss.
This mouse’s addiction became her undoing. Within an hour of the trap being set, our Nemesis was seated in the bottom of the trashcan contentedly chewing on her beloved chocolate. We placed a cover on the can, and the next morning, she and I took the short walk to the barn. When I tilted the can to set her free, she paused for a moment and stared at me with those huge, dark eyes, then chose a snack from the goodies at the bottom of the can and scampered off.
Will we miss her? Kind of… Maybe…No, not actually.