Check out a cool shot of our Fat Boy here.
It was another early morning around here. Iâ€™m not quite sure the order of events, but in the end all the CREEtures were awake by about 4:40 AM. I was the last one conscious. My guess is that Low Rider is to blame. Heâ€™s our early riser. Fat Boy is much more compliant. He keeps the rules on this one these days.
Saturday is often the one chance I have to sleep in. Today I have to drive down to Jacksonville for a job, so it wouldnâ€™t have been an option anyway. But I still want to know why we even need sleep in the first place.
The â€œgetting upâ€ rule is pretty simple. The boys are not to get up before the alarm goes off. If they do, the rule is that I scoop the violator up by the scruff of their neck. A cool feature of cats is that they go stiff and stop all resistance when you pick them up properly by the scruff of their neck. Gorgeous taught me that and she would know, having been a Veterinary Technician in a past life. Then I drag off the offender to a penalty box, either a bathroom or bedroom at the other end of the house. That way we canâ€™t hear the door shaking as they paw at it while we go back to sleep.
Once the alarm goes off all bets are off. I figure itâ€™s not their fault if I choose not to get up after the alarm goes off. So I donâ€™t penalize them for jumping on me once the alarm sounds. It does add a physical element to the waking up process. Somehow they know exactly when that alarm is going to sound because the moment the radio starts, Pounce, usually right on the bladder. It helps expedite the waking up process.
When we first got Fat Boy he quickly developed a routine. Once the alarm went off He would jump on me, head butt my chin and then jump back off. He did this twice. Somehow a 10 pound cat can exert about 70 pounds of force when jumping on or off a snoozing human. I am sure there is a law of physics that explains this but Iâ€™m not studied up on it. If he hits your bladder I think the force goes up by a factor of approximately 1.3 (the bladder coefficient being 30% higher and all).
If I didnâ€™t get up after the second time, heâ€™d go over to the spring door stop, pull it back and let it go with a very loud â€œBoioioirrngâ€ sound. That got me up every time. I knew what to expect and there was a gradual escalation which I could turn off at any time by simply getting up and feeding him. It was a good system.
These days Fat Boy lets Low Rider do his dirty work for him. He seems to just lay back and watch. I get the feeling heâ€™s thinking, â€œKnock yourself out pal.â€ He knows heâ€™ll get fed just the same so why risk being dragged off to the penalty box? Low Rider is smarter and less compliant. Not to mention he is skinnier, faster, and black so heâ€™s harder to catch in the dark to haul off to the other end of house.
Anyway weâ€™re all up now. And Iâ€™m going to head off to Jacksonville for work.
Last night we got home pretty late and a little stressed. Gorgeous saw an opportunity to give Fat Boy a puff tail. Since its always great fun, she took it.
For those of you who donâ€™t know, cats have unique feature. Whenever they get suddenly freaked out the hair on their tail stands straight out so that it appears to be about four times the normal diameter and looks like a bottle brush. The interesting thing about it is that the tail puffs up in an instant but takes some time to come back down. Just like gas prices.
The puff tail can give you a good read on who knocked over the picture in the other room. This weekend Low Rider came tearing into the bed room up onto the bed. He landed squarely on a couple sheets of paper that Gorgeous just set down on her way through the room. Apparently Low Rider wasnâ€™t expecting that texture or the slide across the comforter just then and viola, puff tail.
It always gives me a sense of accomplishment when I am directly responsible for the puff tail.
Like when Low Rider was eating breakfast a week or so ago and my toast popped up in the toaster. Puff tail.
Or a month or so back Low Rider was in the kitchen sink licking some butter off a knife. When I saw him there about four things happened nearly simultaneously.
- I yelled very loudly, something I am very good at.
- A plate shifted in the sink, adding to the noise.
- Low Rider immediately displaced himself vertically upward approximately 13â€.
- And oh yes, puff tail.
Low Rider knew he was busted because the boys are absolutely not allowed up on the counters. Or the tables. Or the dressers. Fat Boy pretty much respects those boundaries because heâ€™s not smart enough to know when Iâ€™ve booby-trapped them with masking tape. Low Rider can usually tell when its safe, and when heâ€™s going to end up skulking around the house trying to shake that icky tape off a paw with me chasing him feeling guilty but laughing too hard to actually catch him and get the tape off.
Fat Boyâ€™s not that smart so he generally stays down. Its safer that way.
I try to sneak up on them to scare them from time to time, hoping for a puff tail. Iâ€™m not as good at it as Gorgeous. She is sneakier, I guess. My victories are usually unintentional, which makes them all the funnier.
Thatâ€™s how she got Fat Boy last night. The two boys were stalking each other after we got home. It is easier to get them when they are distracted. Of course Fat Boy isnâ€™t very hard to get destracted because he’s not so smart. Actually Iâ€™m being nice, heâ€™s quite stupid.
He has repeatedly tried to jump up from the back of the couch only to misjudge the jump, smack against the back of the couch, and then slide down because heâ€™s got no front claws. It looks like Wile E. Coyote to me every time he does it.
He is also prone to try to jump to the front of the couch from under the glass coffee table. The sound of a cat head hitting the underside of a plate glass table at full force is one you donâ€™t forget. I’m giggling just thinking about it. His eyes are more crossed than usual after trying that.
My final proof on Fat Boyâ€™s stupidity (I mean other than the fact that Low Rider was out smarting him at eight weeks. We new he was in trouble then since he was seven.) is that he can fall from the couch and land flat on his back, again repeatedly. I didnâ€™t know cats could do this. I think he is breaking a law of physics. Otherwise how would this perpetual motion machine work?
Heâ€™s one of kind all right. Thatâ€™s why we keep him around. Besides a good puff tail is guaranteed to please!
The other day I mentioned that cats aren’t perceived as a very manly pet choice. As a converted dog guy I think they’ve gotten a bad wrap. Maybe it is partly because of the company they tend to keep, I don’t know. But cats are more manly pets than dogs for a whole host of reasons, at least to my way of thinking.
First cats are low maintenance. I’m in to that. I guess you could say that I am a lazy pet owner. But to take care of your cat, all you have to do is keep fresh water available, feed them regularly and clean out that litter pan from time to time. And if you’re even lazier than I am, I hear there are even some gadgets that can automate some of those tasks. I like the fact that if Gorgeous and I go out of town for an overnighter, we can just leave a little extra food out and know the boys will be just fine when we return.
Dogs on the other hand are so needy. To me that would seem to be a trait that would endear them more to women with their more nurturing tendencies than make them man’s best friend. You truly have to schedule your life around your dog. They’ve got to be walked three times a day. And if you live in town then you probably have to tote around a little baggie at the ready for the undignified task of “picking up” after Fido. Most towns don’t appreciate the extra lawn furniture left by pooches that just gotta go.
And if something comes up that will keep you from getting back to the house right after work you’ve still got to find a way logistically to swing by the house and walk your dog. Otherwise you spend your evening in fear of having to wade through a puddle on the linoleum or finding some of that newly deposited lawn furniture in the living room. After all everyone knows lawn furniture doesn’t belong in the living room.
It belongs in little baggies.
With cats you get the feeling that they can make it without you. Now there’s a basis for mutual respect. They tend to come by for a little rubbing on their terms. What guy wants his buddy to be at his beck and call? We hang with guys we respect, not guys we control. Yet the dog lobby would have us believe that dogs are our best friends.
Cats have a PR problem as far as guys are concerned, that’s all. I’m pretty sure they don’t care though. They can make it without us.
Since I know that most people don’t perceive cats as particularly manly pets, I have this minor insecurity about being understood as a “cat guy.” I just have to defend myself here. And no, I’m not going to dodge the issue by trying to claim that “they’re really my wife’s cats.”
You see I can relate to the whole current perception about cats. I know all the dog vs. cat arguments. After all, I am a converted dog guy. As I’ve said before, I used to think that the only thing cats were good for was drop kick toys. (No, I never actually kicked a cat. At least not that I remember!)
But that was before our stupid little Frosty, the Fat-Boy, adopted me. And I say stupid in the most loving way, but I’ll have to get to that later.
We were looking at renting a condo and as the landlord was showing me the back yard by the screen porch, the one overlooking the lake. (I miss that place sometimes.) This cat came up and started rubbing on my legs. Now at the time my cat paradigm told me I should start swinging my feet around and have some “fun.” However, I knew the landlord was an animal person so I behaved myself.
Later we were helping paint the place before we moved in. Lisa and our landlord had gotten together a bunch of girls from their work to help out. So here we are taking a break from painting the inside of this condo. We had the door opened to let out the fumes. It’s just me and a bunch of women, all animal people, by the way. And this cat walks in, ignores all the ladies, walks up to me like he’s in charge (as a good cat would) and plops himself down in my lap.
He knew which member of the household he had to suck up to. That was about the time that the landlord told us that Frosty belonged to Faye, the widow two doors down. Apparently Frosty belonged to Faye’s husband, who had died about a year before. Faye, being a very busy lady didn’t have time for a pet and threw him outside. She kept feeding him. But she was looking to find him another home. Right.
The day we moved in I went over to introduce myself to the two ladies talking on the sidewalk next door. When I heard Faye’s name I asked her if she owned Frosty. Without missing a beat she said, “Yeah, do you want him?” I told her that I wasn’t much into cats, but my wife thought he was cute. Faye, gave a good sales pitch by saying something like, “Just take him in for a while. If it doesn’t work just put him back out and let me know. I’ll start putting food out for him again.” How could I say no to that?
You see, I had this plan. To my mind I thought it through pretty well. My Gorgeous wife and I had only been married about a year, and being relative newlyweds we weren’t even sure we were up to the responsibility of having a pet. But since we had managed to keep a house plant alive for nearly a whole year, we thought we could up the commitment level and get a cat. If we didn’t kill it then perhaps we could eventually raise the bar to a dog. If the dog survived, perhaps we might actually have a chance of being responsible enough to have child or two that could hope to live past the potty training years. That was my plan anyway. Somehow 7 years later we have only gotten so far as getting a second cat.
Does that say something about us?…